My dear friend Howard Parson’s writes on his Hopeful Notes from Howie J today:
“When you become aware of all the complexities of your humanness you start to understand that to be intimate is to be known to yourself.”
We met yesterday, Howard, Kerry Parsons, Ian Munro and I to talk about The Essential Journey — that voyage into the magnificence of our human being that inspires we humans to live beyond the adaptations of our ego’s urgings to continually adapt so we can fit in, act out, and ‘be normal’.
Somewhere, long ago, we began to believe being great, being magnificent was not normal. And so, we created normal out of playing small. We adapted the stories we tell of who we are to avoid feeling the fear of stepping out into the light of our magnificence.
It’s this, this adapted living that is not normal. It’s just what we’ve created to make sense of a world that keeps evolving. A world where chaos crashes into order, a world where confusion bounces off of clarity. A world beyond our wildest imaginings. And, because we can’t imagine a world of wonder, awe and magnificence, we create patterns of ‘normal’ that keep us playing small, playing down to our lesser imaginings of what life on earth is all about.
At the end of our meeting, Kerry asked each of us to describe what are our wildest dreams for The Essential Journey. I knew right away what my answer was because I’d encountered it on my way to the meeting.
As I left the downtown to travel south towards our meeting place, I drove down the lane from where I park to the adjoining street that would lead me to the main thoroughfare. As I got to the intersection, I saw a man I knew from the shelter where I used to work. He was carrying his backpack, walking down the lane beside my car. I waved and smiled. He waved and smiled back and came over towards the passenger window of my car. I pressed the button to slide it down and he greeted me with a big smile and a “Wow. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen you.”
“How are you?” I asked him and he told me about moving out of the homeless shelter where I used to work, and where he lived for many years, into an apartment of his own.
“It’s good,” he said. “Really good. But, how are you? Where have you been?” he asked.
In front of us the traffic snaked by as we chatted about life, about changes and growth and moving on.
Towards the end of our conversation (a car was coming down the lane behind me and I knew I had to move out into traffic), he said, “I stayed at that place too long, but you should have stayed longer. You did good there.”
I smiled and thanked him and told him that I loved working there and in particular, I loved the people.
“I know,” he said. “It showed.” He turned his head to look at the car pulling up behind me, then turned back towards me, gave the edge of the passenger side window that he’d been leaning through a pat with one hand and said, “I’ve always loved you, you now.” And with that, he stepped back from my car, waved and carried on his way.
I told my cohorts the story and said, “And that’s what I want for the world. To know, in loving another, you cannot help but love yourself for who you are. All of you. Beauty and the beast. It doesn’t matter, the parts you judge, the good, the bad and the ugly. They are all essential. All magnificent. What that man reflected back to me was what I always wanted him to see. That he is lovable, loving and loved.”
I shared an intimate moment with a man on the street yesterday. And in that moment, I saw into his heart and knew, he too saw into mine.
And in that moment, we reflected back the magnificence of the essence of who we are. In that moment, we shared the wonder and beauty and Love that is always there, always shining when we let go of believing who we think we are is ‘normal’.
We’re not ‘normal’. We’re magnificent!