"Before you speak, ask yourself: Is it kind, is it necessary, is it true, does it improve on the silence?"
I have a gossip hangover this morning.
You know the drill. A group of moms out together, drinking wine, talking, laughing. Then someone brings up "the one."
The one mom that everyone finds a little bit annoying, a little bit arrogant, a little bit....whatever. And let the stories begin. "She....You won't believe this....Well, last week...."
And then it was my turn.
The thing is, I don't really have a beef with this person. She does carry a certain energy that says, "Beware. Don't get too close or you'll get burned." And I do avoid her somewhat for that reason, but I've never had a really bad interaction with her. Nonetheless, I added my two cents (that's about all I had) when the time came.
And I felt okay about it at the time. I didn't say anything that wasn't true or was particularly character eviscerating, but still...
At 6:30 this morning I woke up with a headache, feeling sick to my stomach. (And, no, it wasn't the alcohol, I stopped at two drinks and sipped water the rest of the evening.)
I'd done it again. Descended into the pit of gossip.
Why did I do it?
1) I had a bad day at work yesterday and didn't have time in between to "process" by telling anyone about it.
2) I had two glasses of wine, not enough to make me drunk, but enough to make me a little "loose in the lips."
3) Old habits die hard.
I used to be a pro gossip, albeit a stealthy one.
I was the one who wouldn't say anything bad about anyone MOST OF THE TIME. But when someone did something to really piss me off I would let loose the longest most vitriolic stream of consciousness accounting of their failures, flaws, and f-ups you've ever heard. And people LOVED it. Because I rarely did it - I saved it up for "special" occasions - I could command a crowd with my special brand of vitriol, especially men. Yeah, me! (Hopefully the sarcasm is coming through loud and clear!)
Why does it matter?
1) It wasn't necessary for me to have a good time.
2) By putting myself out there as the writer of a spiritual blog I have raised the bar on what is (and should be) expected of me.
3) Finally, and most importantly: This is not who I want to be.
What do I wish I had done differently?
1) Walked out of the bar?
2) Defended the woman being gossiped about?
3) Listened quietly while judging the others for gossiping?
NONE OF THE ABOVE.
What I wish I had done (and hope to do next time) is listen without judgment so that I could discover the hidden message I was sending to myself.
Because that's what I believe. This came up for me for a reason. For my learning. To be cleaned and cleared. To show me something in myself that still needs work.
What is it about this woman that made me feel I needed to add to the fray?
She is a bit arrogant, a bit impervious, a bit competitive and judgmental. All of these things have gotten her into trouble and led to her being the topic of conversation. But if I am honest with myself the reason I joined in was not because of anything SHE has done to me or anyone else. The reason I joined in was because SHE REMINDS ME OF ME and by damning her I try and save myself.
But, of course, it doesn't work that way. By damning her I have also damned myself and all of those who were there that night. Not permanently or irrevocably, but nonetheless....
What am I doing now?
1) I am living with this quote today and being grateful that it only took me 8 hours to remember that this is not who I want to be.
2) I am practicing Ho'oponopono knowing that further damning myself only further damns her and all those who were there last night as well.
3) I am starting over. From here. Right where I am. And hoping to do it better next time....