Well, hi there lovely folks! It's a lovely sunny Monday morning and instead of getting my stuff up together and going to work, I'm here writing out my life for others to read. Sometimes its pretty funny, sometimes it's a bit intense and sometimes ... just sometimes ... there could be something of real value!
Today is one of the value days (not blowing my own trumpet or anything ... OR AM I? **sideways look**) ... its kind of a long story but the nugget of wisdom at the end is too good to miss so if you are still with me after that warning, I take it that we are ready to rumble and I'll get my sh1t kickers on ... K, I'm ready! Lets go!
I've been feeling a bit overwhelmed these past few weeks ... I'm part of an incredible business course that has been wooping my butt and the realisations have been pouring in so thick and fast that I sometimes feel like I'm turning round and round wildly, looking for the source of these strange butt wooping sensations! Its been a ride, I can tell ya but it means that I've been feeling a little bit ragged. I basically needed a break!
We decided that in order for me to step away from the computer or my 1m x1m piece of floor that I create my artwork on (don't judge me folks, we ain't made of money!), we would go for a bit of lunch and a stroll around in beautiful Vienna ... and where better? Vienna is so lovely, it blows my mind nearly every time I step out of my front door.
There are some small annoyances that one encounters in any city ... you know the ones ... people trying to sell you stuff you don't want, rude folks that seem to want to remove you from your shoulders on the underground, the occasional thieving monkey and other such things ... it's usually a simple case of keeping your wits a little bit about you and not letting it bother you but sometimes, these minor inconveniences are so (and I mean REALLY) in your face that you can't ignore it. You simply HAVE to sit down and write a long, protracted blog post about it to bore the pants off anyone silly enough to read it ... got ya!
In Vienna we have the Mozart Concert selling people! They are all in costume, sometimes complete with powdered wig and are obviously on commission as they don't rest until they have managed to sell you a flippin Mozart Concert! (Just as a side note, my Mum and Dad went to one of these concerts and said that it was really, very lovely ... so this is not at all detracting from the great product these guys are trying to sell.)
Usually they are really fine, they ignore you if you look semi-local, don't really pressure you that much and only occasionally make the mistake of bellowing 'Mozart Concert?' in your face as you try to Ninja your way past them without them seeing you. They usually hang out around the Stephansdom Cathedral but can also be found loitering around the Opera.
On our fateful day we were attempting see how much it would cost to go to the Opera (something that we still haven't managed to do together) and wanted to enquire how this works. We obviously don't have the money to buy a seated place but hubby had been before and stood at the back whilst only paying a very small amount, something like €3.
We were wandering around the Opera building, attempting in a futile sort of way to shake the locked doors open whenever we saw one, when we were approached by one of our lovely 'Mozart Concert' folks.
At first, he seemed like he simply wanted to help because he asked 'can I help you?'!
I grasped the opportunity to find out how to enter the infernal building and turned with a big smile to our unsuspecting hero.
'Yes, please! We would like to know how to get in the Opera...can you help us?' I explained using all the charm I could manage.
It seemed like he had misunderstood the question because he then launched into a spiel about which tickets cost what ... etc, etc.
I politely stopped him.
'Thanks but, we only really wanted to know about how to get the cheapest tickets, you know, where you can stand at the back and watch like that?'
His face fell, his demeanour completely changed and he regarded me with the same expression one would find whilst examining something smelly and unpleasant that had been scraped off the bottom of a boot.
'Well' he stated, sanctimoniously 'if you want to stand for 8 hours in a queue in the freezing cold, that's your choice' 'They only open the doors 90 mins before the concert and then you have to wait with a load of other people and you can't see anything anyway' he added nastily.
Trying to avoid an all out row with this, obviously, quite fed up individual, I attempted to keep the tone light
'Well, its all about the music really isn't it! We would just like to go to the Opera'
'Then you can listen to it on the radio, can't you?' He added with a smile reserved only for the most idiotic morons to ever cross his path.
My patience started to crack ... this guy seemed to be being deliberately obtuse and treating me as if I was nothing less than a steaming pile of poop. Or was I imagining it?
I ploughed on ...
'Ok, but how can we get in ....' I meant can we get inside and ask at a desk but he interrupted me sharply ... 'Yes, you can get in but you won't see anything and whats the point of coming on holiday and going to the Opera and not being able to SEE IT?'
Ohhhhhh, now I got it!! He had mistaken us for tourists! Oh, well in that case ...
'Oh, no ... we're not tourists' I helpfully informed him 'We just want to come to the Opera' I added with a smile again. Now that had been cleared up, I was hoping for a little more warmth. Alas, I was again surprised ... now, the only veil shielding me from his complete and utter distain had finally been removed and he began his tirade ...
'Well, if you LIVE here then before you moved here you should have researched about the Opera house so that you knew how everything worked, shouldn't you ... I mean it's not fair that you come and live here and don't know ANYTHING about the Opera house. You should get some culture before you come here'
Or words to that effect ....
Stunned, I laughed incredulously ... was this guy joking or what? I looked into his face and he mimicked my laugh, clearly mocking me!
Something boiling hot erupted near the pit of my stomach ... rage that I hadn't felt since I was a teenager bubbled up inside me.
How DARE this guy (who coincidently was also a foreigner) make judgements about me! How DARE he look at me and see an uncultured idiot! How DARE he assume to know everything about me simply because of the way I look! He doesn't know ANYTHING about my circumstances or reasons for coming here ... he doesn't know ANYTHING about my education level or level of culture and he certainly doesn't know ANYTHING about me as a person!
I looked into his mocking face and allowed a teeny-tiny bit of the rage to spill over...
'Ok ... Mr Strange Person ...' I slowly stated, looking away from him and rolling my eyes petulantly 'We're going now, you obviously can't help us' and turning on my heel, I gave him my back and marched away. He was still shouting after me as I left 'GET SOME CULTURE!!'
I was so disturbed by this event that I didn't even know where I was going! I practically ran away from this person as fast as I could, putting more attention on my rage and indignance than where I was actually heading. My husband eventually caught up with me as I had left him standing there on his own!
I continued to be mad for roughly 2 hours and even dreamed about it that night! It rocked me to my core ... how could someone be so judgmental? How could a person be so rude and horrible? And possibly the most frustrating of all ... why hadn't I been able to handle it better? I mean, I'm supposed to be a Yogini for cripes sake! Where did my relaxed demeanour and present moment philosophy go then? Having spent so much time, energy and money trying to learn to be all Zen, it seemed like I hadn't progressed an inch! What was WRONG WITH ME!!!
Then it hit me ... NOTHING!! Nothing was wrong with me! I'M A HUMAN!
It was completely OK to get upset ... I had been judged, criticised and mocked and only the flippin' Dalai Lama could have been aware and present enough IN THAT MOMENT to realise that, in fact, it wasn't me that had the problem, it was the poor fellow acting out in that way ... and act accordingly.
It takes a special sort of person to be able to stay so present to all that happens that even when something takes them by surprise they can stay grounded and aware that the problem is NOT them ... it's the other person.
99% of us simply get dragged along by our limbic brain and NOTHING is wrong with that ... but ... and here is the nugget ... we must be able to recognise and accept that it happens. Once we recognise that sometimes our emotions get triggered, we can work with ourselves, not getting angry at, or beating ourselves up or speaking negatively about or (worse) to ourselves.
That was a hell of a lot of ourselves in one sentence but I'm glad you stayed with me there!
The deeper, more intuitive part of me had already realised that this guy was frustrated, energetically unbalanced and fed up even before he started to speak ... but the logical brain had simply labelled this as imagination, pushed it to one side and barged on ....
Just as I got so mad because this guy had judged me so wrongly I wondered how often we judge ourselves as being erroneous or broken ... ignoring our innermost intuition, squashing our instincts and labelling our emotions as wrong or as a sign that we are damaged somehow.
This insidious form of self hatred is so prevalent in our culture that we have gotten to the point where we no longer realise that we are thinking negatively about ourselves! It has become a sort of constant inner dialogue that taints our every interaction and makes us feel like crap every time we feel like we failed in a situation.
The thing is ... ACCEPTANCE IS THE KEY to PEACE! That's not to say that we should simply accept that we are an asshole and everyone else has to deal with it ... we should simply accept that sometimes we don't handle things the way we would like to, we feel negative emotions and we get caught up in them ... this doesn't mean we stop working with ourselves, it only means that we STOP trying to get BETTER and simply ACCEPT whatever is happening RIGHT NOW ... even if it sucks!
Allow yourself to simply feel the emotions that rise almost as if they were moving THROUGH you ... and know that without doubt, they will pass again.
I'll try to remember that next time I'm faced with a dickhead! LOL, kidding, kidding ... I'm super Zen really .... **cough**
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Big hugs X