PAUSE...BEFORE PRESSING 'SEND'
Janet's 2003 Saturn in Sarasota by roger4336 https://www.flickr.com/photos/24736216@NO7/5185036268
The email glared at me: the landlord was asking for a ‘modest increase’ in the monthly
garage rent. Impulsively, I wrote that this was not a ‘modest increase.’ You can imagine that he responded defensively, even sarcastically.
In this rash instance, I lived up to the reputation of some Twitter subscribers who tweet without thinking, sending their angry blasts into cyberspace and onto the feed. Not much thought, and certainly no compassion goes into this act. (I want you to know that I - @LMarsanico - enjoy Twitter, having 5,700+ followers.)
After the email exchange, selling my car became a reactive thought. I researched the rental-car market and downloaded Uber and Lyft apps, weighing the cost of using these services versus keeping my car. I know this may be hard to accept but I was unaware of my anger.
Let me tell you about my car and garage. Before my parents passed, they gifted me their 2003 Saturn, which they kept at their second home. My Dad loved my Saturn (I’ve had 4 of them.), and he was inspired to purchase one in Florida. Now, my parents’ auto sits in my Brooklyn garage with some high-end vehicles. I’ve had one of my cars in this haven for 13 years.
Parking in my neighborhood is fiercely competitive and I decided to give my sedan a covered space to enhance my quality of life. Prior to this, it could take me 20-30 minutes to find a parking spot, especially on a Sunday night when most of us are snug in our homes, not wanting to move…
Well, some time has passed since my landlord’s communication, and I came to realize that I wanted to apologize to Dale for my provocative comment. His request for a ‘modest increase’ seemed, well, modest. Dale is actually providing an important service in a community with so many cars. I let go of my anger, sent him an email and received a sunny response. My heart felt lighter…
I don’t often get rankled. What made this situation different? When Dale announced the raise, I felt afraid, powerless and trapped by increasing prices - in food, services and, actually across the board… In my fear, I lost my connection to faith and gratitude, for I really have everything that I need and more… Just focusing on feeling trapped, I was unaware of the fear and powerlessness associated with this situation until I wrote this essay. And, I’m grateful to understand myself more…
As Shakespeare says: “All’s well that ends well.” Yet I re-learned that important lesson about stepping back before responding. This pause allows compassion to seep into any response. We go from the primitive brain to the evolved brain where we have a reservoir of wisdom and benevolence to choose from.
“Yes, I’m signing up for next year” would have been an appropriate reply to Dale’s request for an increase in garage rent. That’ll be my response for 2019.
I’ll speak to you on May 7th.
Peace and Light,