I frequently feel both humbled and amazed by the way my psyche hijacks my peace of mind and when it happens it invariably takes me by surprise. It leaves me feeling a little “oh no not again”, before I remember my daily intention to “learn and find meaning from life’s experiences”. Recently the phone rang; it was my friend Philip from Cortes Island; he is handling the restoration of power at my place there after a violent windstorm dropped a tree limb on my power supply. It has been a much more extensive job than expected and one of the recommendations is to take down four trees that run along the property line because they are unsafe. He had the faller there but the job has been interrupted because someone renting the neighbour’s house has asked if they are sure the trees are on my land and he was not sure what to do. I cannot get power hooked up until the trees are removed because the lines need to be down. I noticed my response was firm, clear but there was some energy attached to it. “It’s a safety issue, they are on my land, I will take full responsibility”. After I hung up, I realized that I didn’t know really if the trees were on my land and frankly I didn’t care. I wanted the job done, my power back and I would handle problems afterwards. I moved on or at least I presumed I had as I thought I had made the right decision. However, after the call my day seemed to collapse in on itself like a soggy yorkshire pudding; first I lost motivation to do anything productive; I got ready to go out for a walk, (it was a beautiful fall day); got my fleece on but never got out of the door. My progress was interrupted by a bar of chocolate sitting on the counter in the kitchen; I opened it, had a piece then suddenly it was gone; it barely left a taste in my mouth. I was curiously horrified; I never eat chocolate at that time of day and I never eat a whole bar; my curiosity waned quickly as the idea of playing a video game on my computer flitted into my mind and I became immersed in conquering Egyptian invaders.
As I write these words I am astounded that my resistance was so great and that I could ignore so many signs. Inertia, procrastination, mindlessness, food indulgence all clues to resistance that made no impression at all. It was as though I was wearing blinkers. It was not until the next morning whenI got up to meditate that my mind kept introducing the damn telephone call, I allowed myself to reflect and eureka, I realized that the it had triggered a complex; my reaction to the call had been uncharacteristic; the clue was the impulsive energy I had felt and the lack of consideration of anyone else. The outcome was an old persona I recognized that had served me well in my less conscious days. He was an affective coping mechanism for a powerless adolescent. He did not care about people’s feelings, or consequences but was very good at decision-making. In 2001 when I had been exploring my shadow personas (Debbie Ford’s Dark Side of the Light Chasers is really good for this), I had named him Charlie Control. I thought I had retired Charlie but something about this conversation had resurrected him?
At first nothing more emerged and I resumed a calmer meditative state. It was not until a little later when I was preparing my morning cuppa and reflecting on the attributes of the conversation that the words “interfering neighbour’ followed by “Mrs. Ferguson” presented themselves. I stopped and began to smile. It seemed so unlikely yet it had to be. The memory must be close to sixty years old. Mrs. Ferguson was a classic busybody neighbour whose interference resulted in the demise of a glorious towering damson plum tree in our garden. It produced hundreds of pounds of fruit, so much in fact that unbeknownst to the rest of the family my enterprising elder brother was selling them off to the local greengrocers. One day a friend of my dads came over to prune the tree. For some reason he was on his own in the yard and before we knew it our beautiful tree was decimated and reduced to little more than a stump. It never produced another plum. We were aghast, “why did you do that?” he was asked. “Oh the lady across the way told me to cut it down as it blocked her light.”
Somehow this story has remained buried waiting for the moment when I was ready to unearth it and let it go. It was actually a very positive experience. Last time Charlie Control took over, people got hurt because he is no respecter of other people’s feelings. This time my friend Philip was a buffer between me and the neighbour and no harm was. A little while later I realized there was one piece remaining. How would I make the decision if I were being more conscious and not just reacting? In fact it still made absolute sense: it was a safety issue, (and if the neighbours had claimed rights to the trees, they would have had some liability for my expenses), the trees were three to four feet inside my fence line, I needed power and this had to be done while the lines was down. It seemed like a slam-dunk and in addition there was no easy way to contact the neighbours. I think one of the coolest things was the increased energy I felt after I worked through this consciously, I sense we lose energy by managing all these complexes unconsciously and bringing them into the light restores that life energy to our life stream. Thank you Mrs. Ferguson!