"Everything is on it's way to somewhere. Everything." --- George Malley in Phenomenon
This morning I woke up earlier than usual, made coffee and turned on the television. I scrolled through listings of movies with thumbnail images, hoping for something not overly violent or suspenseful. I woke up to death anyway, but it was a beautiful experience. I wanted to ease into my day feeling uplifted. Usually great writing or nature will do this, yet I often forget to look for beauty on the other screen in the house, where human nature is on colorful display. I landed in the last 40 minutes of Phenomenon, a movie with thought provoking quotes that Richard spoke to me during the first weeks of our relationship. At that time, I was too busy being in love to watch the movie that made such an impression on him. Nine years later, he came downstairs and found a snuggled up me watching one of his old favorites and sat close. It was a great way to start the day. It reminded me to enjoy the love of my life as if we are both on our way to that somewhere beyond, instead of focusing on the illusion that we are on a hamster wheel.
Lately I've encountered spiritual teachings on how we get beyond the mind-chatter and the negative voices within. From these ideas, I discovered that I am resentful and angry if I feel challenged during conversation, no matter that the challenge is provided to improve the quality of my thought or expand my perspective. Although we might agree on the most important values of life, often I feel tension and conflict and have trouble sitting back and letting things pass, like leaves floating down a river. I want to live up to the statement spoken aloud that Elliot asked me to write down, which is my claim that "the loudest, angriest person is not always right." I found myself at a crossroads. I thought, well, I can either become furiously mean and angry, amplifying the assertion of my right to experience what I'm feeling and thinking, or I can get really quiet, calm and unresponsive. I could just be quiet and that would deflate an argumentative discussion. I tried both. My loud, emphatic, angry response was more effective, or maybe more damaging. I wasn't "right" but I had a lot of defensive feelings that burst out. It seems I have more work to do.
My outburst sparked a change, first because I stood up for myself, which is not easy to do. I like things to be peaceful and I like to stay calm and enjoy my day without drama. Second, it drew attention to something rumbling under the surface that needed more than a band-aid style fix up. Third, it helped me to realize that I no longer need to ruminate in silence, wondering how to solve the problem. Action, even a loud action, meant that I was working toward understanding instead of hiding it under a blanket of silent suffering.
After my outburst, the negative mind chatter related to that issue was suddenly silent. It also helped the memories attached to that problem, the pattern that went on behind the anger, to melt away.
I'm recovering my sense of peace by tackling a physically demanding project. For me, repetitive, physical tasks like cleaning the house, sewing, gardening or refinishing furniture release me from the mental loops that keep circling without an answer, maddening me with obsessive, negative thoughts. I want to put to death the inner critic, get off the manic language train. So I go to work on something else.
I'm on my way to somewhere.