Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Being Heard and Hearing Others.

I looked up ‘being heard’ on the internet. I could find one solitary poem about it, and a heap of business venture type ‘should-listen-in-order-to-make-the-sale' posts... Nothing more? Nothing about the most tiny-yet-valuable moment we can give another, or receive from another? Nope, nothing. And I am not surprised in fact; hearing, or being heard, is so darned rare it’s tragic. 

What do I even mean? I mean those times when you aren’t feeling that brilliant, you’ve no idea what to do about something, and you know no one is likely to know, yet also that it will work out in the end, but you wish it were soon.... You don't even want to say much about, you just let someone else know it's happening to you. You want to experience a little of the 'a problem shared about is a problem halved'. So you tell someone what’s going on for you and, if they don't plain ignore you, they either shrug and say 'Oh, it’ll be fine', or they can’t help (which wasn't what you asked for), or even that you’re imagining it... All ways of saying, “I don’t give a purple sh*t; I’ve my own problems, and I don’t want to catch yours.”  That old 'I don't want to get involved' cruelty. Worth remembering here the poet John Donne's important words, 'No man is an island…', which finishes with the reminder, 'because I am involved in mankind'.

Of course, you may you get the other arrogant ‘rescue service’, the ‘Why don’t you?' Oh great, three words which basically say, ‘I know what you should have done to stop this, why didn’t you, you idiot? I would have done it, but you...well... tch!’ This one might be called the red-rag-to-a-bull sh*t. And with neither versions have you been heard, acknowledged, re-cognised, witnessed, and thus you feel utterly alone and having to handle it all on your own. 

Yes, sometimes people seem to be ‘dumping’, but this has become a tidy label to give someone who is asking for an ear about something which really pushes your own buttons. Something which you are trying desperately to pretend isn’t in your mood-repertoire. Something you wish to God you could sort out in your own life, if you even acknowledged its presence that is; buried so far down in your awareness under your “I’m fine’ cloak. The funny thing I have found is, as I go on sorting out the cr*p under my own cloaks, people don't seem to 'dump on me any more...

Here on planet earth something very simple happens each day. We humans just share how it is to be human. In all sorts of ways, from speaking, writing, posting on social media. And being human IS pretty darned humanly messy. Plans don’t work out in time - or ever. Dreams dribble dust from their lofty shelves. Ideals are smashed to smithereens all over the floor. And God-forbid anyone come along in a 'mess', and let you see from the outside what your own sadness, disappointment, confusion, anger, hurt, or, worst of all, fear might look like, because you’re trying so darned hard to pretend you’ve got it all sussed and the mood-crew left your building years ago....

But ‘bad moods’ are NOT catching. Low moods in another do NOT drag you down, unless you let them; a low mood in another might alert you to one in yourself which you are denying, but if low mood isn’t in you, it isn’t in you. And if high mood is in you, you’re quite ‘safe’. But don’t put that high on your low-mood friend either; rub salt in their wound, would you? 

Just Hear Them. 
Just stay in your own space and witness them.
See them.
Hear them.
Acknowledge them.
Agree with them quietly that it looks and sounds like it sucks.
Smile kindly - yes, kindly. Not mockingly, or jovially, or dismissively, just kindly. Which you can do the more you discover and allow your own messy human-ness and your own self-compassion for it. And, through your heart being open to their human-ness, and to your own, you'll be letting them know you know they’ll come through ok, and not alone, because you heard them.

And while you’re at it, do this for yourself, too, when you are low, because then you’ll be better at it for the next person who comes along, and they for you.
We can change the world this way.

Too simple? Well, simple works. Simple isn't easy, but simple is beauty-full.

My daughter taught me this years ago… When reassuring her, 'helping' her out of her low mood by 'helping' her understand her irritating teacher’s possible point of view, and all that it ‘might’ have been about, she stopped me and said, “Stop it! I know all this. I just want you to agree with me first, and then you can say all that stuff which will help. But not yet! Just hear me!”

She was, and is, so right. And I am still learning.

Just hear people. Read their words. See them. And ask this of others for your self. Because to be witnessed as we are at any moment is the greatest gift we can receive from another, and also to give another.

Wiggle room...

After yesterday's blog ( Please Just Be You ) I was asked to say more on the '7 billion people needing to shift a bit for my growth' ... For me, it's like this: I see my whole self as a big, jute sack of rice - when a little bit of me releases or contracts, every other little grain of rice inside me has to move around a tiny bit to accommodate this. If I compress my sack too tightly, there is no wiggle room, and things get awkward and often painful. If I allow movement within the fabric of my sack, the wee grains of rice can manoeuvre about more easily. 

Then I see the my world - the characters and players on stage with me at any period of time, and I on theirs - as grains of rice in an even bigger 'life sack'. When I change my mind on something - the place I live, my work methods, my intentions, the size of my dreams, my choices and actions - everyone else in 'my world' has to manoeuvre about a bit to accommodate this. The same goes when those around me do something 'different', needing me to wiggle a bit for their change to happen. And then this goes for the even bigger world - changes in our bodies, our worlds, our villages and towns, counties, countries, the whole world, and probably even our planet within the universe, and beyond...

There are grains of rice in me which may, having wiggled a bit to accommodate change in me or another, go back to where they were; they just had to wiggle to allow the other to change. Or things may change dramatically with not a grain of rice anywhere near where it was.

But wiggle room is needed, as is patience; wiggling takes time. It takes the time it takes, too; some wiggles are delicate and slow, requiring subtle changes a long way away from my particular grain of rice, and some are localised, smooth, swift, barely noticeable in the ease in which they occur.

But one thing I do know is wiggles happen. Change within or without requires much wiggle room, which benefits from a 'permissionary sack' which undulates to allow movement within, and both soft elastic grains and hard fulcrum-like grains in order to facilitate the shifts.

Isn't that just like life?! I have met those rice grains on my journey - within and without - which are soft and pliant, and then been brought up short by those which feel like rocks on my path. But like with the combustion engine - where the solidly immobile engine 'block' has to exist as a fulcrum, in order for everything else to move smoothly in sequence, in order to produce propulsion - these solid grains are in my worlds to assist my own movement. I, in turn, will often be a fulcrum-grain in another's sack. (And when I think about something like the world of politics - there's lots of fulcrum-grains out there just now!)

So, within a world of 7 billion beautiful grains of rice in the sack called planet earth, there is endless wiggling going on all the time. So, if the changes you are searching for aren't revealing themselves yet, maybe they are just still needing to wiggle. In that case, give them room, be flexible, soft, be ok with having to wiggle out of place in order to wiggle back into where you most need to be right now. And happy wiggling!

Monday, 30 May 2016

Be Anything You Want? No, Please Just Be You.

You know when those posts about ‘You can be anything you want to be; it only takes a decision’ come up? The ones which, on some days, give you a real boost? But on other days.... I’m talking about those days when you could happily crumple posts like this up into fire-lighting stuff and add a lit match, because they plain old hurt 

Oh, that life were as simple as a decision. Yes, we can and do make them, but life is about a lot of other people than just us, and when we change out minds about something as big as Being Greater Than I Am Now, the others around us have to shift a bit too. And with 7 billion people on planet earth, that takes some patience and requires quite a lot of wiggle-room. 

So, I’m just saying here, I hear you when/if it’s one of those days for you, because I have them too. When it’s one of those days in which to be told your life is a little less than you would like it to be - you know, more bills in tomorrow, diary too full / too empty, book still not written, name not yet in lights, golf handicap still in the thousands, washing not done - because you clearly haven’t made a strong enough decision to be super-person (and obviously they have, or they wouldn’t be writing such posts... yet have they?), yes, one of those days when what you want to have happen is for someone to see you and say, ‘Tough sometimes, innit?  Hang in there right where you are now, and rest up a tiny moment. I think you’re awesome for being you. For having dreams and hopes. For wanting a good life. For wanting to shine, and share, and grow, and make a difference. Whether you make your dream today, tomorrow, or next decade, I still like you, and I thank you for being here, right now, as you. Make decisions all you like, and I will support you where you are and where you’ll be, and I will walk with you towards your dreams, but I wont ever tell you you ought to be there already.’