I don’t often share parts of my life story, but sometimes it’s useful to illustrate something that I’ve suggested on my Deb Dancing Star page on Facebook. This is one of those times and one of those stories.
Picture me 30 years ago. I was in the marriage from hell dealing with a lot of pressure in my life, living in a house I didn’t like and never wanted nor would I ever be allowed to sell, with in-laws I loved and a family that I thought was close yet had odd moments that made no sense. I worked in a job I’d hated that I’d been dared not to get by my father (long messy story that may be useful for a blog on being too good for your own good), suffice it to say that the first day I walked in there it felt like the world had ended.
My colleagues were horrible, to this day the second most unkind group of people I’ve ever met, they picked on everyone continuously – especially the young women – saying things that nowadays would land them up in court for sexual harassment. In fairness to all of us it was a high pressure environment where mistakes were an absolute no-no, deadlines were equally absolute, and everyone who possibly could threw as many spanners in the works for us as they knew how. However, they still felt like dinosaurs from a different universe to me.
I had been feeling pretty desperate for a long time, the only thing I had to hold onto were my first two cats because they were the only light in my life and the only thing protecting my sanity.
I’d been a Spiritual thinker for a long time, learning with a mentor who introduced me to new ways of thinking and looking at the world that I had no idea existed. Ideas that were gradually freeing me and which I knew would eventually lead to me standing in my own power and not being afraid anymore. I’d been slogging away not just learning these things but putting them into practice, falling on my face, getting up and trying again for nearly 10 years when I had the strangest epiphany.
I woke up one morning and I thought “I really don’t care”. I don’t care what anyone thinks of me because I trust myself. I don’t care what they say, what they do, how horrible they are, I will laugh at anything nasty they throw at me. It was a weird feeling because I really didn’t care. The laughter part came from being a natural comedian, like my father; I realised that God and genes had given me a gift I could use, which was the refusal to take unkind things seriously.
I did know though that if I was to come back with a witty quip I would have to be careful to weight it properly as I didn’t want to cause more unpleasantness, I just wanted to crack a gag that would make it impossible for my colleagues not to smile. I wouldn’t go that far with my ex, just shutting him up and making him think would be good enough.
I walked into work that day full of a cheery indifference that I felt was lighting me up from the inside. Not an indifference to suffering or unhappiness, just a “throw at me what you will because I will just knock it out of the ballpark with a mental bat” devil-may-care feeling. It was amazing, I felt strong and ready to deal with anything, and when I got to work and looked at the people whose unkindness had literally terrified and bewildered me they all looked smaller.
Probably the best gag I cracked was the first time I wore my new glasses. I knew it would happen and predictably I got the four eyes jokes, the make you look like an owl jokes and so on. So up I piped with “I don’t know why you’re laughing, you all look 10 years older with my glasses on because I can see all the wrinkles and grey hairs”. They fell about laughing and it was a fantastic moment.
This and other experiences too many to mention taught me that Darwin was right and survival of the fittest was still in operation, that was in the 1980’s and it still bugs us now. I still find that if anyone senses any doubt in you whatsoever they will go for the jugular vein without a second’s hesitation or thought. If only they would a) hesitate and b) think, but they don’t. This is where what I’ve called indifference comes in.
Actually it isn’t indifference as such, that’s just the easiest way I can describe the feeling. It’s very Spiritual as opposed to the “who gives a (choose your epithet)” feeling that we have going on. More of a “say what you like because it has no relevance to me” attitude.
It actually comes from getting in touch with your Spirit/Higher Self and realising that a lot of what goes on down here is just noise, just Social Darwinism, the Tall Poppy Syndrome (for those who haven’t heard that term it means instead of growing tall like the tall poppy you grab secateurs and cut it down to your level).
So many people make themselves feel good by looking at others, sniffing out their (perceived) weaknesses and then striking like a ninja. As they see that person’s energy drop theirs swells correspondingly with the ‘proof’ that they are superior. People still try it with me now but I don’t care, I really don’t.
Because I am old enough to know when I have done wrong and when I haven’t. Obviously I put my foot in it, get crabby, snap when I should simper and generally fail to control my inner aarrggghhhh sometimes, but I know when I’ve done something like that and I know that I have to apologise and I do.
If you can trust yourself in this same way, if you’re old enough and wise enough to know the difference between when you have done something wrong and when another person is responding to a momentary doubt in you with unkindness, or trying to prove that they’re better and more capable than you by putting you down, then you will be able to connect with your higher self and feel the love of life and living, and the acceptance of other, that only your Spiritual side can find for you.
Let’s face it, anyone putting you down in order to feel better about themselves has to be feeling pretty low and incompetent anyway and all they really need is quiet indifference. They certainly don’t need anyone to make it any worse and we don’t want to become them so we actually don’t want to make it any worse, therefore all reactions except “oooh there’s a butterfly/bakers/chocolate shop are a waste of time, effort and happiness.
There are enough real sad moments in life without letting someone else create unnecessary ones.
However, here is the true meaning of this blog…
When I changed so did my colleagues. When I laughed more they laughed more. Unpleasantness turned into good-natured chipping at each other. I’m not telling you that I turned the entire place around, of course I didn’t, but I turned it around for me. I became impossible to handle because I’d only make you laugh if you tried it on.
One day my worst enemy was sitting in the rest room looking awful, he’d been unwell for some time and no one could find out what was wrong with him. I asked him how he was and all his fear and unhappiness poured out of him, I was able to help because acute anxiety was my cross to bear at that time and I could well understand him. He thanked me for the conversation. A few weeks later he said to me “You know I used to think that you weren’t a very nice person but you’ve really grown and matured into a lovely person in your own right and I like you.” It was a breathtakingly beautiful moment that is still with me, for which I was and remain eternally grateful, and it came from my former worst enemy in a place I hated that had been full of unhappiness – because I was willing to change. His death shortly afterwards from reasons never discovered hit me hard, he’s still one of my best memories and I still miss him.
When I found that Spiritual indifference to human daftness it made me see how irrelevant it all is. All the noise we make, all the things we choose to have annoy us, and how often we decide to stay with those irritations and moan rather than finding a way out, planning it, executing it and escaping. And yes I know that there are worthiness and deservability issues in many minds (deliberate misspelling there and a giggle at the recent past on my part), but let’s face it that’s just more of the same irrelevant noise that we need total Spiritual indifference to.
Curing a negative voice can be hard, thinking “yeah yeah, shut up, oooh a butterfly/bakers/chocolate” can be very powerful and send your negative voice looking for someone else to pester. Then just get on with living your life.
Not long after I had achieved this realm of Spiritual joy, because that’s what it was, my life went to hell in a handbasket. I divorced my ex and the house with him, met my husband Tony 6 weeks later, and prepared for the life of my dreams. Unfortunately the next few years represented the life of my nightmares – on speed!
I actually divorced my entire life! I’d been told for years by family and friends to leave my ex, and when I did guess who sided with him and felt sorry for him? They all did. The kindest treatment I received was from my three lovely in-laws who were broken-hearted and bewildered but still capable of being kind. I did love them. The rest was a colossal shock.
That and being made redundant which meant I couldn’t get a mortgage and literally had nowhere to live – my family would have taken me in “but…”. Fortunately Tony took the cats and I in and we’ve been together ever since. However, I was shattered and lonely, made a lot of mistakes, and generally broke down. Coupled with that Tony and I got married and his beautiful aunt came up after the wedding, hugged me and said “how lovely, I’m your aunt now”. Again one of the best moments of my life and a it was a horrible blow when she died suddenly 10 days later at the age of 53. And to be honest the years from 1992 to 2006 were not that much fun and had a great deal of stress intertwined with the whole trying to stay sane bit.
Add it all together with a LOT of stuff I’m not mentioning, and as you may imagine I lost that Spiritual indifference, revisited my acute anxiety, and generally struggled.
Why am I telling you this? Because of course you could lose that feeling if life delivers you a few shocks it’s only human and it’s ok. The big mistake would be in thinking that you can’t get it back. However hard things may be at this moment you can get in touch with your Spiritual side, you can find your inner clown, you can change your attitude and you can and will escape.
Trust me, I’m Indiana Jones without the whip, hat, penchant for danger, interest in nicking someone else’s treasure, and general ruggedness. The cojones? Oh I’ve got them!
You can do it, you really can, just reach inside yourself for that Spirituality that says “I define me” and you will be ok.
Wishing you happy days, peaceful nights, and better dress sense than Indiana Jones (especially if you’re a girl)