Saturday, May 10, 2008

Heart songs calling

Sunny skies soar overhead, my spirits rise.

C.C. and I had a 'fierce conversation' last night. One of those one's where feelings are exposed, truth revealed and hearts break open to the deepening possibilities of the power of love to withstand disagreements, overcome adversity and soar high into the unknown world of loving like we have never imagined.

I am a thinker. It is where I find my meaning, my understanding, my comfort. Getting out of my head, into my heart can be a challenge for me. My thinking wants to grapple with the words, to chew them around like cud until I can mash them into a palatable form that is safe for me to digest. In that process I am at risk of divesting what someone has said of their meaning as I work around their words to find a meaning that makes sense for me.

In those moments where I'm busily digesting, I'm not listening. My thinking leaves me at risk of avoiding feeling and of being touched by the rawness of what is being said. It can leave me exposed to not hearing what the other person has said with an open mind because I'm looking for the 'other' meaning, the 'deeper' context, the 'hidden agenda'. (And Mr. Rogers asks, Hello Children. Can you spell, 'Defensive'?) Because I'm looking to make their words 'safe' for me to consume, I risk shutting off my heart to the beauty and wonder of who they are revealed in the things they haven't said about themselves but have shown me through the words they've used to describe their feelings which they may not understand themselves, Or what they've said to tell me how what I do or say affects them.

This communicating with an open mind and heart stuff can be hard!

Writer, Neil Gaiman said, “I've been making a list of the things they don't teach you at school. They don't teach you how to love somebody. They don't teach you how to be famous. They don't teach you how to be rich or how to be poor. They don't teach you how to walk away from someone you don't love any longer. They don't teach you how to know what's going on in someone else's mind. They don't teach you what to say to someone who's dying. They don't teach you anything worth knowing.”

That's the challenge with communicating.... and loving come to think of it. I didn't come to earth with a 10 step guide to communicating perfectly where ever I may be on this planet imprinted on some dendron of my cerebral cortex. My childhood definitely didn't prepare me for it, though it has a lot of value in the 'what not to do' school of thinking.

Unfortunately, I didn't go to a school that had lessons on: How To Communicate 101. You know, a place where the teacher stands in front and says, "To communicate, you must... To love, you must..." and then hands out an instruction manual filled with easy to follow directions on how to love and communicate without ever being misunderstood or fall into misunderstanding with what was said. And can you beat that? The manual even comes with a decoder ring that deciphers what the other person said into simple meanings that even neophyte conversers can understand. Cool! Imagine that! The Complete Idiot's Guide To Communication. And guess what! It even comes with an inflatable dummy you can practice on! Yippeee. Communicating with the Dummy, 101.

Okay. Okay. So there's a kazillion dollar self-help movement out there that has as many books as there are unique snowflakes on how to communicate effectively and not be misunderstood or mistaken for some lowlife flake the other person used to know. Like snowflakes falling, however, conversation can turn from rain to sleet to snow to ice in the blink of an eye or the drop of an ill-placed word before the converser realizes the one with whom they're conversing is catapulting in with the ferocity of a cold front swooping down from the north replete with frigid climes falling.

That's not to say my conversation with C.C. last night was frigid. It was anything but! It is to say that in the course of our conversation I discovered all sorts of things about myself, my triggers, my fears, my self-defeating games, my strengths and wisdom too! that I hadn't known before -- which is one of the benefits of listening to understand and staying conscious of my patterns and my fears of communicating with an open heart and mind.

C.C. and I have weathered this storm. As we will weather others in years to come. Relationship isn't about smooth sailing. It's about sailing through whatever weather appears upon the horizon, confident that the love shared is a trustworthy craft capable of maneuvering the waterways of life spent living together.

Finding safe harbour after the storm is the gift we give each other when we openly and lovingly acknowledge our differences and embrace our shared experience. In our willingness to explore what is important to each of us, we deepen the respect we have for our individuality and gain understanding of where we share common ground.

Communication is not about making the other see my point of view. It is about being open and willing to acknowledge their position, and then being courageous enough to share mine.

Love isn't about hammering someone into a shape that will conveniently fit into the box I've conveniently labelled, "What you must do to be in love with me and for me to love you." It's about opening up the Pandora's box of fear and trepidation we carry around and seeing the wonder and beauty of the hearts and souls revealed within. It's about celebrating who we each are and honouring eachother's truth without fear that someone else's truth diminishes mine or mine their's.

There are all kinds of truth on the loving planet. It is the truths we are fearful of sharing about ourselves that open the door to deeper, more meaningful communication.

It is the fears we risk sharing, our warts and bruises, our scars that make us into the rich and multi-faceted, enchanting and entrancing human beings we are destined to be when we live this one wild and precious life passionately and fearlessly.

I have many fears. When I hide from my fears, I risk losing what I want most in life; To live fearlessly, passionately, completely. To be a human being of worth.

When I hide behind my fear of loving, I risk losing the love of this man who makes my heart sing. When I step through my fears into that place where love is all around, I risk nothing other than being the magnificent human being I am, in relationship with a man I love.

The question is: Are you fearlessly opening yourself up to communicating with the one's you love? Are you hearing their hearts song calling you to sing in harmony?

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