One of the things I love most about watching babies and the childhood development process, is not just the innocence of it, but the sheer honesty of it. When a child puts its hands out as a barrier, in protest, you know that s/he is saying “No.” And the metta messages are “it’s too much, I don’t want that, I’m not ready, go away.” etc. etc. It’s why I love kids. When they are young enough, nothing gets in the way of this clarity. No fear, no trickery. Nothing at all. It’s just raw truth.
I tried to live ONLY this way after doing a Meisner training and learned that not everyone in my life was open to hearing the “flat truth” as eager as I was to continually share it. As adults, we still need to practice our impulse control and dare I say it, a little bit of delicate restraint. Although I’ve maintained the truth telling, a friend told me that I speak so honestly, she believes it scares people and makes it very hard to be my friend. Hmmmm. Personally and conversely, I only want to cultivate and rely upon friends who will tell me the flat truth. It’s all that I want.
But if something feels too hard for me, I think I want to be able to behave like a kid sometimes (and put my hands up). Not like a victim. Not ever. You see, I’m far too good at pushing myself. I know it’s a skill that is good to have in one’s back pocket. There are benefits to having this behavior pattern and skill-set, but it is also critical and challenging to learn when and how to stop pushing.
I have thrown myself into the deep-end so many times just to grow myself a little bit more, just to cross another threshold, or figure out something that needed to be revealed to me in the most difficult way imaginable. I get to a moment where I feel uncomfortable, and so I push myself through that precise door and I turn the key because I want to discover what is on the other side. I want to know what work there is for me to do so that I can get to it and get through it.
But I also know that sometimes I push myself when I need to stop pushing. When I just need a respite so that I can integrate a little and do a little repair work to a heart that is truly hurting. Not blast past the hurt.
The kid needs to put her hands up, not get on the bus because she needs to face the bully again.
It’s Thanksgiving Day and I’m in a wheelchair. Okay, Svaha. It’s not what I would’ve imagined for myself. What I want to do is rest in bed and snuggle with my pup. But my dearest and oldest friend won’t hear of it. Maybe it is hard for her to sit in this pause with me. Maybe it is harder for her to imagine me alone on Thanksgiving than it is for me to actually be alone.
But I will tell you: Thanksgiving is about gratitude. And this friendship has been the most enduring relationship in my life. I always called her my “sister of choice.” There are times I went so far away from this relationship because I trusted it would be there, but recklessly so. I didn’t tend to its garden. And when I think about that, I am aware that there are months of my life, here and there, that I can and will never get back.
She has always been my tribe. And she wants me at her table. So as vulnerable as it is for me, as much as I want to throw my hands up in the air and say “no,” today, it is my job to say “yes.”
When we met twenty-five years ago, I dreamed she would become my family. The truth is, I am vulnerable. I am not going to pretend that I am who I have known myself to be. Of course, it is hard to not be able to use my legs, to not be able to get a glass of water in the middle of the night when I really want one. It is hard to not be strong for my own self. It’s even harder to not be strong for my friend. To know I can’t lift each of her twins , one in each arm and run them up and down the stairs of her house like “Aunt Jill” used to. But Aunt Jill has to put her arms up. She has some healing to do.
So after all of these years, my friend has become a great teacher to me. She has taught me that I don’t have to push so hard when it has always been my habit to push. Someone is coming to get me today to bring me to her table. At first, I put my hands up in protest and I started to cry. And then I told her I couldn’t do any of it. I couldn’t allow this offering. I couldn’t receive her generosity. I couldn’t “let” the twins “see” me cry. And I realized in all of this, I was making everything harder for myself (and for her) by not allowing her to love me in the way she knows how. And that the tears were coming because something in me was still trying to heal. Still.
So why not allow it to heal?
How much more vulnerable do I wish to get? I’m in a wheelchair. What else do I want to manifest?
Why not allow the healing?
So it’s Thanksgiving.
On this day, what I know for sure is it’s about ALLOWING Gratitude. ALLOWING Love. That’s what is getting to the underbelly of this Yogin today. It’s about letting go of pushing past the familiar pattern of the difficult, the challenging, the far too difficult and the far too challenging. Listening to when it’s enough already. And if you’re lucky, releasing the grip of pain tied to the past. Bit by bit.
And giving yourself a whole new message.
The message my friend and “sister of choice” gave me today:
“You did good.”
And the one I gave her (of course, in the style of Ethel Merman!):
“You’ll be Swell! You’ll be great!” (Well, isn’t that just like me, Madge?)
No, seriously, the message I gave her:
“Thank you. For giving me just the right kind of ‘PUSH.’”
Blessings, Love, and deep deep gratitude for this allowing.