Thursday, May 28, 2009
My current flatmate is a bit of a mess, bless her heart. She really is. She flutters around the place while I attempt to write. I am convinced that she thinks (or at least hopes?) that I am so absorbed in my work that I am oblivious to her angst and her pain. Of course, this couldn't be further from the truth. I can read her mood and state of mind by the way she opens the door.
"How do you do that?," she said to me the other night. "It's like you always know..."
After 3 months of living with her, I decided it was time to let her in on my little secret: I am a barometer for human energy and emotion. Call it what you will, but it's a gift. Tried and true, I am never wrong, and the funny thing is that I don't know how I do it either. For someone who devotes the bulk of her time to rationalist, intellectual pursuits of the mind, you would think that I would be horrible and awkward when it comes to the affective side of human interaction. To the contrary, there are times when I wish I could shut down that side of my awareness of things. Sometimes it would be nice not to lose my appetite when I sense something bad going down at the table across the restaurant between a married couple. It would be relief to think that the flashes and alarms I sometimes get in a first encounter with someone aren't actually based in anything verifiable.
Of course, I can't predict the future, but I can sense how someone is going to act before they do based on how I feel when I am around them. And I'm not clairvoyant, but I can read deceit on the face of the person dealing it. It's not just energy that I feel, but it's a sense being able to listen to exactly what is said, and hear the filling in the silent places of what is withheld to create the lie...
Of course, there is a positive side to all of this. For the people who are close to me, I can feel them, even from far away. Bro also has this gift. The two of us have always been connected through some sort of unspoken and invisible umbilicus. On a regular basis, we don't even have to speak to know the that other is feeling the same way. And as I write this, I can of others that I am feeling more right now. For example, I can feel my friend Jessica's happiness and anxiety with first time motherhood. Her emotions and joy flash over to me through her pictures. She's bouncing through life right now with her bubbly gracefulness. This makes me smile vicariously with her and to her. At the same time, my friend Slide is going through hell right now. He indirectly speaks of it in code, but I can feel that there's something on top of him. His angst comes to me in dreams. But of course, this is nothing new. We've had this connection since we first met. Most recently, the rabbi came to me in a meditation. I could feel him in a state of balance, which made me smile. I could sense a feeling of triumph from him. I decided to drop him a gentle email of congratulations when I realized that he will finally be ordained as an official spiritual leader for the Jewish folks this weekend. He quickly (and responsibly) replied with, "So great to hear from you. I have been thinking about my journey to this point, and the part you have played in it. You have been in my meditations, and I hope that you are doing well!!" All I could do was smile and consider that I already knew this. And, for someone who was always so deeply connected with me in this extremely inexplicable way, I have no doubt that he has silently known for a long time that I wish him all of the best in the distance and silence I have taken to heal myself from being too close his worst.
As I write this tonight, my windows are open and the night breeze is now bringing in the sounds of my neighbor boys singing from the Yeshiva next door. Tonight is Shavuout, a commemoration of the day that G-d gave Moses the Torah at Mount Sinai. The story goes that this gift gave the Israelites the opportunity to be a nation of people serving G-d. While I'm not always 100% on the crazy boat when it comes to reading everything so literally, I do think that a holiday like this serves as a reminder to be thankful for the inexplicable powers that that we have as humans to serve humankind.
Maybe all of this is sounding too Kabbalistic, but the point is that tonight I am grateful for gift I have to feel and love so deeply, despite the distance or the disappointments that come as a result of feeling too much. Having taken the time to stop and think about it, I am almost certain that I wouldn't be here now if it wasn't for the power I have been given at the gut level to find my way through...for better or for worse...
So...Hag Sameach Shavuot! (Happy Holiday that G-d gave the Torah to Mister Moses, ya'll...)
May we all do what we can with the gifts that we have been given to serve the world around us.