Last night I went to bed contemplating Is-ness. Thank you Pema for inspiring this. My contemplation continues this morning--the is-ness of my life in general and the is-ness of my intimate relationship dynamics in particular.
I live with the intention of being aware. I strive to be conscious of the stories my ego is telling me--stories about my relationships that create emotions that I must deal with on a daily basis. A good part of my days focus on, and circle around, my connection with others--family, friends, lovers, clients... And then there is my relationship with self and the intricate connection between how my relationship with self affects my relationship with others and vice versa, how my connection with others affects my sense of self. My relationship with others serves as a mirror as I gaze into it to see what's going on inside myself.
So I have all these stories about my relationships, about others, about myself, and I'm constantly letting go of the stories and attempting to just be with what actually is. Being with the is-ness, the actual day to day reality of these relationships, others, self. So I assertain what is real and then make choices to deal with this reality to the best of my ability. Being with the is-ness and not attaching a story to it is quite challenging because there are many layers to the stories and they are quite insidious. It's kinda like not throwing the baby out with the bath water.
Is-ness lies behind the stories. I can make all sorts of feel good/feel bad meaning from my stories. There are so many different perspectives to buy into and I'm quite good at that. In my open-mindedness I sometimes try on all the different perspectives (stories) and find something worthwhile in each and every one of them. But what lies behind the stories, the actuality of what is, is what I'm attempting to zone in on and then base my choices from this place.
So what is for me right now? I'm noticing that many of my choices in life are interconnected to the choices of others. I'm looking at another's choices and pondering how their choices affect me. These choices may work well for me, or not, but seeing that they are another's choices there isn't much, if anything, I can do about that. What I'm left with is being with what is. Being with the is-ness of another's choices and dealing with the consequences in the best way possible to create my own happiness. Sometimes this process is like making lemonade from lemons. Sorry for the cliche but ¿dónde está el azúcar?!!! Whether it's another person and the way their choices affect me, or just life circumstances in general, what else is there to be done?
Recently I told my truth. I told it without blame, and even though I was upset and wanted things to be different, I made no request to effect that. My motive was simply the intimacy of sharing my truth and exposing my vulnerability to another. I just spilled out my truth of the moment (which isn't necessarily the absolute truth but rather the truth of my thoughts and feelings at that moment in time.) While I am a big advocate of the truth, I realize that speaking it doesn't always get us what we want. That's not what speaking the truth is about anyway. It has other advantages which often do lead to getting what we want in the ultimate, if not immediate sense. This time around, speaking my truth served to get me less of what I wanted rather than more. My intention with speaking my truth, as is always my intention, was to create more intimacy and understanding in my relationship with another. Did it work? I don't know. The jury is still out. I hope so. I wouldn't say that I'm experiencing more intimacy just yet but I do think there is more understanding. And my past experience in life and truth telling is that intimacy grows from understanding. I'm hoping that another's response to my truth has put their actions into more alignment with their own truth. We will see how things evolve from here. In the meantime I will deal with the is-ness of it all.
Sometimes people don't respond "well" (in the way we would like them to) to our truth. The consequences of truthtelling are not always the results we would hope for. One of the things I'm noticing is that perhaps I've fallen as a bit of a victim to a common phenomenom in the truthtelling of intimate relationships--which is wanting the other person to tell the truth, but only if the truth is something I want to hear! The thing is, truthtelling often opens the flood gates so we better be ready to get wet. I wasn't really ready for the response I received to my truth and I didn't want it. I lost my equlibrium a bit for sure. I think I have it back again now. The truth, be one the giver or the receiver of it, often brings up much trepidation and fear, especially when we are dealing with heart stuff. Others don't always take care of our heart in the way we need our heart to be cared for and in the preoccupation of figuring out how to best care for our own hearts, we sometimes neglect another's.
This Rumi poem comes to mind:
There is field beyond right and wrong, I'll meet you there.All the stories, besides being quite entertaining, are often for the purpose of making someone, or something, right or wrong. I'm not much into playing the blame game so I practice letting so of my stories and playing beyond judgment in my relationships (I don't always succeed)--meeting the other in this field of is-ness. But the is-ness must be dealt with! This keeps me from living in denial, losing myself, and dishonoring my experience. Forget the story. Forget the meaning I make of the story. But don't ignore what is! Another's actions (choices) are simply that. Right/wrong, mean-spirited/kind-hearted, sensitive/insensitive, mindful/clueless, doesn't really matter so much when you get right down to it. This stuff simply is and what I do with it, how I be with it, the choices I make in the face of this is-ness is what matters.
One thing I will do is to keep speaking my truth because utimately, even though I know (fear) that revelation of my truth may be the catalyst that takes all I perceive I want away from me, I know that ultimately what leaves me, wasn't mine to begin with. And I'm not going to withhold the truth to protect an illusion.