As a human being, this kind of silence is impossible to create and exist in at the same time.
There is always the heartbeat.
There is always the breath.
An absence of machine sounds?
As I have done since the birth of this blog, I continue in my attempt to change my perception of things in order to decrease suffering. One tool I’m exploring is silence.
As a mom of a six-year-old, finding silence is nearly impossible. As a 21st century human being; doubly so.
If finding silence, an age-old tradition of hermits and spiritual seekers, is not possible in my very normal thirty-something world, how then do I rethink the concept of silence so I can find it in my life?
So you can find it in yours.
Silence in a noisy world.
The benefits are numerous and well documented.
The how; not so much.
What are your thoughts, dear readers; and your advice, as I move forward into this new rethink life project?
Shifting perception. Not in the way of a camera focusing and then going out of focus; rather in the way of shifting your gaze minutely to the left or right.
Stare at a point of something in front of you then shift your sight just slightly to the right.
The perception changes, if only a small amount.
I have taken this into consideration recently in how to work through my husband’s disappointment in my real estate pursuit. I really, really dislike real estate. A lot. A great deal. And as I do not have to do real estate, I have decided pretty much unequivocally that it is not for me. Even if I did have to do something like real estate, I would forego the “flexibility” of this hellish career for something a lot less flexible… like stocking shelves at the grocery store.
Anyway, off on a tangent: my point is that my husband is very disappointed and discouraged in my “quitter attitude.” I think he wanted me to be part of the real estate world because this kind of sales profession is his world. I believe, in a way, he felt a comradeship with me that does not exist otherwise. I mean, we have other connections and similar likes, but as sales is so much part of his life, my being in sales felt warm and fuzzy to him.
I feel bad about this, of course, because I hate the sales world he thrives in. He is very good at sales, and in many ways really enjoys the world.
I, on the other hand, pretty much tucked my tail between my legs and ran whimpering the other way. I should have known, of course… but as all things and every thing, hindsight is 20/20.
And now he is disappointed. And upset. And irritated.
At first, I took his reactions on as my own. I became defensive. I felt guilty. Bad. Like I had FAILED (again for the millionth time in my life), and I was down deep and dark in that old familiar way of the world sinking down on me. Thankfully, over the last four months I have regained a level of yoga practice and meditation that at least slowed the downward spiral. As such, I was able to create space and time to move through the experiences and the emotions, allowing an epiphany moment in the shower:
I must shift my perception of the situation.
As I remind my son on a pretty daily basis: we are only in charge of ourselves. We are not responsible for others and their actions. Ever.
Apparently, I need to be reminded of this daily as well, because I forgot. I forgot that my husband’s emotions of disappointment and irritation about me leaving real estate are HIS emotions. These are HIS reactions.
I am not responsible for them.
I think so many of us forget to follow our path, our instincts, emotions, body, and heart because we perceive what others think as a guidepost. But what others think is never a guidepost.
Of course, there are consequences to our actions; however, what other people think is not on you… ever. Can your actions cause rifts in a friendship, or family? Of course, and how YOU react to those things is entirely your responsibility, but never how THEY act or react.
Group think is a real and honest to goodness thing. It is an evolutionary pattern that has existed for centuries to create safety… safety in numbers, right? However, as we slowly emerge from the era of hunter and gatherer (and if you don’t think we are still in this evolution pattern, take a look around), trusting our own Truth, and our own Path is becoming something of more importance.
Now, I know my thoughts on this are very much dictated by a belief that we all have a reason for existence… a special and individualized purpose for our lives.
I also think, though, that our individualized purpose is for the greater good. As such, it is incredibly important to trust ourselves; to be able to root down, to move through life with that connection to something Bigger… despite, or perhaps even because of, how other people react.
So. Perception. Shifting the gaze just a little bit to the right.
Yesterday I wrote about waiting to hear back from an agent regarding the requested sample pages I sent out last month.
Strangely enough, the rejection was in my spam folder from 10 days ago.
This then. The precipitous moment.
The life changing point. The fork in the road.
No. Not really. A year ago I would have felt like that when I was sending out queries every day and receiving rejections every day. I was at a low point. Who wouldn’t be after putting so much work into something only to have it fail?
This year I came across that novel by chance and read through it. I thought, and still think, that it is quite good despite the feedback from agents. So, I sent it out one last time to an agent that I had some friendly interactions. I expected the rejection. Perhaps that is why it happened (seed planted and all that).
Whatever the case may be. It happened. Time to move forward.
That still does not take away from the sting of being rejected, nor does it help with the feeling that everything I do fails. Apparently, however, this response is one that is based in human evolution. Being rejected hurts. For real. In a physical manner. According to an article in Psychology Today, the pain one feels upon being rejected travels along the same nerve pathways of physical pain. This is so much the case that taking Tylenol will help with feelings associated with rejection.
*where is the damn Tylenol*
This reaction is because in our distant past, being rejected from one’s society, one’s tribe, was the equivalent of being put to death:
“In our hunter/gatherer past, being ostracized from our tribes was akin to a death sentence, as we were unlikely to survive for long alone. Evolutionary psychologists assume the brain developed an early warning system to alert us when we were at risk for ostracism. Because it was so important to get our attention, those who experienced rejection as more painful (i.e., because rejection mimicked physical pain in their brain) gained an evolutionary advantage—they were more likely to correct their behavior and consequently, more likely to remain in the tribe.”
So Now What?
In the way the Universe works, this morning one of the first blogs I read had to do with rejection. The writer had been rejected admission to a spiritual training. In the second paragraphs, he talks about the lesson inherent in the rejection.
There is always a lesson. We might not be under the threat of death (hopefully), but a lesson is often found while wading through the hurt and the feeling of failure and the feeling of not being good enough. Note, rejection also destroys our self esteem, temporarily lowers our IQ, and does not respond to reason.
Road signs is how I like to see rejection… well, when I have gotten over the aforementioned negative gut reactions. When things start to lose the tinge of failure, I want to believe that rejection is the Universe’s way of showing me my path.
This is not to be, and that is for a reason.
These are my thoughts on a good day. On a bad day, it is more of a f*ck this shit type of response.
Good and bad. Yin and yang.
Might not be exactly an accurate comparison.
Anyway. My point is that rejection happens. It happens in work life. In social life. In relationships, spiritual journeys and in catching the bus in the morning on time.
And like so much, taking what happens and learning from it is the best way of adapting.
Not an easy task. Sometimes an impossible task, in fact.
But still the best response.
My novel was rejected. Again.
It is the third novel that has been rejected to the point that I have put them to the side.
I am not sure what that means. Maybe it is time to throw in the towel.
A career change, as I mentioned?
I don’t know. Something to ponder.
But what about you?!
How have you experienced rejection? What did you learn from it?
*Note…after I wrote this, my son woke up. With blankies and his juice, he curled up at my side and we sat together in the silence of the house. Lying his head on my shoulder, he said “love you, mom,” and in that moment, there was not a single black ooze in sight. He reminds me almost every day that amidst the darkness is a light so pure as to burn the rest away…and it doesn’t even matter if it is only for a little while.
Something to be pondered for later. For now… the demons:
This is the Way the Morning Arrived
What is your capacity for kindness?
Are you kind to strangers? To people that you know? Coworkers? Family?
Are you kind to yourself?
I have lost my capacity for kindness. I am not sure where it went or when it went, but the soul-kind has left the building. I’m not saying I am a terrible person to people (though I do have that ability), but rather that the underlying kind is gone.
I used to be nice.
Was there a time I did not see the dark in everything that goes on around me?
Perhaps there was a time that not everything was met with a snarky thought or an awareness of banality. I am not talking about truth, in all of its variable and changing versions, but a kind of permeation that saturates everything with insincerity and surface application.
I have done so much to tackle and try to tame the beast that is my personality and depression. I have books and books on spiritual Christain, Jew and Muslin thought. On yoga. On meditation. Mindfulness. I have worked with people on how to be nicer. I have stood in a Tree Pose. I have prayed. I have meditated.
I have worked on how to see the world with a glow rather than with a black that drips from everything in a slow ooze.
I sound like an angsty teenager.
Have I never grown up?
I am not sure where.
Why do I bring this up today?
A couple of things.
First. I was a complete and terrible human being to my husband this morning. I had dreams all night about him and his mum going off on me ala what happened this summer when we visited her for two weeks. I won’t go into the details, but suffice to say that those masks I talked about, well mine was forced onto my face whilst kicking and screaming. It took me months after we returned to even be somewhat okay, and apparently I am not okay if last night’s dreams are any indication.
Second. I went on and did my usual peruse of wordpress, twitter, facebook etc. and there were so many quotes from Buddha, Thich Nhat Hanh, and Jesus that I shut my computer with a slam. Quotes about the way we think is the way we are. Quotes about filling every step with peace, love, and joy.
All of those things that sound wonderful, that people subscribe to, that I have subscribed to on numerous occasions… but yet have not done a damn thing to disappear the darkness that I see every damn day.
I know, and I have worked, and I have meditated on my way of thinking. I have worked to change the negative to positive. I have tried, so very, very hard to create a positive outlook.
And I can’t do it.
I would like to think that once upon a time I was kind.
The way we think is the way we are.
I would like to think that once upon a time I had ability to see pureness in people.
The way we are.
Demons. Dark. Deep.
They can’t be pulled out with a tweezer of thought.