“You can keep them bottled up, but they will come out, Michael. Sometimes in the most unexpected… Hey, where the @!*# are my hard-boiled eggs?!“
— Tobias Fünke. Good Grief! Arrested Development 2004.
My life is brimming with beautiful people. Wise, interesting, creative, curious, passionate, compassionate, generous, articulate, level-headed, fun-loving people.
So I’m always shocked at the hair-trigger hostility I stumble into. Seemingly reasonable people who spray me with hatred over a sideways glance.
It confuses me.
Are they stretched to the breaking point struggling to maintain some decent facade? Are they barely bottling up frustration, dissatisfaction, loneliness, insecurity, envy and rage? And why bother spewing venom at inconsequential me?
In the online world, it’s especially easy to lay out and examine entire interactions. And I’ve often done just that. Weighing a scant response from me against the lengthy and personal ferocity that results.
And my confusion remains.
But I’m learning to scrounge up some compassion for their barely bound pain. Beam some healing, happy vibes.
And move on.
“The ego believes that through negativity it can manipulate reality and get what it wants. It believes that through it, it can attract a desirable condition or dissolve an undesirable one…
..whenever you are unhappy, there is the unconscious belief that the unhappiness “buys” you what you want. If [you] did not believe that unhappiness works, why would you create it?
The fact is, of course, that negativity does not work. Instead of attracting a desirable condition, it stops one from arising. Instead of dissolving an undesirable condition, it keeps it in place….
But as long as negativity is there, use it. Use it as a kind of signal that reminds you to be more present.”
— Eckhart Tolle, “The Power of Now“.
As our enjoyable BOLO evening ended, last week, my friend Laurie and I sprang to our feet, hoping to dash to the exit before throngs of bloggers clogged our path.
But the packed room was gridlocked.
I shrugged. This would take a while.
But Laurie was dauntless. She raised her eyebrows, smirked and assured me that her “pointy elbows” would whisk us across that floor.
And they did. In a flash we were strolling down Preston — me admiring her finesse. “You’re amazing,” I said, “I stand invisible for ages trying to squeeze through crowds.”
“Oh, me too,” Laurie chirped, “I can only do that for someone else.”
Far. Too. Familiar.
In the wise words of my friend Janice, “Good God woman … Be even kinder to yourself, as you have to live with you.”
Two tier service just disgusts me yet I foist it daily on myself.
So, I’m trying to stop.
Thanks to both women for the reminders.
I must be worth first class self-service — judging by the company I keep.
“The first thing to remember is this: as long as you make an identity for yourself out of the pain, you cannot become free of it. As long as part of your sense of self is invested in your emotional pain, you will unconsciously resist or sabotage every attempt that you make to heal that pain. …because you want to keep yourself intact, and the pain has become an essential part of you… [The pain] is the living past in you, and if you identify with it, you identify with the past.
A victim identity is the belief that the past is more powerful than the present, which is the opposite of the of the truth. ..The truth is that the only power there is, is contained within this moment.”
— Eckhart Tolle, “The Power of Now“.
More forgiveness musings here.
My dreams are typically downers: Dreaded relapses into severed relationships. Transportation tragedies. Elevator quirks.
But the past two nights have been lovely.
Wednesday brought me racks full of luxurious, dressy new clothing. Last night, a freshly built, spacious new home.
In both, I was resistant. Then accepting. Then thrilled.
My real-life interests are different. My home is small, ancient and cluttered. My favourite clothes reconstructed or just plain old.
But I loved the expansiveness. The excitement. The fresh new starts.
That’s four good dreams, now.
I think I’m on a roll.
Fear of failure and regret have tortured me my whole life.
The first strangulates me, lest I do something stupid.
The second beats me ruthlessly each time I do stupid things.
Lately, I’ve been lowering my standards. Practicing accidental failure.
Turns out sloppily slipping into failure is the easy part.
The real trick is skipping the resulting regret, disappointment, embarrassment and frustration.
The not beating myself up.
Luckily, I’m giving myself loads and loads of opportunities to practice.
One million times I backed out of this jolt.
But having publicly announced and collected input for a 5 minute spiel about standing up to fear, it seemed the embarrassment of backing out might actually dwarf the embarrassment of flopping.
So I did the jolt.
And I’m glad I did.
Because life is better when we take bold steps.
Thanks to Alexa Clark for the jolt photo.
Yesterday was the end of term dance recital at our local community centre. What a fabulous show.
Hundreds of talented young people filled with energy, confidence, excitement and joy.
Even my belly dancing class troupe performed.
Did I join them? No.
Did I drop out of the class? Yes.
And yet watching that 90 minutes of dance just thrilled me.
My timid tip-toeing into dance has opened life up.
My burlesque is bashful. My belly dancing, a flop.
But I’m trying. And, although what I hoped would be an introductory class turned out to be a seasoned troupe, I’m undeterred.
I’ve signed up for five new dance classes.
I may never make it into a recital. But, you know, I’m really hoping I do.
And that’s definitely a whole new me.
In the first few years after it, Jay and I laughed that our 7650 kilometre coast-to-coast cycling slog had eliminated all chances of future adventure.
Once-thrilling ski and bike tours, tough as they were, left us unfulfilled.
Our bang bar was just too high.
Turns out cancer raised a bang bar of its own.
Mark lost his job Monday.
It blindsided us both.
But we’re all alive and healthy.
We’re concerned, curious and quite run down.
But this challenge, tough as it is, is well below the bar.