Behind Belief

Photo by Thomas Brenac on

“The way he thought about it was this: his colleagues were excellent at reading the time on the clock face, but it often seemed to surprise them to discover there were cogs behind it that made the hands turn.”
Alex North: The Half Burnt House

This tickled me pink when I read it, written as it was with a character’s faint hint of sarcasm plus despair. It also really made me think. How often do we look at what’s in front of us and take it, dare I say it, on face value? Far too often as I well know. Let’s cycle back to 1997 when I rocked up for my first week at Bath Spa University.

Initiative free zone

Over the course of my career prior to going to university as a ‘wrinkly’ at the advanced age of 39, I had often been accused of lacking initiative, something I strongly refuted. One of my first experiences disabused me of my refute-ation quick smart.

We were all given a 20 minute interview with one of our tutors, and I will never forget what he said to me “You probably think that you have excellent initiative but you’re going to discover that you don’t. You come from a generation that was spoon fed by adults who were right, and you weren’t ever taught to think for yourself.

I honestly didn’t know whether to up my refuting to outright sulking, or whether to be more concerned that somehow he’d been eavesdropping on my youth. It was true, in the late 50s, early 60s, and into the early 70s, people of my generation were raised and taught by some super-wise adults who knew everything we needed to know. Courtesy and a polite upbringing dictated we said ‘yes teacher/priest/dad/mum’ and accepted everything wholesale. My first in-laws were obviously of the same generation, although lovely people, so I’d spent my life with more of a need to be good than to think. Not being good was not good a good thing!

Doing a history degree was the finest thing that ever happened to me, for one I discovered that I loved learning, and rediscovered the inner questioner that had been firmly smothered during my childhood. I also discovered how much I didn’t know about so many things, that it made me realise there were even more things I didn’t know existed that I knew nothing about. This was a good journey for someone knocking on the door of middle-age, and I would say I’m approximately 30 years younger 25 years later, as a result.

Behind the veil

You would think that nowadays, in the 21st Century, with education having progressed as it has and the advent of search engines, we as a race would be more open-minded, more willing to look behind the veil and find out what’s really going on. Instead we seem to want to swallow media information whole, believing everything they feed us.

What’s more curious is that someone can make a simple statement that couldn’t be clearer, and yet still people will misunderstand what that person said. If you ask them they will tell you that’s not what the speaker actually meant, they meant what the listener was thinking.

I learned long ago that people will see you the way they want to, and it’s better to carry on being yourself because trying to change someone’s opinion of you is pointless. They will change it if they want to and not if they don’t.


Life is short, the older you get the faster the years go. It feels to me that each year lasts about 3 months nowadays, Christmas, birthday, birthday, Christmas. It’s like living inside a game of hopscotch; there’s a pebble on that square so jump it. That pebble being 6 months of your life.

As such, fretting over what others think about you, how they choose to perceive you, and why they choose to judge you, is pretty much a waste of time. You can get so het up about it that two weeks have gone by in a blur whilst you fashion the perfect retort to an unfair accusation.

The power behind the face

Behind the face of anyone are those cogs that make the clock work. They’re not the same in every timepiece, as we know, you couldn’t put a grandfather clock cog in a watch. To understand others it’s better to realise that you probably won’t as the cogs aren’t on show.

If you want to live a happy life it’s important that you do understand that, that people are reacting to you due to things you know nothing about. That cogs are whirring in their minds that you wouldn’t personally expect to be there, all created in a past you’ve never visited.

The same goes for information, the newsreader or politician may be saying words, but we need to be more discerning about digging away behind those words, I’m obviously not suggesting that we take their faces off and poke at their cogs, but in a world where there is no truth, we the public need to stop and think before we take on a position on anything. Too much misinformation is circulating in this world now. In fact I’ve never felt that I know as little as I do now, and honestly feel that the truth may be out there but my chances of finding it are equal to me discovering the next class M planet populated by humanoids.

Happy – healthy – care free

These things only arise from feeling good in mind, body, and emotions. Part of the reason there are so many aches and pains in this world is that there are too many things to give you butt ache, and too many pains delivering the truth, in all walks of life.

Time to remember the cogs behind the clock face, and focusing more on how to make a good life than how to make sense of life.

To your happiness and sanity

Deb xx


Published by debdancingstarhawken7

I'm a writer, public speaker, medium, and spiritual thinker. I suffered from acute anxiety from the age of 16 until I was well into my 50s, after fearlessly exploring many ideas, philosophies, and tools, I finally found methods that helped me return my mind to a better normal. One of the things I hated about anxiety was the way people treated me like a fool or a problem, I have two degrees and I'm a (much) retired black belt, my IQ is decent, but I constantly felt like a complete idiot, something that was exacerbated by never feeling like the real me. The girl who could laugh endlessly about the smallest things, and had a real excitement about what life had to offer her. I didn't need anyone else to tell me I wasn't 'right', I knew that better than anyone. My mission now is to support people suffering as I did with a message of support with what they're going through, tools and ideas that might help, and a strong message of hope for the future. At 63, which I am at the time of writing, many people I know are in a rut, yet having beaten anxiety I'm now doing more with my life than I ever did when I was struggling just to get up in the morning, let alone face the day. It's a wonderful feeling - so the main message is that it doesn't matter how long you've been struggling or what age you are, when you beat anxiety you will get an entirely new lease of life - and that's fantastic at any age. On a personal note I'm married to my soul mate, we have 5 cats, and I live in the middle of the UK. I follow a number of fantastic thinkers, as it's important to immerse yourself in healthy thinking as often as you can, I'm a Toastmaster and professional public speaker, and I keep life simple and encourage my clients to do the same, and my friends.

3 thoughts on “Behind Belief

  1. Deb, I am going to embarrass you dreadfully. We have been friends for longer than I Care to remember. You have changed my life in so many ways. Thank you. πŸ™πŸ»πŸ’–πŸ‘πŸ»πŸŒΉ


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