Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Change of state

The universe will fill your cup — if you carry a big cup, a little cup, or a thimble! Sonia Choquette
Yesterday, at our Director's meeting at work, the Exec. Dir. commented on the posture of those who get on the elevator weighed down by their woes and worries. He stood and postured like someone telling him about the lack in their world, how nothing is going right, how everyone is against him. "What can I do to change his state of being?" he asked.

Good question.

What can any of us do to change someone else's state?

"It's not his state we need to change," I said. "It's ours. As the leadership team, we need to ensure we model the behaviours we want to see in both our clients and staff."

Later that day, I got on the elevator with a client who was on his way to 'Day Sleep'. "How are you doing today?" I asked him cheerfully.

"Okay," he said, his shoulders hunched, his head looking at the floor. "I've got a toothache, a wicked cold and these bugs that keep itching me."

I backed away wondering how far the bugs can leap. "Sorry to hear that," I said. "Do you have anything for the pain?"

"Oh yeah. They gave me some Tylenol and cream for the itching. It seems to be helping." He looked at me standing in the corner of the elevator. "It's okay. The bugs are gone." He paused and chuckled. "I think."

"That's a relief. While I'd love to share in your abundance, bugs are not high on my priority list." I laughed as the elevator stopped at his floor. "Hope you get a good rest."

He laughed back and waved as he got off the elevator. "Thanks for making me smile."

On Friday night at Choices, D., a client who was taking one of the weekend programs, put his brand new running shoes outside his bedroom door. He has a 'thing' about foot odour and didn't want to burden his roommate with his. In the morning, when he went to retrieve his shoes, they were missing. Someone had filled them with water and kicked them down the hallway to the stairwell.

Both D., and the man on the elevator expect little that is positive from the universe. They don't expect good tidings, good things. They don't go looking for abundance. Mostly, they expect the universe to deliver what they've already got. Scarcity.

And, in their lack of expectation, what they do receive often makes them suspicious. Filled with apprehension that the 'gods' will deliver one more blow, they protect themselves from further abuse by contracting into themselves whenever they can. D. realized that the missing shoes were not a personal attack against him. Most likely they were initiated through kids playing a 'prank'.

What the game players didn't realize is the impact of what they were doing. They expected to have fun. They didn't look at the cost their fun would have on the person who was the recipient. For D., struggling to put the pieces of his broken life back together, those missing shoes were just another blow in a world of disappointment.

For all our clients, life often falls heavy on their shoulders. They get kicked when they are down. They get beat up when they are broken.

It isn't that the universe sets out to disappoint them. The universe doesn't care. It simply 'is'. Their state of being, however, sets them up for more of what they've already got. In their disappointed state, they do not hold a half empty nor half full cup. There is no cup in their hands. They stand, head bowed, shoulders hunched, waiting for the next blow because within them is the state of being that dictates, "This is all I'm worth. This is all I'll ever get."

How do we change our state of being? Like all changes of state, it's the baby steps taken one after the other that lead us away from where we're at. For those suffering the depravity of homelessness, simply holding out a thimble would be a good start. Sharing a smile and a laugh is a good beginning.

The question is: What are your expectations? Are your hands open to abundance or clenched in defeat?

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