I am not a project, some broken thing that needs to be fixed. I am a human being. A person! I have thoughts and feelings, likes and dislikes, wants and needs, intelligence and experience. I am not perfect. Not by a long shot. But I think that I deserve at least a modicum of respect for who I am.
There are people in my life who seem to think that I could use a little improvement. (Can’t we all?) I’m certainly not going to deny that there are things about me that need tweaking – to say the least! I’m impatient. I have a bit of a temper. There’s that wee superiority complex thing that continues to haunt me now and then. I procrastinate more than I should. I’m fairly opinionated about certain subjects, though I do try to see the other side of things and accept them.
On the flip side, I think that I have a good sense of humour about most things. I love to learn. I think I’m pretty creative (although that adjective is clearly lacking). I’m affectionate and caring. I’m empathetic, though not often very sympathetic. I’m forgiving, though I don’t forget. I take responsibility for my actions and have learned to admit when I make mistakes.
Recently a dear friend of mine told me that she thinks I’m one of the most educated people she knows. That went straight to my ego, inflating it with a pride that I have to admit was sadly ridiculous. I wondered later, when the swelling subsided, if she realizes how much she has to teach me. Does she see in herself how amazing she is and how much she has to share? Just being around her lifts my spirits. Her dazzling smile brightens everything! And her deep connection with nature… Well, I think that is just brilliant. I want to learn from her. Having people like her in my life gives me strength, lifts me up and energizes me.
There are many people like her in my life. People who teach me the most extraordinary things. People who inspire me. People who, just by being my friends, give me hope, are supportive, make me laugh and accept me for who I am. My incredible daughters with their unlimited talent, my best friend whom I love so much just for putting up with me, my fabulous MIL with her zest for life and adventure, my FIL who is the salt of the Earth – a good man with a good heart, my staff who help keep our little library flowing smoothly and brimming with creativity. My grandchildren who have given me the gift of playfulness back. There are two very special friends from high-school to whom I owe so much for their strength and wisdom and continued love. There are colleagues who make my job just that much easier with their support and understanding. There is another special lady (in a pirate hat) whose fearlessness inspires me. There is my family who taught me that diversity doesn’t have to be adversity.
And then there are the people who want to change me, control me, take away my soul and encapsulate it in a mold I cannot and will not fit into. This handful of people has decided that they know what’s best for me and have made it their objective to show me the error of my ways. Little do they know how much they have actually taught me. Little do they know how much they have inspired me to stay on the path I have chosen. They have taught me to be true to myself, to stand tall and stand up for my convictions, to express myself as myself, creatively. They have given me a gift as precious as the loving support I get from others; the gift of grace. For without their challenges, I could not have learned how deeply connected we all are. I could not have learned how the Universe balances light and dark, peace and war, love and hate, good and bad. And for that I am thankful.
It’s easy to get our hackles up when we think we have the answer and suddenly discover that someone else has a different answer to the same question. (I do it all the time!) Yet if we take the time to listen, to try to understand, it’s just as easy to see that we are looking at the same thing; we’ve just approached it from a different angle. If one person walks up to Michelangelo’s David from the front and describes it to another person who has walked up to it from the back, the other person is going to hear a vastly different description from what she or he is seeing. Yet both are looking at the same thing. It is multi-dimensional. Until you walk all the way around it, you cannot appreciate, let alone see it, completely.
|What else are we not seeing when we only|
view things from one side?
(That is a rhetorical question! Ha-ha)
There are lessons in different points of view. They are invitations to come around to the back and see things from a new angle. It’s okay to prefer the front, or the side, or the top… yet to deny the back exists or the description of it is valid without actually going to take a look… well, that seems to me like a very self-limiting thing to do. That is what creates discrimination, fosters judgement and indulges prejudice. I want to see the back, the sides, the top and the bottom before I choose which angle I will favour. (At least to the best of my ability!)
I have no doubt that the people who are trying to change my way of thinking are doing so from a place of caring. I am willing, at least, to give them the benefit of any doubt there may be. I am neither flattered nor offended (anymore) by this attention. I am grateful to them for sharing their perspectives with me and showing me that there is another angle, another play of light and shadow, to consider and, possibly, incorporate into my own practice. Still, my practice remains my own and I invite them to come around and just take a quick look at what I see from the side I stand on. I am happy to share what I think, what I know, and maybe with a bit of understanding they can accept and respect and honour my imperfect self as not broken or in need of fixing. Maybe they can see something of value to incorporate into their own practice. And little-by-little we can, even through our variety, come to a place of unity. Of Oneness.