This simple little tune, with an easily repeatable title/refrain, "One Man's Ceiling is Another Man's Floor," says so much in just a few words. It's funny that all my mind recalls from that song is the refrain. I've always considered it an important lesson.
To me "One Man's Ceiling is Another Man's Floor" shows how not only are we all connected, but the small, innocuous things we do can have major influences on others, for good and for bad.
Most people are almost exclusively tuned into themselves and are oblivious to the hurt or annoyance they cause others. It's worse in recent decades, since many people pay more attention to the smartphones and tablets they carry around, than to people. Earphones are almost permanently implanted in people, like hospital IVs and medical tubing in an ICU patient, but without any medical need.
Being that I've inherited Misophonia, I'm hypersensitive to certain sounds, vibrations, sudden disturbances etc. The positive, good aspect of this syndrome is that I'm a dancer by nature. Certain sounds inspire me to move. I'm also very sensitive to different genres of music, which means that while some music makes me soar, others make me sour, mean, miserable and irritable. When I once very politely asked someone not to clap loudly, her reaction was:
"Isn't there a pill you can take?"I guess that was nicer than recommending a lobotomy. Even when in theory I can take the sound of light clapping, but if it's out of tune, it drives me nuts.
In synagogue during religious services/prayers, Misophonia can be most handicapping. Losing my "train of thought" when communicating with Gd is extremely problematic. I'm there to pray, not to make enemies and silently curse my neighbors.
In recent years there is a new and horrendously problematic phenomenon; some people have added loud clapping to the Silent Prayer aka the Amida. I'm sure you can guess that many people find themselves disturbed. Some are lucky enough to be able to easily and quickly get back into prayer mode, but others, like myself, are completely lost. It's like waking up suddenly because of a nightmare and not being able to relax back to sleep.
Apparently the clapping is from the Jews who follow the rather un-Jewish custom of solitary prayer, popular with the followers of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov. Jewish Prayer ideally requires community, a minyan, quorum of at least ten men over the age of Bar Mitzvah. It seems that to compensate for the lack of community and prayer leader, the Rabbi Nachman followers have been instructed to clap at various times in prayers to keep themselves focused. That's fine alone out in the wilderness, but it's worse than rude when in a group, when everyone else is totally silent.
"Look at me! Look at me. Stop praying; look at me!" They seem to be saying.We also need to remember that Gd isn't deaf. Gd knows what we're saying out loud and in our hearts, even our quietest whispers.
I also find it problematic when people bang and clap loudly when prayers are sung to catchy tunes, because in too many cases they are so busy making noise that they aren't saying the words of the prayers.
We're now in the midst of Elul, the Month of Teshuva, Repentance. Let us all try to be nicer to other people, Gd willing.