This morning I remembered that I'd dropped the ball on getting back to someone about meeting up. My sister-in-law's friend recently moved up here, and we emailed almost two months ago, saying we'd get back in touch in late September to make plans.
But neither of us did. And it was nothing personal. It's just that life happened. Distractions happened. I went in and out of forgetting completely and then remembering but not reaching out because of not being available yet or not having clarity on my availability.
And remembering to contact her this morning, and finally emailing her back about meeting up, comes at the perfect time for me. It makes me laugh. It even soothes my soul a bit. It's like one of those "aha!" moments. Why?
Because there are a few people who I haven't heard from who either said they'd be in touch or who I left messages for that have not yet been returned. And I was starting to make up stories about it. Not for each of them, but for a couple of them. I was starting to take it personally and/or starting to make character judgments or assumptions because of their lack of communication. And that's not really fair. Because here's the thing: we all do this. And although sometimes it can indicate something about someone's character or an unhealthy relationship dynamic, sometimes it really doesn't mean anything other than that life gets busy and distracting, and sometimes we forget.
Sometimes it's not personal. Sometimes it is. Sometimes it's a conscious choice. Sometimes it's not. Sometimes it's about priorities. Sometimes it's not. People get busy. People get distracted. People forget. People drop balls. And sometimes that feels shitty. But sometimes it's okay.
I just love that this happened today because it was like one of those real life examples of that saying about how what we don't like in others is what we don't like in ourselves (or something like that). And I don't like it when I drop the ball. I'm usually really good about following through, especially when it involves others. I usually either do what I say I'm going to do or I let the person know it'll be a bit longer or that I can no longer do what I said I'd do....
Oh, but as I type that I recognize that if I'm being totally honest, then this isn't the only thing at play for me in this situation. In fact, the main thing is probably a childhood wound around rejection and other kids not wanting to play with me. Even though there's plenty of evidence to support that others do want to "play with me," this old childhood wound still wreaks havoc from time to time. And I'm working on it. Admitting to it here feels helpful, like a form of releasing it. And a way to gently hold myself accountable to not let it get the best of me.
I didn't expect this blog entry to go there. But here we are.
So, what's this blog entry really about? It's about not taking things personally, having compassion, and also having the courage to look at what's underlying our painful thoughts and feelings. Is the painful thought and feeling really because of what's currently happening? Or is some old trauma or wound influencing how you perceive what's happening?
This kind of self-inquiry is so important for optimal well-being and personal growth, and for having healthier, happier relationships--both with others and with yourself!
So I invite you to ask yourself those questions next time you catch yourself taking things personally or making up stories about others.
Another helpful tool is the Judge Your Neighbor worksheet, from Byron Katie. You can download a free pdf to guide you through a process of self-inquiry, questioning what's really true, and releasing yourself from the bondage of painful thoughts and feelings. Get it here. You can also just identify one painful thought and do "The Work" (Katie's 4 questions at the bottom of the worksheet) rather than going through the entire worksheet. Depends on what's bothering you and if it has anything to do with other people in your life or not.
If you try it out, let me know how it goes.
That's all for now!
I'm sitting on the couch in the rec room of my parents' house on Mercer Island. This was my childhood home from the age of 8 on up. And 23 years ago, when I was 16, on a Monday, on President's Day, the first day of mid-winter break, I remember being in this room.
In the earlier part of the day I was watching Pulp Fiction with two friends. And then, after taking them home, I found myself back in this room, back on the couch, in front of the TV, watching Melrose Place.
And then I went to bed. It must have been 9 or 10pm, which was pretty early to go to bed during a vacation, but I was sleepy, so I went to sleep.
But not for long.
Around midnight, I received a phone call on my parents' landline. I had a phone in my room, but the ringer was off. My mom knocked on my door, though. She said someone was calling from work.
I worked at Tony Maroni's pizza. I knew it wasn't really a call from there. But I crawled to the foot of my bed and answered the phone. And soon I was getting into someone's car to go watch The Usual Suspects. But we didn't make it to our movie-watching destination...
There's more to this story, a lot more, and it's in a manuscript I mostly finished back in 2012. And some day I'll finish it, when I know what the point is of sharing it and how the story ends.
But for now I'll just say, for those of you who don't already know, that night I was in a nearly fatal, highly traumatic car accident.
You can read an old blog post about it here--a blog post that inspired me to convert that whole manuscript into the style of "epic poetry." No joke. I worked on that conversion in my friend's attic, where I was temporarily living, when I first moved down to Austin to work with Master Li on his books.
It's tempting to share some more of it here. But for now I feel it's best to just redirect you to my old blog.
And speaking of now, what more do I have to say about this day?
Anniversaries are stored in the cells, which can feel like a gift or like a curse. Or like both.
I've done a ton of healing--physically, emotionally, energetically, you name it--and the driver and I are on good terms. But every year, as February 19 and 20 approach, I feel it. I feel a combination of things, and it's shifted over the years to be mostly positive. I have more of a survival story than a victim story now. I feel grateful for the blessings in disguise and the gifts that have come from this experience. I see how the accident and its aftermath have shaped my life in mostly good ways.
But I'd be lying if I said it was all good. I even just recently found out about an impact of the accident I hadn't anticipated. And some day I probably will share more about that. But not today.
Today I just sit with it all and don't feel like saying much more. I sit with the blessings and gifts, as well as the harmful impact. I sit with the perfection of it all, even the parts that have been hard. I know it's all part of my path. And I'm grateful to have survived. I'm grateful for this life.
Rebecca Clio Gould is a Certified Sheng Zhen Teacher and Holistic Wellness Coach. Her specialties include self-love, embodied joy, women's sexuality, spirituality, surgery preparation, and trauma recovery. She is also a Supreme Science Qigong Instructor, Essence vs Form Coach, and Award-winning Author of "The Multi-Orgasmic Diet: Embrace Your Sexual Energy and Awaken Your Senses for a Healthier, Happier, Sexier You."