Do you have a certain company or service that, when you ring their customer line, you feel your heart rate escalate?  Admittedly, I have several where I feel myself becoming less grounded at each computerized prompt, knowing that what is being asked of me now is going to be asked of me again once a person comes on the line.  Sometimes, as I feel myself unraveling over the computerized voice, I am able to ask myself why that is.  Is it because it’s not a person that I’m connecting with?  I’m going to say no to that because typically, I’ve grown so agitated by the wasted time that when a person does come on the line, I’m not overly friendly to them.  So, it’s not the computerized voice.  Is it the waste of time?  I imagine that factors in there, but there are days where I do have time and I still get just as annoyed.  So, what is it that gets so triggered as to encourage my shortness with another person whom I’ve never even met before?  

We likely all know this scenario.  Whether it’s a customer line, or a colleague whose habits annoy us, or the frustration a child can stir in us, or a parent, or a friend, or a partner.  We all have triggers that cause us to lose our footing and wobble on our internal foundation where our rational mind and calmed emotions live.  So, it clearly isn’t a precise action if all of these, or a combination of these experiences, serve to trigger us.  So what is it then?  I’m going to give a gut punch answer, and I say that because that is how it felt when I recognized it for myself.  What is triggering me is my expectations.  Ouch, right?  There is a real sting to that, or at least there was for me, as I had to accept that I am holding an expectation of how I believe things should be, and not allowing space or flexibility for what is.  

So, what now, you might ask?  Here’s what I’ve asked of myself upon this realization.  I’ve asked these events, that I know to trigger me, now become my spiritual practice.  This is not new news, to turn your trials into your lessons, but really, are most lessons really that new?  The ones we choose to do something about are the ones we really learn.  I have chosen that when I call customer service lines that, no matter what, I will hold love in my heart for the person on the other end.  You may be saying – that’s a bit extreme, I mean, love?  Couldn’t it be appreciation?  Here’s the thing – what trumps love?  In my world, nothing.  Nothing trumps love.  So, if I insist on recognizing the oneness that I share with the person on the other end of the line; the commonalities we share.  Neither of us wants to experience suffering. Neither of us wants negativity in our day.  Neither of us wants to have to fight back internal reactions of hostility.  We both want this call to pass by easily.  I will likely get more help if I am courteous, and they will likely feel good about their efforts.  

Sure, you say, good luck with that.  But, here’s the things- I can’t just cultivate love in me to prove this lesson to myself.  I need the love in me to be strong; stronger than the irritations of my expectations not being met.  It’ll never work if I just save it for those tough moments.  I need to accelerate my love in all the areas of my life where it is easiest to so that it becomes more habitual and thus an easier choice in times of turmoil.

Love is hardest when we feel challenged; when some part of our expectations feel unfulfilled.  In those moments we are not remembering that our expectations are based on ‘shoulds’ which are simply our beliefs directing us.  But love, love doesn’t have to abide by those rules – love is what motivates us to heal and reframe those beliefs so that we can recognize how little value there  is in getting bent out of shape over automated prompts when there is a genuine person on the other end of the line whom we can offer our deepest finding of gratitude and thanks, allowing the love within us to shine through. 

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