A sweet inquirer wrote to me the other day.
She told me the story of her early life with her uncle….more like older brother because the age span was only 10 years older than she was.
Somewhere along the way, she lost regular contact with him.
Cards sent to him were not responded to.
Leaving messages or reaching out for contact left only…..
I love that saying “crickets” about the silence of No Response from someone you care about.
It reminds me of my many summer days in Oklahoma and the Texas panhandle in the US.
They were actually cicadas, not crickets.
But the sound of insects chirping, a dark inky night, a very wide expansive endless sky, stars sparkling, a treeless horizon, and very hot, hot heat pulsing.
Almost too hot to talk, or to move.
If you shouted out into the dark hot night sky….Hello?
The dear inquirer who wrote to me found out only a month ago that her uncle was dying, and then just the other day, she learned he died.
I’ve sometimes thought about a very dear friend of mine and what it would be like if I learned that she died.
Someone I cared about so much, and grew very close to. We shared our most embarrassing secrets, and listened, and psychoanalyzed, and offered suggestions, and laughed very hard.
It wasn’t a long friendship, only a few years.
But the same something happened.
My usual emails were not responded to.
No phone calls returned.
I remember that empty space.
Many days had gone by without any concern on my end. Hardly a thought about her, and what she was doing.
Until time passed long enough.
The absence of that friend in my life began to become a focus, a wondering. A curiosity.
The lack of communication was a subtle form of “no”.
No longer neutral.
Where does the mind go, when someone says “no” to you, or you get zero response or feedback or attention and you’ve asked for it?
It may start quietly, but because you really do not know what’s going on, your thoughts begin to look for what went wrong.
And guess who’s the target?
What did I do? Was it something I said?
Nothing. I can’t find anything.
So what else could it be?
Maybe it’s just the way I am.
….I’m not good enough.
That’s exactly where my mind went with that friend of mine.
She did confront me on my plans around my second marriage celebration.
She said I was being deceitful, because I might not get married on paper, only in ceremony. I had been through divorce once before, and didn’t think I could ever stand dissolution of possessions and money ever again.
Sharing assets was certainly not the purpose of marrying, for me. (I changed my mind, by the way, and got married on paper at literally the last minute, but that’s another story).
I remember sitting and doing The Work on her words to me.
Because of her sharing honestly, I became open to changing my plans. I never got to tell her I actually DID change my mind, and my plans, because she never spoke to me again.
But I went over that conversation many times.
Was that the problem?
She told me she didn’t feel comfortable with several of my other close friends, either.
Was that the problem?
And always, under the surface…..
….if I was handling this well, clearly, honestly, with integrity….
….then this rift in the relationship would not have happened.
I could have prevented this problem, had I been good enough, kind enough, attentive enough, loving enough, direct enough, knowledgeable enough, astute enough, sensitive enough.
Is that true?
I was not direct with this friend for a long time before the “cut-off”.
I cut her off internally, in little tiny micro ways.
I didn’t share honestly.
I didn’t speak my true heart and mind. I didn’t say “no” when I meant it. I didn’t hang up the phone. I didn’t take care of myself in her presence very well. I didn’t feel free to say how I felt. I didn’t ask her why she wanted to hang out so much. I didn’t trust something about her, about myself.
I was careful.
But who would you be without the belief you are not good enough….
….even if you did all those childish, scaredy-cat, timid, careful things?
Yes, even with all those imperfections, and the Not Acting Right, and the internal judgments you had about them….(fine, I’m better off without her anyway, she’s too intense).
There’s a way of turning things around where you keep the original thought, but you say it with joy and zest.
I call it the Yahoo turnaround.
I wasn’t good enough.
Turned around: I WASN’T GOOD ENOUGH!!!!
YAHOO!!! RIDE ‘EM COWBOY!!!
(That’s what I yell for some reason since those panhandle days in Texas when I was a kid).
I was a human, doing the best I could at the time.
I was believing, then questioning, then believing again.
That’s what it’s like to be a human.
“Once a painful concept is met with understanding, the next time it appears you may find it interesting. What used to be the nightmare is now just interesting. The next time it appears, you may find it funny. The next time, you may not even notice it. This is the power of loving what is.” ~ Byron Katie