Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Over And Over Things

It's not true that life is one damn thing after another; it is one damn thing over and over. Edna St. Vincent Millay US poet (1892 - 1950)

This quote speaks loudly to me, because I am dedicated to controlling the number of over and over things that I have to deal with. The practice began in my marriage, but it has filtered into every other area of my life. Fighting the same battles over and over is like being dragged into a time warp where scripted words echo on and on and endlessly on. By the third argument you know both parts verbatim.
I found it helpful in my pursuit of peace to ask some gentle questions at the end of any battle that seemed resolved. I made certain that he had the same understanding of the final resolution as I possessed. It never was a term of surrender kind of thing, we always crafted an equal compromise that suited us both. A hug always signed the truce, and the no blame clause was sealed with a kiss before negotiations ended. Any further discussions on the same issues were expected to be done in a calm manner. This practice came in handy later for making re-fighting an impossibility. Nothing quite disarms an opponent more peacefully than an unwillingness to argue agreement signed by both.
When instances occurred where scripted words began to take over the conversation then it was a simple thing to gently say, "We really aren't going to fight this same battle again are we?" Restating of past agreements, in a calm manner, always helped to soothe tempers; it is just so very hard to fight alone. Renegotiation was allowed, but another war for the same cause was not.
The practice, once begun, became second nature. At work I just modified it, replacing smiles for hugs and kisses, but the results did not suffer any from the modifications. It is simply impossible to really argue for long with someone who refuses to shout back. The best defense is calm reason, delivered without malice.
But be aware that there are the ones who simply love to battle. I waste little time in their presence once I see there is no way to come to peaceful terms. And what I cannot avoid I simply face with a smile. I get much comfort from knowing how foolish they appear to others when they shadow box alone. It is much better to let them seem asinine to a crowd than to join your voice to theirs and seem just as foolish.