Well, or maybe not – especially if you haven’t asked, or I haven’t told you, or we don’t spend much time together…right? Assumptions tend to result in people having relationships and interactions with rather different people than the people involved are thinking they are, themselves. Like a lot of thinking, it isn’t ‘real’; it’s all completely made up. When I approached turning 50, I made a choice to take a much more genuine approach to my experience, generally, and I’m glad I did. It hasn’t been the easiest change to make; I can adjust my own thinking, and refrain from making assumptions, but I can’t do a damned thing about the thinking, or assumptions, of others – not even to wake them up to the rather significant changes in my approach to my own life and experience. I will be taking The Four Agreements with me out into the trees. It seems a good time to reread it.
Pop songs make so much of life, love, and sex sound incredibly easy. I don’t even find ‘being easy’ particularly easy in practice. It’s fortunately more amusing and bewildering than anything else, most of the time.
Do you know what I like? Even if you know me personally (and some of you do), even if you are an intimate associate or partner, what chance is there that you actually know me sufficiently well that you know what I like – right now, after a couple of years of intense growth and change, without actually asking me? Experience tells me that it is quite rare to be so well-known as a human being, even by the most connected and intimate associates, even after years of interacting, without at least some exchange of explicit communication. To expect to be known so well in the midst of change, or at the end of a period of profound growth, doesn’t sound likely at all, and seems likely to cause all kinds of suffering.
I also notice that it is very uncommon for people who already know each other to make much effort to update their knowledge and expectations of their friends, lovers, or partners identities, preferences, aesthetic; the details that express the heart of soul of who we are. That seems very strange. I know assumptions have survival value – or we probably wouldn’t have developed to make so many of them – but they are not a particularly useful intimacy building tool… and yet, we cling to them, argue to defend our assumptions – even in the face of actual information.
Do you know what I like? More to the point – that person walking beside you in life, how about that person – do you know what they like? Do you listen when they talk about it? Are you interested? Does it matter to you? And you – do you feel heard? Recognized? Valued? Encouraged in your endeavors? Do you face holidays and gift occasions eager, and content in the knowledge that you are known, and understood? That what matters to you is significant in their experience because it does matter to you? Do you still look love in the eyes eagerly wanting to know more?
It’s a lovely gentle Saturday, spent on art, lattes, meditation, and some words – and questions. Today is a good day for questions. Today is a good day for presence. Today is a good day to be genuinely this woman I am; who else could do it better than I can? Today is a good day to change the world.