Have you ever had a relationship end on a slightly sour note….
….or a slammed door with no speaking for a long, long time?
Several years ago, I didn’t understand why a really good friend of mine wasn’t responding to my emails.
At first I noticed, but didn’t worry.
She was a strong, independent, outspoken, fairly opinionated person. Super direct.
She ran her own business, had a pretty tight calendar, and sometimes had even reminded me of a good military personality, like the boss of the event, the one in charge, the one running the meeting.
Those qualities can be spectacular and useful, depending on the situation.
Sometimes, these qualities can be a bit icy.
I didn’t push or consider it much, until I had thought “wait, I haven’t heard from her in a super long time, come to think of it.”
I checked to see if I really did email her.
Yes, it showed up in my Sent files.
I sent another quick one out letting her know I’d love to hear from her and it seemed about time to connect and catch up.
After a few more weeks, and a few consultations with good friends, I decided to give her a call.
I got her voicemail.
This time, I consulted deeply with a few people whose advice I would appreciate, like my mom.
I went over the past several months, as if looking to see if I missed anything about what would make her unable to call or email, or unwilling.
There were a few educated guesses.
And what I got from these thoughtful conversations was that I loved this friend dearly, was worried about her, wondered if there was something amiss.
I called again, got the voicemail again, and left a long message (it got cut off) and called again to complete the message, including how much I loved and cared about her and if she needed to share anything at all with me, I was open to hear it.
A week or so later, she sent me an email saying “I’m soooo busy, thanks for your sweet message, I just don’t think I’ll be available until a couple of months from now because x, y, z.”
A bit odd.
But nothing else I could really do.
I never heard from her again.
Last week, during another Year of Inquiry telesession, I was remembering that period of time where silence ensued.
The experience of asking a question, and the person not answering. Making a call, and the person not calling back. Sending a letter, and not hearing a response. Reaching out, and getting no reply.
This can happen even with strangers, in business situations, in workplace communication, and with close family.
What a great moment for The Work.
Who would you be without your belief that someone should respond to your question, card, note, text, call?
Who would you be without your beliefs about what it means?
Free to express yourself honestly, with kindness and love, and then let it go.
During that time of no-response, I knew something was up (I learned later what it was and have shared about this in other Grace Notes.)
I had no idea this friend was suffering the way she was, and that she was frightened of me (or who she thought I was).
But since I had The Work, instead of getting angry or hiding my fear, I left a deeply honest message, with my heart racing and my armpits sweating bullets….
….and I told her how much I loved her and wanted to make contact.
That was the real truth of it.
Without The Work, I might have avoided, let it fade away, been sad and always felt like a victim.
What if you turned your thought around: I should call them back, I should contact them, I need to reach out, I need to express or communicate with them, I need to be with me, this silence is pleasant, beautiful, sweet, they do not need to go faster, this is a lovely, perfect pace, I need to be with me, I should call myself back.
Yes, I can contact me, right here, noticing the beauty of silence.
I can hold this other person’s qualities with appreciation in my heart, and open to how it is just as good not hearing from them as hearing from them.
I might notice what I truly really want, and enjoy, in this lack of communication.
“For underneath all the words, underneath all the sounds, the complex stories, the agreements and disagreements, the shared history, the hopes of a tomorrow, there is a love here with no name, a silence which cannot be disturbed, a timeless intimacy in its infancy that is ever-present and fresh, a deep rest that endures even after the passing of the impermanent body. Love is stronger than death. May we always meet in this deathless space we call Now.” ~ Jeff Foster
Even when the person has not died, but is somewhere unknown and not communicating with you….
….you can meet in the space of love, right now.
Send them kindness, tenderness, and acceptance, and give yourself the very same.
If you’ve done the best you can, trust reality.