Friday, January 21, 2011

You Never Know



I was shoveling out the mailboxes after our third snowstorm in as many weeks, grumbling with each shovel full and thinking, typical! to myself after each pickup truck with a plow sailed past me without so much as a, "Hey, can I help you out there?"


A misanthrope and loner by nature since childhood (my mother would try to cajole me to come downstairs and recite poetry for her dinner guests and my standard response was always, "No, I don't like those people!"), I'm still staggered by how insensitive, unhelpful, and selfish my fellow humans can be (no, not all, and not always). And then, we hardly ever see ourselves through our own eyes. 


I had just heaved an exceedingly heavy shovel of snow and ice over the growing pile and was leaning with my head on the shovel handle when I heard what I immediately thought of as Reya's "Voice" (she speaks of it in her January 17th post titled All Along the Watchtowers).



I am no mystic. I'm not a Believer either. I'm a skeptic at worst, and a maybe-er at best. But I'm telling you I heard a voice and it said,  "Perhaps if you felt differently about your fellow man, he would appear differently to you." 


I picked up my head. Not a soul in sight. And then in my ear, "And if you keep shoveling while you wait for kindness to appear, at least the mailboxes will be cleared." 


How very Zen.


I'd like to say the next truck that appeared stopped and the driver offered to plow my driveway for me so I could get to the store for milk.  That did not happen. But? As I cleared the last shovel full of snow in front of the mailboxes, a pickup truck did stop and in it was my neighbor.  "I'm going into town, " he said. "Can I get anything for you?"


Reya often repeats two things in her blog posts. She insists on thinking we humans have some worth despite our awful shortcomings, and she pays attention to Voices. Perhaps I should, too.  It just may make a difference in the way the world appears to me from now on.



22 comments:

steven said...

pauline - i admire and am grateful for reya's wisdom and insight. it's cool to read your words describing an experience exclusively your own in which you find a commonplace with reya. seeing and hearing and feeling. steven

Pauline said...

Steven, thanks. I often think of myself as a pragmatist though enough unexplained things have happened to me (such as the Voice) that you'd think I'd find another label. I often can't identify with Reya's experiences because I have not had them. But, I know what I heard and it wasn't me talking out loud. No one was around. I didn't just "hear it in my head." I heard with my ears. I have no explanation. It wasn't (isn't) creepy, it's even kind of cool, but I have no rational explanation for it.

Marion said...

That's the thing, Pauline...you don't have to explain, you only have to accept. How wonderful that you heard a Voice that imparted so much wisdom!! and that you haven't discounted it. I love hearing stories like these...it makes me feel like I'm not the only one!

This is just a super post!!

Hilary said...

Sounds like an eye-opening.. or maybe an ear-opening experience. Things seem to "speak" to us in different ways. I'm finding that more lately than ever before. I just don't hear voices... yet. ;)

Molly said...

Oh dear, Pauline is hearing Voices! I see a slippery slope ahead Pauline. Maybe, if we hold hands, we can slide down it together? Better than alone! The Voice certainly made a lot of sense though.....

Teri said...

I love this post. I once heard a voice while I was in my laundry room and no one was around. I went outside and asked my husband what he wanted and he said that he hadn't said anything. Strange, these things that we cannot explain. It does make one stand up and take notice though. And the fact that you posted it for all of us out here makes it even that much more powerful I think.

Pauline said...

Marion - it's funny - I wrote this out so quickly and posted it without thinking too much about reader reaction (other than Reya's) until 3 a.m. when it occurred to me that some of you would think, "Uh oh." We have such interesting reactions to things that we have no experience with ourselves. I am not sure I've accepted this experience but I do know I had it ;)

Hilary - I have the usual voices in my head - the voice of reason, the little pricks of conscience, the reiterations of my mother, long since gone. I have conversations with myself to see what I really think, and occasionally I make up conversations with others so they'll think differently than they do just to placate me. I mutter imprecations at my checkbook and have conversations with my cat. Perhaps it was my shovel talking to me. It makes about as much sense as hearing voices.

Ah, see Molly? Exactly. Please come explain it to me so I don't feel quite so Alice-down-the-rabbit-hole-y. You're right though, it's good advice and obviously something I needed to hear.

Teri - bless you! And thank you. I know I'm not crazy. (Salvador Dali once said there was one difference between himself and a madman and it was that he wasn't mad.) I'm putting out there an irrational happening in the life of an otherwise rational person. It's interesting how little we really know and how much we're sure we do know about such things.

focusfinder said...

The voice in my head mused on the differences in spellings between British english and American english. Snow and plow for example: plough. 'S'nough for now.

Pauline said...

B - we Americans are silly sometimes, rejecting our old roots and our olde spellings for English unrelated to English. When I type colour or honour, for example, I get those telltale (wrong, wrong, wrong!) red lines. Though I had to decipher little (except the accent) whilst I was with you, I still prefer the plough to the plow. It's more genteel, somehow ;)

Tabor said...

LOvely insight and I am somewhat like you in that people can be such a bother...but we do need them, don't we?

Frank Baron said...

Experiences such as you describe are somewhat analagous to waking up and gradually becoming aware of the world. As you allow yourself to become more open, more receptive, you'll become attuned to signs and messages that would previously have been unnoticed. Congratulations. :)

Now I'll have to track down this Reya person....

Pauline said...

Tabor - I guess so...

Frank - thanks for that. I've always thought I was somewhat receptive to what the world had to teach me but I guess I can't leave my own kind out...

Reya Mellicker said...

Pauline this is so cool! The Voice!! It came to you. Too bad it is disembodied, otherwise maybe it could have helped you shovel.

Thank you for this - I'm thrilled to be so well thought of, especially learning this new fact about your distaste for our complicated species. We're not so bad! We have opposable thumbs and big brains, kind of a tricky combo.

Just for the record should say that I am a TOTAL skeptic. I could write a whole post about that. I just don't let the skeptical side keep me from listening - nor do I take what the Voice says without consideration.

You made my day! Wish I could help you shovel, I really do.

Reya Mellicker said...

Almost everyone I've ever known can relate to the voice in the shower. Even neurologists have written about what they think of as something that happens when the brain relaxes - flashes of insight and such.

Many people think I'm just plain nuts, including me - often! But I'm not hurting anyone, and I have a sense of humor around this, as do you.

Lizzy Frizzfrock said...

How fun to read Reya's effect on you. I find myself telling my husband that Reya said this or that. She certainly seeps into our feelings. Nice post.

Pauline said...

Reya - I am delighted that you came to read this. I could have used the help shoveling and an embodied voice might be more believable...

I like what Frank said in his comment, that perhaps I'm waking up. There's so much we don't know about our own universe, never mind alternate ones but I'm intrigued with my experience and willing to open my eyes a little wider.

I'm glad I don't hear Voices in the shower. That would be totally beyond my coping mechanisms. If I'm going to hear Voices, I'd prefer them to be in the relative safety of the great outdoors.

Lizzy - in a manner of speaking this is fun. I'm impressed by the number of comments that don't call me some kind of crazy.

Silver Fox said...

Hello, I found your post delightful insightful in a way that is so honest. Not trying to be complex or clever. In your words very Zen! I found reading this as so heartening. And delighted that you captured your thoughts and this moment is a gift! Reminds me at the pleasure I get at a gifted comedian who shares their experience of being alive ~ of themselves and others. Shattering the illusion that we are not alone and the humour. If you are crazy then so am I and if that's so then I think this is a happy crazy :o)

Pam said...

Hi Pauline. I discovered you through Reya. This voice experience has only happened to me once in my life. I was very busy at the time and it was strange and disconcerting. Like others mentioned,I was baffled who spoke,and went outside the house and looked around - no-one. The voice said to I don't know who..."it's alright, I'll get this one"..then to me, through my ears not mind,quite loudly "your daughter is waiting for you at the school. You had better go and get her now".
I was surprised and shocked to check that the time was way past our usual pickup time and hurried to see her waiting and worried at the gate alone. I like to think, or maybe don't like to think that, at 5 years old, she was being saved from walking home alone in a vulnerable or maybe even dangerous situation.
Usually so responsible, I felt gratitude for the help when I slipped up.

Pauline said...

Silver Fox - thank you for your comment. Happy crazy sounds like something we can all live with. I enjoyed perusing the quotes on your own blog.

Pam - I've read of warning voices such as you heard. It's good that you acted on it. This is only the third time something this uncanny but, dare I say solid? has happened to me. I'm not quite used to it yet and sincerely don't know what to make of it. Thanks for reading and commenting.

June said...

Oh Pauline! That kind of experience would never make me say, "Uh oh!"

I will be following Frank's footsteps to find Reya.

Jingle Poetry said...

love your creativity here.

Jingle Poetry said...

Greetings, Happy Monday! Blessings…

Friendship Awards, Enjoy!
You truly got talent here, your poetry is unbeatable, share 1 to 3 at our week 19 potluck today..
Thanks for the support, You Rock!
xxx