Guarding One’s Rice Bowl

After eating, each of our three dogs typically inspect each other’s empty bowls. This morning, Willa actually lay down—paws on either side of Lexi’s bowl—and guarded it. Her behavior brought to mind a true story that I share in my manuscript:

Guarding One's Rice Bowl

Guarding One's Rice Bowl

The owner of a yoga studio had an instructor working for her who was amazing. So amazing, in fact, that the owner started working from a place of envy and fear. 

You see, the owner feared that the instructor was even better than herself. As a result, she didn’t promote the instructor’s classes. In fact, she squelched them. As you can well imagine this impacted two things:

1. It diminished the owner’s income (a case of cutting off one’s nose to spite one’s face).

2. It provided the amazing instructor with the opportunity to be mindful of the shifting circumstances. Being mindful—without being fearful—gave her the final push she needed to launch her own yoga studio.

The individual sitting at life’s banquet with their arms wrapped protectively around their “rice bowl” is missing out on the joy, conversation, and interaction with the other people at the party. They’re functioning from a place of lack.

When we sit back in a relaxed position and share our time, talent, praise, and support, giving freely from our “rice bowl,” our life is rich. We function from a place of inner wealth.

Have you ever cut off your nose to spite your face?

Listen with your heart,

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
               — Laurie Buchanan and our Facebook page

© 2011 Laurie Buchanan – All Rights Reserved

28 thoughts on “Guarding One’s Rice Bowl

  1. What an instructive story! I am sure there are many times I’ve cut off my nose to spite my face. We often do this when we’re feeling unsure of ourselves or simply confused. Can’t remember a particular incident right now–just hoping this doesn’t happen today! **smile**

    • Kathy – As you said, “feeling unsure of ourselves or simply confused” can cause us to behave in ways we wouldn’t otherwise. I’ve found that to have a plan in advance (know what I’m going to do when I’m usure or confused) — even if it’s just to stop everything I’m doing, right now. And wait.

  2. Well Laurie, what can I say? My mother used this expression often in reference to me. It usually came up when I was being stubborn about something on principle rather than out of fear or jealousy. You see, if something is contrary to the principles that I live by, even if it appears to be to my advantage I will say “thanks but no thanks.” Sometimes these have been financially or opportunistically costly decisions. I have learned over time to ask… how can I make this a win for both of us and still be living true to my principles? It works. Usually an answer that I can live with will present itself.

    It has been a hard lesson for me that I have had to learn and re-learn over and over again.

    • I like your approach. I’ve tried to do the same so I have not had too many nose severance situations. It’s takes a bit more imagination to help someone else grow too – and it may come back to help not haunt you.

    • Terrill – One more indicator that we were separated at birth. I just keep jumping into that darned “nose-cutting-off pool” — less frequently lately, but sometimes that water just beckons be…

  3. “Mine, mine, mine.” It’s my song–I’m the youngest sibling. Changing ingrained mindsets is difficult to do, but I’m trying.
    Case-in-point, I’d been sitting on pretty yarn. It was fine spun–too fine for my vision, but this didn’t stop me from sitting on it. Recently, I sorted through my stash (collection of yarn) and kept only what I knew I would use. I gave the pretty (unusable by me) yarn to a thrift shop. I know there are other knitters on the island who will use it. Less for me, more for them equals win-win.

  4. YES, yes I have have been busy trying to create a rice bowl with a newsletter program that was sapping my energy and cost me 2 months of positive action and quite a bit of money… i was just sure I needed to Pay an IT person to succeed.
    I released that program and now have to grow a new nose…or sniff out a new program that will work for me..
    I am hoping that growing from these experiences is a celebration of our humanness and that I and others can grow and learn the lessons Great story

  5. Yes, I have. When my Brain Colors have been shadowed and I am wet paint I do not make “healthy decisions”. If my wet paint is running wild, I need to have time to dry and make “healthy decisions” and not cut off my nose to spite my face and Brain! 🙂

  6. Hhhmm. I thought for a couple of minutes about this. And no i can’t think of a time of Cutting off one’s nose to spite one’s face.

    I guess that treating people the way you want to be treated is working for me in my life.

    The company that i founded has never had a case of this.

    Holding people back is the equivalent to telling a pro swimmer you can only swim in the kids pool, because your scared if they swim in your pool they will beat you. But eventually the swimmer will just change swimming club and beat you anyway.

    May as well swim in the same pool, at the same club and work together. If someone is better at you at something, you want them in the same club so you can learn from them. Any opportunity to learn is the ability to earn more. All knowledge leads to self knowledge and running water never goes stale so you just have to keep on learning 🙂

  7. Well, I am never afraid that someone is “getting to my chair”, so to speak. I agree with Joseph on this.
    I am attentive however that persons are not getting away with “my energy”, “my sacred space” or my self esteeem. Then it is “end of story “. I “wheel myself away” in the many ways possible without hurting the other person.
    At that moment it is not a loss, but an experience. New things/persons will come into my life then.

  8. Wonderful lead in and engaging yoga story to frame this most off-used expression that truth be said is part of the equation way more times than we’d like to believe. It characterizes people who are set in their ways, and sometimes don’t look at the ramifications of their actions (or non-actions). Trying to see a movie last winter during the height of a snowstorm is opne instance where I did it, and then some. Ha!

    • Sam – I remember when you blogged about the snowstorm incident last year — yowza! And you make a really good point here…it’s not only our actions, but it can be our non-actions as well.

  9. well, here I am a couple of days late . . . I think I have struggled with jealousy as much as anyone. At this stage in my life, I am pretty much over it; while I might envy the talent and creativity I find in others, I use those times to acknowledge and own my talents and creativity.

  10. Pingback: Godard’s ‘Band of Outsiders,’ ‘Brighton Rock’ and Musical Countdown on Monday Morning Diary (September 12) « Wonders in the Dark

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