We just passed the holiest of the Jewish holy days and yet I’m wondering if the lessons ever truly sink in.
Every religion on this planet preaches humility, non-judgment and reflection. And most people on the planet walk around in a fog of judgment and arrogance, reflecting no more on themselves and what got them to this befuddled moment.
A few weeks ago, I was chatting with a friend who works in energy restoration – that’s new-age speak for a soul kind of therapy. “Everything we feel is created by us,” he said, after a particularly cantankerous argument with my husband.
So it’s all my fault? Well, no, he cautioned, but the dissatisfaction and anger was created by me, not him.
If that’s true, then whenever I get annoyed by a client or coworker or child or spouse, or when I get anxious or worried, or feel elated and celebratory, it’s all a swirl of emotion I create. Fascinating.
Which means then if we decide to no longer feel (fill in the blank) annoyed or anxious or worried or angry, we can actually stop feeding that feeling.
At first, I didn’t want to buy into this nonsense. Of course it’s his fault! Of course the work is challenging because of some outside factor. Of course of course of course.
But really. All of us ride a roller coaster of emotions in fairly extraordinary lives. We have all we need. We are not on the streets, hungry, barefoot. Even when we face a tough time, it’s not as tough as it could be.
And most of us are surrounded by some kind of support, whether familial, friends or otherwise.
So what exactly are we bitching about?
Recently, I was an observer to a conversation about, what else, other people. Everybody turned their noses up at a particular person or found some unsatisfactory characteristic about a person at the table and had to point it out. All finger-pointing, all restless accusation.
And they were all justified in their finger-pointing. At least as far as they could see.
I can’t stand this. I honk my horn when someone drives stupidly and I sometimes shout out a comment in the ego-driven moment.
But I try to quiet the first voice in my head so I can hear the second, quieter, more confident one. What is REALLY going on? Who is really to blame for this argument or that unsavory moment?
Me, me, me.
Or, you, you, you.
Take it how you will. The thing is, my friend was right. It’s never the other party. They simply show up in our lives to serve as a mirror reflecting back who we are at that moment and what we’re feeling.
Call someone bossy, and it’s probably your own insecurities worrying that no one will accept you for being strong. Tell someone their child is the problem in a classroom scuffle, and it’s more likely it’s yours.
We can choose to look in the mirror and realize objects are nearer than they seem – or believe the stories in our heads that take the focus off of us.
Last night I had a very deep talk with my son about the emotions we battle. Nothing in the world is inherently good nor bad. It just IS. We put the judgment on it. We turn the moment upside down in agony. We walk the sad story.
Someone else sees joy where we find sorrow. It’s not good nor bad. It just is. And we can choose to see it another way.