During one of our early morning sessions at the rented house in Coeur d’Alene, I told my sibs and their spouses of my latest, very elemental observation:
Notice how everything we do in this life has to do with stuff — moving stuff around — exchanging stuff, holding on to stuff, staring at stuff, trying to fix stuff, etc. etc. (and “money” is a form of stuff). But all that focus on stuff is merely a COVER, for relationships — with people and other earthlings.
This observation looks simple, and it is. I discovered it on my daily walks with my puppy Shadow — and before Shadow, puppy Emma. I had Emma for four years before her tragic death, and now Shadow for three years, so that’s seven years walking with my animals while, whenever possible, greeting my fellow walkers who pass by with a smile, a hello, a warm, inviting glance. The puppy, of course, helps everybody relax and enjoy our brief rapport, a rapport that I have noticed time and time again, lifts the heart. Just a single glance, soul to soul, lifts the heart, makes my day. Of course most people who walk by are either on their screens, or listening with earphones, or otherwise preoccupied. But those who are not, say one out of ten —aaaah! We connect. We really do. And it feels so very good.
In other words, all we have to do to be real is to see through the cover. We can do this wherever we are, with the clerk at the grocery story, with the teller in our bank, on and on. All of us human, inside the roles we play that have to do, in one way or another, with movin’ stuff around.
So I explained all this to my sibs while sipping early morning coffee, and while they poo-pooed it good-naturedly, sister Kris later, in private, cursed me with a laugh, “NO, I’m not going to be going into relationship with the clerk at the grocery store . . . I AM going to be thinking about what you said for the next three days.”
And even later, sister-in-law Carrie also commented: “I’ve been thinking about what you said, and you know, it’s HARD!” She meant that it’s hard to penetrate the cover. Yes. At least the first few times. But just keep at it and you’ll be amazed at the results.
I think that what first started me on this path of pilgrimage into deep, glancing relationships on a daily basis during my walks was the Dances of Universal Peace, where we sometimes do our circle dances with partners, passing by one partner after another while looking deep into the eyes — the soul — of the other. And yes, at first it’s hard. But with practice it becomes natural.
By the way, my beautiful brother Mark, a musician married to Carrie, is in training as a dance leader for the Dances of Universal Peace. So glad!
Here’s another version of the same elemental observation, found on fb yesterday.