We dismiss them, berate ourselves for feeling them and tell ourselves it’s nothing, but of course, it’s always something — the small things, the seemingly pissy things, that get under our skin, make us feel bad and open the door to something far bigger.
This week it’s the fridge, last week it was the chimneys, next week who knows. The fridge door fell off, the hinge at the bottom just snapped, probably too much swinging over the years and it had just had enough. We have appliance insurance, good old domestic and general, you just pop on-line, book a repair and like magic an engineer turns up 48 hours later. What’s to be stressed about you wonder? Why is my stomach churning? What on earth is the matter?
And so you start peeling the onion of the complex human emotions that we have all developed over the years, to understand what this seemingly insignificant event has triggered.
The breaking of the fridge door is a pain in the arse to be honest, it’s not a common problem and I’m pretty sure the engineer will not have the part required to mend the door on their visit — I am sadly correct and I wait holding my breath as the engineer calls his office to see if they can get the required part. I’m in luck, they can and he reassures me that it should arrive and be fitted within around a week. So, no big deal right? But yes it is, because that’s a week of having to lift the fridge door off to access the food in the fridge and them lift it back on and hope the top bolt will continue to hold it in place, so that the fridge continues to be useable. And then there is that foreboding, that feeling that until the part arrives and is fitted so much could still go wrong. And it does, 24 hours later a text arrives, the part is not actually in stock and they will let me know when/if it arrives. So, that means we will wait around a week to 10 days — if it comes into stock great, if not then the fridge will be deemed not mendable and a whole new process starts with the dreaded product replacement team.
And why you wonder, is this such a big deal? Well despite the fact the principle behind the insurance is to replace items that are not mendable asap, the reality does does always work like that. I will have to prepare for battle — the battle to ensure that I get a replacement which is of the same quality as the product I have insured. Nearly every time this has happened to date, D&G offer me products that are significantly cheaper and do not reflect a true, like for like replacement — for example sending me a £50 Argos voucher to replace my broken Nespresso coffee maker. I then have to go through several calls, each time arguing my case until eventually they get tired of my refusal to accept their unfair offer and agree to actually replace the item with one of a similar quality. And the thought of having to do this again makes me feel physically sick, because that level of conflict and of having to fight to ensure a fair outcome, is horrible. And it triggers a tsunami of emotions, old wounds and experiences all centred around unfairness and bullying. And that is where the real pain, anxiety and suffering resides.
And that is why it is important that we do not dismiss the seemingly pissy stuff, that we think means nothing, because everything means something.
The incident of the broken fridge is just a clue about something far, far deeper. I purposely had an expensive and high quality fridge, a hangover from my child hood where we were taught to only buy once and to buy well, not to waste things, to look after them and make them last, mainly as we could not afford to replace them should they get broken, or wear out early and now that principle stays with me and the thought of simply tossing a fridge into a landfill, because we cannot get hold of a bloody hinge feels me with despair. And then there’s the anticipation of having to fight with an organisation that can easily afford to dismiss me should it choose, that can tie me up in knots for weeks if not months, that can act unfairly and the time and energy it will take from me to hold them to account feels completely overwhelming. Because there have been so many times in my life and I’m sure others, when I have been treated unfairly, when people have chosen not to do the right thing and when I have had to fight long and hard to survive and to protect myself and very rarely has there been a knight in shining armour hanging around. So, I am programmed to anticipate the worst in people and circumstances and trying to re-programme my brain to see, to feel, to process things differently, is f*cking hard.
On the spiritual course I am currently attending and indeed this principle runs through much of mainstream therapy, we are told to counter these wasteful thoughts, to recognise them, forgive them and to choose again. So, in this scenario, I can choose to think that the hinge will come and even if not the replacement from the company will be fair and equitable and that all of this will happen in a reasonable time, because most people actually want to do the right thing, that most people are inherently good and that I do have a choice about how I view and respond to these circumstances — and even if the worst case scenario happens I will find a way to work things out. And the very act of writing this blog, of allowing the truth of how I am really feeling to be seen, to understand what is really going on here on a much deeper level and to share that is already helping to ease the anxiety in my stomach.
And this is why it is important to notice the little things — not to get hung up on the transactional nature of them, not to enter into an egoic ‘I’m right’ or ‘I must win’ pissing contest, but to understand what lies beneath, to understand ourselves. Every interaction we have tells us something, every thought we have tells us something, every feeling we have tells us something. To ignore them is to ignore ourselves, it says we are not worthy of our time, our love, our compassion, our healing and our understanding.
The fridge is ultimately about trust and detachment- trusting the process, people and myself, going with the flow and choosing to believe that one way or another it will work out and not being too attached to the outcome, or of how it will work out, but simply to trust that it will. And I am finding that when I anticipate the worst or expect the worst of people, that is very often what I get, whereas when I let go of the fears and simply allow things to play out, miraculously it often works out for the best. And I’m not sure why that is, but I do know that living in fear and having ego based conflicts is sh*tty and not how I want to live my life.
So, please don’t dismiss these small things, because everything really does means something as do you.