It was true a moment ago. I am not saying that you were insincere. Because in that before moment you were standing in the realness of your feelings and your words. And then, in an instant, what was true changed to what is true now and you see things in a completely different way.
And now the place you are standing in is clearer still from where you were. Because you can see yourself through this new understanding that you have about something that you didn’t even know was not really a truth but – yet again – a coping skill developed over time and brilliant in it’s result. This happened to me last week.
Let me start at the beginning.
I have recently joined the board of this amazing theater in LA – The Echo Theater Company. Check it out. I love this place. And I received an email referencing an upcoming Gala/fundraiser for the theater, asking each board member to invite at least three other people to attend. And I wanted to invite people who I felt would connect with what the theater was presenting during this event, and in turn would want to support the artistry that was coming out of this company. And so I sent three names, but had been thinking about a forth person, too.
The thing was, this person – not yet a friend though more than an acquaintance and someone I just intuitively like – this person was in a place in their own life that was challenging. I knew this even though I did not know them well. The power of Facebook.
And my thoughts went like this. I know this person has just had a major professional crisis but I don’t know how he’s doing and I know that I would like to invite him to this event but I don’t know quite how to do that and should I ask him really how he is when he might be fine and wonder why I am thinking that he is not or that I am crossing a boundary and being invasive and too familiar so should I just wish him well and is the timing off for this invite or should I extend the invitation?
And so this rambling that is basically insecurity led me to this place of keeping it light and, against this deep instinct that this was not the right time to reach out, I reached anyway.
Hi I said. I hope you’re doing well. And then went on to pitch this Gala event.
And then, to my I hope you’re doing well, this person answered honestly that he is not doing well at all. And the conversation became real. Just like that. Because he was.
I was surprised. I expected to be met, like with like. My light reaching out with an equally easy response. But instead was met with a realness that touched me but that also made me sad. And I felt shame because I knew – in that deep way that we experience knowing if we would just listen to it – that this shame came from this place of not honoring my intuition and not being genuine in my reaching out in the first place.
I felt embarrassed.
When you ignore your intuition your ego washes in and coats your words. Ego coated my initial contact with this person and then continued to dictate to me. And so I did this thing that I don’t like very much. This self-serving thing dressed up in nice clothes. And I said I didn’t want to invade your space as an excuse for not asking genuinely how this person was doing in the first place. I said I didn’t want to invade your space and it felt real and honest at that moment that I said it. Because the ego is smart and tricked me again.
I came up with a way to justify what I did and make it all good. For me. But not good at all for the possibility of friendship and true connection.
Yet through all this drama between my ego and my self, a friendship did begin to grow in a conversation that was honest and beautiful. And at one point he said I am interested in the idea that by asking me how I was you would invade my space, and I was called out even though that was not his intention. The mirror was held up again. And though I could not quite get my hands around all this while the conversation continued something was lurking that I knew felt not right while it sat in my head and my heart trying to become clear.
I took my unease to bed with me that night. And woke up to the morning light and finally saw it all. Saying I didn’t want to invade your space is really about not wanting to invade my own space. Saying I didn't want to invade your space is a defense mechanism for my own insecurities and fear of vulnerability.
An excuse for not connecting out of fear of being seen.
When I come to you – or to anyone – without my cover (whatever it may be in any given moment) that is scary stuff. And so I put up a boundary without even knowing I was doing that. And I reached out while I stayed separate. Because vulnerability that comes with honest interactions is often hard for me.
It's hard for many of us, which is confusing as we are here, in this human experience, for connection and intimacy - to each other, to ourselves and to the universe - and yet we sabotage it over and over again. And then we wonder why we are lonely.
Until the mirror is held by a now new friend and we see our self clearly.