I make myself laugh. Sometimes just because I’m bloody funny and sometimes because I have an old pattern that wants other people to think a certain way about me. And the thing is that the afore-mentioned ‘certain way’ changes all the flaming time. If only I could be consistent!
This afternoon I stopped and filled the car up with petrol in Germany. When I went in to pay, Pharrell Williams was on the radio singing ‘Happy’. So I chirped along quite loudly when it suddenly dawned on me that I wanted the young men (and when I say young, they were young enough to be my grandchildren for God’s sake) to LIKE ME and to think that I was COOL.
I did this by doing my best to be a) obviously English b) know the words to Pharrell and c) appear to have a jaunty gait.
I ask you – what does ‘obviously English’ even mean? I don’t even know what it MEANS but I was trying to be it! And why the chuff do I care about what two teenagers in a random petrol station in Germany think about me?! But clearly in that moment – I did. NOW do you see what I mean by funny? Bloody bonkers, more like.
I catch myself at this quite a lot. I was in the car park of my favourite hotel in Lucerne this afternoon, I pass through twice a year to and from Greece, when I caught sight of the manager. We always have a bit of a chat and I could feel myself composing my ‘hey, remember me, I’m a nice person!’ face (what does that even LOOK LIKE?).
Waiting, waiting – ah! There we go – recognition, phew.
And sometimes I can feel myself morphing into one of these guises and I catch myself in time and I relax and stop trying to force the situation. Forcing myself, forcing a belief onto others, forcing my insecurity and my need to be liked onto the world.
Hakuin, an old Japanese Zen Master, is credited as saying something like ‘the Buddha is like water and we are like ice. The sunshine of our awareness melts the ice and turns us into Buddha’. I share that A LOT because that’s what’s going on here.
An increased awareness of how I am, moment to moment. This is totally one of the things I love about mindfulness practice. Stick at it long enough and we may start to catch ourselves out in our own weird shittery. And there’s nowhere to go with it other than to notice, smile and relax and THEN see what happens. Sometimes the weird shit still happens, and other times we just flow, no stress, no forcing.
So, what story do you want the world to believe about you? And why?! You see, you’re bonkers too! 🙂