Let’s continue the topic of my last two blogs and today let’s look at the actions of the two women who sat at the large square table in the middle of the room.
From what I shared the original post “Coffee Space Invaded,” I bet most of you thought what they did was “rude” behavior; I know I did at first. What else could possibly have been going on for them that they were oblivious to the woman by the window? I say oblivious because I saw nothing in their attitude that suggested deliberately rude behavior. They were simply clueless to the options they could have taken to give the woman by the window space. Nonverbal communication can tell us more than verbal and I saw no smug expressions, no postures of superiority, and no deliberate stares to make the lady by the window uncomfortable. All I saw was a self-contained cocoon of oblivion to the rest of the room.
All of this suggests they came to the table already deeply involved in the topic of conversation they were having.
• Perhaps it was a life or death topic like an illness.
• Maybe they hadn’t seen each other is years and couldn’t wait to catch up.
• One of the women could have been hard of hearing in one ear so they had to sit in the position they choose to communicate.
• Perhaps they were not Americans and to sit that close was not an issue in their native culture.
The point I want to make today is that we just don’t know! But that doesn’t stop us from believing and acting as if we do know. We will believe what we want and not even (usually) question our thoughts. What we choose to believe about what we encounter happening around us can either make us happy or make us sad or not even cause a blip on our personal radar (aka be as oblivious as the two women) it’s our choice completely. I wonder if we are making that choice consciously and powerfully or are we on auto-pilot; quick to judge and cast blame instead of offering help and solutions?
For my part I was thrilled to be seeing my favorite subject in action. I love observing how people react in public. This was an example of what happens in what I call “Shared Space.” Personal Space still exists within Shared Space but the dynamics are different. When we are in Shared Space we are called upon to use the personal power we have amassed. If our personal power is insufficient to deal with the events of life, we will feel it as pain of some kind.
As an act of self-loving kindness, the next time you feel pain from an event you experienced, stop when you can take the time and review it. By doing this you will gain insight and clarity and quite possibly boost your own personal empowerment as a result. Consciousness is power.
Next time I’ll conclude my Eye Witness review by looking at the behavior of the Starbucks staff.
’till next time,
Your Personal Space Coach©
In my last blog “Coffee Space Invaded” I wrote about a personal space event at my local Starbucks.
Let’s look at the woman by the window again. What other options could she have chosen besides saying nothing and then leaving the building? Well, the possibilities are simply unlimited…
• She could have started a conversation with the two women. I’ve seen this often especially with the very social personality types or sales people.
• She could have stood up and moved her chair so she faced the window which would have forced the square table to be moved away.
• She could have asked the two women to sit on the other two chairs away from her.
• She could have started a coughing fit to annoy them.
• She could have directly stated that they move further back.
The possibilities are unlimited and each one takes a different inner power to enact; boldness, confidence, self-preservation, anger, an open awareness of the room and herself in it, etc. But none of those things happened and I can only guess at what was going on for this woman. What I saw might have been a shy easily intimidated and inwardly angry woman resulting in the the no comment, and the early leaving. Or perhaps she didn’t leave early and it only seemed that way to me.
What is my point? My point is this, it’s her business. It’s her personal space and she gets to do what she wants with it, or at least what she can do to the best of her ability at the time. Only the woman by the window knows for sure how this event affected her; did it make her uncomfortable, and uneasy or was she so consumed with her own world that she didn’t give it a notice? I will never know because I didn’t ask her. I only watched this play out and then drew my own conclusions which are again my business. Perhaps there were others in the room that also watched and had their own thoughts about what took place.
Bottom line; there is no right or wrong. There is only what happened and how it affected you personally and what if anything you would like to change about your response to it if it happens again.
Being aware of events around you means you have an opportunity for a more powerful life. Being unaware means you miss out on possible opportunities to learn, grow and engage the world. No matter which you choose, it’s your right in each and every moment. It is my hope for all of us that we become more open and aware about how powerful our choices are to both ourselves and to the people we encounter in our day.
Next time we’ll look at the two women at the square table.
Your Personal Space Coach©
I was working on a project last week at my local Starbucks when I watched a personal space scenario unfold.
Two women came to sit at the large square table which is normally in the center of the room, but instead was extra close to the window tables. Instead of sitting opposite from each other, they sat diagonal to each other. And instead of sitting in the two locations farthest from the woman next to them at a smaller round table by the window, they sat in the two seats closest to her so that the second lady when she sat down was directly facing the window woman with barely 18″ of space between them. This became obvious to her as she lowered herself into her chair saying self-consciously “Oh, I’m in your space aren’t I?” But instead of changing to the chair on the opposite side of her friend (which would have given the window lady her space back), she just scooted her chair 6″ away, then began to engage her friend in an animate conversation.
I watched as the woman at the window (who had said nothing at all) stiffened, squirmed and shifted in her chair and within 10 minutes she got up and left.
Next, another woman sat at the window table. Starbucks was packed and no other spot was open. She picked the other chair across from the one the first window lady had been in, which was right next to the “space invading” lady. They were practically shoulder to shoulder for a moment when the square table lady sensed an invasion to her space and shifted her seat away a few inches.
Even though this new lady had a better space created for herself, she only lasted in that spot long enough to notice a different spot open up. She got up quickly with here drink and moved leaving that small table open. No one sat there again until the two talkative women left.
Later I looked up from my work only to find a whole new group of people arrive to sit down at the square table, and wouldn’t you know it, they shifted the square table away from the round window tables two feet to gain greater comfort for both themselves and the pair at the window.
I am always amazed when I watch how people take up space and I often wonder if they are even aware of what they are doing. I wonder if that first scenario put a damper on the woman’s day and she didn’t even know why? If she had been self-empowered she could have asked the two at the square table to please shift the table over. But seldom do I witness this. Usually we just move out instead of declaring what we need to strangers. Yet both groups would have been more comfortable with the bold clarification. The two chatty ladies hardly had any privacy for their conversation sitting so close.
Well, perhaps one day we will all get it that we have a right to take up space and get our needs met and we can be bold about it while still respecting the space of those around us. We do this in two ways… first by being aware and asking for what we need and second by being aware of and courteous to the needs of others.
So, what would you have done if you were the lady by the window who had her space invaded? It’s something to think about. If you have an “eye-witness” story to share I’d love to hear it.
’till next time,
Your Personal Space Coach©
Have you ever taken a day off “just because?”
I call this a “personal space” day – that time and space you need and don’t necessarily know why and sure don’t feel like explaining it to anyone. The urge for a personal space day comes up from time to time for all of us. I don’t think we take enough of them. These are different from days off, vacation or sick days in that they come about for no good reason! In fact I suggest that you don’t try to justify a personal space day with a reason; just go with the flow. That decision alone is a vacation from what you usually do.
You might ask; “How will I know if I need a personal space day if I don’t have a reason?” You will know because of how you feel. This is a feeling from deep within; it’s not sad, it’s not angry but it is vaguely restless, sometimes moody and very often uncertain as to what you are feeling. Giving yourself space and time to just “chill” will usually bring up what you need to do to refresh and revive yourself. This is usually a day to yourself but sometimes it can include others who are feeling the same vibe and are in sync with you.
There is a quote from the movie [easyazon_link asin=”B003ASLJK4″ locale=”US” new_window=”default” nofollow=”default” tag=”persspaccoac-20″]The Bridges of Madison County[/easyazon_link]The Bridges of Madison County that I love and use often when taking a personal space day;
“We let the day take us where it wanted.”
That in a nutshell is a personal space day; the urge to just up and leave and let serendipity take over. It’s a rest from everything; action, decision, thoughts, beliefs and feelings. Just go with the flow of what comes up. Usually an inspiration is trying to surface but your busy life won’t let it in. Just wait and see what comes up. Keep your journal handy if you want.
When was the last time you took a day off and did “nothing?” How often do you allow yourself this kind of time? I’d love to hear your stories. If you have never taken a personal space day give it a try soon; you’ll be glad you did!
Drop me a line I’d love to hear your thoughts…
‘till next time,
Your Personal Space Coach©
I am writing from Sedona, Arizona; one of my personal space spots. I needed to get out of my home office and create from a new space today because I recently crashed my website. I made a mistake when trying to do an update…actually more than one mistake (yikes) and the end result was so bad I needed to completely delete my work and start fresh. (Talk about clutter clearing! Ha) This was over 3 years of effort, much of it trial and error and needless to say I was upset. Since I was still in the development stage of my coaching business it seemed like a good idea to let it “die” and then give my program fresh new energy.
Since I teach that nothing wrong is happening, no matter what it looks like on the surface, I had to take this and apply it to my own issue. When I did I found an interest parallel. My site “died” on Good Friday and now it is “Easter Monday” and I am resurrecting it…new and improved. I don’t consider myself a practicing anything anymore, more of a free thinking-Zen-spiritualist but I am well aware of the meaning of the Easter message so it hit home and gave me hope.
That’s about all we can do when we “crash and burn.” Stop, reassess, and look for the silver lining – because there is always good going on in one form or another and we find the good when we look for it. So to enhance my website and its personal space message and to give new life energy to my work I got in the car this morning and headed to my favorite personal space spot…Sedona. In a few more years Sedona will be my home base so what better place to launch my updated website than in my dream home location?
Thank you for joining me on this quest where we explore, re-create and energize our lives by deliberately taking up space in our own unique way.
Your Personal Space Coach©