Interview With An Alien

conference room

I’ve been around for awhile.  I’ve gone a few places, done a few things, met a lot of people. Hundreds of 1000s over the course of my lifetime, probably.  I’m a real people person, and one of my favorite things is to connect with people who are different from me.

For example, I spent almost 20 years combined in the aerospace and semiconductor industries.  These years afforded me the opportunity to speak with and work with people from all over the world:  Spain.  Ireland.  France.  Germany.  Italy.  Various countries in Asia.

These were lengthy F2F interactions, not truncated virtual ones like experienced on Social Media.  Some of my all-time favorite occasions were the meals.  Potlucks and business lunches, client dinners and corporate parties.  There’s something about breaking bread and raising glasses together that really helps you get to know the people you hang with.

My favorite drinking buddies were from the UK.  The ones best for my ego were the handsome, flirty dudes from Italy.  (Bella!)  I loved smoking cigs and chatting with the French, but for some reason, they tended to have the worst body odor  which even the smoke couldn’t cover up.  My time with them was usually kept at a minimum…or a distance.

And then there were the Germans.  Ah, the Germans. Ich liebe dich, meine Freunde! We looked liked each other.  We shared the same temperament, the same sense of humor.  Occasionally, the same hair.

Einstein_laughing

Albert Einstein (Photo Credit: Unknown)

But professional experience aside, I’m an avid people watcher. Not just the kind done while sitting outside, maybe enjoying a coffee with a friend, talking smack and keeping an eye on the passerbys.

I mean, I WATCH people.  I observe them, carefully, like I would a creature under the microscope, or if I was a detective on a case.  I do this even with people I’ve known for years.

Humans are pretty fascinating, and I often wonder if most of them know just how revealing they are.  How much information they put out.  Not just by what they say, but by what they do.  Their body language.  The words they choose, and the words they don’t.   Sometimes I think it’s what people don’t say…what they don’t do…that speaks the loudest about who they are.

And then, there are the eyes.  The proverbial “windows to the soul”.

My Eyes

My Eyes

Eyes are amazing, and can reveal so much about someone.  They show emotion.  They speak of intellect. Interest.  Shadiness.  Illness.  Deceit.

Ever talk to someone who didn’t look you in the eye when you were speaking?  It’s SO annoying.  Makes me wonder what they are hiding, or hiding from. Eyes give clues.  If you know what to look for, you can – with a high degree of accuracy – determine if someone is being dishonest, or  tapping into a memory, or accessing their feelings.

And really, there’s nothing better than having a great conversation with someone who looks at you straight on. It lets you know that they are engaged and listening. To listen, you have to be Present and being Present IS a gift.

Which brings me to the reason I’m writing today.

This past Monday, I spent 45 minutes with a young woman who, I swear, was one of the most unusual human beings I’ve ever met.  So unusual, in fact, that it was hard to keep focused on our conversation because I was so busy watching her watch me.  I kept thinking, “This is weird.  Her eyes.  They don’t move.  They don’t quiver, even when she speaks.  Why does she look at me like that, like…like… an alien.”

Seriously! I used that word: ALIEN. And I wasn’t on medication or anything!

Tall, lean, and pretty – with long blond hair parted on the side – her name was Shannon.  I’m guessing in her late 20s, Shannon was articulate, professional and thorough.  I was there to interview for a volunteer position that sounded smack in my wheel house:  12-15 hours a week handling social media, blogging, taking photographs for their online resale store, doing event marketing….

Since I haven’t landed a new paying job yet, I thought perhaps volunteering might be the direction to go.  The opportunity certainly read like something I’d enjoy doing, and for a non-profit organization I have a lot of respect for.

Anyway, Shannon greeted me in the lobby and escorted me to a simply furnished conference room.  We sat down and I decided to pick the chair closest to her, on the end. The first thing I noticed about her was her physical energy.  She moved with a level of stillness I’m not accustomed to, as if no effort were being exerted. A dichotomy, right?  Still motion?  And quiet.  Her whole being exuded quiet and calm.  She barely moved and when she spoke, her voice was pleasant, well modulated and measured.  Almost robotic in it’s lack of certain inflections.

But it was her eyes that captivated me.  Large, bright blue irises ringed with a darker color and fringed with thick lashes, there were several occasions when I found myself checking to make sure she was blinking. I have to be honest, it was slightly unnerving and I don’t unnerve easily.  In all my life, with all of the conversations I’ve had, I’ve never met anyone – especially someone so young – who displayed such absolute, intent focus.  It was like she was looking into me, as well as at me.  Not in a hostile or threatening way.  She just sat so motionless, and spoke, and looked. Watching.  Like “staring”, without any  rudeness.

I literally breathed a sigh of relief when she finally blinked, and even  laughed a little.  And when she took her eyes off of me a time or too, I thought, OK….maybe she’s a human after all.  But then, BOOM! She’d be right back with her lazer beams on me again.   A female Spock in a t-shirt, cardigan and jeans.

When it came time to leave, I was graciously led back to the lobby in that still-motion kinda way.   We shook hands.  She said she appreciated my time and talents, still had others to interview, and told me that I’d hear later this week if I got the gig.

Several days later and my meeting Shannon is still haunts me.  Not a big “alien abduction” type,  I do believe there must be life “out there” from a purely “mathematical probability” standpoint, if nothing else. And why wouldn’t our beautiful Blue Planet be a likely destination location for some of them?  I’ve read the stories, and some theories…..conspiracy and otherwise…. of Off-Worlders cohabitating with us human types.  Hell, some of them are reported to be working with and in our own government, if Cory Goode can be believed.

The idea of alien life forms fascinates me and has been part of my consciousness forever.  I am of the generation of the original Star Trek and Lost In Space TV shows.  I stood in line for hours up in Hollywood to see the first Star Wars movie in 1977 (with a major crush on Hans Solo).  And yeah, I’ll admit it.  There have been times when, late at night or early predawn hours, I’ve stared up at the stars – wondering who was out there and secretly longing to meet them.

The Good Guys, that is.

Could it true?  Did I’ve finally meet one?   Did I experience First Contact? Shannon certainly fit the bill physically for a race called the Pleiadians, and her vibe was the most unusual I’ve ever encountered.  She beamed all good things – peace, awareness, altruism.  Even her name means, “Ancient Wise One”.

Whew!  Lots to think about….

I gotta go now.  I got hooked on a show I discovered last week on Amazon Prime and I’m pretty  obsessed with it – staying up late into the wee hours to watch episode after episode until I’m blurry-eyed.  With only a few more episodes to watch of the last season, the storyline is a real cliff hanger:  A post-apocalyptic epic where the Human Race is fighting for their very existence and for Lexi_Alexis_Glass-Mason_S4Planet Earth.  Falling Skies, it’s called.  One of the characters, Alexis, just gave her life to save her family.  Well, her human family.  She was a blonde haired, bright blue eyed half-breed with superpowers…The biological product of an multi-species take over agenda by some real Bad Dudes.

Those eyes….they look a lot like those of my girl, Shannon.

The Voices In My Head

voices“You’ll never publish a book!”

“Your idea isn’t anything good.”

“Starting your own business is too hard.  The economy is bad.”

“You’re too old to do this.”

Sound familiar?

That’s the voice of an Inner Critic.  Specifically, mine.

Are you acquainted with the Inner Critic? It’s that niggling little voice in your head that brings discouragement, disappointment and defeat every chance it gets.

There isn’t a person I know that hasn’t done some hard time with their I.C.  Even the most beautiful, accomplished, intelligent people battle negative thinking that threatens to undermine their self-confidence.  And while it’s not my intent to analyze where that Voice comes from or who it sounds like (Moms already get blamed for more than their fair share), I do know a few things about it:

Inner Critics (ICs) don’t fight fair!  They practice Guerrilla Warfare, pouncing on us when we least expect it and are most vulnerable, like at the start of an important project, a healthy habit, or a new relationship.  ICs are Thought Terrorists, and 72 virgins mean nothing to them!  They get off by sabotaging our success.

Inner Critics try to convince us that we’ll never be any good, in spite of a mountain of evidence to the contrary.  Ever just post a great piece of writing and the rave reviews are pouring in, but you find yourself thinking, “Oh, they’re just being nice to me.  I’m not that good.”?

Not only is negative self talk illogical, it shows no mercy.  It’s primary objective is to create feelings of shame and guilt, so it attacks our underbelly:  who we are.   Attacking what we do is secondary.

Inner Critics prey upon our vulnerabilities.  They know all about those sensitive areas we try to keep hidden from the rest of the world (and, at times, ourselves):  Insecurities about our skills.  Embarrassment over our weight or age.  Fear about our lack of experience. And the Mother of All Weak Spots : Our past.

The Inner Critic is the Queen of Mean and she has a very long memory.  Those 10 unfinished projects staring you in the face?  She’ll bring them up.  How about the scathing critique you received on your new book?  Uh huh.  Or what about when that person you really liked, maybe even loved, rejected you?  She’ll throw THAT crap up in your face like a handful of napalm!

Inner criticism is relentless at using real or imagined “failures” to try to accomplish its main objective: to kill our dreams and stop our progress.

So what can we do to protect ourselves from these painful thoughts?  We can

H.A.L.T. THE ASSAULT!

HONOR your journey thus far.  One of the best – and kindest – things we can do for ourselves is to stop feeding the beast inside of us by rehearsing the failures of the past.  Forgive yourself for any mistakes and missteps you’ve made.  EVERYONE screws up. Remember:  You may not be perfect but you are unique and exceptional and of great value.  Don’t fall into the comparison trap by measuring yourself against others.  Everything about you – the good, the bad, and the fugly – make you the person you are today.  The past doesn’t exist anymore.  Why carry yesterdays trash into fresh field of potential called Today?

ACCEPT that the inner critic is there.  Granted, there are a few unusual people out there that appear to be free from  tormenting self-criticism.  I say unusual because the vast majority of us ordinary folk have to deal with this thing. Trying to ignore it, and hoping it will go away, is a recipe for disaster.  Remember, whatever we reject about ourselves, we end up projecting onto others.

If you do not tell the truth about yourself
you cannot tell it about other people.
~ Virginia Woolf ~

So embrace your Inner Critic.  Invite it to lunch, and acknowledge its existence.  Accepting is half the battle and gives us the power to change it.  Denial is a dead-end street.

LET it go.   Seriously!  Just let those thoughts go right on through!  We are not our thoughts.  Our thoughts are like birds flying across the sky of our awareness.  Sure, they may stop momentarily. But we don’t have to let them build nests in our hair.  When the thought, “I’m a terrible writer” flies in, shoo it away!  If you latch onto it, then replay it over and over and over again, it will hunker down and embed itself.  Show it the door as soon as it appears.  It takes some practice to do this, but practice makes… well, you know.

And finally:

TALK to yourselfNo, not in that “Crazy Aunt Martha” sort of way.  Practice affirmations.  Say nice, uplifting things about yourself and about where you want to go in life.  Put little Post-it Notes around that say things like “I know I can accomplish my goals” or “I am a creative person who enjoys great success” or my personal favorite, “I am equipped with everything I need to fulfill my destiny!”

Nothing shuts up the Inner Critic faster than a well-rehearsed Love Fest.  It’s like a force field of positive energy surrounding us.  I like to write my affirmations on the bathroom mirror in lipstick.  How many times a day do you look in the mirror? Turns out it’s actually a pretty terrific place to remind myself of my worth and potential – right there where I can look myself in the eye and sweet talk that b**** into submission.  It’s something I’ve done for years and, since this seems to be an ongoing battle, will continue to do.  Even my daughter does it now!

It’s my belief those negative voices in our heads can be silenced (or seriously stifled) with a little practice and lots of Self Love.   We can HALT THE ASSAULT, and turn the Queen of Mean into our very own Fairy Godmother.  Hers can be the voice that inspires and motivates us to do our best work, to keep pushing forward, and to achieve our goals.

So how about it?  Do YOU have an Inner Critic that needs to be silenced?