My life lessons usually come to me through mindful, non-judgmental observations of myself and others. When I finally started paying attention I discovered that everyday life holds a gold mine of wisdom for those who seek it.
There is a guy at my job who rubs me the wrong way, so to speak. His energy is overpowering and dark. He is an unhappy man. My heart has compassion for him because although I do not know all of what he deals with, I sense that he is carrying heavy burdens in his heart. Some are really obvious. When you truly listen to people with active awareness you hear what they are really saying and sometimes you hear it in the things that are left unsaid.
I sense that this person is really disappointed with where he is in life. The job is not the type of thing most people would aspire to. It’s a way to make a living…and that’s really all.
For me it’s a bit more than that. I have this opportunity to talk to the 50 or so people I talk to in a given day and with that opportunity comes the opportunity to treat people respectfully with awareness. The people I have talked to since I started this job have been overwhelmingly affirming and grateful for the help I give them. It’s been nice.
With every relationship we participate in, whether it is a 3-minute phone conversation or a 50-year friendship or marriage, we have the opportunity to bless and lift up our fellow humans. And when we are able to take a step back and look at the big picture, it’s apparent that blessing each other is how we are going to change the world for the better and facilitate the positive shift in consciousness that is currently underway.
Going back to the person from work, he seems to believe he’s fallen short of some ideal and comes across as the guy who settled for mediocrity, never gets the breaks, doesn’t get the girl, etc.
This got me thinking about how we are conditioned by our families in childhood to follow the example that is set for us. To do otherwise is to reject the tribe. It seems to me that in the best case scenario, a child is allowed to grow up and be whomever he/she is without being judged by parents as having betrayed the family.
My family has a dysfunctional pattern. There are silent directives about work, money, love and relationships. In my family, we are all called to be martyrs to the family ideals, ideals that are really messed up. One standard is to stay unhappily married for long, long periods of time, sacrificing health and happiness to the comfort of predictability and keeping up appearances. There are strong messages about what is an acceptable profession and amount of money to make and about [false] humility. What my family defines as humble is not humble at all. It’s amazingly arrogant. In every martyr/victim is a person who feels morally superior in some way. It’s a small reward for carrying such a heavy burden through life.
A couple of days ago a coworker remarked that it must be frustrating [for me] to have all that education and not be able to use it. At the time I agreed, but later I thought about it and wondered why I agreed with that. Yes, society expects me to feel badly that I have a law degree and I am making a modest living doing a job that barely requires a high school level education. I suppose I could feel upset about that if I wanted to. But there is another way of looking at it. For one, I use my education every day. My skills in reasoning and observation serve me well every day. It’s just that this employer is getting a bargain for my time. That’s okay. I’m helping people and making a positive difference in many people’s lives…5 minutes at a time. What more could I hope for?
I am finding my way through life on my terms. I may stumble and have hard times, but I am living this life, making my mistakes and learning from them. I’m paying attention. And I have decided there are certain patterns from childhood that are going to stop with me. I am challenging the things I have believed unconsciously most of my life. It’s uncomfortable and I don’t always like what I see, but the rewards are huge. I am watching myself become a more gentle compassionate person as I understand my role in the universal human drama.
Today I was thinking about how between liberation and true freedom lies a desolate place in the soul where we wander as the Jewish people did before reaching the promised land.
After you tear it down it takes a while to build it again, but the rebuilding begins immediately, which is great.
I’m sort of in that place, wandering, thinking, learning…alone. I almost want to think of the word alone as all one. Because really, that’s what’s going on, the steady realization that there is only one of us here. Every day I feel the connection grow stronger.
Bless all the people at my new job. Bless the people who call my phone. Bless everyone I pass walking to my office. Bless everyone I know. Bless everyone reading these words. Bless us all, everyone.
The world is full of possibilities and choices. We are never without choice, no matter how badly things appear to be going. If you’re still breathing, you still have the power of choice.
That is a glorious thought.