This week’s Thursday Post is a bit of a rant, so if you’re not in the mood for one, please come back next week!
I never, ever (never, ever!) said that A Clear Sign was about happiness, positivity, love and light.
It is actually about magic, intuition, and turning your life around, should you find that it has gone off course and run aground.
Therefore I’ve decided that I will give myself five minutes to be really irked with critical people who’ve decided that you must be happy and positive if you are to be spiritual.
Happiness may happen to be a by-product of learning about spirituality and living a connected life where you are in tune with intuition. It may. It is not the point. The point is probably more along the lines of understanding reality.
At core we are basically animals. You know this because you see murder in the street and all kinds of base things going on all over the world. If a lion isn’t bearing down on you at present, you’re probably fairly comfortable and know you have a choice in your reactions. But what if…someone is really going for your jugular? What if…you’re in an alley and someone’s pointing a gun at you? What if…someone just broke your heart? Then how do you feel? Then what do you do?
Everything is neutral. It’s our reaction that matters.
Who can say they have never, ever had the urge to really hurt someone for what they just said or did? Who hasn’t had to stop themselves from flying into a rage and really letting someone else have it? Who is so free of contrast and polarity that they have never been really and truly angry and felt justified in it?
Let’s be real about this. The answer is, no one.
Love and light and blessings are great, but let’s not pretend that we don’t have a shadow and that we don’t have patterns and that we never are challenged, because that’s not the truth.
That didn’t even take five minutes, so let me tell you a few stories about the people in my life who persistently push my buttons, and at the end I’ll give you something to think about from A Course In Miracles.
I had a last minute call from a going-down-the-rabbit-hole-into-confusion relative, asking to borrow my two little boys for a long holiday weekend. This is my least favorite request, because I worry the entire time they are gone (a four hour drive away), they always come back unhappy (or with lice) and yet they always want to go. I was not invited.
Now I will tell you in all honesty, there is a reason for that. One, they are crackers (the crazy kind, not the southern kind) and hold grudges. Two, I told them a couple of years ago after making numerous trips that I was never doing it again. That was after The Olive Garden Incident.
The Olive Garden Incident
Imagine you are a mother to two small children, six and three, and you have just driven four hours to arrive somewhere you don’t wish to be, so the children can see their cousins. It is near dinnertime, and plans have been made to meet even more relatives for dinner. You get right back in someone else’s car and are held captive with cranky children for another half hour drive. Once there, the line is a 45 minute wait, so some of the adults decide to meet at a different restaurant five minutes away so your little ones don’t have to keep waiting. You are just along for the ride and say nothing. You arrive at the second restaurant but the family containing the cousins doesn’t.
Phone calls ensue and you are finally advised that the father of the cousins decided to stay where he was with his entire family because his teenage daughter wanted to go to The Olive Garden. She lives in that town and The Olive Garden is readily available any night of the week. What she wants, she gets.
I cannot tell you how upset my little guys were to drive for an eternity, see their cousins from the car window, and have them not show up at dinner. Since my kids aren’t (usually) brats, they rolled with it. I can’t say the same for the adults, who were holding private, whispered, cell phone conversations and concluded with having a tense and pretty much silent meal.
That’s when I made the statement that I was never, ever doing that again.
The Birthday Weekend Incident
I cannot explain what happens to people when they get old and start to forget things except that you don’t want them to forget your kids, who are still too young for cell phones or otherwise saving themselves.
A few weeks ago, we had a birthday party for the youngest child. The same relatives who want my kids this weekend decided to drive the four hours and…not attend the party. They decided not to stay here with us, no reason given other than some unsaid complaint or disapproval which was heavy in the room but everyone claimed ignorance. They wanted the kids at the hotel with them.
Hotel rates are ungodly expensive here “in season” and so they stayed at a new place…by the railroad station.
Let’s just say “by the railroad station” is code for “bring your weapons.” I was not on board with having my two little kids stay the night there. I was really concerned about the adults getting lost on the wrong block.
They went, and the next morning I had several nerve-wracking calls which made me wonder if I was ever going to see the little people again.
First, I guess we didn’t have to worry about whether to take a couple of hours out of the day to meet them for breakfast as we usually do because they didn’t invite us.
Then, they forgot they were supposed to meet me at the park for an event the kids were invited to that morning.
Finally, I gave them the name of the park, and it wouldn’t come up on their GPS.
Nope, if it isn’t plugged into the GPS then I guess they can’t get there from here.
This GPS thing is a long-standing bone of contention that aggravates me to no end. So now I have to tell you the IHOP story.
The IHOP Incident
The interminable and persistent breakfast trips are considered “tradition” (nevermind the pancake mix in the eggs, the $80 cost for breakfast, and the fact that it is almost impossible to get a healthy meal there). I once directed them to another IHOP, which they programmed into the GPS in spite of the fact that I was sitting right there in the front seat, able to give them directions. We actually sat on the corner at a light, with the IHOP immediately and obviously in front of us, with the Electronic GPS Woman telling him to go right and I was telling him to go left.
I finally had to say,”It’s right there.” I was pointing at the IHOP building on the left as he was jostling in traffic to try to get in the right lane.
“Turn left at the light. It’s on the left.”
“No, she said to go right.”
“PLEASE LOOK UP AND OBSERVE THE WORLD AROUND YOU, I AM POINTING AT THE IHOP.”
It’s no wonder really that they don’t like me.
The Park Incident
Back to the park. Nevermind that I gave them directions to the park which were,”Turn right on Military Trail and it’s on the corner at Burns Road.” Pretty simple, right?
I was half way there when I got a phone call that they were still in the hotel parking lot. They were still trying to put it into the GPS. I wondered, if you were at a railroad crossing with the kids in the car, would you move out of the way of the oncoming train to save their lives, or would you wait until it was plugged into the GPS?
I repeated my actual driving directions. Then five minutes later I got another call that they were there, but one of them thought they were at the wrong place. As I walked into the park and started getting hugged by fifty-two people I haven’t seen in three years, I was really wondering if my actual children were in the actual park. Amazingly, they were.
Pushing Buttons and Setting Boundaries
When everyone is pushing your buttons like crazy and your gut is fighting with itself it’s time to set your boundaries and give a good long think. (And after you worked so hard not to have Buttons, too…I know, it’s sad, and I hear you but they’re still there! Not going away anytime soon! We always have the shadow.)
In the end, just like everyone else, I am working toward being zen about it and observing events as neutral, reminding myself to stay cool and keep my energy as balanced as seems reasonable under the circumstances. It is rare for me to get this worked up about much, but these people do it every time. If it weren’t for the kids, they would not be in my life.
So when you find yourself irritated, telling old stories, and backtracking through time to point out how they were wrong and you were right, here’s something to put in your pipe and smoke.
As is said in A Course In Miracles, which I am studying this year with a group led by Galen Pearl:
I do not perceive my own best interests.
In no situation which arises do you realize the outcome that would make you happy. Therefore you have no guide to appropriate action, and no way of judging the results. What you do is determined by your perception of the situation, and that perception is wrong. It is inevitable, then, that you will not serve your own best interests. Yet they are your only goal in any situation which is correctly perceived. Otherwise, you will not recognize what they are.
If you realized that you do not perceive your own best interests, you could be taught what they are. But in the presence of your conviction that you do know what they are, you cannot learn. The idea for today is a step toward opening your mind so that learning can begin.
Next week we will talk about something fun, but not anything to do with happiness.