My mother tells a story of a road trip with her father, near the end of his life and not long after my grandmother was lost in a house fire. To help soothe his heart, two weeks were planned to go visit scattered family down the length of California.
Somewhere along a quiet stretch of road, about a week into the trip, brightened a bit from the outpouring of love and condolences, my grandfather’s feistiness resurfaced. He began to pick at my mom. Small comments about her driving escalated into bigger and broader ones about her decisions. All the while, she kept her cool, telling herself it was his grief talking. Last thing she wanted was to get into an argument with him, even as his comments stung, repeatedly. Pick, pick…pick.
After about half an hour, he shifted his shoulders to really look at her, and said, “What’s it going to take to get your goat?”
He was playing a game.
A handful of years ago, I stepped into a second grade Waldorf class as a long term substitute while the teacher went out on maternity leave. As I began to learn the temperaments of these 8 year olds, I made up a story one day, telling them about a village where everyone had a herd of goats. Just like neighbors (such as desk-mates), and friends, and family, disagreements would happen there when two people wanted different things. There was the peaceful way of settling things, where each considered the other’s needs. And there was the fighting way where someone would win, and take a goat from the other. Pretty soon, there were those with lots of goats, and those with few. Which, I asked them, did they want to be? How would they choose to settle their differences?
From then on, when friction occurred, we’d ask each other who was getting their goat, and what other choices were available?
Power goes where energy flows.
As I’m breathing into respect and love of the imposition, noticing more and more where they’re trying to get my goat, I can see it as the game it is, and go, Ahhh…good one…no, thank you. I’m done with this, now, and I reclaim all my energy back while returning any energy that doesn’t belong to me. Peace, love, gratitude and a healthy chuckle for a good effort, mate.
So…who’s got your goat today?
© 2015, Elz. All rights reserved.