Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Let's Do the Time Warp.....Again

It's astounding, time is fleeting
Madness takes its toll
But listen closely, not for very much longer
I've got to keep control

It’s a Jump to the left….and a step to the right…….

We all know the dance……some of us all too well. Hearing that song ushers me back to the first time I saw the Rocky Horror Picture Show at age 16. I had never experienced anything so fun and interactive in all of my 16 years.

The Time Warp……..that place where our body is in the present, but our mind and emotion are in the past…..a sort of “Back to the Future.” I know the Time Warp well…….

It happens with my parents, aunts and uncles, cousins, grandparents, old classmates……that place where I am an adult but somehow am stuck in perpetual childhood/adolescence in someone’s mind. How often have I said, “I am 40 years old, I think I can handle it…..” How often has my OWN child said, “I am 20 years old, I think I can handle it….” It’s the Time Warp.

Relationships are much the same. We get stuck in a certain “time frame” with others and use that point of reference to judge actions, motives, and even outcomes. The X did that to me during our marriage and it was so very frustrating. No matter how hard I would try to tweak those annoying traits of mine, he was still ticked off at past behavior. Progress was seen as failure because I hadn’t “arrived” yet….I hadn’t completed the inner journey to fix the problem (if only I had a Star Trek transporter to put me where I needed to be).

Honestly, I do the same with him. If he is late with something, I assume he is still being irresponsible….if he shows confidence in something (even HELPING me fix my plumbing), I see it as proof that he is still arrogant. If he is busy…….well, holy cow….he is still busy… I won’t even go there…….

We tend to see each other through the lense of “experience,” however, that is not conducive to reacting appropriately to each other’s change. When I trained horses, I always looked for the, “smallest change and the slightest try.” In training, if I overlook the “tries” the horse becomes dull and unresponsive. Conversely, when I reward the smallest try (by a simple release of pressure), the horse becomes eager to try again, try more quickly and the desired outcome of our partnership becomes easy and seamless.

In horse training, I have to be willing to always start at level 1. If I know that it will always take level 54 to get my horse to do something, and start there, I am taking away his ability to better himself. In human terms, if I know that I have to really get on Junior’s case to mow the lawn and I start at that place, we will never have the benefit of finding that good place to work together….that place of partnership. Capiche?

So for me…..I am looking to find those places with the X where I can work with him as a person instead of the X-husband….to see where he really tries and to really appreciate those things. Life is just so much better that way!