The owner of my local cafe, David, whispered something teasingly to the barista, Alannah, about the children’s water bottle poking out of my pocket. It was something we’d joked about before. As I picked up my coffee and turned to leave, I laughed and said, ” you can make fun of me all you like, I am strong enough to handle whatever you throw at me.”
We all laughed at my comeback but as I left, it struck me, what I said was true. But when did it become true? When did I become strong enough to not only handle others opinions and judgements, joking or not, but also state it as so? I used to be so insecure. When, if there were a specific time, and I doubt there was one moment in time, did it become true and not just me faking it or wearing a mask?
I care deeply about other’s opinions of me but not of judgement. I don’t see these as one and the same thing. Opinions, even if contradictory to my beliefs, serve me. They are generally given to broaden my thinking, enable me to learn and enrich me in some way. Judgement is generally critical, negative and unsupportive. Judgement is intended to make or keep you smaller than the person giving it. Opinion seeks to make you equal to or perhaps even better than the person giving it. One is intended to help, the other to hurt.
While David was being judgemental and I understood it to be a harmless joke, I also appreciated that the comment was intended to highlight that I was using something he deemed inappropriate but I chose to reject his teasing because it didn’t serve me. The bottle’s size perfectly fits in my pocket, it is entirely practical for my needs on my morning walk.
It is possible to see his comments as either opinion or judgement, but for the fact that it didn’t serve to help or improve or make me a better human. My ability to make the comment back balanced the scales again. “Say what you want, I don’t care,” is what my comment was really saying. “I’m strong, no matter what you think.”
What this, and the experience of my recent miscarriage, has taught me is that I have developed an extremely powerful mind. So powerful, in fact, that if it’s not medicated I lack control of it. And yet, when medicated, I am able to hold onto this power and stand confidently, as I did with David and Alannah this morning. I would like to get to this state without medication.
To this end, I have begun meditating each evening and using the Waking Up app to listen to theory on meditation while on my morning walks and these have begun to show me what’s beneath the surface of what I think and feel and do.
What I’m finding from my meditations is that beneath this strength and confidence, and beneath the thoughts that they’re made from, is that there is something and there is nothing.
If you’ve ever stood in a field with a thick fog all around you, you will have noticed that the fog doesn’t touch the ground. There is a gap, a nothingness that is still something. I feel like my consciousness and therefore my thoughts, and their actions are the fog and the ground is my unconscious mind. But what is this nothingness that is something in between?
Is it my soul? My spirit? My eternal universal being? Is it my connection with all there is and all there ever was and will ever be? I have more questions than answers right now and so it ought to be for truly, what is the point of living if we have all the answers already?
I feel as though, in this nothingness that is something, is who I am, and right now, she is able to discern that which serves her and to reject the rest.