A particularly interesting part of me is watching how I adapt in so many situations in order to make others feel comfortable. Well, at least, my definition of comfortable and what would make me feel comfortable. A couple came into the bookstore a few weeks ago and wandered around, fingering the jewellery and making purchases for their grandchildren. The wife commented on a wall hanging in the store, an Om symbol and its inspirational saying under it: “Easier said than done,” she said jokingly but expressing her appreciation for the variations of hangings. “Yeah, they’re nice,” I automatically reply. No, they’re not, I immediately think in my head. They’re a gimmicky material possession to hang on the wall of a house rather than a truth to feel in the heart. Ok, some people may like this kind of thing and use it to externally manifest the bubblings of positive statements and quotations that do exist internally as well. I can respect people’s desires for owning wall hangings such as these. I quietly rescind my statement in case she even heard the original comment anyway over the bangle of her jewellery-laden fingers and wrists. Who did I say it for anyway? : “They’re nice”. Surely not to make her feel more comfortable, she wasn’t listening anyway. It must have been for me.
It’s a quiet, drizzly day signalling the end of summer. She gregariously translates her husband’s hushed hindi comments that she lower the decibel of her voice in this tranquil store. “Oh, it’s just the rain that makes it seem quieter today,” I’m making justifications for her again, assuming that she needs my comments to feel as though she can exist the way she is with her expression of preferences of products for sale and general convivial attitude.
Why am I doing this? Why am I under the illusion that first of all I can, and secondly that I need, to justify her expressiveness. It’s not, then, about others’ comfort at all but rather about my own. It’s about my habit of reflecting back outwards what I see rather than gazing internally to express myself. It’s about entrainment. Entrainment, similar to entanglement, in which two atoms/cells/beings/whatevers adjust their vibration to match each others. But what happens when I observe external vibrations and match them without my vibration being matched also? Loss of identity is what happens.
I sure had the opportunity to witness this happening this past week in Alberta. All the change and growth in the world won’t really amount to much if I don’t embody it in situations other than living here. As I drove back west, into the comforting, placid mountains I felt my mood rise higher and higher. Alberta, what did you do to me? Alright, alright, it wasn’t you, Alberta, not this time. I take full responsibility for not taking any responsibility. I see how my trip was a series of events that I placed myself in rather than actively taking part in. It felt rather disempowering yet I understand how I could have behaved exactly the same way and taken part in exactly the same events, and with a slight mind-shift, would have come away with a completely different experience of the week. Nevertheless, I felt downright shaken by Thursday evening with my lowering confidence levels and increasing anxiety. Looking back I see how my willingness to place myself in dependant roles and then judge myself lands me in that place. I am, after all, an only daughter with three older brothers; it’s natural that I have habituated that in my being. Now, however, I take back my independence that I so easily express and live out here. Here, in this community that I’ve chosen all by myself. Here, where independence is fostered and expected. I’ve a rich artillery of tools for self-empowerment to engage in the future, coupled with my own inner strength and knowing that I can be whatever I want to be and those I love will accept me.
It’s really wonderful to be back home. My birthday was a veritable love-showering (even for someone who likes to be treated special). A friend gave me a card with a Hafiz quotation summing my week up perfectly:
Now is the time to understand
That all your ideas of right and wrong
Were just a child’s training wheels
To be laid aside
When you can finally live
With veracity and love
My tendency to judge as right or wrong is merely a habit comparing reality with conditioned preferences. Luckily I get to choose what it means to have independence and ultimately how I live my life.
My birthday evening coincided with movie night. But first, after supper, I quickely went back to my room for a bit to unpack and clean up, feeling grateful for this precious room that I call my own, filled with tokens of external representations of my true inner self. Jim always says that we never really change and that our true essence is the same from the time we were born. Having not remembered myself from infancy I have the tendency to disagree. I am changing and growing all the time, as evidenced by my place of residence being so different than what I was willing to express in years past. I left enough mess to recognize the place and as movie-time approached I bounded up the hill back to Mandala house, periodically passing growing mounds of bear scat. Ah, it’s good to be home.