Saturday, December 1, 2012

Monsters Under the Bed

Photo of the month:
Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.
The Wizard of Oz

Quotes of the month:
Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.
- The Wizard of Oz

Do not anticipate trouble or worry 
about what may never happen. Keep in the sunlight.
- Benjamin Franklin

Think back to when you were a child. Did you ever watch a scary movie before going to bed? For me two movies come to mind... Alfred Hitchcock's, "The Birds" and one particular snake scene from the James Bond movie, "Live and Let Die."

After the movie, when it was time to go to sleep, were you so frightened that you didn't want to be alone in your bed? Of course your parents, knowing everything was fine, sent you to bed anyway. As you lay in your bed, frozen with fear.... you were absolutely certain.... that there must be.... that there had to be.... monsters under the bed!!!!!!!!

You summon up the courage to get out of your bed and look...  It turns out that there really were not any monsters under there after all. Confident, you climb back in bed, pull the covers up... and then realize your mistake.... of course they aren't under the bed... that's because.... they are in the closet!!!!!!!!!!!

Now that we are grown ups.... we can go to bed confident that there are not any made up monsters under our bed... or can we?

Let me paint a scenario.... you are at work and walk by a co-workers cubicle. Inside, two co-workers are not working at all, but sitting, talking and laughing. As you walk by, you hear the laughing get even louder. What is your first thought?

Here are a few possibilities....

  • What are they saying? They must be laughing at me. I can't believe they would be talking about me behind my back like that!
  • Look at them, goofing off again. I'll probably have to do more work to make up for their slacking.
  • Why am I being excluded from their conversation? I always get left out!

Maybe you could add a few of your own. Please feel free to do that in the comments!

Let's try another one.....
You call a friend to ask them to go to dinner. Your friend is very short with you and tells you they can't have dinner tonight.

What monsters come to mind?
  • I can't believe they would treat me like that. I am always the one who has to reach out and look where it gets me. Alone again!
  • I wonder what I did wrong.... why don't they like me anymore?
  • Forget them.... I've had it with them!!!

Do you have any to add?

As always, I try to keep the examples Simple and clear. Obviously in the first example, you have no idea what they are actually laughing about. They may have just read a funny e-mail joke or maybe one of them did something embarrassing and told the other one the story. You are no where to be found in either of these possibilities. In the second scenario, you may not realize that your friend just got very bad news about a family member and isn't thinking clearly. What your friend really needed was a friend to reach a little further.... but instead we get angry.  Both of these involve our reactions to other people, but it could also be that you are worried about something that has not happened yet or are feeling guilty about something from the past.  According to Wayne Dyer, the two most useless emotions are worry and guilt, but more on that another day.  He is in good company with the Benjamin Franklin quote above.

These are the made up "monsters" of the adult world. The things that push our buttons, upset us, or make us scared or angry before we really fully know the facts, but really are not real at all. This month, the Simple suggestion I am making is to take a close look at your own life and see where you may be making up a monster or a story about something that is going on in your life.

In a memorable scene from the classic film "The Wizard of Oz," the "great and powerful Oz" appears larger than life to Dorothy and her crew. Frightened, they inch forward towards the booming, fire spewing image they believe to be the real Oz. Toto comes to the rescue!  Running over to a curtain and pulling it back, he reveals that a man is pushing buttons and pulling levers. They realized that the larger than life image is, in fact, not real, but being created by "the man behind the curtain." At this point, he utters that famous line in the quote above, "Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain." But it is too late. He is found out.

Our mind, our ego or on this blog, I have also used the words "voice" or "tapes" that play in our head are similar to this movie scene. Whichever word you choose to use doesn't matter. The voice is trying to convince us that something is real when in reality it is just fiction or imagination made up by the man behind the curtain. It is creating a monster under the bed. Just as in "The Wizard of Oz," in reality, it has no real power over us.

One of my favorite quotes on this subject comes from Adyashanti. He says, "One of the good indications of truth is does it exist when you're not thinking about it?" Going back to the first scenario in the office, the only place you are being left out is in your own mind. Stop thinking about it and that disappears! In the second scenario about dinner, the only place you are being treated badly is also in your own mind. The solution is the same. Stop! At the very least, choose a different story. Tell yourself that they are intimidated by your good looks and don't want to have to be seen in public with you! : ) In reality, this is just another "monster" of a different type. It's Simply an example of how we create all different types of things in our minds.

This holiday month, if you want to make up a story, let's believe the best about each other instead of the worst. Better yet, pull open the curtain or climb under the bed and reveal that there are in fact no monsters there at all!!!

If you would like to watch a short clip of this scene from "The Wizard of Oz," scroll down to the next post and enjoy!

Until next month...
Happy Holidays and keep it Simple!


kristin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
kristin said...

It's funny ... the picture you paint for this month's simply. It's funny because I am always using that example for my kids. I tell them "Don't feed the monster." I sometimes say it to them when they are teasing each other or when a friend at school has hurt their feelings. I tell them to let go of what they think the other meant and just listen to the actual words. Yes, write a new story! Or better yet let it go ... I like this post, Peni. Thank you! I do like to clean out from under the bed from time to time ...

Anonymous said...

The scary movie that always did me in was "Psycho." Funny, now that I am an adult, I am sometimes "psycho" in my thought processes. I have come full circle. Thanks for reminding me that the monsters are really in my head.

Anonymous said...

Hi Penelope -- GREAT analogy! The monster image is something to put your finger on easily so as to readily identify when it's happening. This makes it EASY to grasp so it's easy to identify. Giving that feeling a name too!

So, not only are we slaying the dragons!! but the monster too and onward to become the hero of our own journey. It really puts it in perspective. There's so many sides and dimensions to that dawg monster too!!! Makes me think of the 4 agreements you introduced -- a biggie --- "don't make assumptions"...when open the window to that -- that little seed of a monster starts growing into a baby monster that one day its benign then all of a sudden it goes off the rails....THANK YOU for all YOU Do!