Every person I come into contact with does something different to me.|
This includes random people walking by me on the street, taxi drivers, sales people in various forms, as well as co-workers, friends and family. I struggle to understand some, others I may assume I grok quickly. Some folks I get at first and then they confuse me. But everybody gives me something different. I decide for myself who I want to surround myself with, for the most part. People like co-workers aren't so easily selected, but I can make selections from those that are available to me and decide how far to let them in.
A little over a year ago I decided that I needed to have Lauren in my life. She was a friend, someone I smoked and played games with. She was interesting, different, wild and uncontrolled by anyone but herself. Fiercely independant. She sparked my interest. I loved to talk to her, listen to her far out stories about money trees or shady characters or crazy rich people. I loved to look at her, watch her face, watch her eyes, watch her body move with grace that belied her physical shape. She walks with attitude. She looks everyone in the eye. She gives everything she has in her heart.
And she wanted me in her life too.
Now that we've squared away the primary company we intend to keep for the rest of our lives (that being each other) I still find myself figuring her out. And it seems that even as I grow my understanding of her and how she works, I understand different things than she might explain. And she understands me differently than I understand myself. She's able to give me insight from 180 degrees away. Here's the best thing (so far) she's taught me:
Seems simple. And you can say it without meaning it. But she taught me how to feel it first, and say it to communicate that there would be no argument, there would be no more discussion.
A key lesson of Taoism and other Eastern modes of thought is that our emotions cloud our minds. A man cannot make clear decisions or actions with emotion flowing through his veins. It takes a moment to step back and review the situation. Zen and Taoism taught me that I needed to step back from myself. Lauren taught me that I needed to step back from others.
It's so easy for me to get drawn in, to search another's eyes for emotion, to read their body language and try to deduce where they are at. Usually I'm pretty good. Lauren does the same thing, but I think she reads other things. She's pretty good too. But we can both really suck when it comes to the other person. Non-verbally we communicate, and verbally we clarify. All of that is good. But I don't always have to own another person's feelings, even if I do understand them. I don't have to feel accountable or take it on myself.
So now when someone goes off on me, in a little way or a big way, I flip a switch in my head and move on. It's a powerful tool. It protects me.