Friday, March 03, 2006

Remedial Learning - Life for Dummies - The Complete Idiot's Guide to Stuff We Should Know

I've often said out loud to anyone who could be coerced into listening that the universe is constantly in teaching mode...that we are all learning lessons all the time...and that some of us (ask me how I know this) end up repeating the same lessons over and over until we get it.

Lately, my school-of-life schedule has undergone an overhaul and suddenly, I'm in remedial class with lessons coming fast and furious! I cannot remember a time when there were more "aha" moments in my life. Every day something else happens and another light bulb comes on, another little voice inside saying, "You knew that! You should have known that! Why didn't you know that?"

On the one hand, I'm bowled over by the intensity of it all. On the other hand, I'm deeply grateful. Not only are the lessons coming, but I'm able to recognize at least some of them. Those are the ones that, hopefully, I'll "get" this time and not be repeating the course again and again. No guarantees, of course...but I'm trying.

So what am I learning?

Trust your own intuition. If something bothers you, listen to it. Speak up about it. If you aren't bothered but people you love and trust are, encourage them to speak up... and LISTEN to them. You and/or they may not be right (we all have our own filters, after all), but you may be dead on target and you could be spared a lot of grief by paying attention.

Practice what you preach. When you believe that sharing failings, disappointments, and hurts is just as important as sharing joys and accomplishments, act on that belief. Don't keep your disappointments and injuries from people you love, trust, and respect, even if you believe that you're doing it for good reason. A prime example: I learned from a deeply loved and cherished friend today that she'd been carrying around pain and heartache over a situation that I, too, had experienced. Had either of us spoken up about it, we could have, as she so beautifully put it, helped each other to heal. Instead, and for the very best of reasons, we both kept our hurts to ourselves. In doing so, we isolated ourselves in that lonely place where you come to believe it is you and you alone who bears that burden. While I was trying to hold myself to a standard I had set, I left a friend to suffer alone, and I suffered alone, too. I have to learn to trust those I love to be strong enough to know what happens to me and how I react to it, without having my reaction shape their own.

Trust. Cherish it. Nurture it. Hold it dear and protect it. Honor it as the center of each relationship. Every relationship is a set of mutual promises, some stated, others implied. We make plans and live our lives on the basis of those promises. Don't make promises you aren't willing to do everything in your power to keep. If you don't understand the implied promises in a relationship, put on your grown up shoes and ask.

Accountability. I've posted a lot about accountability already. A point that keeps being driven home to me is that we are accountable for every action, and no action is purely good or purely bad. Everything we do puts things in motion, causes ripples in the pond, creates vibrations on the web of life that connects us all. Even decisions that are ultimately right and good create those vibrations, and what is good and right for us may be disappointing to someone else. Causing pain to someone by our actions, even when those actions are exactly what we have to do to meet our own honest responsibilities, is never easy for those who love broadly and generously. I have a beautiful little book called, "The Invitation," written by Oriah Mountain Dreamer. She says, "It doesn't interest me if the story you are telling me is true. I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself, if you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul; if you can be faithless and therefore trustworthy." Pretty words. Hard questions. Important lesson.

I'm sure there are more lessons, probably some that are just zooming over my head completely unseen. I can almost hear the, "tsk, tsk, tsk...she'll be back next semester..." in the ethers. I suppose I should be grateful for that, too. If life were strictly a pass/fail, one-shot-and-you're-out proposition, I'd have been booted a long time ago. Instead, we're given opportunity upon opportunity to learn, to grow, to get it.

I'm working on it.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Sing with me...