Guy: (after waiting an extra 45 minutes because the doctor was flirting with his nurses)
“I keep getting this pain in my eye, like, every day. It’s like clockwork.”
Doctor: “Tell me about it, guy”.
Guy: “Well, it’s really painful. It’s like this stabbing pain, this searing stabbing pain that hurts like hell, and I want it to stop hurting. Man it hurts.”
Doctor: “You say this happens every day?”
Guy: “Yeah like clockwork. Every morning I’m getting this horrible ache in my eye.”
Doctor: “Tell me your morning routine”.
Guy: “Well I get up and, you know, I have to “pee”, and then I putz around and look for the paper. And I make myself a cup of coffee; strong, not this pussy coffee you buy at these crappy chain places that have like mounds of cream or foam or some shit. But I do put SOME cream in my coffee, ok, sue me, I don’t have much hair on my chest. Christ. What was I saying? Oh, so I put in some sugar too, ‘cause like I said, I make it pretty strong, and then I stir it up and slurp it down, and then I get this horrible ass headache”.
Doctor: “Try taking the spoon out of your cup”.
Ok, so that’s my version of the story, but you’ve heard it. What’s my point?
I’ve been reading “The Secret”, and many other books that are similarly minded. Good stuff if you’re into that kind of thing. Stupid if you’re not, I suppose. One of the books I’ve been reading lately is dealing with relationships, and how to make them better and stronger. Much good advice in this book. But also some advice I have to leave in the book, and not carry around in my head. The book has a specific religious slant that I don’t agree with, and it amazes me how I feel after reading it. I find I’m really buying into this whole idea that you vibrate on a certain frequency. The whole “birds of a feather flock together” thing. So the way you are is great, you’re awesome, and you gravitate towards other things that vibrate on your level. These things may not all be similar to you, but you are on the same frequency level, so you are compatible, or compliment each other, or match somehow. And I’m finding this true in many aspects of my life; even books! Because despite the fact that this book has some much needed information for me, I certainly don’t match its frequency for the most part.
Take, for example, “Click”, which I recently wrote about. After reading this book, I felt energized, excited, motivated and hopeful. Immediately after reading the book – and actually half way through it – I began sharing the concepts of the book with others. Siblings, friends, strangers; it didn’t matter who you were, I wanted to tell you about the book. I started quoting and recommending and blogging about the book. It helped me learn more about myself. It made me feel like I had purpose. It made me send an email to the authors and write a gushing thank you for this wonderful, life changing piece of work. In comparison, the book I’m reading now – though chock full of good information I will remember and utilize in my relationships – makes me feel bad. Its focus is on complaining, and whether you are complaining too much about life, and lovers, and situations. Complain less, is the motto, which is wonderful. I want to do that. Look at my blogs, I complain all the time. So after reading this book I feel like I’ve been doing things wrong. I’ve been questioning my direction. I feel guilt about maybe being a bad person, even though just this morning I decided I’m going to make some cornbread for a perfect stranger just because the old man mentioned he loved it when we met on my morning walk today. Or maybe I feel guilt because I am complaining too much about life? Or maybe I’m guilty because I don’t feel love, and don’t seem to get it? I get anxious, and nervous, and start to cry. I feel confused and at odds and discouraged. Yes, yes, some of the information is good. I already said that. Otherwise I would have stopped reading a long time ago. But the book doesn’t make me FEEL GOOD.
And here comes The Secret. If it doesn’t make you feel good, stop doing it. If you aren’t happy in the center of it, get into the thing that DOES make you feel happy. So I appreciate and receive the good information from the book, but then I have to put it down. Because really, we all have our own ways and beliefs, and this way and belief has helped all kinds of people all over the world, according to the author and the review on the cover. But it doesn’t match MY frequency. I find it fascinating that organized religion seems to have this effect on me. Makes me squeamish, guilt ridden and worriful just being near it. While it makes others I know happy, full of love and grateful, it just makes me exhausted. I don’t want to focus on complaining, and counting how many times I complain, and noticing when and how and why I complain.
I want to focus on LOVE. I want to let love IN, and let love BE, and let love flourish all around me. I want to GIVE love and RECEIVE love, and LIVE IN LOVE. I want LOVE to be my focus. Not complaints.
And so, I must leave aside religion. I notice and take up what bits make sense to me, and continue my journey in love. Because that is what I want to fill my life with. Not condemnation. Not judgment. Not the attentive eyes of people who tell me I’m doing this wrong or failing to do that right. I want love in my life. I want acceptance, and peace and happiness. And religion can give that to some people. But not me. And so, like the good doctor would recommend, I must take the spoon out of my cup.
I’ve had a curious bit of synchronicity this last week.
Over the last six months I’ve been taking steps to become more open and vulnerable with people. Many things have made me close myself off from people, and I’ve shared a number of them here, and probably more issues and incidents will be shared in the future. But regardless of WHY I’ve closed myself off from people, I decided several months ago that I needed to open up again. Since then I have been looking at relationships – mine, and others around me – and trying to re-teach my brain about love, people, and the state of genuine interaction.
I’m reading a book called “Click”, and it’s a brilliant, lovely, fascinating piece of work. It’s written beautifully, and it’s the most interesting thing I’ve read in years. I’m actually listening to it on tape, which is even better, because the narrator/reader is tremendous. His warm and intimate style of reading makes the information come to life like a fictitious story full of all your favorite characters. As he pours out data and statistics and scientific experiments, I find I’m riveted and interested in everything he says. Stranger still, I’M RETAINING THE INFORMATION. Books on tape have never really been my thing. I’m not the best auditory learner. I like to see information with my eyeballs, and read the sentence out it inside my head. I don’t know if it’s a part of my mind that gets distracted, and maybe that’s why books on tape don’t always work for me? Or if it’s because my parents never read to me as a kid, except for that horrible book of Bible stories. I don’t know, but when I listen to books on tape, I have to rewind a lot, because I want to be sure I get all the sentences right, or because I’ve somehow missed a few bits of conversation that were important.
With this book, I’m retaining it all on the first go ‘round. Which is surprising, because it’s non fiction, and I’m frequently sketchy when trying to repeat solid facts I’ve heard. The book is about instant or rapid bonding, what they call “clicking”, and how it happens to people and why. The authors talk about things you can do to encourage this kind of bonding in situations and relationships, and offer examples and personal stories from the lives of many different people. I came home last night to tell my sister about it, and I must have rattled off six of the different experiments listed in the book, along with theories of the authors and anecdotal bits and pieces from random parts of the book. I surprised myself by remembering in detail story after story, experiment after experiment. I can’t think of another book I’ve ever read that has imprinted itself so powerfully on my brain so quickly. It’s like it branded itself on my gray matter, and I’m now walking around replaying the tape inside my head, over and over again.
I had a chance to see this book come to life this weekend, in my own experiences. It’s now several days since I told my sister about Click, and I’ve had two ‘chance’ encounters with people that were more about clicking than chance. Ran into a friend from work at a social event, when we both meant to be there at different times than when we arrived. The random conversation we had led straight into the Click talk, and I am excited for him to read the book, because I believe it will truly help him in a lot of artistic ventures he undergoes.
The other situation was even more interesting. Today while outside working on my biography, a handsome stranger walked by and we said hello. One thing led to another, and after he ran some errand, he came back to talk with me more. Really he was wanting to get my phone number, and find out if I was up for going out. He also flattered me by believing that I was a good fifteen years younger than I am. Thank you! But the real interest in the whole situation was the conversation we had. He was genuinely open and candid with me about a number of things that many men might be guarded about. He was casual and yet personal, and made it a point to let me know he was interested in me, but also let me know that he was also looking to make an intellectual connection. This isn’t going to be a romance, and I told him as much, because my intentions are elsewhere. But I was happy to experience this genuine meeting of the minds with someone out of the blue, and it was a spontaneous, refreshing conversation. And maybe meant to happen, because he said he almost walked a different route to where he was headed, and would then have missed me completely. We both agreed in fate playing a hand in the meeting today, and I can’t help but wonder what the encounter might teach me, or him, or both of us.
I’m trying very much to have better and more intimate relationships in my life. I’m trying to open up, and follow the path of love, and come down out of my hidey hole tower of protection. I’m trying to see people around me as just people, with souls that need purpose and hearts that long for love. I’m trying to open up to the world around me, and the strange fellows in it, instead of assuming that the mass of human fleshpots that walk the streets have nothing to do with me. The first thing they talk about in the book, the first tenet of these “clicking” relationships is vulnerability, and this has never fit me very well. But I’m trying that one on too.