Cosmic Bitch-Slap

Catalyzing the Confidence that Redefines and Optimizes All your Relationships

Cosmic Bitch-Slap

Catalyzing the Confidence that Redefines and Optimizes All your Relationships

Cosmic Bitch-Slap

Catalyzing the Confidence that Redefines and Optimizes All your Relationships

Who the Hell is Talking to Me?

Smart people all over the world hate the thought of doing something stupid, this being universally perceived as the ultimate transgression against intelligence. My intelligent life was usually productive, fairly gratifying, and mainly pleasurable. When not working on movies I spent my days reading, taking morning hikes, watching films, hanging out at the beach, concocting ethnic dinners, and entertaining friends. Clean, uncluttered, tranquil, and filled with light, my space was a place I loved inhabiting.

I’d first heard a tiny soft voice in an insane dialog when it told me that I no longer wanted to make movies and a big loud voice immediately told it to fuck off. The tiny voice persisted however, and I realized it was the voice of my heart speaking truth to me. In some kind of perverse reaction to hearing the tiny voice, I was now paying attention to what the big loud voice was actually saying and one of the comments it frequently shouted was soon heard. In less than a week, in fact. I was cutting a piece of Feta cheese from a large block and when I accidentally dropped a hunk on the floor, the big voice immediately bellowed –

Stupid Bitch!

Wait, what?

Hearing that senseless condemnation, I remembered the many times it had been said before whenever something minor or accidental happened. I had all the big stuff covered, but if something small and inconsequential happened, that voice was all over it! And always saying the same thing.

Stupid Bitch!

I also remembered thinking at the time –

It was an accident, why would you say that?

Stupid Bitch!

And then I got angry – 

What the hell is your problem?

Stupid Bitch!

And then I got really really really angry –

Who’s talking shit to me like this over a goddamn piece of cheese falling on the floor?

Neither of my loving parents would ever say anything like that to me. Nobody in my family would ever speak to someone that way. None of my friends would ever sling that kind of crap at me. People I worked with were far more professional than to talk trash like that.

So who the fuck is this, talking to me?

Into my head popped the reply –

It’s you, Silly! It’s the voice of your own mind. It’s you talking to yourself!

But, but, but hang on a minute – this big loud voice only ever talks trash. Berating and disapproving, or judging and blaming, or emphasizing faults and flaws, it’s always negative. How can all that negativity possibly be me? And when that tiny voice talked, it felt true and it felt right. Are you kidding me? This big loud voice is totally full of shit!

In a flash I understood that the big loud voice of my mind was completely separate from the tiny soft voice of my heart. Just because it was way louder didn’t mean it spoke the truth. Just because it had more to say didn’t mean I had to listen. Instantly relieved and certain I was right about the big loud voice, I sensed I’d just made a significant choice. Interestingly, I never again heard that stupid bitch comment.

The voice also happened whenever I found myself contemplating a future outside the film industry. I was revisiting an obsessive question that revolved around in my head when I felt trapped and unhappy working on movies, and it always generated anxiety and stress. This simple question, endlessly repeated, had never been answered.

I would be out walking when the sun rose on another new day. Whenever I wasn’t on a shoot I would roll out of bed and hit the trail for my three-mile walk, get back home before I fried in the sun, and hang out with coffee and a book. The mental tranquility of my morning walk had been disturbed by the same inane mental conversation for a while now –

What will I do if I don’t do this?

You should know how to do something else!

I don’t know how to do anything else.

Exactly!

Who says I’m supposed to know how to do something else?

Somebody as smart as you should know how to do something else!

Why can’t I just learn something new?

Don’t be an idiot! You’ve invested years in this career! Are you just gonna throw that away? To try and learn something new? You’ve gotta be kidding me!!!

Yes! I want to learn something new and try something else.

You’re too old to learn something new!

This time, I was having that same circumlocution, but something clicked. Hearing this voice slung me back to the stupid bitch comment and I knew that this was the same thing. It was the same voice talking the same trash. I remembered that I could choose not to believe, or even listen to the shit this voice was always saying.

Endlessly disparaging and critical, or disdainful and sneering, or bitter and discouraging. Never anything positive or encouraging or supportive like –

You’re so smart and gifted – you would be good at whatever you did, and you can do whatever you want anywhere in the world, having fun adventures wherever you go!

Right???

Fueled by my discovery of choice I was eager to see if I could tell the big loud voice to shut up whenever it started talking. In a classic control freak move, I promised myself I would sit and listen for the big loud voice and have a showdown when it showed up again for more trash talk.

Waiting for the showdown, I started spending longer periods of time out on my porch looking at the sky, watching the birds, and looking at the encroaching lushness of the yard. Gradually I stopped worrying about what would happen next. I stopped thinking about the film business. I stopped thinking about what I would do. I stopped thinking about what I could learn. I just kinda stopped thinking altogether. Not used to being still and silent, it took me a while to figure out that this is what calmness feels like. I wasn’t antsy to get anywhere, do anything, call anyone, clean the house, plan any meals or throw any parties. Shocked that I was cool with not having to work it all out right now, I thought about having choices and decided it was ok to choose the calmness for a change.

One day I was thinking of my precious blue-eyed mother who was a popular volunteer ESL, (English as a second language) teacher at a local church for mostly Korean immigrants with a few Central American and Iranian adult students thrown into the mix. Despite lacking a university degree, my mother was providing an invaluable service to these people trying to make their way in a confusing new world. Being educated, outgoing, articulate, and well-traveled, I was confident that once qualified, I could teach ESL in LA and possibly help people succeed there with improved English language skills. Hmmmmm, how interesting.

The more I thought about this new idea, the more it seemed definitely doable to me. Something that would be completely different, but something I already knew. Something that would be rewarding and challenging. Something that would benefit people who were interested in improving their lives instead of belittling the people around them. Something that was suddenly irresistibly and intriguingly new!

This new idea occupied my mind to the exclusion of everything else, driving me nuts. But once accepted, my focus effortlessly shifted from my comfort routines to refocus on learning, and the challenge and gratification it brings. I researched as many qualification options for certification to teach ESL as I could find and eventually enrolled in a TESL certification course at UCLA. In other words, I took action. I took a small step towards something totally new and completely different.

As soon as I did it, I felt a rush of elation and exhilaration at the adventure resumed, filled with unknown people, places, and possibilities. I noticed at the time that these feelings weren’t the usual adrenaline rush from shooting a movie, but a different kind of rush from doing something important for myself. Hearing the tiny voice whispering encouragement and support for this new idea, I felt sure I was doing the right thing.

But pretty soon, unable to stay away, the big loud voice came back to talk some serious trash –

You’ve been out of school for 25 years – you won’t be able to handle this!

Everybody there will be smarter that you are!

Your young classmates will all think you are an idiot!

This will never go anywhere, and you’ll be back where you started!

Why would you waste all that money on something you’ll never do?

I recognized the voice of my mind almost instantly this time, and my reaction was –

Shut. The. Fuck. Up.

The immediate recognition followed by the obscene rejection filled me with a huge sense of accomplishment. Deep down inside, I finally got that I didn’t have to believe this loud bullshit- spewing voice, and I could totally believe the tiny voice that always only ever speaks the truth.

Once I learned to distinguish the difference between the mind voice and the heart voice, I felt less anxious about what was going to happen to me knowing I could always listen for the truth. I felt safer too, because I knew I would hear the heart voice if I was still and silent. I was relieved that I now knew how to be still and silent. And I was overwhelmed with gratitude for this unexpected insight.