Is It a Tango or Tangle with Charlie?

Elevator by Steam Pipe Trunk Distribution Venue

Do you know the feeling of forgetting something after you’ve finished a mental checklist of everything you need for the day? This was one of those moments.

The owners of my office building have a protocol, a security card to gain access to our assigned floor before 8 a.m. After that time, it is business as usual – no magnetized card is required.

One morning, I forgot my white plastic and had to ask the janitor/handyman to use his card. What happened next revealed that Charlie was in a contentious mood. I would imagine that many of us forget the card, testing his patience…

It was a few minutes before 8 a.m. when I told Charlie that I forgot my card. “Why don’t you go home to get it,” he asserted. I don’t know why I said this (perhaps nervousness), but I blurted out that it would take me a long time to do this. As he entered the elevator to ‘click’ for my access, he then lectured me further. I hardly remember the words coming out of his mouth, as I thought of, and rejected responses to his barrage. My utterances would have escalated the situation into an argument, which I wanted to avoid. I remained silent, kind of nodding to say that I heard him.

Once on the lift, I gathered my feelings and thoughts. I don’t know anyone who likes to be lectured. I felt like a schoolgirl. Slight feelings of humiliation and anger ran through my mind. I took note and let them go, feeling strong in my commitment to heal these past experiences.

This early-morning exchange provided an opportunity to lift the conversation to compassion, to deflect to the place of love, giving us each a space for growth. I believe that Charlie needed to vent his frustration, perhaps to become clearer on some personal issue.

With some resolve, I was able to let go of any grudge against him. A grudge would result in holding negativity against myself as well – it’s a two-way street. I continued to say “good morning” to him, and it became easier as the days passed. A couple of weeks later, I saw Charlie on my floor, and I said “hello”. He said to me: “Stay just the way you are”. I smiled feeling a burst of love from him…

A note about hostile exchanges: When someone speaks angrily and you don’t engage, the wrath remains theirs to deal with. You haven’t taken it on. Your process is to examine your reaction, to acknowledge it, work through it and let it go, thereby healing past experiences in the present moment. This is part of the spiritual reason for the encounter: that you grow emotionally…

Had I responded defensively to Charlie, I do believe we would have argued – devouring any clarity we each developed. Instead, after a time, he melted in my kindness, and I got to heal vestiges of old, negative feelings.

I say it’s a win-win…a tango rather than a tangle…

Speak to you on April 23rd.

Peace and Light,


#elevator #lecture #schoolgirl #humiliation #anger #compassion #grudge #spiritualgrowth #clarity #forgetting #security #janitor #venting

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Linda Marsanico

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