Sunday, April 28, 2013

The key to peace is not found in our surroundings, but within us in any surroundings.

I am learning such valuable lessons in life now that I am aware of one missing piece that held me back in all the years before this journey.  The ability to see myself in others and others in myself.  I had heard this and even tried to tell myself to see this when I began to actively participate in change.  However, I think I just recently got it, meaning felt it rather than said it to myself.

Excited to see some blue between the clouds after
a few weeks of storms and snow.
For example I was got on the bus in Keokuk, Iowa to head to St. Louis, Mo for my train ride here to Corpus Christi, Tx.  There were only four people on the bus besides me.  One of the four was a very loud man who was practically shouting his whole conversation to his neighbor across from him.  He was a fast talker with a lot arrogance and sexual innuendo in his words.  He talked one minute about how much he loved his woman than the next was flirting with the two of us women on the bus.  His advances were comical and could have been very annoying if I hadn't made the mental note to stay centered in love and peace after sitting in my seat two rows ahead of him.

We were only a few miles from the town of Keokuk before he turned his attention to engaging me in conversation by asking me questions about the pictures I was taking out of the window.  I explained to him that I was traveling across the Country and a blogger.  He quickly turned the focus away from me finishing telling him what I was doing to talking about him and asking if I wanted to take his picture, however he didn't ask in an inquiring way, more of an accusing way indicating that I was somehow attracted to him and wanted to take his picture.  Every time he spoke to me he would reach forward and touch my shoulder which I was not all to happy with.  My first reaction was defensiveness at my bubble, my space being intruded upon.  I wanted to say... "dude, stop f-ing touching me!"  I let that thought pass and calmly turned around and looked him in the eyes and said genuinely... I am happy to listen to you, I understand you want to be heard, however, you do not need to touch me when you speak, it is an invasion of my space to be honest and unnecessary for our conversation.  I don't know if it was the calmness in which I said it, the look in my eyes or what, I think it was the energy I expressed it in, no defensiveness, just awareness that I didn't wish to be touched and expressing it without any negative energy but he got it and actually calmed down a little bit in his tone and words.

At a rest stop the other woman and I had a moment to talk alone and she thanked me for calming his behind down a bit, we got on the topic of him over talking us, interrupting us and I said to her... "I can learn more about myself from listening to him than I can learn about him."  Her and I got into a very deep, connected conversation and were sharing a lot with each other when he came back on the bus and injected himself into our conversation again, we allowed his input a few times trying to continue the deep moment we were having while he kept trying to turn the conversation to him.  Our peacefully allowing him to say his say and continuing on was not the result he wanted so he began the sexual innuendo again, touched me once more talking about my red hair trying to pick up on him and I turned around again and looked him in the eyes again and asked him this question...

"how is it that the color of my hair could be responsible for the way you are acting?"

He replied... "Oh, man I am just playing with you, I love my woman, I would never cheat on her, that doesn't mean I can't have fun on the bus on my way home now does it?"

"Fun for who?" I inquired nicely.

"We're just having fun, us three, nothing wrong with a little flirting." he bellowed back.

"Except, what you are doing isn't really flirting now is it!  I mean me and her are having a very deep conversation, she is sharing something about a painful time in her life, we are talking about how God has worked in our lives.  You are right here and know the tone of our conversation, you keep interrupting it to turn the conversation to you.  We have both been very polite and engaged you to return to where we were and that wasn't where you wanted this to go.  Can I ask you why you felt the need to touch me again after I asked you not to? Can I also ask you why you are not allowing her and I to have this moment to talk? Maybe if you recognize that neither of us is flirting with you in any way and drop the act and just listen, talk when you are moved to say something of meaning that adds to our conversation you can enjoy this deep moment too."

Something kind of amazing happened, his face softened and his voice lowered again.  He looked at me with an inquisitive look in his eyes as if genuinely wanting to know and asked me what I meant by "act".

In a very calm voice and completely centered in love I responded... "I get the sense that this fast talking, shuck and jive thing you are doing with us is a defense of yours.  I have a feeling you have much to contribute to this conversation if you would allow yourself to listen as much as you speak and realize that you don't have to be sexually attractive to us for us to value your presence."

"I really don't mean nothing by it, I am just trying to get your attention, I wasn't trying to offend anyone." He genuinely and calmly replied.

"Well my friend there is a much easier way to get our attention, just be yourself and trust that we will listen to you without being pushed to acknowledge by your uninvited advances."  I suggested.

We all had a pretty good conversation after that.  And, even more so he and I had a very deep conversation also where he got real honest about some things he had been carrying for a long time of a past pain that made the act much clearer to me.  I remembered a time in my own life where I would seek negative attention rather than have no attention at all and understood in that moment exactly how he had built up this habit of being acknowledged and paid attention to this way.

Peace isn't something we "find" one day. Peace is what we can choose to create, cultivate, and continually strive to BE. 

People say they're looking to "find peace", but it's not something we find like a coin on the pavement... Peace is a dying language that we have slowly forgotten how to speak, and it will die if we don't teach it to our children. We can't be mad at them for not being fluent in a language that we ourselves rarely speak.
~Buddhist Bootcamp

Beneath all the loud fast talking and obnoxious flirting was a kind soul who had a story to share.  He really wanted to share that story but had long forgotten how to tell it.  His act had served him at one point in his life, that point had long passed but he was still playing that role, telling that old story.  Because I didn't let my first instincts to cuss the guy out and spend the bus ride sitting in silence I got to see a realer side to him and he was reminded of someone he had forgotten he was.  There was a moment I almost saw tears in his eyes as he shared some things with me.  In the end he thanked me for helping him to let go of something and all three of us enjoyed that three hours on the bus getting to know each other.

The woman and I exchanged numbers before reaching St. Louis where I headed to Texas and she Florida.  I look forward to hearing from her again one day.  And for him I wish that he find inner peace along his journey to let go of the old stuff and begin to write a new chapter to his story.

For me I realized how positive of an outcome I can have in any situation if I do not act defensively simply dismissing others as annoying or not worth knowing.  In some little way I made a difference in two lives on that bus, in a big way I made difference in my own.

I love you all from a place of knowing that what I see in you is a mirror of myself.  When I see beneath the surface I understand how connected and alike we all are giving me the ability to learn as much about me as I can learn about you.

One Love,

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