As the Blue Woman, Fifth Chakra Healing Project progresses, part of what I am focusing on is inner growth and personal development. To accomplish this, most mornings I start my day with a dose of reading that brings enlightenment and encourages me to stay my course, which means living my Personal Life Vision (PLV), prayer and meditation. Recently, part of my reading included the “Avoid the Uglies” chapter from Victoria Moran’s book, Lit From Within. While the author talks about a number of things, what spoke the most to me was her section on “Inner Eroders” — expressions of ill will toward someone. In other words, gossip.
My interest was particularly peaked because of recent conversations I’ve been having with someone very dear to me, on the same subject. We’ve agreed to end the trend of gossip by being mindful of our conversations. However, in ending the trend, I’ve been sorting out in my mind what constitutes gossip. The reason for this is because I live all the way across the country from most of my family and long time friends and it is common for me to ask about the well-being of family members, friends and pets. Is this okay, or is it gossip? When in doubt, turn to the dictionary …
Funk & Wagnalls Dictionary: “1. Idle, often malicious talk, esp. about others. 2. Informal talk or writing, as of personages (other people). 3. A person who indulges in idle talk. To talk idly or maliciously about others.”
It’s the “idle” part that got to me the most. In those informal (idle) conversations that start out with an innocent question about how so-and-so is feeling, doing or whatever, it is almost inevitable that an opinion slips its ugly self into the conversation, and viola! — we got gossip. A light bulb went off. For me, asking one person about someone else is really a backdoor conversation, which is really a conversation that needs to be happening between me and the person I’m asking about. After all, if I want to know how my someone is, I need to call that someone which would eliminate the opportunity for gossip.
Victoria Moran offers this insight in her book Lit from Within:
A spiritual teacher once instructed a class I was in to spend two weeks refusing to discuss anyone who was not present. It was like being issued a gag order. What do you talk about when you can’t talk about other people? You gravitate, I learned toward ideas, issues, art and aspirations.
After the detox period of not discussing other people at all, we were told we could add back into our conversations references to their good qualities, their accomplishments, and their general goings-on. After the period of abstinence, however, class members were acutely aware of how even complements can turn catty in not time when the person in question is not in the room. For example: “Jane looked great today, didn’t she? Andi ti’s so hard for someone with her body type to look good in clothes.” The lesson: let gossip stop before it gets to you lips, and be on guard any time you’re talking about a third person. When in doubt, don’t.”
I am now on the Gossip Detox Program and am calling friends and family more than ever — and I am loving it! I hear first hand how people I love are doing, bonds are stronger and ties are tighter. If I’m out of minutes, there is email, Facebook and of course, the Blue Woman Blog!
Join me on the journey.
Melissa (a.k.a. the Blue Woman)