I am going to play pool soon, but had to get this out, so just words with this post and no pretty pictures. Maybe you can send me (or post to my Facebook Profile or Page) the images this post brings to your mind.
I had a conversation yesterday with a friend who goes to church EVERY Sunday. We like to joke with each other. I asked him, "Are you going to church tomorrow? Who are you going to pray for?" He responded, "You!" I said, "Ask God to give me presence: for the gifts that have been given, and ease: not to struggle with worry and fear." I think he said his prayers early!
Here it is Sunday morning, before church (I never go.) I am thinking about my waking dream and realizing its meaning. I dreamed that I was arguing with my ex and angry and abandoned to be left alone to deal with the responsibility that is ours. I find myself in a new living situation; a communal type. We are having group discussions after a demonstration of some with musical talent. Along the time I've been there, I've often heard one ask another, "Are you feeling stressed?"; it was even asked of me, and I felt it was a strange question. After the music demonstration, a man came forward with a suggestion for a better sound and demonstrated it to the musician; my response was agreement that it did sound better to me. The musician did not respond in any particular way, however another responded in defense of a perceived insult, and returned with a statement that the one who was being helpful was not qualified to do so. And the "defensiveness" trickled outward, and coalesced into a river of criticism. The original suggester left the room. I spoke out, as an unexpected fork in the stream; a river with the unseen (even to myself) potential to be strong enough to cut more deeply into the substrate than expected.
I said, "I can understand why he left. He is being perceived as judgmental, this makes you uncomfortable, your response is to be defensive. You defend "another" without seeing that the other is not offended, that no one is offended, but rather without looking at your own feelings. You pretend you are helping, without acknowledging the helpful attentions of another because your own voice of discomfort is begging for a response. You are judging him because his helpfulness makes you uncomfortable, NOT because you feel the musician needs defending." And then I took this statement and began reflecting it onto my own action of defending another. I did not intend to come to a defense, but it is what I did. I spoke in the cloak of "protection" and the undergarments of "teaching."
My waking thoughts were, "What am I feeling, really?" Perhaps when I judge myself, or others, I am not acknowledging what I'm really feeling. Am I reacting to a discomfort? When I judge myself it often begins with "should"...I should have been (pick one: smarter, wiser, less trusting, more trusting, better, kinder, generous and the list goes on. I react to this discomfort with words and deeds that deflect from my own self worth...my reaction PUSHES me from being present to what is and letting it be.
My dream is the answer to my prayer. I have learned from my dream, which was so clear and the message was so easy to get, that to be present to the gifts given me is to ask myself, "What I am reacting to? What is it that I will not let 'be'?" And then I asked my dream self, "what was I really trying to say?" The answer was not to ask "Are you feeling stress?", but rather to ask, "How can I be of service to you?" Because, if I really want to be a stream that cuts deep in this world, I need to let my discomfort be a clue to what I am really feeling, to serve my feelings not my judgments, to let them be and then be the river, and provide a surface that is deep enough and strong enough to carry any who need passage. I need to be authentic and sincerely "In SERVICE" of myself and others by letting them be who and where they are (who and where I am) in that moment, just as they are meant to be.