My Mindful Journal - Tradesmen as Spiritual Teachers

I’ll begin by saying that I’m currently working 3 weeks straight with only one day off.  I’m not a workaholic… well, not always… okay - wasn’t always (and soon will stop being!) a workaholic - but I’ve just finished my Masters in Film and I’m cram-saving to move to the U.S.A. (visa pending!).  

After an uneasy night last night trying to salvage my broken phone (unsuccessfully), the beginnings of the cold/fluey-thing that’s going around, and eventually crashing at 2am.  I was woken at 7am, 5 hours later, by Tradesmen (Aussie slang: Tradies) chattering (loudly!) like gossiping 1950’s women outside my window!  


And considering I feel like I have a burning ember in my throat the size of a golf ball, you’d think I’d be cranky! … I’d think I’d be cranky!  But I’ve worked super hard on practising mindfulness and turning any possible negative situation into a positive!  Sometimes it works… 

...sometimes I turn into an Exorcist-Style-Yeti-come-Frankenstein and hot lava shoots out of my ears.  But this morning (so far) it’s working! I simply stuck ear plugs in my ears, and when I could still hear the nattering “old women” (AKA tradies) at my window “scrape… scrape… scrape”… “BABBLE, CACKLE, BABBLE”...

Instead of marching out there in my dressing gown and berating them like the haggard ol’ cat lady that is my current appearance (though far from reality… I’m allergic to cats), I got up, ate some raw ginger to soothe my sore throat (yes, it burns), completed a few tasks from my “to do” list and began writing to see what came up… is coming up…. hmmm…

This is what is coming up…. this journal entry.  And I have no idea where it’s leading.  I’m just clearing my mind and writing freely to see what comes out.  Could be a steaming pile of poo... but there’s also a chance that hidden in the excrement I could find a profound piece of unconscious wisdom - we really can find the most unusual insights in the most unlikely places.  

Speaking of unlikely places... who would’ve thought that my bedroom window could turn into an early morning builders tea party!?  

I’m trying to remain calm and centred without allowing what’s going on around me to disturb my inner peace.  This is always my goal.  Sometimes it works and opportunity for frustration turns into opportunity for laughter, joy or peace, buuuut sometimes it doesn’t. quite. work.  

I’m somewhere between the two right now and pretty determined to not let this mundane situation unhinge me in my sleep deprived-overworked-fluey state (ginger throat soothing wearing off!) and stay focussed on the positive.   Something positive…

Pretty remarkable that I can still hear the tradies voices so clearly through my ear plugs!  Isn’t it wonderful that my hearing is so strong!  I’m so grateful that I don’t have hearing difficulties!  

Speaking of hearing difficulties… either the tradie-chatting-ladies have high tech earplugs that force them to BELLOW well above average human speaking volume, or they have hearing difficulties themselves!  I’ll give them hearing difficulties in a minute!… Aaaand… I’m feeling a tad cranky now.  It’s hard not to be!  (Justification coming…)  

They’re yelling out to each other across my apartment balconies (dangerously close to my bedroom window!) as if they’ve just returned from a boozy bucks night! Didn’t their mum and dad teach them consideration? (Righteous “adult” taking hold!).  Do they not remember a time when they could sleep past 6am or are they so sleep deprived that they’re channelling their inner demon and DOING IT ON PURPOSE because, if “they have to be up, so should everybody else!”?  

...Uh oh, someone else is sleep deprived… Frankenstein-Yeti is taking over and here comes the cranky ol’ cat lady without any cats…

"Tradies...To keep their reputation in tact, they’re taking more than double the amount of time to complete a job than scheduled.  Two weeks has turned into almost 2 months of living in a quarantine-style-lock-down with our windows and doors covered and taped up to the kabootz (never used that word in my life!… is it even a word? How do I spell it?) - our apartment is so thoroughly boarded up that the only chance of air in our apartment is the cigarette smoke coming through our bathroom fan from our charming, but heavy-smoking-backpacking-neighbours.  

I think I’ve been pretty patient:  I saw it as an adventure when our, once fresh-ocean-breeze-sun-soaked-balcony, turned into a hazardous-scaffolders-den filled with dusty rubble; during my morning yoga ritual I can zone out of the consistent musical score of screeching drills and hammer thumping as men in boots peer through my window and dirt shoots through our vents and splatters our furniture; and I didn’t complain when my evening moon gazing meditations from our porch became restricted by army-style mesh enclosing us in our Tradie lead concentration camp!"

Grasping at sweet memories of a life-once lived, of freedom and fresh air - now gasping for breath, I suddenly have the urge to storm out there, give them a piece of my mind and bellow “Come ooooon guys! It’s 7am!!! Some consideration!!!!”… “Pleeeease!”  (I know, I’m a bad ass.  I’m out of control.)

But now this is just turning into a rant and worse… a whinge! - which is sooooo not (very often… anymore!) me… it’s soooooo NOT where I want to be! (sneaky poet moment!).  These are not even my true thoughts!  So instead of crossing over to “the other side” - the land where we humans complain about things instead of doing something about them... 

The place where our ego takes over and decides that we are all separate, selfish beings, that other people out to get us (which is actually the opposite of what I truly believe and genuinely experience deep down daily!)  I’m going to take action!… wish. me. luck!

…Aaaah that’s better… after speaking my mind with love, the “real” me is accessible once again!  " I mean… they were probably caught up in the moment and didn’t realise how loud they were, I do that sometimes too!  I mean, for “Tradie aussie blokes” they’re having a good yarn and it sounds like they’re having a ball… listen… one’s even singing!  Aw I hope I didn’t ruin their fun! I was just angry at myself for going to bed so late, it's not their fault!"

These new reasonable and compassionate thoughts are courtesy of restored inner peace.  What did I do to get here?  I kindly and lovingly (actually not being sarcastic now) said to the workers “Hey guys, could you please keep your voices down?”.  They were instantly apologetic, not embarrassed or resentful, because I didn’t say it in a blaming way, and I’m now writing in semi-peace - they’re still chitter chatting away (definitely. not. just. women. who love a chat!), but it’s not nearly as volatile or disruptive.  

And more importantly I’m able to laugh at it and see the beauty in it because I spoke my truth with love.  I loooove when men and women break stereotypes and today is more proof that men are just as capable of long-non-stop-neverending-chats as women - Tradie men at that!  This magic moment came from taking loving action, but often it comes from simply refusing to respond to the negative egoic stream of thoughts and seeing the love in any possibly frustrating situation.  

This allows access to that beautiful place inside us that… well… that can’t be explained.  Not in words.  Only experienced and observed.  

The place that I’ve found through meditation, kind action, running, dance, spiritual books and talks, yoga, creativity, in playfulness, church, and most simply in presence.  The warm, loving place that is always ready to welcome us home, should we be ready to visit.  And now that I’m in this blissful place… the tradies have gone.  And it’s silent.


Tradie Zen Masters - the sequel… The joy never ends!  

Not only did this turn of events inspire the (above) post, but the joy just kept on coming!  Once I finished writing, I shared the story with my housemate who was pleasantly surprised to see me so cheery. After she’d heard me talking to the Tradies this morning, she thought i might be grumpy!  

When I said I wanted to get a photo of them for the blog post she offered to take one with me in it - in my crazy cat lady get up!  Yep, that’s right!... I tip toed through the wet concretey rubble (clearly I speak fluent Tradie) with my leg warmers stretched over my cold feet and my housemate proclaimed: “You look like a duck!”  We giggled all the way down to the Tradies.  And as we approached, one of the guys spoke up before I even opened my mouth and said, apologetically “Yeah, sorry, you want us to be quiet?”  Little did he know what we had in store for him!

I slightly-awkwardly asked the Tradies for a photo.  Considering my outfit (I also had no clothes on under my dressing gown, but no one knew that, except for me… and now everyone reading this!) I should’ve been a lot more uncomfortable, but I was too high on love!  

I tried to explain (in the least creepy way) that I’d written a “blog post” about mindfulness that was “sort of” about them and that I was planning to publish… at some point.  As each “spiritual” word came out of my mouth I could feel I was losing them. I mumbled something about “patience in chaotic surroundings”, and then told them that basically they were my spiritual teachers for the day...

They got that!  Or at least, they seemed to, they laughed their hard working butts off and looked pretty chuffed, all except for one sceptical guy who looked at me like I was an alien… quite rightly!  

And as I stood in the muddy mess, blissfully laughing with my housemate and the Tradies, it occurred to me that I’d found even more magic in concrete excrement.  

What I (only hours ago) viewed as a suffocating Tradie Concentration Camp was restored to a magical Scaffolding Playground where anything was possible and Tradies were my friends, the perspective that had allowed me to tolerate the drastic changes to our home until this morning.  Plus, as it turned out, my spiritual teachers were pretty cute!.. 

Yes boys… creepy dressing gown lady is single!

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