I answered the phone on the 3rd ring.
It was the office manager for the dentist where my kids go.
My ex-wife handles all the appointment details and I handle the expressions of appreciation.
Because of that, I don’t know what’s going on unless the dental office lets me know.
When the kids first started going there, the manager and I agreed that whenever the kids had work done, she’d call me or send me a bill and I’d take care of it.
“The bill for your daughter’s last visit hasn’t been paid,” she said with an icy tone in her voice.
“I never received a bill,” I said.
“Didn’t your wife tell you about it?”
“No. That’s not our arrangement. You and I had an arrangement.”
I then calmly and clearly reviewed the agreement we’d made and my commitment to promptly pay bills I receive.
Using Phase 1 judgmental language so you know what I mean, the conversation then got “ugly.”
She suddenly got angry at me, told me she didn’t have time to deal with custody issues with divorced parents, or call me every time a bill is due to get a credit card number.
On and on her anger spewed out.
I felt like I was in The Twilight Zone.
None of it made sense to me, at the story level.
Then she said, “I don’t appreciate your rudeness or the way you’re treating me. I’ll send you a bill,” and she hung up on me.
In the past, for what I now lovingly call “The Old Robert,” an exchange like that would have sent me into a rage during the call itself.
I would have battled her, rigidly defended my position, tried to get her to admit her failure to keep our agreement, and felt more anger if she didn’t.
Then, after the call ended, the conversation would have replayed in my mind, over and over, sometimes for days or even weeks, with the perceived “injustice” and “unfairness” of it making me angrier and angrier.
I call that “swirl.”
For “The New Robert,” however, the call was no big deal.
Weird, yes, but no biggie.
I just set the phone down, laughed out loud, and went on about my business.
OK, now this is important …
Notice, I did NOT say to you …
“I got angry and then I used XYZ technique to manage, reduce, release, dissolve or transform the anger.”
Anger, swirl, stories about unfairness and injustice never appeared.
They just weren’t there in my Experience anymore.
That’s part of what Ultimate Freedom is all about as it relates to emotions and relationships.
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Inspiring Quote Of The Week
“The primary hurdle in all teachings lies in experientially realizing what has been intellectually understood.”
– Wu Hsin
BTW: If you like the quotes I share from Wu Hsin, my favorite ancient Chinese Master, check out his translated works here:
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