It’s a blustery Missouri winter evening. The wind is howling, the rain is banging against the windows. I’m curled up under a pile of blankets on the sofa, with two dogs, the cat and my eldest daughter. We are huddled against the cold and ready for a movie. We chose Disney’s recent rendition of “Into The Woods”. With two actors in the family, I have been in the audience of this production many times. But this time, his words cut through the spectaculars. I was inspired by his portrayal of the trials of womanhood beginning with his take of little red riding hood. She enters her journey naive. She was told to stay on the path, she was warned of the dangers of the big bad woods. Yet… in walks the handsome Johnny Depp. His words drip with niceness. He knows just what to say and how to say it. She brushes him away. His true nature is disguised by his nice clothes and smooth talking. Except… she thought she saw a little bits of fur peeking from under the edges of his costume. But he quickly averts her attention away from the truth with flashes of sparkling jewelry, “shiny things that she had never seen before”. With his “nice” words he guides her off of her path. He coerces her into making choices that she would have never made. Her eyes are opened to things that young girls have no business knowing. He flashes his captivating smile and talks his way into her home. Boom! He gobbles her up. Now trapped inside, he has all of the control. He owns her. Her lesson… Nice is different than good! A sad wisdom replaces the innocence and naiveté of childhood… “It’s nice to know a lot… but then again not.”
Sounds a little too familiar. Right?
Nice is an act of the mind. It has been taught. To those of you who are mothers, how many times have you said to your children “be nice” or how many times have we had it said to us? Nice is a behavior modification. It comes from our heads overriding instinct. Usually there is a pause before nice. Right? You see a need, you pause, you quickly weigh out the pros and cons and then you’re nice. We watch how people respond to our different approaches, and we learn quickly what is acceptable and what is not. Nice is learned. Most of us utilize this skill to live comfortably with one another. We tell little white lies and call it “nice”. We do things we don’t really want to do to be nice. Or, we stay in situations way to long because we don’t want to hurt someones feelings. Or we allow things to happen and instead of honoring ourselves and our needs we respond with politeness. This is niceness. It gets us into all sorts of trouble really. It puts us in a lot of unhealthy situations. Situations that have us trapped in our inner rules of niceness. Not to mention, isn’t nice a lie anyway? Pure uncolored truth comes when our thoughts, words and actions are in alignment. Nice? It never has all three. Now I’m not saying that nice doesn’t sometimes evolve into kindness. We may begin a project helping a friend out of obligation and then part of the way through forget how the act is affecting us and our world.
And then some learn how to use it to their advantage. They begin to see the fruits of this nice game. They watch. They learn. They understand that how they use this “nice” affects what they can get out of someone. They hone it until they have us eating from their hands. It becomes a skill. They are able to quickly gauge a person’s weaknesses and use their words as a salve to elicit the feeling of trust. Once trusted, they’re in. They gradually, ever so slowly, overtake our minds. They feed us the words that fill the holes from long ago. They guide us to want what they want, to think their thoughts, and in time we will be doing and behaving just like they want us to. Boom! We have been tamed… or trained. 🙂
People can smile and say nice words at the same time as they are causing you harm!
In this world with words splattered everywhere, we must look closely with discernment into what is underneath. Words are really a sub-form of communication. They have to be filtered through the story of the receiver and are open to a different interpretation by each listener. They can be said with no truth or integrity supporting them.
Words without action are just noise pollution.
The shift happens for us when we shift into a place of neutrality. Trust is earned over time. We walk forward awake and aware. We teach our children awareness instead of niceness. We allow them to begin to listen to their inner guidance as we relearn to hear ours. Awareness is not just and idea. To me it is absolute integration. Illusion is stripped away and we see life, ourselves and others as they truly are.
Let’s make a comparison to the type of awareness it takes to drive a car. We enter the game of driving with full awareness. We understand that we have no control over the other drivers. We understand that there is potential for a driver of another car to be impaired in some way or making poor choices. Yet we do it every day. We do it without fear. We eagerly teach our kids to do it fearlessly. We move out into traffic aware, our antenna is up. We hone in on all incoming information. We are aware of the space around us, alert to any encroachment into our personal space. We are observant to the actions of the other vehicles yet their actions are not taken personally. Our attention and focus is in the present moment… otherwise bad things happen.
What if we took the same model of awareness and turned it toward our interactions with people? We are approaching each interaction in the moment. There is no prepared story. We are trusting that things will be okay, but aware and ready to take action if action is required. You are present and alert to intent and motive… theirs and yours! Approaching life from a place of objectivity is the goal. In this place, the loudest voice you hear is your own.
We are woman! The direct connection to the Divine. All life… big and small… is created over and over again through us! Collectively we have birthed everything that breathes, plants, birds, our beloved furry friends, humans. We are God manifest!
Keep going! I have created an Empowering truth seeking meditation that you can download here for free. Just follow the prompts and you will be on your way! 🙂