We are all connected in one way or another. It’s what we are destined to. Life without connection does not exist. We live because we are connected, connected to nature, connected to ideas, connected to each other. We live because our organs and cells are connected.
We are because we are in touch with the world we live in.
We are destined to be com-passioned.
And yet at times I find myself longing to escape that world. I want to be out of reach, out of touch. And when I have to be in touch, then I desperately want to be in control. I want to speak to people instead of with people. I want to guide the conversation instead of nourishing it and allowing it to happen. I want to have things my way. This desire, this urge is sometimes so strong that it makes me want to run away badly. But since that’s something which is not likely to happen, I often get angry.
And so I get angry at everything that touches me: smells, people, sounds, tastes, ideas… . It all reminds me of how much I’m not in control. When I’m in such a state it’s like my beloved biosphere has turned into an obnoxious torchuring machine trying to make me into something I’m not. There’s no point in fighting it. Fighting it only makes it worse. It only proves that I can’t overpower it, that it’s beyond my control.
Still, from time to time I do get caught up in anger. It’s a powerful feeling and at first it seems great to lash out against everyone and everything that annoys me. But when the stormclouds fade and the sky clears my reluctancy soon turns into worries and sadness. I suddenly start to see the damage which has been done. People who got struck by my lightning are hurt or have taken off not to come back. Things are smashed, sometimes broken for good, and even inside me there’s a trail of devastation waiting to be taken care of.
So that’s what I do then, taking care of things. It makes me feel better. It really does. I think that’s what life is all about, about taking care of yourself, of others.
Over the years I have been taught that there are many opportunities in life to take care of yourself and of others. I have come to understand that there is no need to turn into a destructive thunderstorm first in order to help out afterwards.
Yet as with thunderstorms in nature, they do happen from time to time, unexpectedly interrupting life and creating damage. I don’t like it when that happens, especially because it hurts. It hurts others and it hurts me.
What to do then in case of a sudden thunderstorm that went under the radar? I talk to people. I try to express how I feel, be open about what I need, what I desire, invite them to help me change the wheather. If I’m strong enough, I get people to shine. If not I just ask for help. Or I go to another, sunnier place. Sometimes I just look for a quiet place, cuddle up and let the storm pass by.
Lately I’ve came to realize that whatever I did, I couldn’t ‘escape’ myself and neither could I escape others. Being on the run just wore me down. Although it was depressing at the time – and still can be -, it’s also a very empowering insight. Within the problem lies the solution. In other words, the problem is the solution. What I need to do is try to find a way to work with it. Or try to appreciate the way it already works with me.
What can help me – and what has helped me – is find a way to be com-passionate. Or rather, allow me and appreciate us being compassionate. Being compassionate is simply what we are meant to be, whether I like it or not. It’s part of the deal of being human. And if regarded properly, it can do wonderful things.
Everything that annoys me reminds me that I’m touchable. It also reminds me that I want to be taken care of, that I want to be respected.
Everything that annoys me also reminds me of the invitation to express needs and of the ability to listen to the needs of others (including myself). By listening I mean, really listening. Not just obeying or catching words and sounds with my ears. I mean giving them a place and a time to be real. That’s what these needs are, real. They are here because I am here. They coexist with me. They com-passion (with me).
Being compassionate also works both ways. We live together. We continuously enable each other to live. Others have the great gift of being able to take care of us. And by inviting them to do so we can discover the great gift of being able to take care of ourselves. There are all kinds of invitations. Yet the first requirement to invite somebody or something to take care of you is to get in touch.
So maybe, maybe everything that touches me is an invitation. An invitation to take care. An invitation to be compassionate. An invitation to live. Together.
And so I get in touch. I get in touch with myself, with my body, my mind, my thoughts which are actually not really mine since they are inevitably connected. And I listen.
I can already see the clouds fading.
Photo: Last rays of sun before the storm © Hans Kylberg