We all have those experiences with another human that have hurt our feelings, made us feel angry, royally pissed off, sad, knocked off center, unappreciated, embarrassed. For some of us, it fed our belief that we aren’t good enough, smart enough, skinny enough….We attached an emotion to that experience and added dislike, hate, anger, irritation to our list of how we feel about someone….or physical feelings of nausea, headache, stomach pain as a result of the emotional pain we felt.
We start when we are young…I remember being on an elementary school field trip to the Science Center in the 60’s. I was wearing a green and yellow cotton straight dress with a matching belt…a girl in my class told me she didn’t like the color and hated the belt. From that moment on I watched my reflection in the windows we passed and realized in my adolescent mind that she didn’t like the belt because in the window reflection, it made me “look fat”. I took the belt off and after that day refused to wear the dress again. It began a life long habit of body shaming myself and being judgmental of others because I had been emotionally injured in 5th grade.
At this point and age, I realize that I’ve accumulated a lot of emotional garbage and damage and each time I react by saying something hurtful, thinking judgmental thoughts or by being unkind, I’m only really just reliving the experience I had in elementary school when someone didn’t like the belt on my green and yellow dress. I’ve found that these judgmental thoughts, the jealous comments, the unkind words that come out of my mouth are just a result of a story I tell myself about something that happened in my past that I relive again and again….not the actual event but how that event made me feel. I know that by shutting down that non-stop voice narrating my life from behind the scenes, I am a nicer, kinder more loving person.
Hanging at eye level out my kitchen window is this shriveled leaf still attached to its branch. It has survived several windy autumn days, thunderstorms, gentle rain, sleet and a significant snow storm and still remains today while, again, snow flakes fall all around.
Occasionally it will flutter with a breeze but continues to hang secure to its branch refusing to give up…its not time for it to release and softly drift to the ground to join the other leaves. It is a quiet reminder for me about the simplicity of life in nature…
A couple weeks ago, a friend of mine announced that he was taking off for Florida for a few weeks. I had 3 thoughts.
- He is an integral part of a spirit book class I attend on Thursdays and I thought…bummer.
- Wow that sounds really fun….this will be the second winter that thoughts of escaping the cold will be foiled because of things happening in my life. O’ POOR ME
- Why would he want to go in January…why not wait until February…February always sucks!
Today as I sit here watching the snow fall over already ice covered streets I had an “ah ha” moment.
My threefold thought process didn’t occur because of Randy’s trip to Florida in January. It occurred because it triggered me to past life disappointments that were very real, emotions were attached to these disappointments and in all likelihood I had wallowed in them.
- I will miss his input in group was a genuine feeling.
- These “things” holding me back from taking off for a week are all in my mind and are only based in fear aka I shouldn’t, I couldn’t, what would, what if.
He should go in February is nothing but my ego jumping in saying that Randy is wrong and I am right….plain and simple….February is the month to escape…my rules
So today on Randy’s birthday that he is spending walking barefoot on a beach in Florida, I’m watching the snow fall, I have an opportunity to spend a day with myself reading, crafting, crocheting and realizing right here, right now that I am content and I am thankful because I am loved and I am blessed!
Until next time….
I grew up with a “hurt” mother…she spent 53 years mentally hurting me. After several therapy sessions and a lifetime of turmoil and guilt about how I felt about my mother, someone told me that hurt people hurt others. 4 little words that gave me profound understanding. I worked 30 years as a 911 dispatcher…it’s ironic that the skills I learned to deal with my mother aided me in being a compassionate and caring dispatcher. MOST OF THE TIME. It also fed my cynical nature that people are just shit! Seriously! In spite of frequent verbal abuse, I learned how to take it and be firm but also kind.
These experiences taught me from childhood to retirement that people treat you better when you are kind. Better being an operative word. There are a lot of angry and “hurt” people out there. Many would not define themselves as hurt…they are just tired of perceived shit. So they are angry at everyone else and I’m sure many of them haven’t the slightest idea that they need to go into themselves and find out where it all comes from…all of the pain, years of being slighted, years of never being good enough, perhaps years of physical or mental abuse.
I have found that when I am around “hurt” people, it does no good to repay anger with anger. It is much easier to just remove myself physically and mentally and be kind. I used to think just being kind when being treated badly just caused me to be a doormat for others to wipe their feet on. I realize that is only the case if I get caught up in the mistreatment and allow it to continue. If I walk away AND release the negative emotion I’m feeling, I will not become an angry and cynical being. We can always be kind.
Until next time….
I find my living in the moment mind amongst the rubble of life by simply realizing what is happening right now…at this moment full stop. Using this mind certainly does not happen easily in our instant gratification world. Simply, it is the mind that must be used to heal the angst and the pain we allow to control our lives every second of the day.
Here’s the on-line instruction manual with directions for how to use this peaceful other mind: ask yourself what is happening right now…right this moment! Interpreted….If I’m not thinking and living the past while constantly being triggered to react to present moments by how I felt when…what someone said …. what someone did TO me… how I felt about the last conversation or the last person I encountered. Or the future…what I have to do today while at work…the stress of grocery shopping or meal preparation … how am I going to lose weight…OMG I have to do this or that. Nope…right now in this moment. In this once in a lifetime present moment, if the mental chatter stopped, if the stories we tell ourselves stopped, right now WITHOUT all of the fears we carry…with this breath I’m breathing is everything ok? Quite frankly, I am seldom able to live here in this moment all day long because, of course, I have figured out an excuse..I have 60 plus years of habitual thinking and over thinking to stop and like everyone else, I have that persistent, incessant talker sitting on my shoulder distracting me.
But what I have found is once I find the discipline to quiet my mind, I realize that my anxiety, my angst, my fears are not from things happening in the present. They are the thoughts of my past or fears of my perceived future. There is absolutely nothing I can do about the past…it’s done and gone unless I keep my version of it alive in my mind…and the future hasn’t happen…I really have no control of the future in spite of my obsessive thinking that I can control it.
A short exercise to bring my mind to a screeching halt is to STOP! Take 3 deep breaths and say to myself….3 things I see right now, 3 things I hear right now and reach out and touch three things I can feel right now. If I practice this every time I am aware of anxiety, irritation, dislike or fear, soon I realize that what is going on right this minute is just fine…is peaceful and this is where I’m going to live….but just like having a push ups goal, it takes practice.
Little Women…due to the fact that I read the book many years ago and I have seen one of the remakes of Little Women, the story line was, shall I say, predictable. So I focused on the acting and the nuances of this heartwarming period piece. I had googled Louisa May Alcott before heading to the theater as the movie is loosely based on her childhood experiences….I feel it enhanced my understanding and love for the characters especially Jo. Acting was very good. The storytelling technique of jumping back and forth between the March family being young and the March family all grown up confused me at times. I was so pleased to see Meryl Streep as the Aunt everyone probably loved but generally tolerated. Worth a couple of entertaining hours at the theater. Recommend!
Next up may be the movie, Call of the Wild. Harrison Ford and the dog, Buck. SPOILER ALERT. I wouldn’t be able to go to the movie if the dog is killed.
The magic of the movies!
The difference in the thought process and the decisions I make in my life are based solely on which brain I’m using. Oh….and I certainly don’t speak from a tone of arrogance here…I don’t share this because I always listen to the right brain…but I’m speaking from hours and hours of study….I eventually figure it out and know the difference in which brain I’m thinking WITH. Kind of comes down to my “knowing” brain just knows that I ended that last sentence with a preposition. As soon as I typed it, I knew it was going to be the last word in the sentence and I knew that grammatically there was “someone” out there who learned the old school rigid rules about prepositions and would think…she just ended that sentence in a preposition “tsk”.
….and then she/he might really examine my other sentences like…OMG she just started that sentence with and…then…same person might go back to a time in school when they learned about past participles or prepositions or to spelling tests and perhaps compare themselves to a sibling who could do difficult math in their head or remember when they used to get in trouble for day dreaming and by the time that whole thought process was over, this person felt like a total failure….all over a preposition trigger. This person who first noticed the idiot woman’s blog that ends her sentences in a preposition just triggered a lengthy egoic or “personal” mind process that left them feeling inferior or insecure and in all probability introduced a mindset of being snippy with someone..sent them to the kitchen to eat their insecurity away or had them ordering something on Amazon to make themselves feel better.
This is just one of the minds we think with. The mind of fear. After many years of driving accident free, one traffic accident-fender bender might have you afraid to drive on the interstate. Having a cancer diagnosis upon returning from a long trip out of the country might have you afraid to travel again, an early life of worry about not having money to feed the kids might have you fearing poverty even with a bank or mattress full of money. The egoic mind. The mind that you fear with, compare yourself to others with, feel insecure with…the mind that provides a free-of-charge little voice on your shoulder that chatters incessantly through out your day telling you that you are not ok.
There is another mind…
Its the annual new start night. One of those stark reality moments came for me tonight when I really, seriously realized….I will never go to Time Square on New Years Eve. It was a big deal for me to be able to be in Washington DC for the 4th of July several years ago…sitting near the Lincoln Memorial in my hideous red, white, blue stars and striped button down shirt watching the fireworks over the national mall. I also had on my list perhaps Philadelphia on the 4th of July. But…I always thought the best time ever would be Time Square watching the ball drop! Tonight while watching AC2, I realized it’s not going to happen in this lifetime. Kind of a reality check!
What will happen is lots of life in 2020. Just the way twenty/twenty rolls off the lips fills me with hope and wonder. I won’t make silly resolutions other than I’ll try to spend more time in service to others, I will not focus on the negative but instead I will focus on loving myself and being kind.
Happy and Prosperous 2020, my friends!
At what point does personal opinion become judgement? As I have peeled off the layers, these thoughts have surfaced, Thoughts about people, thoughts about politics, thoughts about people “groups”, other people’s personal decisions, wardrobe decisions…mine and others, all things hair…color, cut, style. I have opinions about how people raise their kids, where people live…generally this involves extravagance. I often wonder if people are genuine, why they have a short fuse. What’s wrong with cruel people? I have all kinds of opinions….when does having an opinion become judgmental?
I think what I’ve figured out is:
Judgment happens when I am insecure about myself.
- Judgment happens when I have no control about the thing I’m judging
It’s judgment when I attach an emotion to it
What am I missing in my thought process
Your opinions welcome!!
Please and thank you!