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Lions Roar : January 2012
SHAMBHALA SUN JANUARY 2012 65 with your son this science and culture. His- tory Channel is very good!” The man was starting to sound like a PBS telemarketer, but I got the picture: Focus! Use the media for tasks, but don’t aimlessly surf without purpose or it’ll suck the life out of you. To curb my cruel tabloid urges, I went home and deleted all my bookmarks. Next time I needed to hit the web, I’d have a particular question in mind, and my Google search wouldn’t be “Before and after pictures of Angelina Jolie’s plastic surgery,” but “Fixing Run- ning Toilet,” or “Symptoms of Gout.” There was one event on the calendar I was dreading: my friend Lauren was hav- ing a birthday party, and her friend Jenna would be in attendance. “Please don’t ruin my birthday,” Lauren begged, “like you did last year.” Let’s just say Jenna is an individual with whom I’ve had a difficult working relationship. Dawn had warned that the compas- sionate road would not be easy. “Trans- formation stirs shit up,” she cautioned (in what I assume was not an exact Sanskrit translation). “There’s going to be some resistance. And the only way you’re going to create a pure realm is through hard work. Practice skillfulness in action.” As I saw Jenna from across the room, I unconsciously ground my teeth to nubs. I couldn’t say “Nice to see you again,” as it was untrue. I didn’t want to compli- ment her because I didn’t like her. So I went for something bland, without ill will, and—hopefully—unlikely to pro- voke more conversation. “Hello Jenna,” I said, extending my hand, “Lauren always tells me such great things about you.” She would have none of it, and cut to the quick: “Listen, Michael, I really want to apologize. The last few times we’ve met I’ve been in a horrible place and...” Having positive interactions with peo- ple—getting along—isn’t brain surgery, but it does take an effort. After probing, monitoring, and recording couples in his Love Lab for decades, Gottman found that the key to marital stability was as simple as a compliment. Couples that succeed (The Masters) have a five to one ratio: five ➢ page 87 SHAMBHALA SUN FOUNDATION An independent, nonprofit corporation. Publishers of the Shambhala Sun and Buddhadharma: The Practitioner’s Quarterly. HELP US BUILD the SHAMBHALA SUN FOUNDATION We are an independent nonprofit dedicated to fostering the growth of genuine buddhadharma, meditation, and mindfulness in the West. We publish the Shambhala Sun and Buddhadharma: The Practitioner’s Quarterly. And we’re more than just magazines— through our websites, sponsorships, conferences, and programs we serve Buddhist communities of all traditions. Help us build a strong Shambhala Sun Foundation so that we can, together, build a strong foundation for the dharma to flourish. To donate online, go to www.shambhalasun.com/donate or call toll-free at 877-422-8404 ext. 36 or mail your contribution to Shambhala Sun Foundation 1660 Hollis St., Ste. 701, Halifax NS, Canada B3J 1V7 BUILD BUILD SHAMBHALA SUN FOUNDATION FOUNDATION FOUNDATION