...Not the kind of wheel you fall asleep at...

Down with the Soul-Suckers!

"I’m fucking starved for love...
I deeply need to feel connection with the infinite.
I want the nourishment.
I need to drink it just like water, and it will sustain me..."

An instructor the other day asked me if I knew anything about energy-work. I don't, and I said as much.

He explained that his reason for asking is that he wants to set up his house in a way that is conducive to keeping bad energy out (he's dating a woman who has a couple of hellish teenagers).

He followed up by asking me whether I'm any good at keeping myself from getting sucked into bad energy in a room, and whether I'm any good at dissipating the bad energy around me.

I thought about this for a while.

I do think that I'm good at keeping myself buouyed above other people's negative energy. Typically, when I get sucked into negative energy, it is my own. I tend not to let others' weigh me down. I feel blessed in this regard. I see friends and family who get so tangled up in their own (and other people's) negative energy that I am thankful I have developed some mad skillz at avoiding falling prey to these same pitfalls.

Am I any good at dissipating the energy? I'm not sure. I try. I try my damnedest. But it's hard to say. I hope that I do.

My ex-boyfriends were both very negative people at times, the kind of negative that pins you down and just pummels the shit out of you until you're exhausted and just have to cave under the beating. The kind where some days you could wake up in the morning feeling like a Care Bear on E wrapped in a sunbeam, and by the time they were through with you, found yourself crawling through the rest of your day like a man with no limbs and vultures hovering above him.

It was perhaps the thing I struggled with the most with both of them. And it is a major part of the reason we are no longer together. It is hard enough to stay positive in a world that is so ugly at times--being around other people that seem to FEAST on the negativity of things, to gorge voraciously on it, can drag you down, no matter how good you are at battling it.

I don't fault depression. Don't get me wrong. But that is an inactive thing. It's just there. The problem I have is with those negative folks who feel the need to inflict their negativity on everyone else. This is an active choice and an active process. They don't keep this negativity of theirs compact and slipped cleanly in their pocket. They're constantly pulling it out, waving it around, dirtying the air with it, with this weird deliberation. As though the only thing that will make them feel the tiniest bit better is making you feel 100% worse.

They become soul-suckers.

And it is something I'm realizing I can't even handle being around anymore. Even the slightest glint of negative personalities catching the light makes me scurry for cover. It is so very hard to keep your own head above water on a day-to-day basis, why would you want to spend your time with someone who can't swim at all and just hangs onto your legs, pulling you under?

Don't get me wrong, I know that we all fall prey to negativity at times. But I think it's whether we choose to fight against it that becomes important.

Reflecting on all this made me think of one of my sibs who has the blessed ability to see hope and joy in all things. (I love you and admire you so much for that, Lesle.) It is something I strive towards always always. My heart opens up like a thirsty mouth to water around people who visibly work so hard to keep from being cynical. I've been thinking a lot about this lately. About this and spirituality and how these things intersect.

When I saw Marjane Satrapi (creator of Persepolis) speak recently, she talked about trying to keep herself from falling prey to cynicism, about maintaining hope, despite all that she'd seen growing up. And hearing these words, sharing these same sentiments, always makes me fall just a little bit in love with people.

Strangely, I've been feeling a new sense of connection to some of Mike Doughty's music for these same reasons. Much of Haughty Melodic I'd previously brushed off for being "slightly sappy and sentimental about spirituality." But now when I listen to these songs, I hear happiness and hope. I hear the possibility of change. And all that makes me feel good inside. I mean, the lyrics at the beginning of this post--they just FLOOR me every time I hear them. It's like hearing someone strum the strings of your heart or something.

I don't believe in some "higher power." Once upon a time, my lack of belief was tainted with bitterness and cynicism. It pissed me off that something so firmly out of my grasp could bring other people such a sense of peace. But now I think, it's not about WHAT brings you the sense of peace, what infuses your life with happiness and joy and contentment; it's just about BEING happy and peaceful and content.

I don't believe in a "higher power," no. But I'll be damned if I don't find myself thinking again and again throughout the day about how beautiful some small moment is. Finding joy in the delightful little things that compose my weeks and months. Feeling happiness at the slow purr of a train lumbering by in the dark on my way to work in the early morning hours. Feeling a weird affinity with people in my neighborhood, just from catching distant glimpses of their shadowy forms moving about inside their brightly-lit houses after dark. Feeling cheery and like a little kid again just from eating my cereal with a giant spoon.

These things are my "higher powers." They are what feeds my hunger. They are what gets me through the day. They are what makes me feel, in all my finiteness, connected with the infinite. And they keep me happy.

I mean, why give in to being unhappy? Why focus on the ugliness of everything all the time? Why inflict that cynicism on other people struggling so hard to stay positive? Why is it that so often we damn people who are content, who seek out joy? Why do we tend to find ourselves berating other people's happiness, hope, spirituality? It's a peculiar thing. I suspect it's often because we haven't yet found our own peace and are jealous of others'. So we feel the need to deflate their balloons so that they're just as unhappy as us, so that our unhappiness isn't so glaringly distinct in their presence anymore. And that's a shame. Why damn the day for being sunny just because you're stuck inside?

I mean, fuck that.

It's a shitty phenomenon, and I think we should stage a coup against it. Stop beating down other people's happiness with our own cynicism. Try to let it speak to us and see where that takes us. If nothing else, be active against the negativity instead of just giving into it.

Are you with me?



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