Wednesday, 28 August 2013

What a Difference a Day Makes

I have been paying attention lately to significant differences in the shape and feel of a day based on how I show up for it. This past weekend, I had two interestingly contrasting days. On the surface, they were both days filled with pleasurable activity: friends, good food, relaxation, conversation and so on. Yet in my body, I experienced them quite differently. At the end of Saturday, I felt a little dispirited, tired, alien, disconnected and uneasy. At the end of Sunday, I felt palpably happy, satisfied, rich, excited, inspired, open-hearted, energised and filled with possibility. What was different about those two days? How did I show up for them?

A friend's lunch party. I arrive early to help her set up and prepare. She is beautifully relaxed even though the house is messy, the table not set up,  the cat unfed and some vital bits of equipment, such as enough chairs to sit on, missing. I spring into action; by the time the guests arrive, we are perfectly ready. It is quite satisfying, but my experience is tinged with a subtle anxiety entirely of my own choosing.
Drinks, nibbles and conversation ensue. Somewhere in my belief system is a conviction that in this company my "spiritual" side has to be on mute or turned way if my spiritual side is only one part of me!!!
I step into an energy straightjacket and perform. Someone asks me a question and I mention SoulCollage - a beautiful process of making cards that reflect one's inner and outer aspects. It is a process I love passionately. The person asks why anyone would want to do such a process - what is the point or purpose?  Her husband chimes in: "I know who I am and where I am going. Why would I need this?" My filter of "not understood" and "not seen" is active. I mumble a response which barely does justice to the beautiful process I know in my soul is filled with truth.
Lunch progresses. Everyone is having a great time, yet I feel disconnected. The wine flows. I drink and participate in noisy, pleasant and, for me, insignificant conversation. Familiar ground is trodden and re-trodden. More wine. A brief and wonderful conversation with one of the guests with whom I have a soul connection. More wine and food. My body is dulling. My senses feel sleepy. There is a certain satisfaction - the lunch is going well, people are nice and this is a community of sorts, everyone has good hearts - and yet, and yet...I am not fully there. I am playing a role. I am participating in an experience already knowing the beginning, middle and end.

A new friend comes to visit for the day. There is a pleasing sense of the unknown. I am curious yet without expectation; I have no idea what the day will hold. I am open.
She arrives. We have lunch at our wonderful local pub and talk about our life experiences. The conversation is open and connecting...also vulnerable at times. We have one small drink and plenty of water. We eat well.
After lunch, we go for a walk in the woods with three engaging dogs. We continue our conversation; I listen deeply and reflect before I speak. Then we practice SoulCollage together. We light a candle. We prepare a space. Then we each ask a question,  draw cards and speak from the cards, recording each other's words and reading them back. We have exciting epiphanies; we feel nourished by the connection. We laugh often.  Time passes quickly. We are curious about our similarities as well as differences. We feel familiar to one another. Ideas and inspirations come effortlessly. We agree to support one another in our dreams and make a plan to talk on the phone and meet regularly.

What was different? Me...

Questions I am asking myself as a result of these contrasting experiences:

  • What would have made Saturday more real and enjoyable?
  • What helps me remember that my value is not determined by others' perceptions, or my perception of their perceptions?
  • What is feeling different or disconnected really about?
  • How can I enjoy myself in a variety of settings and not just the ones that are easily comfortable?
  • What are the "state" changers?  Possible contenders: old patterns; too much alcohol; playing a role versus being spontaneous; habit; following the herd; caring too much what others think; feeling I should be a certain way; assuming my differences are liabilities versus assets...

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