Dost Thou Protest Too Much?
Recently, I heard someone say how to live a happier life.
The advice: Give up any opinion that causes inner mental or emotional stress.
Well, that really would do it, wouldn’t it?
Never have a feisty opinion…
Exactly How Would That Work?
So let’s try this idea on for size.
If an opinion of mine causes angst, worry, or upset inside me, I’d first notice that it felt not-so-great. Then, because I’m totally brilliant (aren’t we all?) I would remember that feeling bad is not a requirement in my life. And third, because I pay attention to what works (don’t we all?) I’d simply abandon the stress-producing thought.
Then, because I’m wise like an owl (Whooooo, me? Yooooou, too?) I’d opt for the practice of gently turning my attention in the direction of something easier. I’d take a baby owl step right there on that tree branch in the direction of a thought that is a little more general, softer, calmer, or whatever. Just not so feisty.
In a little while (baby owl going out on a limb here) I might even move from “anti” to thoughts that are more life-giving, invigorating, uplifting, or positive.
Or at least neutral!
It’s not exactly a common human practice to do this!!!
Those of us who have long been known as the “pushy type” (hey I wasn’t born with red hair and freckles for nothin’) — we might wonder about the wisdom of giving up one’s opinions, stress-producing or otherwise.
Without my opinions, would I seem wimpy, uneducated, or lame? Not smart and aware? Would I be irresponsible if I wasn’t raising my fist against injustices of the world? Would I be uncaring? An ostrich with my head in the sand? Without a backbone?
And would the world spin out of control without all of us rabble rousers monitoring things and keeping the bad guys in check? What if we weren’t writing editorials, posting grievances on Facebook, or shaking our collective fingers at those trying to pull the wool over our eyes? What if ignoring “bad things” would encourage the proliferation of even more bad things?
On the other hand, what if arguing against, pushing against, or ranting negatively about something actually renders me ineffective?
Seriously? What do you mean?
Well, first, what if pushing against someone or something practically requires my opposition to push back? It’s a natural knee-jerk reaction. It’s the idea that when I perceive an attack on me, I defend/attack right back.
And then my opposition perceives that I attacked them, so they defend and attack back.
…Which calls for an emphatic answer from me (heck yes, doesn’t it!) so I defend (which is perceived as another attack) and so it goes, round and round.
This is how things get complicated and ramped-up really fast.
(And we wonder why war still exists.)
Furthermore, what if pushing against something puts me entirely out of range of discovering a solution?
What if pushing against someone or something puts me in a (mental, emotional, spiritual) place where I couldn’t see the solution if it marched right in front of me with neon lights and sound? What if my “pushy” way of thinking keeps me IN the energy of the problem, and not anywhere near the solution? And then I can’t feel my way into a true, heart-opening solution ’cause I’m too focused and upset about how wrong things are now?
Here’s A Comparison
Have you ever been in the presence of someone you grew up with, whom you haven’t seen or spoken to in a long time? And when you get together, you notice that this person from your past holds tight to who you were back then? And even though you are who you are now, you feel invisible to this person who knew you when you were 12 or 28 or 35 years old?
The difference between the energy of a problem and the energy of a solution is like that. If I’m relating to my present from how I’ve always been, (I’ve noticed) I don’t create a different future. I create more of the same — pretty much!
I am my own prevent-er.
However, if I notice “the problem” enough to serve as my jump-off place to start a new future, and promptly put on my here-and-now glasses, well, alrighty then! Now I’m getting somewhere new!
In any case, during any change, or any personal growth opportunity, I remember that wherever I am is OK, because it’s the beginning of where I’m going.
It is my experience that children are born to teach (remind) parents, not the other way around. I’ve learned more from my daughter MacKenzie than from all other humans combined.
I’m in favor of wandering time in the morning, listening to the birds calling to each other in the woods all around me.
Making fresh food is one of life’s big yummy pleasures, along with singing – especially creating heavenly, improvisational, prayerful, meditational sound.
I believe that poet Mary Oliver writes the best bedtime stories available on Earth.