.Gaslighting, and then Time Stood Still.

Of course, we ended up at our Sushi Restaurant since we are both addicted to eating it and it is the best place to indulge in “salmon and tuna happiness” in my hometown. We were both happy to see each other again since it has been a long time and so much happened after we last met. I looked forward to this evening, was excited to meet my friend Judith and the evening that lied ahead of us. Our enthusiasm and anticipation for hours of conversations got stronger while we walked through narrow back streets to the tiny restaurant. Since I haven’t been here in a while, I took it all in. Any unfamiliar spots that may become new landmarks or create new memories. Now, since I call this home again for this week, I am seeing my city in an entirely new light. 

We turned into another street and already slow traffic turned into a complete standstill and finally no cars at all. This peacefulness and silence. While we walk, I scan every inch of the street. I scan every façade, every name on the various shop signs, cheese stores, vintage clothing stores, restaurants and cocktail bars. Home. I observed other people walking by who interacted and went on about their lives. I listened to the noise of an ambulance that drove by but I was silent and content. We entered the restaurant and it was empty. Silence. 

While we ate and she spoke to me, I really focused on her talking to me and the background started to blur a bit when I really looked at her and her face. The reason why I was mesmerized by this seemingly ordinary moment was that I felt that it is so important to really listen to certain people with this level of attention. 

She mentioned and eventually told me more about gaslighting which is, according to Wikipedia “a form of manipulation that seeks to sow seeds of doubt in a targeted individual or in members of a targeted group, hoping to make them question their own memory, perception, and sanity. Using persistent denial, misdirection, contradiction, and lying, it attempts to destabilize the target and delegitimize the target’s belief”. 

I hung onto every single word she uttered, my jaw dropped and my eyes were wide. The world around me simply did not exist. What I was l listening to was a perfect example of a state of flow. The waitress came to bring us our food and I snapped out of it. Why am I writing all this down? Because my friend made time stand still for a brief moment; made me think and reflect. I felt like if I was the only person in the room since I was so fully absorbed and sort of morphed into my personal story itself. I simply captured a somewhat fleeting moment of unedited, pure and authentic human connection while listening to her. I felt like everything else around me fade away while I regurgitated my previous relationship but for some reason, it all felt okay since I was with her who truly listened. This tiny magical moment. She told me about focus and how we constantly feel rushed, scattered and busy to really look at the situation we are in. She mentioned her troubles at work and that without focus, there is actually little to no chance of creating anything of substance and we get nowhere. It reminded me that some people start projects here and then another one over there while in the end nothing gets accomplished. Sysiphus. However, they plan project three, four and five in their head while taking flying lessons and finishing two Master degrees online with an IQ of 164. Without focus, they also damage relationships. 

Tonight, I simply tried to focus on the present moment and time started to feel more expansive. I felt I had a clearer mind, was more fulfilled, inspired, calmer and felt less rushed. The key is to set clear boundaries how far one allows something to continue in their life. Suddenly, life became quieter which was a great feeling since I was all over the place in the last couple of weeks. I also refound magic in the mundane since I kept experiencing these pleasures in life; like tonight as well as several others moments in the last couple of weeks. I realize that those things happen when I am mindful. They happen when I actually pay real close attention to what someone says and does (like cooking shrimp) without being distracted or when I focus on the color of the sky, birds singing or the fresh morning air on my skin while jogging.  

Tonight, I really listened and gave her undivided attention and rediscovered her little quirks, the real beauty of her inside and her unique way of laughing about my comments to the waiter at the sushi restaurant. I treasure our friendship and started to love her from scratch again. Tonight I realized that whatever happened recently in her or my life, in the greater scheme of things, nothing matters more than the human moments right here and now because we cannot turn back time.

Many other things going on in my life simple need time, breathing room and space to sort them out but I know I will feel better in the long run without certain people. I have been reminded tonight that I have to make time count and create space for humans and wonders as well as for creation and gratitude. 

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