Old Dreams, New Responses
I used to read a lot about all the traveling my friends were doing. Switzerland… France… Egypt… the Netherlands. Some were Americans, some were Europeans. The Europeans had a bit of an easier time traveling from country to country, but even so, several of my American/Canadian friends were fortunate enough to cross the ocean(s) often.
I admit, I sometimes looked at all of this, and there was the fleeting thought: “How did I screw up so that I can’t take vacations? Can’t travel the way they do? Don’t have the time/money/whatever else it takes?”
But then I realized: those are my parents’ ghosts talking. The idea in their circle was that if one couldn’t take a vacation, then one was somehow “lesser” than those who could — and a trip to Hong Kong was worth so much more than a trip in-country. Everything was based on status, money, bragging rights.
And that’s not the case in my circle now, nor the case with me.
Truth to tell, I spend so much time with clients, both in person and virtually, that I wouldn’t need to travel to meet different people. When I travel now, if I can’t somehow do a talk, or a workshop, I’d as soon stay home.
The wanderlust I had in my younger days is gone, replaced by contentment and appreciation for what surrounds me. I would rather spend my days writing and thinking and working, with cats to hand and the hayfield and hills just outside my door, than trudging down strange streets with a checklist of what I am “supposed to want to see.”
It’s just one more example of living the Examined Life. Look at every situation that bothers you, and ask if you aren’t merely being haunted by some old ghosts that would be better exorcised.
We are always taught to be polite — to say no to the cake we want, to wait and take the last of anything so everyone else has something first (and it’s just too bad if that means we get nothing), to always be accommodating and let everyone else go first in line. What that does is tell the Universe, “I always come last.” That’s not the way life is supposed to be.
When you are offered something — the cake, the place in line, the help with your bags, the favor by a friend — I say take it.
Don’t worry about being polite, or what they will think, or what your mother would say. When someone offers you something that you really DO want, smile, say “Thank you! I’d love that/I appreciate that/I’d love to.” If they did not really want to offer it, they will think twice next time. (See? You are assisting the Universe in teaching them authenticity.)
And if they did mean it? Well, think about the times that you offered someone something they wanted, and they appreciated it and enjoyed it with relish. Didn’t you love that warm feeling you got? Of course you did. So now they get to have that warm feeling too.
And the Universe hears you say, loud and clear, “I deserve to get good things and I welcome them.”
Sometimes witnessing everyone else’s passion for taking life right to the edge and feeling everything to the deepest cell of their being is just exhausting.
If people insist that without such passion life is nothing…
If people insist that you must do for others, acknowledge injustice, fight and rage and push and be relentless until things change…
You have a right to disagree.
It does not mean you are “less Enlightened” than they are.
It does not mean you are heartless…cruel…uncaring…cold.
And it doesn’t mean you are content with the way things are.
It means that humans can take just so much before they grow numb.
There are times when just getting up is good.
There are times when the small things you’ve accomplished are enough.
There are times when you need to step away from all the mad doing and just accept being — quietly, peacefully, without judgment on yourself or your need for silence and stillness.
When you need those days, those hours, those moments — take them. Without apology.
Sometimes you must let people be people. There are certain of my FB folk who cannot help but put a negative spin on any post response they give, even if others are looking at the positive energy on a positive post.
I used to think about pointing it out to them at the time of the post, but then just shrugged; why give them another chance to be negative?
But teacher that I am, I want to find a way to address that. Therefore:
I’d ask all of you (and there are hundreds here) to think about how you answer things.
If someone posts about something wonderful, do you share the wonderful, or feel you must post the negative result you had on doing the same thing?
If someone shares an observation, do you feel the need to point out the negativity such an observation caused in your own life?
How does pointing out the negative feed you, or feed a friendship?
How does your negative support others, or truth be told, is it just that you want sympathy?
This world is full of people who can only see things through the sad, the unfair, the depressing set of lenses. But trust me: eventually people will turn away from that, and find someone who has a positive spin on the world.
We all have those lenses in our pockets, and we will all have occasion to pull them out. I confess to doing so, because I’m human; it’s light years less than it was in my younger years, but I slip on occasion.
But when I find I have written in the negative and the personally-directed, I do make a point of asking myself whether such emotions need to see the light of day or if they are just my need to vent.
Do I contribute to the conversation?
Do I move it ahead in any way?
Or does my pity-party energy hijack it?
If it is an original post where I want feedback, that’s one thing. (And I’d better be ready to accept all the feedback in all its colorations.)
But when it is being negative on someone else’s post just because I’m feeling negative, it gets erased.
And I go outside to listen to my blackbirds.
Because that’s always a positive.