If You Ain’t Happy Honey, It’s Just “Stuff” . . .By
I remember the “stuff” lecture from the old black woman in Savannah who used to cook and clean for a friend of mine. It seems like every time I was there, old Frederica – we called her “Freddie” – would throw out some pearl of wisdom based on her long and hard life that I now consider priceless.
Freddie was always smiling. She took life with a grain of salt and a pinch of mustard, then added her own sweet flavoring to shake and bake her experiences. And we loved her for it. Whenever there was a pressing problem, crisis, tragedy or upset, she would usually wave her hand in the air as if to wipe it away.
“They ain’t no reason to get your drawers in a wad honey,” she advised,
“Things has a way a comin’ and goin’ . . .”
And she was right. Just like a heavy fog settling in over our brains, “stuff” has a way of confusing us, upsetting us, confounding us, and hypnotizing us to believe its actually real. But its usually not.
“Stuff” – as I define it – is a type of negative energy, flotsam, jetsam or what the Ghostbusters called “etheric slime” that comes along and sticks to our brains and nervous systems. These hidden decisions are easily able to spread and multiply, primarily because our ego associates these functions as “me,” “mine,” or “ours.” Because of the “mine” blinders, we fail to see this as some kind of invading energy or force that may or may not have anything to do with us!
“Stuff” may have come by simply walking into a room after a big fight, for example, and you feel “weird” or “angry.” It may also have been directed at us consciously or subconsciously from other people when their emotional conflicts, ancestral beliefs, or cultural obsessions spill over.
“Memes” or mind viruses – are like this, but the meme is primarily a conscious factor that can be traced back to some statement or construct. For example, You may have heard some catchy jingle, a particularly political point of view, or an ad about “the starving children” that triggers your emotions. These are all advertising gimmicks that harness the power of the emotions to make you act.
“Stuff,” on the other hand, is a deeper, more universal manifestation of memes. It is usually not directed at you per se, but exists on its own – like a Venus flytrap waiting for its victim – the fly – to arrive. Once you experience these archetypal traps you’re gone, i,e., caught in a web of emotion that comes over you like waves on the beach. You are snared.
As soon as you become aware of them, the fears of your dead ancestors, the anger and resentment of a total stranger, or the horror and blank stares from victims of terrorism grab you and don’t let go. Most of the time this Stuff happens by subconscious transference, but even if you know what is happening, it still gets you!
So long as you consider these are YOUR thoughts and YOUR feelings, you will hold on to them with conviction and reverence. I remember this happened for years after my father died. I was gripped in a type of self-righteous anger that used to be his trademark expression.
It took me YEARS to finally come to grips with this malaise based on some misguided (and subconscious) decision to honor him. I finally released it, but the toll it took on my financial and personal life during those years was staggering.
There is a way out of the stuff. My wife and I do it daily, and you can too: discover the source of your emotional trigger, acknowledge it, sometimes get permission from it, then let it go. It takes practice, but hey! What else do you have to do??
Just don’t get your drawers in a wad.