Maybe you just like this phrase. Or, you might despise this phrase. Some have no idea what it means.
This past week, I had many powerful, deeply felt encounters with others that I can only hope helped those others in their lives. I feel they opened up parts of me that helped me feel more whole and complete. I use the word hope for the “others”, because I know it’s up to them to work with any real take-aways from our interactions.
“Wise men don’t need advise. Fools won’t take it.”Ben Franklin
We are so orientated toward providing the narrative, solutions for others, rather than allowing the comfort to rise from one’s own depths, where a rock-solid foundation from which greater comfort may only be sustained.
Our ability to feel ourselves fully and to enjoy an empathetic connection to just one fellow human being, face-to-face, is worth consideration.
It sounds so simple. But just to “be”, to “be in the moment”, is where it begins.
To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them?Shakespeare – Hamlet, Act III, Scene I
If you watch your own inner life, your responses to the other person’s response to you – the rythym of the exchange – you can learn to notice how your exchanges take deepening, rewarding turns or how they fly toward escape routes that may feel good in the moment, but hollow with more time and reflection. These escape routes divert from really engaging with the “others” in our lives. Given some trust in ourself and the other, we can notice the polarities in our attraction, co-exist in the differences, allow the exchange, stay engaged with our own feelings and noticing those of the other person, simultaneously.
In dismay, I watched a few others in person and received a few emails and text messages that appeared to paint a life strategy of negating feelings and emotions, mostly proclaiming their own victory over this themself in their isolation. There was some dismissiveness toward me almost as if to say “by what authority do you speak?” “What are your credentials?” “We all hurt. We all suffer. Don’t you know that?”
On the other hand, four individuals engaged deeply in extended conversations with me that spanned the heights of our own victories and dark depths of our failures. These happened to have gone on for hours. It is in these four interactions that I celebrate, pray and hope, especially with some focus. Some precision.
Then there were dozens of encouraging brief notes that hit with some resonance of support and encouragement, which I will certainly accept!
They reminded me how my place in their mind was that of the survivor. ‘Mark made it through this, So can I!’ They were encouraged by my sharing (however ugly, un-polished, & shaken) story of someone who would appear to have had privilege and access to an easy life in professional athletics, running an oil company with beautiful women and eager children at my side. But as I have been led by his inner life, through a painful calling, through trauma’s and dramas, “road bumps” in my life, even near death experience in drowning and a lightning strike – my own real life encounters are just as powerful and certainly more real than the drama the movie and streaming series makers strive to contrive, re-enact.
So being a survivor and just beginning to shake off the remnants of years of those trauma’s is allowing some access to my own platform, my own sense of self, my own self-respect (finally) to be able to share with the common man, actually my fellow man as we see through the superficial appearances and presentations we have of ourselves and the pedestals we make for others. Think about that…