Well, America’s Inner Peace Coach cries “Uncle” in a sigh of defeat. I am humbled. Helpless in my human reaction. In the face of THIS “inner peace culprit,” I got whooped!!!
Maybe you can relate…
I live in a condo complex here in Southern California. Every week, without fail, the lawn maintenance team comes with their trusty weed-eaters and grass grooming devices. Each Thursday, I find myself mildly annoyed by the revving up and down of this “helpful” invention. But, it’s typically only a FEW hours each week, so I hadn’t given it TOO much attention.
But, being as passionate about inner peace as I am, and more importantly, committed to reducing suffering where ever possible…I decided to buy noise-canceling headphones as a Christmas present to myself.
I THOUGHT this would help.
And, it did…a little.
But, a big “Inner Peace Test” was coming my way.
For some reason, our Homeowners Association thinks it’s a good idea to trim trees. Why purposely scalp a perfectly beautiful tree? Seems silly. Not to mention… NOISY!!!
So, I geared up for Day 1…
And, they began. Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr! Rrrrrrr! Rrrrrr! Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr! Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr! Rrrrr! Rrrrrrrrr! Rrrrrrrrrr! Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr! Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr! Rrrrrrr! Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr! Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!
I reached for my new noise canceling headphones, with a competitive smirk on my face.
Sadly, you can STILL hear chainsaws through noise-canceling headphones!!! But, it wasn’t — AS bad. Annoying, but not annoying enough to write about.
On the third day, my schedule was FULL of coaching appointments. The noise was SO distracting, I reached for an ear plug for my outside ear. It too, helped, just a teeny bit.
The unsettling noise continued…starting and stopping and starting and stopping. Nothing regular when it comes to chainsaws or weed-eaters!! Arrrrghhh!
Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr! Rrrrrrr! Rrrrrr! Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!
Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr! Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr! Rrrrr! Rrrrrrrrr! Rrrrrrrrrr!
Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr! Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr! Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!
Of course, everything life dishes out is an opportunity, right?
The previous week, my coach had challenged me to push the edges of my ability to be “calm” and “peaceful” by trying to find calm in otherwise non-peaceful situations — like watching a movie with a lot of violence.
During this ear-piercing day, I remembered the assignment — and knew THIS was my opportunity. I consciously started focusing on “finding calm” and “inner peace.”
Could I become ONE with the noise?
Could I find a way to ACCEPT it?
Could I connect to my own inner peace WITH chainsaws revving?
Well, I tried. I really did. And, as long as the “hum” continued I could connect…and embrace it. Though, only for a split second.
Of course, there is nothing regular about trimming trees!! Arrrrrgggghhhh!
Then it got WORSE.
How could that be possible? %$%??&*%$??@#@!!!!!
After chopping down the poor trees, they put the branches into an evil “tree shredding machine.” These things should be illegal. Or, at least require some kind of muffler. WAY more ear-piercing than the little ‘ol weed-eater I’d grown “accustomed” to. I’m certain all the workers for this company are hearing-impaired. At least I had a wall or window between the noise and me. And, occasionally an earplug or headphones. Lordy!!
The symphony began. Chainsaw. Rrrrrrrrr! Shredder. RRRRRRR! RRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR! Rrrrrrrrr! What? NOT another chainsaw? Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz! Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr! RRRRRRRRRRR! Rrrrr! Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz! RRRRRRRRRRRRRRR! Rrrrrrr! RRRRRRRRRRRRR! RRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR! Rrrrrrr! Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz! RRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!
This is when I knew I’d been defeated. TOO much start and stop for this inner peace coach. TOO loud for my poor little eardrums to handle. TOO much!
So…the evening began as any normal human being would do after being tortured by the invasive chaos all day.
I vented to my husband John. AND, had a glass of wine.
I felt into my agony. I felt into my victim-hood. I complained about how my ears were hurting. Even though the experience was over, it sure felt good to EXPRESS the frustration!
Then, my husband suggested we meditate. So we did.
And, my inner peace quotient rebuilds again. (My ears are STILL recovering though!)
This experience reminds me what everyday inner peace is all about. It’s NOT about being “at peace” 24/7 — it’s more about embracing ALL aspects of OUR humanity. Hello frustration! Hello annoyance! Hello victimhood! Hello humility! When we don’t make these experiences wrong…then, we are truly free.
And, as far as embracing weed-eaters, chainsaws and tree shredders, I’m still working on embracing these realities of life. In fact, I think it’s best to just AVOID these evils – if you can. In the meantime, you’ll see me working with noise-canceling headphones, ear plugs, and insisting on storm windows in our next home. God bless those who rev up these machines.
How do you handle these kinds of experiences?
I’d love to hear from you.