In his latest feedback on my appraisal (31 May–18 June) Karaj told me not to change my diet or my exercise routine so dramatically because such upheavals will almost certainly have added to my pain. My diet has not changed radically and I see it as an improvement but I am in agreement with the exercises. Since the men’s group on Saturday when Sunil said that trying too hard is not advisable and Earl said that because things have been wrong for a while it will take a while to put them right, I have been thinking about just what I do to myself. Last night I thought that I am in far too much of a hurry to sort myself out. Before my back went this time around I’d had glimpses of some real improvement. Unfortunately I got carried away with it all and now things have been forced to slow right down. I need to be able to exercise restraint and control in order to safeguard my health and well-being.
Serious challenge: take things very slowly – especially when I’m doing well. [Karaj: Very, very, very slowly. Progress should not be visible.]
We had lunch together in the garden (Karaj, Kuldip, Arun and me), and then we all went to Earl’s to talk over a few home truths. When it came to the meeting Arun was a lot kinder to him than she had been over lunch. This caused a huge argument in the car on the way home because she had not followed Karaj’s instructions. Karaj is at his most effective when people follow his advice, and that is precisely what Arun is not prepared to do.
I told Earl he should make more use of the other men. Kuldip did his usual trick (Arun does it too) and tried to make Earl feel better by saying, ‘When I was asked to leave the group…’. This brought the subject of expulsion into the conversation after Karaj had worked hard to dispel Earl’s fears that he might be thrown out. Kuldip had unwittingly created negativity out of trying to do the decent thing. Another aspect of his behaviour which I have noticed recently is that he asks for feedback yet doesn’t actually listen. Both his intervention and Arun’s, reminded me of ‘The Way of Transformation’. By telling it how it is we are doing Earl a massive favour. It is a privilege for someone to tell us the truth. By trying to make him feel better both Kuldip and Arun were not helping Earl at all.
I am feeling very good about everything at present – this is just the time I need to slow right down.
Calvin came round to the house to drop off his Sicily money. We chatted for a while. I felt relaxed about the silences and comfortable about talking to him about his issues. There were times when I found myself saying the sorts of things that Karaj would say which felt a little bit weird. It was almost as if I had no right to say them because I am not a therapist, yet every right to say them because I have been through the experiences myself. I have learnt so very much being around Karaj. That is hardly surprising because it is what I have always wanted to learn. All I really did with Calvin was to talk to him about my experiences. I gave him good support and some positive feedback on his contribution to the group – but not too many positive strokes like Kuldip is prone to do in trying to make people feel better. He was late to meet Sunil and when I remarked on his calmness he said, ‘It must be your steadying influence’. That was all I needed to hear to know that I had done okay.
As we left, Sunil and Ishwar arrived. It was lovely to see them and it is delightful to have people drop in for a chat or just to say ‘hello’. I really appreciated their presence. While I was talking to Sunil, Ishwar asked me for my opinion of his friend from the other day. I said he is a gentle giant, and I could tell by Ishwar’s reaction that I was pretty accurate. So, I can observe. More evidence.
At home I chatted to Dev and to Robert, both of whom mentioned the help and positive influence Sunil has been for them recently. Calvin had said much the same thing too and I knew what they meant. Just so long as he is looking after himself as well. Robert made a good point about my back. Not only is it alerting me to what I need to do, it is also burning away the old me, the old habits and the old conditioning. Like the friend in ‘The Way of Transformation’, it will not let me off the hook.
Today has been another great day.