It’s kind of monotonous. We all want to be ‘gotten’, understood for who we really are. Being accepted and fitting in is that thing that pure and innocent little kids have before they’re taught and fraught with conformity. Fast forward a few decades, when we’re faced with being 6 feet under or a scattered combo platter of ashes and bone fragments, and we hope there was something of value we contributed and hopefully we are missed. We prematurely compose our epitaphs and the tombstone blurb. I just figured this out: most likely the things people would say about us would surprise us because they would be more elevated than we imagined.
Yesterday at my local grocery, a man walked up to me and asked if I knew who he was. He stood there a minute and waited to see. Just before giving in, I knew his name. He and his wife had been Trainers in my former company and I’d not seen them since 2000. I stood there as they told me things I’d said long ago that still are influential in their lives, how I was still missed. While it resurrected pain for me it reminded me of a theme that is showing up in my life right now. I even had a vivid dream about it a year ago. It was 3 a.m. and I was sleeping in my room. I awoke to a luminous yellow light that was at the foot of my bed. Within that light was the image of my father and he walked around to the side of my bed while I sat up staring at him. My heart was pounding in my throat. He took my hand and it sent shivers through me because we used to hold hands when driving in the car. Here is what he said to me. “Babe, you spent 10 years in the multitudes, now 10 years in solitude and it’s time to get back out there.” He spent a moment looking into my eyes, turned and left into that bright light. I’ve only shared this with a couple people but I’m being prodded again so I’m sharing it with you.
The environment we live in is sort of a cocoon of our own making. We go about our days in our circular routine and sometimes only when jolted out of that by new stimuli like travel or relocation or changes in life circumstances, good and not so good, we wake up and pay attention. It’s bright light pouring through that crack in the cocoon, prodding me to move out of this place where I’ve done a lot of work on myself and put that to work in the world.
Here’s why I’m writing about this. A couple of weeks ago, after very serious deliberation, I made a business decision that changed the cast of characters. I sent a heartfelt articulate email, followed up with a phone call and then a meeting. The next day, when I met with this man who I consider equally a friend and business advisor and who has done only wonderful things for me, I was completely blown away by how my decision caused him painful sleepless nights, and how much he cared about our relationship. I’m not a big money fish in his ocean, but his noble response and depth of care for my future knocked me off my feet. In his presence, I cried for an hour. What I realized is that not only did I not know how much he actually cared but that we go through our days this way breaking our own hearts. When we fly through our lives, wishing to be ‘gotten’ (while comparing ourselves harshly to those who we think have it all figured out) there are friends near and far who truly hold us in very high esteem. It’s time to put ourselves on that pedestal in our own hearts and make the world a better place by sharing our gifts for God’s sake!
I’ve written about my Mom. After she died and a couple of months went by with no fanfare (her wish), some of her friends got together and I flew in. We had pie and coffee and they laughed and shared stories about Lynne, my Mom. I learned: she loved to fly fish, she was hilarious, she could kick anyone’s butt at Scrabble and MahJong, she would go play video poker in Vegas and put $100 in each of 5 envelopes which was her gambling limit for each day, she grew killer roses, she had some secret lemon meringue pie skill, she was self-made and financially independent, she had 2 awesome gay neighbors who loved her and watched out for her and she frequently boasted about me and my brother living the great life in California. I sat there in silence taking it all in. I felt like I just got slapped by the Universe, telling me I’d missed out. I had made no effort to ‘get her’. I thought she was demanding and negative and that she didn’t approve of my busy life. All the while she had enjoyed her life, her friends and had been proud of her kids.
Here’s what’s great about all of this. We humans love variety and contrast. If we were all the same, if it were easy to understand everything about someone or something including ourselves, it would be the end of it all. It’s the fun. With nothing left to discover in the world, no exciting challenges, this world would cease to be. We are all beginners in the beginning of relationships, and all the things we want to accomplish. I think about this when I am impatient with myself for not being able to play the guitar like, say…Santana. There was once was a time when he didn’t know either, when his fingers hurt, bar chords were hard for him too. And he persevered. One step at a time. Up until a few years ago I’d never picked up a paintbrush either. These are the stories we love to hear, the rags to riches, scientific breakthroughs, from nothing to something stories! We celebrate them in others and forget to celebrate them in ourselves.
For the sake of a successful economy, we invented ‘marketing’. The brilliance of the arts, inventions, businesses, even philanthropy can only flourish if they are appreciated, bought and sold. I understand that when I sell my art. If you paint, write music, participate in the arts, and business, the juice is in the creativity, not painting what someone will collect or playing songs that are popular. But at some point, Carlos Santana had to get his music out there after being a dishwasher and busking on the streets of San Francisco. My friend Doc Childre, founder of Heartmath once said to me that my fears were an example of inverted ego. He meant that for me to not get my writing, painting and my dreams out there was a little tricky control mechanism of the ego seeking status quo.
I have a proposal for myself and for you if you like. I’m whispering this into my soul:
- I know that I’m in the perfect place right now. Everything I’ve lived and who I am is valid.
- I will honor myself by nurturing the talent and skill I already have and commit to putting it out there to the world because it gives me such joy to do so.
- God is in the details! Nature and creatures are there to be noticed and appreciated. This is called ‘biophilia’, we need each other. By the way, the measurable frequency of the emotion of love and that of appreciation are exactly the same!
- I subscribe to the thoughts and the belief that the world is conspiring to shower me with blessings. Thank you Rob Breszny and your book, Pronoia.
- I will pause and take time to let people know how much they matter to me.
- I will look around for what’s funny. Here’s a good place to start: joeycake.blogspot.com
- I want you dear reader to know that I’m grateful for you. I know you’re out there even if you don’t click ‘like’ on FB.