Love Lessons; Stillness
This is my daughter sitting beside a lake in Canada a few years ago. The photograph is beautiful. She, is beautiful. She is poised and still and present to the beauty around her and her being emanates peace and calm and absolute serenity. She is like that. And, she is 19 and full of the vast complexity of liveliness and richness of living a life on the edge of her being, and from the very center. I may not know everything about her but what I do know is that she is grounded and bigger than others see her to be if they only look quickly.
There are some people who seem so big and vibrant and when I get to know them they are actually quite simple and ‘ordinary.’ I use quotations around the word ordinary when referring to a human being because I have no idea what an ordinary person is really. Everyone I meet, when they allow me to go deeper than the surface is full of complexity and depth, whether they know it or not. Some people share most of who they are in the beginning of an encounter, and others wait. My daughter waits, sometimes for a very long time to reveal what is within her. I have learned patience, deep patience with her because I find her depth so worth exploring.
She continually teaches me that by simply ‘being with’ her and waiting till she is ready, something extraordinary is revealed. I am often overwhelmed by who she is and the integrity and strength she has in her quietness. It is and has been worth the wait, and worth the struggle for me to learn how to truly see her. It was never up to her, the child, to prove herself to me. It has always been up to me to foster what wanted to emerge in her. That one simple fact is, I believe, the most important part of being a parent. Our children go beyond us. They come to lead us forward, and we are given time to learn and perfect how we do that for and with them. It’s an exquisite dance called relationship. It is co-creative and co-operative and co-laborative. If I think I am in charge I am very wrong. We dance this dance together shifting who is leading throughout.
How does this all relate to Cindy Love? Cindy was at peace, almost always. She was still and centered and could sit quietly for a very long time emanating deep peace.
She was peace.
There was no angst or trauma, no fear or resentment or anger. She simply was who she was at rest and in activity, in stillness and in motion. She never changed. She never wavered.
She simply was simply pure every moment of every day.
She taught me what pure love truly is. Though I ‘knew’ more than Cindy, we danced the dance of learning about life together. Like my daughter, I made many mistakes expecting her to be the way I thought she should be, and for many years missed seeing who she really was. Every day I am grateful that I have begun to learn to see in a truer way.
With Cindy I pushed and pulled in ways that were not right for her because I was in a hurry or wanted a different outcome. If I had only opened my eyes to what was right in front of me all would have been well. For Cindy, all was always well. For me, I have regrets, and those regrets are what drive me to learn and grow and pause.
Listening and seeing what is in front of me is what is essential, and the hardest thing to do. To slow down, to allow time and space to be with myself and another is the greatest gift I can give.
So now you know what this has to do with The Alexander Technique and Gestalt Therapy and All Of Life.
Like being a parent, when I work with someone it is essential to wait for what wants to emerge. The teacher-student or therapist-client relationship is co-creative, co-laborative, co-operative. It is relational and co-exists in time. I still (notice that word?) have to learn how to be in relationship every minute of every day. I get ahead of myself and think I am leading and every time that happens I learn I am not. That relationship is a dance of witnessing and be-ing together.
Last week I was working with someone and I pushed too far, too fast. It seemed simple and safe enough to me and it wasn’t for them. They weren’t ready so they are not going to come anymore. Had I been patient and saw more clearly who this person was and what they were needing in the moment they may still be wanting to explore. But they aren’t going to come back. That is a lesson for me and one I have to continue to learn. In all my love and desire to help another I still (notice the word?) need to pause so that I am able to see and hear how they are wanting to emerge. It never works any other way. Ever.
Patience is what I need.
Patience is what my daughter teaches me.
Patience is what Cindy taught me.
Patience with my self.
Patience with you.
Patience with the process.
Patient enough to allow love to unfold.
I am still…..learning.
Melody that pic is the perfect accomp. to these thoughts. Beautiful reflections. I wonder if you’ve read Amy Tan’s book The Hundred Secret Senses. Cindy sounds like the character Kwan in the story- so many lessons to teach.
I haven’t read that one and would like to. I will get it. Thank you for mentioning that.
Melody, I love these reflections on the gifts and challenges of parenting and your testimony of the lessons our children can teach us. If, with patience, we look, listen, and feel deeply, we learn who they are… and perhaps something of ourselves emerges too and we continue to grow in lessons on love with the gifts of relationships before us. Wishing you many more loving lessons. Honest the truth!