Leaving Reality Behind
Getting stuck in a story of “what is” when it’s not what we want can be especially frustrating when we know that we have the power to change things simply by shifting focus.
Because sometimes it’s not that easy to do.
In fact, I got stuck in reality recently.
It started when my unstable drug-dealing crackhead neighbor who made multiple death threats against several of us in one weekend (including the vet who made a house visit and the plumber). I blamed my neighbor for the reason I was upset. Here’s a little taste of what was going on:
(You can hear this story in my own words here.)
He’d recently been released from prison and came to live with his grandmother, my favorite neighbor. Very soon the entire neighborhood was living in fear and frustration, and I was getting the full brunt of his abuse.
He trained his German Shepherd dog to kill my cats, laughed out loud when he knew he’d woken me up in the middle of the night, dealt and did drugs in his front yard in the middle of the day (and night), tried to engage my boyfriend in a duel, swore at his grandmother when he caught her talking to me, threatened to kill me, swerved onto front lawns when kids are playing in their own front yards … the guy is truly off-kilter.
The “truth,” as I and fellow neighbors told the police detectives, was that this guy was a drug dealing addict who respected no one (including the police) and was a danger to everyone in the neighborhood.
My list of reasons for anguish was long – and well-documented by the police. My other neighbors had similar reasons for being upset, too – which made it even more true. It wasn’t just me – lots of us felt this way! And we reinforced it with each other. The “reality” was we were dealing with a dangerous psychopath who could take all of us out at any moment.
So that’s where I was. Can you feel what a strong story I had going?
And I know how this works. I know that as long as I’m flowing anger, frustration and other negative vibes, that’s all I can attract – more experiences that feel must like that.
As long as I send this energy out, I continue this same reality.
And I know that to change the reality, I have to change my energy.
So before I have any “reason” to feel differently, I have to find a way to start feeling differently. Or I’ll be stuck here forever.
I know moving isn’t the answer, because I’ll just take my ‘hate my neighbor’ vibe with me, and voila – there will be a new problem neighbor wherever I go.
My work is right here. With my best next door teacher.
What do I want? That’s the question I go to when I’m tired of feeling awful.
Well, I want Peace, Quiet, Appreciation, and Love.
I write these words down on a sticky note. They’re still taped to my computer terminal as I type this, even.
That’s what I want. How does that feel?
I conjure up feelings of peace, quiet, appreciation and love. Okay, I got it. That feels good. That’s what I’m after. That’s a good start to shifting the energy.
And two hours later the neighbor is cursing at my dogs who are barking while he conducts illegal business in his front yard with yet another shady character. As I connect with feelings of anger and resentment and fear again, I remind myself that’s not what I’m creating.
That’s not what I want.
What I want is peace, quiet, appreciation and love. I can get there. Even here, while I’m in the midst of something that would normally inspire very different feelings, I can get there. Because I’m in charge of how I feel. I’m in charge of what I create.
I talk myself to a better place. I conjure up the good feelings again. All is well. It’s okay, Jeannette. He’s just here to give you practice. It’s all good. Where would you get a better teacher than this?! Tough to imagine. God bless him for being willing to wear the black hat to teach you unconditional love.
Sometimes I could go with those thoughts. Sometimes it was more like, “He’s digging his own grave and can’t last much longer,” or “That sounds like a nasty cough – maybe he’ll get sick enough to die” or “Maybe he’ll move in with his new girlfriend” or “The recidivism rate is 87% for hell’s sake (yes, I looked it up); it’s just a matter of time before he’s back in prison.”
So it wasn’t always love and light, but I regularly practiced talking myself into a better feeling place. For weeks. I certainly didn’t get there overnight.
And I’ve been getting better at it. I can feel the difference.
I knew that if I could consistently get on the vibe of Peace and Appreciation and Love, that he couldn’t continue the way he has been. I thought he’d end up in prison or the morgue or at least someone else’s neighborhood.
But I was wrong …
Over these last few weeks I practiced finding my way out of frustration and anger to Peace, Appreciation and Love. Late Monday night I got a phone call from him.
He spent five minutes apologizing for being a bad neighbor, asking my forgiveness, promising to change (including seeking out mental health support), and wanting me to know that he respects me and would never hurt me or anyone I loved or any of my property. He was in tears within seconds of talking, and so was I after we hung up.
There it is.
There’s the Peace, Appreciation and Love I’ve been calling in. I didn’t think he was capable of it, but I was wrong.
I knew he meant it when he said it, and the next day he had a dramatic opportunity to prove it.
The German Shepherd he’s been trying to train to kill my cats actually had a prime opportunity to do so. His dog took off like a bat out of hell when she spotted Elsa (Russ’ favorite cat) across the street. Elsa ran like her tail was on fire, and my neighbor followed suit faster than both of them. He ran after his dog like his life depended on it, because he did NOT want a bad ending for my cat, certainly not at the jaws of his dog. I knew then we’d truly turned a corner.
Now I can easily feel the Peace and Appreciation and Love. Even as he’s chasing down his dog chasing down my cat (who easily found a safe spot). Nothing but love for a guy that I certainly wasn’t loving just a few weeks ago.
Over the next days and weeks my neighbor became a whole different person. He raked my leaves, he shoveled my sidewalk, he chatted with me at the fence like a friend would. He even whispered when he conducted his drug deals outside at night. “Shhh, my neighbor’s sleeping.)
It was quite the transformation.
(Interestingly enough the rest of the neighborhood didn’t feel the same changes I did. But they also probably weren’t practicing the love like I was, either.)
We live with our best teachers. Mine has taught me even better how to flow what I want, even in the midst of a very contrary reality.
(Dad reminded me at lunch this from Carolyn Myss: “Your task is to learn the lesson that the teacher has for you rather than to resent the teacher.”)
For other creators who continue to focus on the reality they don’t want – the work is the same. Find a way to feel what you want before you have any reason to. That’s the deliberate creation work for ALL of us.
Once you’re there vibrationally, the Universe MUST yield to you. And it will seem like a miracle when it does. 🙂