I love sitting behind my computer writing. I am completely vulnerable and exposed with the continuous thought that no one is reading this. Yet, when I get a response or comment of how my words impacted the reader, it helps me realize that sometimes, it’s not about me.
“Vulnerability is not weakness.” Brené Brown
If you’ve been reading my blog from the beginning, then you are aware of the man, who when I see him, I consider a good omen for my day (which is giving huge responsibility to a stranger). If you are new reader, or like me and can’t remember anything from last week, let me shed some light.
There is a man that walks along Golf Course, and as far as I can tell, it is EVERY DAY. I see him walking in the bitterness of winter and the scorching heat of the Albuquerque summers. What makes him unique is the fact that he’s always wearing a hat with ear flaps, a long sleeve sweatshirt, gloves, pants and what looks like a filled back pack. He walks with intention, swinging his arms has far as he can reach, back-and-forth and back-and-forth. His stride is long but not fast. When I see him, I grin ear-to-ear. He reminds me to always be me and it will be a good day.
I’ve made up stories about him…why he walks…why he wears what he wears….what he carries in his backpack…etc. Have you ever done that? Made up stories of who you think people are based on what you see? I do that when I people-watch in airports, in coffee shops, on patios (especially in Santa Fe overlooking the Plaza—my fav is the Ore House because you get a bird’s eye view), and it’s not so much to judge (although I have seen some major fashion faux pas that I’d like to offer some assistance on), but more out of curiosity. …where are people going? …where do the come from? …what are they like? AND then, I saw him close-up in person.
One Sunday, my son, Isaiah, and I were shopping at the local market. I was looking for some sort of produce and my son was on his phone. I looked over and in front of the leafy greens, there he was. He still had his cap on, but his normal uniform had changed, he was wearing a t-shirt and shorts. I smiled, but didn’t say anything. We moved on to the meat section. I started to shop for the week’s selection when I felt Isaiah nudge me. I looked up and saw him smiling and turning his head in the man’s direction. I smiled and because my facial expressions give everything away, without saying a word I conveyed that I knew. We moved on and out of earshot I explained to Isaiah that I had seen him in produce. Isaiah is well aware of this man and my good omen theories. I would often send a text to Isaiah saying, “it’s going to be a good day” when I’d see him (and of course not while I was driving ?). He would do the same. However, while star struck, I chose not to go up to him and tell him about my theories or ask him why he walks and wear what he wears and the 120 other questions I had. I believe in privacy and honestly, it would have been kind of weird, right?!? It was my story, not his.
“Be so aligned, not even Mercury in Retrograde can phase you.” Spiritual Daughter
Do you believe in the power Mercury has when it is in Retrograde? I wasn’t a believer until a couple of years ago it really seemed to impact my interpersonal communications and technology (except, I’m always having issues with technology). I’m not entirely sure that these communication issues should be blamed on Mercury or the fact that I have something to blame.
Recently, the stories or narratives we have about relationships came to mind again. This time in what I was telling myself. Someone I knew a few years ago came back into my life by matter of coincidence. We had started talking again. Our conversations were completely on the surface with no deep dives, but it was nice and light. I was clear about what I wanted.
I came home to my casita last Saturday night after a lovely evening with friends. I almost let it be ruined by a conversation I had as the evening ended. It has been the same conversation that I had been having repeatedly for the past several months. As much as I wanted to try to see something else, I knew in my heart what the problem was, yet I turned a blind to a hopeful eye. It can be upsetting when reality sets in. I’ve been preaching now for months about Maya Angelou and Oprah Winfrey and learning that people will show you who they are the first time. I have to say before this year, the number of times I forgave and let people show me again and again before I saw who they really were, was in the triple digits. I guess I’m pleased to say that this time it was in the single digits. However, it still made me feel uncomfortable about myself.
After I took off my dress and put something more comfortable on, I decided to look at the stars. I am so lucky that I live on the edge of a golf course. Without the light pollution, the skies are pretty clear for stargazing, so I went outside and looked to the heavens for some tranquility.
I was scaffolding my own story about what happened. Was it fear? Was I unclear? Was it superficial? Did it matter? As much as I tried to let it go, it still lurked around me that evening. What bothered me is the that I am pretty open about what I want and need. Words without the corresponding action show me that you don’t value me, and I started thinking about a blog I wrote last year.
Have you ever read Aesop’s Fable about the North Wind and the Sun? A couple of years ago I wrote about it as part of a random acts of kindness blog post I created for Hotel Andaluz. For those of you who never heard of it or don’t quite recall it all. It is the story of competition between the Sun and the North Wind and who could get the traveler to take off his cloak on his journey. The North Wind went first and as the wind does, he howled with all his might. Instead of the cloak flying away, the traveler held it tightly. Next up was the Sun. The Sun shone brightly, and the heat hugged the traveler. As his body temperature rose, and the sweat began to bead off his body, the traveler opted to take off his cloak in order to cool off. I used this fable to speak to the power of customer service and the customer experience. The whole blog can be found.
“At the heart of the fable is this: warmth is better than sheer force.”
That night it dawned on me that Mercury is in Retrograde. Was it messing with communications? Did I react harshly without pause to state my thoughts clearly? I took a moment to pause and think introspectively. Then a few days later, I came across an article by Brené Brown. Do you know this Researcher-Storyteller? She has done some powerful research on vulnerability and shame.
Through her research she found that vulnerability is not WEAKNESS. There is emotional risk, exposure and uncertainty involved and vulnerability is an accurate measurement of courage.
I went back to her Ted Talk and reread the article in which she spoke of writing our own unconscious storytelling and how we use narratives in our own self-protection. And this statement was on point, “When we’re under threat, we run. If we feel exposed or hurt, we find someone to blame, or blame ourselves before anyone else can, or pretend we don’t care.” She suggested engaging with your feelings, then getting curious about your feelings, moving to writing them down and finally, duking it out (not physically, although, I highly suggest a run, that helps me get the f*cks out).
I chose to question what happened. I didn’t get a response and I’m okay with it. In the following days, I decided to unwrap it up here. It could be just as easy for me to not care, become hardened or skeptical about people and relationships, not only based on my recent experience and honestly, based on relationships I’ve encountered over the past few years, but I realized something. That isn’t me. I choose to continue with warmth, look for good and build from that place. I also appreciated the wit and the lightness of the conversations–it was a nice distraction. However, I’m listening to my gut. I also may wait or be very thoughtful in my communication before I have any important conversations at least until August 20th.
With light and love and watching that planet,