Always Learning

‘Those who know do not speak, those who speak do not know.’ Lao Tzu

I have always dearly loved this quote and I try my hardest to keep it at the forefront of my mind- especially when I am having a moment of ‘certainty.’  I have learned that when I feel certain about something based on my own opinion it’s a dangerous place to be… and speaking this certainty out into the world is always a one way ticket toward a brick wall.

Opinions are fine when they remain just that-  an opinion. But when we state an opinion as a fact the brick and mortar lesson plan of the Universe comes into play rather swiftly.

The brick wall that a misused opinion beckons forth is a curious thing- because it can show up in two very different ways.

One way is when we hit the brick wall face first in our own life- this happens when the Universe delivers a mirror image experience into our lives based on whatever ‘opinion’ we have carelessly flung out into the world. This method of learning always leaves a bruise, but for the more awake among us, the bruise imparts a lesson that we can carry forward into the future with us.

The second way that the brick wall shows up is far more subtle. The wall goes up- and people begin to stay behind it- yes, it’s a wall that divides people. The one who has been lobbing the ‘opinion grenades’ may not notice this for quite some time…. but at some point they will realize that the only thing still standing near them – is their own very strong opinion. It does not take long to figure out that it gets mighty lonely huddled next to nothing but our own righteousness.

Lest any readers think I spend long hours only in observation mode of this issue, let me be frank: I learn and re-learn this lesson all the time- and my preferred mode of learning seems to be the face to the brick wall option because that is almost always what happens shortly after I launch a ‘strong opinion’ into the world.

Case in point: just last week I made a formal complaint to our Homeowner’s Association about speeders in our neighborhood.  My complaint was filed in the appropriate manner without so much as a trace of hostility, BUT- when the HOA representative called me back, she asked for my opinion regarding demographics of those who were exceeding the speed limit- and when given the opportunity – I launched my OPINION right out there into the world. Yep, bombs away, I let ‘er fly and made a blanket statement that it was the construction workers who work by the dozens in our neighborhood right now that were the ‘speeders’ in question. My answer was not only based on opinion and not fact- but it was also a uniform judgment applied to entire group of people.

So that was on Tuesday…. and by Saturday I had effectively met my brick wall. Already late for a soccer game, we had to turn around to retrieve a forgotten piece of equipment. It was our son’s first day on a new team so being late to the game was even worse than it normally would have been. Lost in my private world of justified ‘hurry up’ thoughts, yours truly went speeding down the street….. and a fellow neighbor who was out and about lit into me, as she should have.  I got the full dress down fist in the air yelling neighbor treatment. Ajay was as quiet as a mouse in the back seat while I rolled down my window and profusely apologized. After we (slowly) pulled away he asked, ‘Mom was she right?’ and I did not waste a second in telling him that yes, she was absolutely right.

It was crystal clear to me the moment this all transpired that I had asked for this bit of Universal medicine when I launched my opinion about who was speeding out into the world like it was a fact. The moment I did so, the radar gun went up and the Universe started paying ‘special’ attention to me….and I promptly got caught in the ultimate speed trap of my own opinion 😉