What We Ignore Doesn’t Ever Go Away

Ignore it and it will go away. Ignoring things is taking the higher road.

Sometimes, yes. Sometimes, we actually agree to ignore what is toxic around us and to forget we are doing so. This is done in order to survive. It can also prevent us from thriving.

I heard the weird music begin to play on the TV. I ran. Mum didn’t watch this show and she wasn’t ironing, so I couldn’t figure out why the set would be on. I held my breath, looking for a place to hide. As usual, I chose a small bit of wall between the refrigerator and the back door, also known as my playhouse. I scrunched into a ball with my hands over my ears, shaking.

I finally heard “… the Outer Limits…” and knew it was safe to uncover my ears. There were things that flew through the house when that intro played. Things that didn’t belong anywhere near me but sometimes got in. Mum found me there again.

“Oh don’t be silly. Nothing is coming to get you. Get up and come help me with the baby.” She told her Teacher, Marguerite, so that maybe she would talk “some sense into me”. Apparently Marney told her to stop letting those energies into the house, although Mum never admitted that until years later.

I was told to ignore what I felt. I learned how. I had to, to be in Mum’s good graces, for her to take care of my two-year-old self. I put filters in place so that I would forget I was ignoring something. That was how it all began.

I can’t remember what game we were playing, two of the neighbor girls, my sister and I. I had my whole collection of little animal erasers out on the floor and they were part of it somehow. Carol sat across from me pondering the game. I watched as she swept up one of my little animal friends, hiding it in her fist. I chose to ignore it. Then I became engrossed in our game and forgot. When the game was over, she stood up, a supercilious smile on her face. “Here!” she threw the little thing onto the floor in front of me. “You never saw me take it. I could’ve just kept it. I tricked you!” I didn’t know what to say. I had seen it. I had given her the benefit of the doubt. I forgot. What was there to say?

“Our woods is better than your woods, besides we have the tree house.” I ended the conversation with my friend Alix, agreeing to ask to play at her place. The tree house…

When I was 8 we moved house to a place in the woods. One neighbor on one side only, and at first, they didn’t live there. The house wasn’t built yet. Woods for miles, hunt club property across the creek behind. More noises from nature than humans. I loved it. Before we’d moved, me having to change schools and all, from a girls’ school with uniforms to a co-ed public school near the new house, Dad said “You need a tree house.” I wildly concurred. I would sit up in the trees, take my favorite books with me, pull up the ladder when I wanted to and maybe never come down!

He made a drawing of it, including the stilts, so we didn’t have to put nails in trees. We found the perfect spot, halfway between the house and the big pond in front. We measured. He knew what was needed and promised that in the summer he would build it. I could help.

I waited quietly. Then anxiously. Then I asked Mum. “Is Dad ever going to build the tree house?” “Your Father just got a new job and he’s very busy” she answered, distracted by something in the kitchen. One summer passed, then another and another. I knew I shouldn’t ask. There was another baby on the way and “things were difficult”. Wanting something just for me was selfish. No one said those things, but they hung in the air like heavy grey clouds. They’d all been said before. I didn’t need to hear them again. I ignored the forgotten promise. I climbed more trees. I moved on.

Often it is the high road to ignore things. To forgive, certainly, to be compassionate and to move on. My Dad never meant to not build the tree house. Life happened. The family moved forward. In the grand scheme of things it wasn’t important. It didn’t matter.

What I am writing about is a different kind of ignoring and forgetting. The pattern that had been set in place was that of ignoring what was toxic to me and forgetting, not letting myself see that it was toxic, because there was something in that person, place, thing, situation, or opportunity that I thought I needed. I had taught myself to ignore the “tiger in the room” in order to have what I needed.

I wanted my neighbor, Carol, to like me so I didn’t call her on trying to steal from me. I thought it was stupid at the time. I really didn’t want my Mum to find out I’d accused one of the neighbor kids. She would be so embarrassed. Not polite. Not well-behaved. It didn’t matter what the situation had been. I had to do the perfect thing. I had to be better, no matter what anyone let into the house, me included.

There is a vast difference between sweeping something under the rug and forbearance, when we consciously move through something difficult in order to grow or achieve a goal.

We are taught to ignore pain, insults, bullies (though that myth gets debunked fairly quickly on the playground) and varying degrees of random and casual meanness. We are taught not to ‘rock the boat’ over ‘minor things’ and that definition is decided by whoever is in charge.

I love that expression ‘in charge’. In deep work, it perfectly describes the reactive state of mind where we operate out of being triggered rather than from our inner guidance and from truth.

If the brain is programming itself and the body to ignore energies that are harmful, threatening, toxic and unsupportive, you may spend your life in exactly these situations without understanding why they keep happening. I have heard this over and over. “I have done so much work and this keeps repeating! Why?”

There are many potential answers to that question, and one is this imprinting of original ignorance. An unconscious choice (unconscious to the adult, reasoning mind) to tolerate toxic circumstances in order to have what the developing brain told us we needed in order to stay alive.

This ‘tiger’ is actually a long-syndicated series of re-runs of your birth or infant environment and the brain’s reaction to it (and other factors in consciousness of course).

We all perpetuate this to learn from, that is part of incarnation. The flaw in the design is that we are meant to learn from, move past, delete and re-format, upgrading our experience of reality through this process. If you’re digitally minded, this is de-bug, where-used, cascade delete, de-frag and perform a hard reboot.

This patterning does not go away. It it like the Terminator. It cannot be reasoned with or bargained with. It has to be eliminated if you make the choice to be free of it. You always have a choice.

My first examples in this story were benign ones, things that could be easily dismissed or laughed away. That is how it begins.

The pattern continued for decades, the instances becoming larger and larger until, finally, my life was threatened. The pattern that had been set in place to keep me alive almost finished it. The pendulum swung back with infinite force. And Infinite grace. I saw what I had programmed myself not to see. I learned.

When we ignore the “little things” out of compassion, out of forgiveness, this is usually good. When we ignore something this basic, this denying of what is harmful to us, preventing ourselves from even knowing that we are ignoring something, we create the experience of hell for ourselves.

“Hell” in its many and varied forms, is not a world I choose to live in.