At a point in my past, I talked to a therapist. And though the appointments came to an end, one topic of discussion that was raised in the final session has always stuck in my mind.
The therapist said to me, "I have a question for you, and let me give you an example of what I'm asking. For instance, when I'm watching basketball, you don't interrupt me - for anything. That's my rule." He went on to list some other examples, and brought up ones from some of my other family members who'd also seen him. Then he refocuses, turns to me, and says "What are some of yours? What are Sandy's rules?" I thought for a few seconds, and almost immediately said "don't harm my children - don't 'come after' my family," going into "Mama Bear" mode. He said "No, those are rules for not hurting those you love, that's not what I'm asking. What I want to know, are Sandy's rules - something that people know is unmovable about you - something you have in place that those people you know can't go around or over - like fences.
It may sound odd, but I couldn't come up with a thing. From time to time over the ensuing years, I've revisited that question in my mind - "checking" to see if I'd developed any rules. Each time I would search inside myself in vain, trying to find one single solitary thing that could be a rule. I had just about come to the conclusion that I had none - which makes me sound like a pushover and 20 different kinds of weak and wimpy all mixed up together. But I'm equally (if not more) certain that anyone who knows me doesn't see me that way at all. I'm tall, I'm an extrovert, I'm social...and though I love helping people, especially those I've be-friended, I have an inherent natural hierarchy. It used to go: my family, then me. Then as the kids got older, I was able to see things differently and it became mostly me, with my family coming a close 2nd. Then I do things for friends - IF they ask and IF I have the time and feel like I can make myself available.
As time went on, the "me and my family" part no longer required the upkeep it once did. I found myself being able to go outside that family circle more often, helping friends. And I'm making some wonderful connections these days, both in person and on facebook. It is allowing my heart to expand more and more to connect and to "be there" for friends. I'm loving the things I'm learning these days, and have always enjoyed Sharing My Passion about those things - to those who are interested. For several years in a row now, I've become increasingly adept at saying the most appropriate thing when someone has an issue that they share with me. It's a lovely feeling when I can assist in removing the drama from their situation by giving them an analogy or story to make them see their situation in a different light - because so often, that's all any of us need - a different viewpoint. Through all of this insight, still no rules to be found...
And so today, I thought I'd discovered one. An actual Rule! I wanted to be there for a friend, and in my opinion, too many days had gone by without contact. Have I mentioned that sometimes Spiritual Impatience gets the best of me? Therefore, my rule was looking like this: "Don't make me wait too long if you want me to be there for you." "I can feel used too," and a number of other sayings I'd rather work on letting go of. Because the real question here for me is this: Did anyone ask you to wait because they were seeking your advice? The answer is no - I'm the one who put that whole mindset into my brain.
As a result of that epiphany, I feel the need to practice more Spiritual Patience, get on with my own day to day life, and TRUST that when I am needed, I will be there. No one's life needs to get put on hold. If you truly believe that time is non-linear - something we created (because we are SO good at that!) - to help us in our lives on this earth, then you will know that there is no past or future, only the Now - and none of us will miss being wherever it is most appropriate for us to be. Here's to Love & Trust!