There is a bumper sticker that I love which says: Don’t believe what you think.This is a launching point for a discussion about how we engage spirit, nature, and our fellow humans.
The problem with what we think is that it is often the result of an external prompt. In this case we’ll take this wasp. We assume that he or she is communicating with us. It’s not. This paper wasp is eating pollen on a rose leaf. We start thinking though, and those thoughts add up. There’s a wasp. I don’t want to get stung. Look at those wings. Wasps are aggressive and ugly, and they hate people. My garden is dangerous, and I’m afraid for my family. I better kill this wasp! I hate those things!
You may or may not get stung by a wasp, but let’s look at the experience this wasp has caused within your mental, emotional, and physical bodies simply by being there, simply by eating. Ahh, but did the wasp cause anything? It’s easy to blame it, but what if you take the wasp as a lesson, as a teacher even? If you don’t like how you feel when you see a wasp, your spouse, a co-worker, or your great aunt’s dog Sheldon, consider how your mind takes a simple image and runs wild. It takes control and leads you to where you don’t want to go.
I was at the park yesterday and got a jarring look at the angst of a teenage girl. It was shocking because she was unabashedly talking about longing for her boyfriend in front of two adults unrelated to her. There had been a grounding and consequently a week without a call from her boyfriend. She was angry that he had his friend call her and got on the phone to speak to her. She was angry that he respected her wishes when she told him not to do that anymore. It would get her in trouble. She was angry because there was a parental mandate that she couldn’t kiss him anymore. With wild pacing and hand gestures, anger turned to confusion as she explained she might be reunited with this boy for her 72 hours of good behavior. Nothing made sense. And to top it off she’d brought her big dog to the park, on a frigid day with only a light jacket, and this boy was supposed to be walking his dog. He was nowhere in sight.
One of the adults, a man, laughed and unmaliciously poked a little fun. He whispered “drama queen” under his breath, but I could see that her pain was real. I suspected that seeing this boy relieved that. He tweaked her emotions in a way which she couldn’t do for herself. He gave her self-worth.
She had lost it somewhere among her three other siblings. Her longing separated her from her family members. She was a weak link and didn’t like that about herself. There were other reasons not to like herself, but this boy didn’t see them. If he’d just bring his dog to the park on this very cold day, she’d be able to show us.
I wanted to fix it all, but I couldn’t.
“Where is he,” she whined.
“Hey,” I said trying to help, “you have years ahead of you where men disappoint you. No sense letting it all happen right now. Pace yourself. Don’t want to peak in your teens.”
She smiled and I fought the urge to grab her by the shoulders and put my forehead against hers. If there was a map in my memory that would help her avoid the pot holes, I wanted her to absorb it telepathically. I wanted to stop the train, but I looked up and she was gone. The boy had shown up and the sun was in the sky again.
Lots of us have made vows to eat better and get more exercise, but have you checked in with your connections of late? It’s really easy to make them, especially with LinkedIn, Facebook, and Pinterest. We check in with people on the other side of the globe on an hourly basis sometimes, and we are reminded by profile photos how well we’re liked. We are spread far and wide, and the cords that grow over continent and cloud are tugging at our energy. Energy follows thought after all.
Maybe the vow, this year, should not be to shrink your thighs but to grow your heart. Cultivate relationships with higher thread counts, and send them to the cleaners every once in a while. Be present in your friendships, and know that you are creating whether mindless or not. Your you-ness grows beyond your fingertips and toes even as your monkey mind caries you to twenty other places, even as the connections on the back burners boil over or chill with indifference.