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Lions Roar : September 2011
SHAMBHALA SUN SEPTEMBER 2011 26 name is Gabriel.” I reached out a hand. Remembering how I had screwed up things with my other neighbor, I wanted to give her a chance to see me as a friendly human being first, not just an angry stranger. Warily, she shook my hand. “I really hate to bother you,” I said. “I know you’ve got a little daughter, and I know how hard it is to make kids keep quiet. But I work at home. It’s hard to concentrate if there’s noise upstairs.” I held my breath, unsure of how my new approach was going to pan out. The woman turned toward the interior of the apartment. “Melanie!” she called. A moment later, a beautiful, big-eyed little girl shyly appeared, and hugged her mother’s leg. “This is our neighbor,” the woman said, staring down at her. “How many times have I told you that you need to be more quiet?” She turned to me apologetically. “I’m sorry. She has that ‘attention’ thing.” The proverbial light bulb clicked on over my head: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. “She’ll try harder. Won’t you, sweetie?” The little girl stared up at me, open-mouthed. I knelt down. “Thanks, Melanie. It would be really great if you could try to remember that there’s someone living downstairs and to not make a lot of noise.” Her mother and I exchanged a pleasant goodbye, and I went on my way. There were limits to my success. But the situation has improved. My neighbors make less noise, and when I do hear that pitter-patter across the floor, it’s easier for me to be patient, knowing that the culprit is a little girl struggling with her own problems. I feel better because I know that I’m more than just a puppet of my defensive hormones. I have the power to make choices about how I want to react. ♦ Hey, how’s nothing? Master of Arts (MA) in Buddhist Studies Master of Divinity (MDiv) Tibetan Language Translation Group Extension Program (Open Admission) & Online Study Options for Many Courses scholarship. meditation. service 1119 SE Market Street | Portland, Oregon 97214 telephone: 503-235-2477 | email: