I sometimes wonder why I’m dragged from pillar to post by what seems a constant flux of feelings, events, actions and interactions with others. A cycle of events that can start so promisingly, in what seem to be calm and mindful conditions and awareness (waking up in the morning on a ‘good day’…) can so suddenly end with an outlet of fury “GET OUT OF BED YOU WASTER, FOR THE LAST TIME!!!!!“, “I hate you mum”, “WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU’VE BLOODY LOST YOUR SHOES? REALLY??“. You know the kind of thing (please, say you do). After a few luxurious days of feeling positive and self aware (Balanced hormones? Luck? The stars? Who knows?), with everyone ‘playing ball’ and ‘treating others as they’d like to be treated’ there can be an unwelcome sickening EastEnders-worthy eruption of foul argument; really mean words bandied about, and ‘bad feeling’, which spawns and multiplies and inevitably turns in on itself and leaves everyone churning with emotion; most unhealthy and it just really ruins nice days! It’s cliché really, its so familiar…at least it is to me! “Can you please pass the salt?” CUT to a moment later: “I’ve HATED you as long as I’ve known you. I’ve lived with your hateful despicable character for TWENTY YEARS……twenty fucking years”….
All of our experiences are unique, relative and often recurrent journeys of discovery. Personally, I notice that I am often floundering about in total blindness and simply reacting left, right and centre and feel much like a mouse on a wheel. No matter how mindful, spiritual or prayerful one tries to be, Life, Family and People can be Hard.
Once the sharp and bitter words of confrontation and argument have dissolved into the air and you’ve calmed your racing heart and tried to pacify the discomfort which has arisen in your body and mind, the bad feeling usually remains; potentially turning in on itself, to become guilt, shame or recrimination. Because, arguments and frustrations HURT! Who is in the wrong? Am I going mad? I look bad. I feel bad. I am bad. Emotional Chaos.
I have been attempting to become aware of my thoughts and feelings, catching them before they set me adrift; trying to watch them with ‘curiosity’ rather than being swept up in them. This, in order to avoid entering another depression. Because I think in hindsight, years of my own life have passed in trances, triggered by maybe a few stressful events or elongated moments which stretch into days, months or even years , of vague un-placeable ‘bad feeling’ and even manifesting in what doctors call mental illness. Catching mindlessness-causing-frictions that start family and people fires can be more challenging…. Sometimes its probably down to relationships which maybe should have ended long ago or need serious attention, parenting techniques, or probably, simple application of intelligence (if it were that easy!). Einstein said ‘Weak people Avenge. Strong people Forgive. Intelligent people Ignore.’ Oh, the Ivory-people free-Towers.
Being a woman, I am paying particular attention to my menstrual cycle as I’m noticing that my moods and emotions are very much cyclical..(yep). Though hormones play a role in the moods of men and women alike. I am also massively supplementing on Vitamins, C, Multi Vitamins, D and Fish Oils and I feel much better than I have recently, but right now, it’s getting through emotional responses to daily ‘normal’ situations that would often eventually lead me to the doctors surgery and to a diagnosis of whatever it is, that I’m trying to master.
Most of us are just fine when alone, in a bubble of ‘watchful mindfulness’. I actually feel rather self congratulatory when I emulate what I think normal is; feeling happy and functional; coping and calm and dealing with little irritating occurrences that keep popping up really well. ‘La di da de da’, I hum to myself. It feels so nice when things rub along nicely!
Then BAM, how inconsiderate: My child behaves totally unreasonably by refusing to do something totally reasonable; or my man sized son, frankly mugs me, to buy fast food, because him and his girlfriend are hungry and don’t fancy constructing “a nice fish finger sandwich with melted cheese on granary bread” ( kitchen ingredients, and “you’d pay £5 for it in a hipster café”, you tell them much to their horrified nonchalance); My partner stomping about uncannily close to my physical vicinity (seriously, provocatively close or am I just totally paranoid) in a fury, complaining of the mess everywhere, and therefore his inability to locate his Belt/Socks/ Life….
Or just to amalgamate some nasty road rage type experiences which actually mirror life quite nicely, your driving along in your car, most considerately, when for example- ‘You fucking cunt’ smashes straight through your open window and into the very heart of your being and mangles utterly inappropriately with the mindful classical music and your easily destroyed attempt to sustain a relaxed and life-loving jovial mood. You realise you…. took your right of way….didn’t say thank you…or were driving at the speed limit, whatever! …..BANG. POP. The BUBBLE BURSTS.
Bad Feeling: ‘Hell is Other People’ (Jean-Paul Sartre).
So, what happens? If you are me, most usually, you just can’t help yourself! You React!
“Fuck off you total Prrrriccckkkkk”, some strange being from deep within your soul yells, in utter earnest, while most likely you’re inanely smiling so your inner observer can see this isn’t actually the real you and that if nothing else you are a very mindful curser. You may reason with your child through gritted teeth “You are really trying my patience darling; Please can you wash your hands for dinner/ Turn off the television/ Do as I ask/ Prepare some food rather than demanding an expensive shitty burger?”/”I’m afraid I haven’t seen your socks/ belt… I do recall you holding said belt yesterday. Can you remember where you put it. I see that you are in a fury, have you tried meditation?”
After these attempts fall flat on their various faces, you suddenly discover yourself in the post-argument puddle of shame and regret, hearing over and over the vile recriminations you spat out in a vast lasting moment of anti-mindfulness: “Look after your own god damned socks; Tidy up if you don’t like the mess; Get a proper job if you want fucking burgers at this time of night ; You are so lazy/ Why haven’t you done your homework/ This is disgusting behaviour / Clean the bath out/ Piss off/I HATE YOUR GUTS”. (No children or fluffy pets or next of kin were harmed in the writing of this blog 😅 Purely examples).
Then it’s just bad bad bad Feeling. It fizzes in the air; in you; it leaves a ‘bad taste in your mouth’. I think Eckhart Tolle well refers to this as the ‘pain body’. It has other names. Frankly, it all ends up making you feel like total shit and that you have major problems. I decide, for example, in an instant, that I’m just not designed to live with people or even around people and that this was all a big mistake (just getting out of bed this morning, never mind being born at all, or even considering having people in your life, or having a family …WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?), and that Monks, Hermits, Buddhists and single men for that matter, who live in monasteries, forests, hills and pubs and who don’t speak much or have children or Facebook accounts (the holy ones) or technology that infuriates them, or partners to contend with, have the right idea and are really on to something.
Eckhart Tolle’s ‘pain-body’ (or whatever you want to call it, but I like pain body), he says, ‘ wants to survive, just like every other entity in existence, and it can only survive if it gets you to subconsciously identify with it. it can then rise up, take you over, “become you” and live through you. (The Power of Now).
Now, that’s all very well, but by God, Eckhart Tolle, Sweet Jesus……. It is very difficult. It is really hard to ignore road rage; infuriating demands; children’s seemingly irrational peculiarities; or a cutting comment aimed right at you. And self blame and bad feeling ensues: I’m a horrible person, so nasty and unlikeable…so and so was right when they called me a miserable cow ten years ago… I mean, we all want to be nice etc but we also want to appear nice too right?
‘Bad feeling’ occurs mindlessly within families and relationships on a day to day basis and of course between neighbours- which can lead to horrendous situations, and with strangers. In the same way that on a ‘good day’ everyone is nice and helpful and ‘functional’ and even happy and loving, on a ‘bad day’, people can seem strange, unhelpful, bullying and downright nasty. Recognising that it’s a thing, BAD FEELING, is good, because it can help dispel or at least understand the pain that follows it. Catch it once or twice and maybe next time you can swerve and avoid it altogether.
Of course the pain body, Tolle says, is the ‘dark shadow cast by the ego. And yes this is all about ego. But really to get to grips with where you begin and the ego ends it sometimes feels like you’d be best off joining a nunnery or becoming a recluse because I for one, feel my ego bitterly when confronted with human peopley challenges.
But, where to end……Well, in the process of writing this, I think that…
We are Human. Arguments and Bad feeling are Things especially in the Real World with Family and Real People all in their Various Struggles and Paths, but they are Things that have the capacity to be Surpassed, particularly once Recognised. And we must Forgive ourselves and Allow ourselves and our Reactions to exist because reactions happen and it’s OK! Shit Happens. Arguments Do happen. Don’t beat yourself up. Forgive yourself. (Note- the reason fatal fights aren’t even more overly common is probably because the ‘pain body’ wants to survive so probably saves most malice for nearest and dearest who generally and hopefully won’t physically retaliate, although people who have it much worse than me, and have genuine domestic violence may well live in fear of seriously danger which is depressing.)
What we really need to do is see the Truth of the Matter; we can Choose to Halt, Reverse or Renew what’s going on and above all we can say Sorry and Learn for next time….
It can be painful to admit we are human beings with scary beast sides, snappy bitch sides and mean hurt sides which say stuff we regret….but allow the pain and the shame and the recrimination; and allow others to also be human. And once that’s all done and dusted and acknowledged, you Will find better ways to assert your needs or manage your family in ways that compassionately forgive the hurt others may dole out mindlessly, but also protect your own energies and create new helpful boundaries, and hopefully the Good Feeling that emanates from that, will spread like Melting Butter on Hot Toast.
And, if you find yourself reacting and you say ‘You Total …Arse….Tool….Absolute Swine ..’ or much, much worse (under your breath hopefully) next time something Pops up like a demonic Jack-in-a-Box to catch you unawares, then catch it like an errant fly; see it fizzle and buzz; and I bet you your bottom dollar it will evaporate like a bad smell and something that Helps you will Replace it!
Thank you for Reading ❤