Breaking Our Own Hearts + The Man From the Plane
Remember the man from the plane? Well, we've been seeing each other.
On Monday night, he was at my place for dinner. I had cooked, and he offered to wash the dishes. I let him. (There's something incredibly attractive about a man doing domestic chores. Also, it's only fair that she who cooks should not have to clean.)
While he was leaning over the sink, I came up behind him and put my hands on his shoulders. I caressed his back and kissed the side of his neck.
He said "You're trying to make sure that I come back, but don't don't worry, I'll be back."
(Alrighty there Arnold.)
I was a bit startled by this.
I said "No...I know you're going to be traveling all week and I was just trying to soak all of you in before you leave."
"Oh. Being appreciated. That's something new."
It would have been so easy to make this situation about me.
How dare he suspect my motives?
How dare he try to turn my kind and loving actions into something ugly and manipulative?
But that would have been a mistake.
He's seeing the world through the filter of his life, of his past relationships, and everything that he's been through. Guess what? We ALL do that. ALL OF US. (I think his filter might be a bit smudged. Again, he's not the only one.)
Maybe he said what he did because he hasn't had enough warmth and genuine kindness in his life to recognize it when it's right there in front of him.
So I let it go. I chose not to make a thing out of it in that moment.
It's only been a short while, but there's been enough of these moments to let me know that this is part of my Real Life Zen Training. Learning to let go in the moment, learning not take things personally, learning compassion by trying to understand the other person and why they would say or do something, especially those things that are less than kind.
If he wasn't a good man with a good heart, I would have walked away already. If I didn't think we had a few things to learn from one another, I would have walked away already. If we hadn't already shared genuinely happy moments together, I would have walked away already.
Although forgiveness is a beautiful thing, sticking around only to be hurt or treated like we are "less than" because of someone else's emotional wounding...well..there's a name for people like that. (HINT: It start with an M and ends with ARTYR. Hobbies include self-flagellation, and various other types of suffering because nothing says PAR-TAY like PAIN.)
I'm definitely not a martyr. Or a saint.
I'm just me. Trying to be the best person I can be. To be as kind and loving as I can, while learning to forgive myself when I'm not either of those things. In forgiving myself, I am learning to forgive others.
What I know for sure: what any person does or doesn’t do isn’t about us, it’s about them. We get to decide based on what we see if what they do is good enough for us or not. We get to choose whether we want to stay or go.
If someone can’t give us what we NEED, WANT, and DESERVE, we don’t have to get angry or upset with them; they’re simply showing us who they are. Being angry at someone for being themselves is completely ridiculous; totally pointless.
In expecting others to be different than they are, we only succeed in repeatedly breaking our own hearts.We must give people the space to be who they are, and to show us who they are. And then we sit back and observe; we watch their actions. And from that place, armed with the information that their behaviour has given us, we decide to stay or to go.
The man from the plane thought I had an agenda when I showed him kindness. And that made me ask myself: What is my agenda? What is it that I want?
One moment in particular was somewhat magical...and so ethereal that I almost feel like a religious zealot describing it.
For those of you who've never been to the Shaw Center, one wall is made entirely of glass and it looks out onto the National Arts Center and Parliament Hill.
The sun was shining incredibly brightly through the windows. Soft music was playing in the background (Michael Bolton - Time, Love, and Tenderness, Prince - The Most Beautiful Girl in the World - my kind of throwbacks). All along the windows, red Muskoka chairs were lined up.
I sat down in one of those chairs and looked out at the sun, and at the city that is my home. I felt waves of gratitude wash over me.
So in that moment, I talked to Him.
I asked Him "Tell me, what is my agenda?"
The events of the night before were still with me, and I wanted to know: what is it that I want for myself, really and truly? What am I trying to get?
God always answers my questions. He doesn't always answer right away, but in that moment he did
(It helped that two weeks ago I did a vision board and this same theme kept coming up then too. God speaks through many channels.)
My agenda is LOVE.
Although, I am not religious, I do believe in a benevolent energy that I am comfortable calling God.
What do I want to accomplish?
What do I want to do?
What are my goals?
What do I want to give to the world?
What do I want to be?
That is all. And that is EVERYTHING.
I don't know if anyone can understand having LOVE as a goal. I don't know if I understand it. I don’t know what that looks like. What is the construct of my life which will support that? What is the version of me that I need to be in order to do that every day, in all things?
I don’t know. God knows though. I know that He knows because He shows me all the time. I asked Him a question and He gave me an answer. So I will be me, and I will be brave, and I will open my heart and I will do the things. And through that, God will take me to where I need to go.
It truly doesn’t matter what does or doesn’t happen with the man from the plane. The truth is that in the context of what I feel in my heart is my calling, how this or any other situation "turns out" seems somewhat small and insignificant.
Don't lose yourself in the temporary. No one has ever seen, no one has ever heard, and no one has ever imagined what God has prepared.I wish the best for each of us, and I’m not even going to pretend that I know what that is. And whatever is best is what’s going to happen because it always does.
I used to be a controlling person. (What can I say, I learned from the best #dad)
And then, years ago, I came across a quote through Notes From The Universe that changed EVERYTHING.
In all things, always and forever, simply wish the best for all involved without stating what you think that is.
And then whatever does happen, no matter what happens, know that it was.I wrote that quote down on a small piece of paper and I've been carrying it around in my wallet for at least 10 years, if not longer. At this point the paper is so soft it almost feels like Kleenex.
The point: No AGENDA. Only FAITH.
But how do we do that? How do we have faith in those moments when we're really wishing for the thing? Because we have those moments where we WANT IT SO BADLY. Whatever it is.
By taking a good honest look at the past. And I mean FULL DISCLOSURE HONESTY here.
How many times did things unfold in our lives in a way that - at that time - wasn't what we said we wanted?
And then how many times - when enough time had passed and we were blessed with the gift of hindsight - did we breathe a sigh of relief that we didn't get the thing?
Yeah. Exactly. Right?
My attitude now: Didn't work out? Not meant to be. The person left? Weren't meant to stay. Everything teaches us something. EVERYTHING.
We are constantly micro-tweaking so that we can make drastic changes in the direction of our lives, like a large ocean liner setting course for a new tropical destination. Years ago I learned about the concept of Trim Tabs from one of Martha Beck's books.
The idea is that a boat can't change direction all of a sudden - the force of the change would put too much pressure on the rudder, and cause it to snap off. So the rudders have smaller rudders - aka Trim Tabs - which need to be adjusted first.
We humans are just like that. If we want to change directions, we can't do it all at once. We need to adjust the Trim Tabs before we re-position the rudder. And that's what life events are about: everything which teaches us something is another little tab falling into place...falling into place...falling into place.
When enough Trim Tabs have been adjusted - we've micro-tweaked enough - our lives take on a new direction.
My whole life has been a series of Trim Tabs. And I now genuinely feel as though I'm on the cusp of having my rudder turn and take me in an entirely new direction. I CAN FEEL IT.
That's why I don't have an agenda beyond love, and that's why I don't have an agenda for what happens with the man from the plane. He might be a Trim Tab. Or he might be part of the shift in my rudder; one who will travel with me to my new destination. Only time will tell, and time will only tell that story if I give the situation the space and freedom to unfold.
All back to SURRENDER.
All back to FAITH.
All back to LOVE.
I ran into a one of my former managers recently. She's a nice little Italian lady and even years after I had stopped working for her, we still went out for lunch every now and then.
Every time I see her, she always asks me If I'm dating someone, and this time was no exception. I told her about the man I met on the plane. Before we parted ways she said "Well I hope it works out."
I responded "Let's not go there." (She's seen me through far too many situations that haven't "worked out.")
The thing is, that this isn't even something I'm hoping for right now. What I mean is that I'm not hoping for anything in particular in this situation. I can't. The place I'm at mentally, emotionally, spiritually, well it won't allow me to put an agenda onto anything.
I hope it works out.
Let's deconstruct that statement.
I - This refers to me / my agenda, and it implies that I know what's best for me. The "I" is what gets in the way of God's plan.
It - This refers to the relationship - although there isn't one yet, there's a burgeoning combination of energy, but nothing has been defined. The effects of that energy will remain whether or not this situation continues. It will have the impact it needs to.
Works Out - This implies that if the relationship doesn't last, it failed somehow when in reality, every relationship serves a purpose at the moment in time in which it's occurring.
That only leaves one word: HOPE.
Add HOPE to LOVE (which is what I am, and what we ALL are) and we are left with nothing but beauty. For how can anything but the greatest of all that is ever emerge from HOPE and LOVE?
When someone doesn't call, when we don't get the job, when we miss the flight.
There is a plan.
We can only TRUST and have FAITH.
At any moment in time, it's our decision to take back the key to our happiness and put it into our own pockets - WHERE IT BELONGS.
This week, I feel as though I’ve crossed a barrier from knowing this intellectually to feeling it in my heart. It’s a beautiful place to be; I highly recommend it.
Someday I will meet a man who will be the peanut butter to my jam. I know this. That day doesn't have to be today, and that man doesn't have to be the man from the plane.
There is a plan.
We can only TRUST and have FAITH.