I was shopping for a greeting card recently, and the "aim" was to buy the "most neutral card that exists." I must have spent more time on this endeavor than I have spent choosing my surgeons for complex surgical procedures.
It was an unbelievable challenge. This could be the result of the greeting card business and it's very own aim, but other than purchasing "blank cards," there really are no "neutral" cards for holidays and special occasions.
I love the new Empathy cards which have come out. I think they are brilliant. Perhaps I need to discuss my dilemma with Emily McDowell, the innovator. Maybe she can make a card that says "Well this just sucks that I couldn't find a card that says absolutely nothing overly gushy on it, so have a (fill in the appropriate occasion) anyway!" But I digress.
I am usually pretty successful at my endeavors, but on this one, I was not.
And it activated many thoughts for me:
Am I missing the whole point here? Okay, yes, the greeting card business can, indeed, be far too gushy. But maybe the lesson here is that we could use a little more kindness. Right? In this case, where gushy was not "deemed appropriate," I was in a pickle. But maybe the greater lesson is that we could all benefit from sending one another love!
As I thought about it, that was what felt right to me even if it was out of bounds of what was "needed" for the card. Because, in truth, that is what my daily aim is anyway. Even if I don't always succeed at remaining steady or equanimous about it.
For instance, some of the family members in Charleston, SC who have now tragically lost their loved ones in the massacre were able to root themselves in a love which I flounder in and out of. One was able to say, "God loves you and so do I." To me, this is pure grace. Personally, I have had to do a lot of grief work and experience a lot of loss and anger and work my way up the mountain towards forgiveness which I catch glimpses of and then sustain for portions of peaceful time, only to have to work my way back to it again. I just don't NATURALLY embody that kind of spiritual freedom.
Another said, "We are the family that love built and we have no room for hate." This feels more accessible to me. I know this one in my bones.
So, perhaps moving from a place which is accessible and authentic, rather than forcing neutrality, would most likely be one of the answers here.
However, some situations are not clear cut. We may not always be "invited" into certain homes. Even with a greeting card. The card itself may get boomeranged.
Those homes may not have been built by love. So navigating your inner world of true expression with "the rest" (the outer world, the reality of various situations) can be the pickle.
Navigating worlds which are not yours becomes a spiritual practice and brings me back to my original aim which is to just hold others in love. Without necessarily sending "neutral" or gushy cards at all.
Intention is truly the skin we live inside of. And I want to keep making my insides as beautiful and as compassionate as possible.
How about a card that says, "You are always welcome to visit a room in my house. And my house is a house that love built."
"The House That Built Me."