I know someone who chatters constantly and it drives me insane.

That’s really saying something coming from me; but isn’t that the way of things? It seems that the things that irritate us most in others are often the very things we need to look at in ourselves.

But this chattering doesn’t just annoy me. It makes me want to say something to shut them down and make them feel small.

Wow. That’s really difficult to write. Reading that makes me cringe.

One reason it’s hard to admit is because it makes me look like a really horrible person. Another reason this is difficult to say is because it’s not an accurate description of how I feel about this specific person or about the kind of relationship I want to have with humanity in general.

I’ve been thinking about the idea that people I struggle with could be teachers – deeply loving, compassionate spirit guides willing to take on this role as vehicles for my growth.

I think it’s often helpful to take concepts you may not believe factually and to use them as metaphor. I find that being caught up in the debate of whether or not it’s factually true is just a detour away from my growth.

I was recently in “Major Production Mode”. This is both a necessary and beneficial mode for me when I need to accomplish things, but it can be problematic for my relationships with other people on the planet.

On this particular day it seemed that my family was determined to throw up every conceivable block to my focus and forward-moving direction. I was irritable and snappy and not a particularly nice mother or wife this day.

On the way to a meeting I ended up in traffic and every other driver on the road seemed to be rude and frustratingly incompetent. How on earth did any of these people manage to obtain drivers licenses?

I found myself, grumbling and name calling to these complete strangers on the road. And then I remembered the Spirit Guide/ Teacher metaphor. Something inside my head said, “Relax, Susan. These people are supposed to be here. They want you to be present ~ to be in the moment, since that’s where you are anyway.”

Pretty instantaneously, I relaxed and smiled. I giggled lightly at the frenzy I had whipped myself into and I felt a momentary connection with those around me. Then someone pulled out in front of me and I was back, just as instantaneously, in freak-out mode, grumbling and name calling.

But I did have awareness. I was amazed at how quickly I could be pulled out of relationship with others, how quickly my own agenda took over, how quickly I lost contact with my intention to see others as my teachers.

In last month’s post, Dangerous Stuff, I talked about the dark things that you begin to see about yourself when you meditate. No, I don’t like that my ego rises up like a horrible dragon; that it makes me feel powerful in my disconnection from others, whether they’re chattering, or impeding my progress or somehow blocking the oh-so-important agenda I have set for myself. But if I don’t see it or if I’m not willing to admit it; if I allow my ego to continue its tyrannical reign of importance and justification of why I have every reason to feel the way I feel, of why I cannot change, then I cannot remember my connection in my powerful moments of disconnection.

Allowing myself to see others, especially the others that really get under my skin, as teachers enables me to be open to their presence in my life. It allows me to seek connection and to allow for the possibility that maybe I am not always in the right. Maybe there is growth potential and just maybe that growth is not punishment but an opening into more connection, more adventure, more space and more peace.

Namaste.