What Do We Listen to in Times Like This?
Recently I had an experience that taught me about the difference between judgment and noticing.
Something happened, and I felt like I was in the wrong. I immediately started beating the crap out of myself. I didn’t do something I thought I should have and the mental 2x4 with nails came out.
So, at first, I was judging myself. You can see that, when you read it on the page. However, in that first moment, when I was judging, I suddenly realized that I can’t tell the difference. The judging voice THINKS it’s noticing.
But, as soon as I noticed that I was judging, and how bad that felt, something started to shift. When I am noticing instead of judging, when my mind is oriented towards noticing, it feels lighter. Noticing generally feels neutral. Judging feels bad. Noticing is seeing just what is there. Judgment is the story we make out of it.
This is what happened: Over the weekend, I was with a friend. We had just finished lunch. I said, “I’ll do the dishes,” and he said, “No. Don’t. I will do them.”
And I pushed. I insisted that I do them. Because I wanted to contribute.
“Are you going to do them AGAIN?” I asked
And he said, “When you do the dishes, you seem to leave a lot of food on the plates and I have to go back and wash them again.”
I felt so ashamed, humiliated, embarrassed, and then angry. I thought “I’m done! I don’t want to be here.”
So, next, I sat still. I knew there was something more.
I sat with all of this thinking. It took me a good 20 minutes of sitting in this whirlwind of thoughts. I wanted to see if there was something new in here, rather than my habitual thinking, and the stories I usually make up. Trying to manage my feelings and get better feelings.
Finally, I found the pony in the manure.
This man didn’t want to tell me that I left food on dishes, because he didn’t want to hurt my feelings. I realized it didn’t matter what I felt. I felt my thinking. And my thinking is variable. I am feeling my thoughts. My feelings reflect what I am thinking, they do not tell what is reality. The power is to notice what is really in front of me.
I found it interesting that I leave food on dishes. I wondered why? Then I saw it. I hurry when I do the dishes. I found that Interesting. Then I saw I had created a world where “The more I get done, the more valuable I am.” I hurry around a lot in my life, getting things done, because of that story. It looked like a good idea to hurry. Let me tell you it is not fun. I also saw that this reality didn’t allow other people to do things for me. They would take away my value!
The great thing about noticing realities you create, you can destroy them and build new ones that are richer and more satisfying.
And the other thing I learned from this interaction, another pony, is that when my friend was able to tell me the truth, and when I could shift from judgment to noticing, I noticed that dishes are neutral. I could do something about what was in front of me. The solution bubbled up.
Noticing is steady. When you can really see something for what it is, from that awareness arises the next step, the action you can take. If I slow down, I seem to notice more. I can see what’s there. On the dishes or in my thinking.
Simple noticing invites all of these different layers to unfold, opens up whole new worlds. Because I was willing to sit in the noise of my thinking and wait until I saw something new, I saw the reality that I made up.
Did he continue to do the dishes? Did I take it on?
Ultimately, it doesn’t matter who does the dishes.
This shift to more love and more ease is available to us even in the most troubling times. If you would like to notice what reality you have created that doesn’t serve you or you would like to stop managing the hell out of your feelings, I would like to help you with that. Call me.