Friday, October 14, 2011

0 Be With Those Who Help Your Being

My conversations with people have been greatly limited the past few months for a very simple reason. Boring just doesn’t work for me on any level anymore.  Neither does a lack of true reciprocity in a friendship and relationship.  Neither does self-pity, nor lack of compassion, nor chronic negativity.
I used to think that it was my duty and obligation to enjoy people and include them in a fairly innermost part of my heart even if I didn’t resonate with them.  Because I enjoy challenges, I decided that when I felt uncomfortable around someone, I would use it as practice to look closely at myself and ferret out my own imbalances until I became comfortable.
Pretty miserable I was, longing for rich, hopeful, forward looking conversation and a celebration and encouragement of each other’s gifts and strengths. Not one to place blame outside of myself, I placed it on myself.  I decided that there must be something in me that needed balancing, so as to be able to enjoy this situation more fully.  I set out to find my personal impediment, and while I discovered a few things, something else happened that I didn’t expect.
One morning, after a few weeks worth of runs with a couple of these girls, I felt awful.  Mornings are sacred and precious to me, and here I was, running with girls every morning whose conversations revolved around how their lives weren’t working.  No amount of sincere encouragement from me or offers to help seemed to make a difference. Staying in that place worked for them, and they weren’t giving it up.
After I came home, I prayed aloud.  Talked to God with vigor, pacing around the kitchen spiffing up, like I do when nobody is around.  Asked why I had to be so intense, so desirous for meaning and depth and real optimism and hope.
Just then, I noticed a small art card with a quote I cut out several months before.  It waited for me on the side of my cabinet, and simply read, “Be with those who bless your being.” This quote, by the mystic poet Rumi, captured me instantly.  I could barely remember hanging the quote, and there it was, inviting me.
I looked up and again and spoke aloud and with my hands.
“Seriously?  It’s really truly okay to surround myself with people who in their presence I feel light, supported, blessed, celebrated, heard, and happy?”
The answer was yes.
This didn’t mean my love or concern or desire for the happiness of others decreased.  In fact, my love and celebration these others blossomed.  I just didn’t have to bring these people into my inner world anymore.  I could wait until I found friendships that were mutually edifying and supportive, and surround myself with them.   Finally.
It’s taken years to really believe that it’s okay for me to discriminate, but I’m finally there.  The interesting thing is that I’m much more chill, relaxed, comfortable and easy-going about all sorts of social situations and people.  I think it’s mostly because I don’t really care about proving myself, or being accepted or noticed.  I just don’t really care. Maybe that’s the blessing of aging, I don’t know.  My desire now is to draw people out and highlight their gifts and interests, and learn something from them.
Even so, the friends with whom I choose to spend my limited free time either in person or conversation must have certain qualities such as compassion for all others in action and word, optimism, high levels of personal accountability, integrity, seeing others’ light and darkness, and focusing on the light.  They must be undeniably real, sincere, have the ability to be raw, direct, transparent, introspective and yet easy going, not easily offended, quick to laugh, honoring of other people’s beliefs, steady, reasonable, confident, playful, intelligent, self-reliant, and have a pretty obvious lack of a need to impress people.
Stuff like that.
Be with those who bless your being.
How would you describe such a person?


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