It started out well enough.
A month after taking a job as a bar-back at a nightclub in Downtown Los Angeles, they bumped me up from stocking the booze and put my name on the bartender rotation. Shorter hours for the same money, what’s not to love?
The next couple of months were awesome. The schedule had me clocking in at 10:30pm and home before 3am with money in my pocket.
Imagine working just 3 days a week and living in Venice Beach. You wake up, walk down the street for a nice breakfast and coffee, and then walk to the harbor and drop a canoe into the water. You return 2-4 hours later, have lunch, goof off on Facebook, go enjoy an afternoon yoga session and take a nap.
The Good Life.
It stayed really good for a few months. Things were finally working for me and not against me. Then, a new manager came into the picture, and familiar patterns emerged.
The new manager didn’t like me, which of course reflected in my schedule. The nightclub had 3 bar stations that were almost guaranteed to be a waste of time. You’d spend your whole night watching the club go off, and walk away with 1/4 of what any other bartender made. Those stations became my home for the three months that followed.
Instead of rotating everyone through every bar, he decided that he would schedule me for one of these 3 stations every shift. The next thing I know, I’m barely squeaking by each month. And it got worse before it got better.
He and I butted heads a few times during those three months. Each time, I lost.
He held all of the power, and loved to use it.
Each month brought more debt and less cash. And three things kept me from having a complete breakdown; outrigger paddling, daily yoga at Studio Surya and a nightly hour long meditation session.
I can’t remember the exact moment, but during one particular mediation, it became clear to me that this relationship between me and the douchebag who managed the bar staff was nothing new.
The dynamics of this relationship fit like my favorite pair of jeans. And in the safety of meditation, I examined my history the feelings:
- The world is against me”
- I’ll never amount to shit,
- I’m worthless.
- I’m such a loser.
After that meditation session, it became my obsession to figure out why I keep repeating the same shit over and over. I wanted to understand the root of my struggle. It seemed at the time, that life reflects back to me the feelings I hold deep down inside of me.
So, it made sense that I should change my focus.
Instead of pointing the finger at the bar manager and saying “That douche is making my life harder than it needs to be,” I decided to do a little inner work and see what I could find.
DISCOVERING THAT MY REAL GURU IS A DOUCHE
At the time, I believed the interconnected nature of the universe co-created my experience of reality based on my inner paradigm.
It seemed plausible that we each have a residual self-image, and from that self image our reality is created, just like Morpheus explained in the Matrix. And just like Neo, I wanted to be free.
Based on the premise that my experience of reality is a reflection of my inner sense of being, I created an exercise that turned a Douche Bag Bar Manager into my Guru.
Here’s what happened…
I took out a sheet of paper and wrote his name across the top of the page. I focused the memory of walking into work the day the schedule is posted, and created the feelings that usually followed: hurt, anxiety, rage.
Then I wrote out all the reasons that he was a Douche Bag. It felt good. I felt like I was starting to get my power back (whatever that means).
After the list was complete, it filled both sides of the page. I decided right then and there that I should probably go into work and punch him right in the throat. That stopped in my tracks.
I’d been trying so hard to be Mr. Spiritual Guy, that the idea of inflicting harm on another person made me feel torn.
On the one hand, I’d never done anything to this guy and he was kind of bullying me, so I felt like I should stand up for myself.
On the other hand, I’d come to believe that everything was a reflection of me, so I felt like I would be punching myself in the face.
Since the idea of punching my own face didn’t appeal to me, I decided to look at the list of Douchey Qualities from a different angle.
My question became, do I hold any or all of these qualities?
It didn’t take long for me to realize, of course we share some of the same qualities. We all do. We’re human.
So, I gave myself permission to punch him in throat IF I could find ONE big Douchey Quality that he and I didn’t share to some degree.
The more I examined the list of his qualities, the more I realized that he and I weren’t much different.
Each line got crossed off. His Douchiness was an amplified version of some of my least desirable qualities either past or present. It was like staring into a mirror and seeing my worst moments staring back at me, and instead of feeling shame, I felt a sense of freedom. It gave me clarity on my own character defects, how they affect other people and what I needed to change in order to be a better person.
It’s difficult to place blame and fault at the feet of other people when you’re guilty of the same thing to a lesser degree.
After I realized that his sins and my sins were one-in-the-same, it became clear why he acted the way he did.
But, by that point, it was no longer about him. It was about me. It was about learning how to live in this world in a way that promotes love, happiness and joy.
Every day for about two weeks, I looked over the list, examined our shared qualities, and did my best to forgive him and myself for our Douchiness.
One afternoon, I put the list away. No hard feelings. No worries.
Then suddenly my schedule began to shift. No more donkey stations, I somehow ended up on the top of the rotation. A month passed and I wound up with pretty good shifts, and started having fun at work again.
Don’t get me wrong, co-relation doesn’t imply causation. There is no certainty that writing down this list had any affect on the outcome. But, here’s my take on it.
When you go out in the world with a pre-conceived notion about a person, they pick up on it. Defense mechanisms are triggered and things play themselves out. This usually turns into a back and forth where both people are trying to “be right” and feel safe and secure. The dynamic can only play itself out if both people participate.
When you take your participation out of the equation you help break the pattern.
When you go as far to empathize with the behavior and qualities of the Douche Bags in your life, you get a better understanding of who you are. You realize that your reactions to other people says more about you than it does about them.
Does this always ring true?
No. Not always. A small portion of the population lack empathy. They’re psychotic. The things that motivate their behavior have nothing to do with you, it’s all on them.
But, this idea holds water in most circumstances.
Your reaction about what is happening outside of you is often times a reflection of some part of your consciousness.
The Douche Guru Exercise is one way that helps me focus on my part in the equation, it helps me in my personal development, and is one of the methods I use on the path of co-creating the life of my dreams.
This is just my experience and observation. It’s worked for me. Thanks for reading.
PS. This article is a rewrite of a story from my first book. The core message is the same, but the choice of words is quite different. A lot has changed since the book was first published. My entire paradigm has shifted more than once, and that’s why the book is no longer available.
I would say everything in that book much differently today.
PPS. When the book came out, I asked a friend to design a few T-Shirts based on the concepts in the book. My Guru is a Douche was born.
If you’d like claim your shirt, go here and grab it. <<<<Click there….(disclosure: I earn $5 per shirt that’s ordered.)