Meeting People Halfway

“The most important trip you may take in life is meeting people halfway.”— Henry Boye

This quote seems to be describing a human to human way of dealing with one another, one that is broad, good and simple to understand. Nowadays, there seems like many, many theories, paths and trainings available to enhance our awareness and ability to get along. Yet do they? Are the simple humane interactions and practices like meeting someone halfway becoming lost or dropped from our nature?
As humans we seem to be primarily motivated either by our fears and what we fear, or we act from our hearts, trust, love, even when we don’t understand everything. And in the run of a day maybe we will tip back and forth between fear and love, depending how we view the situation?
Yet, when we can reach out to one another from the place of curiosity to learn more so we might better understand our different points of view, well that seems like meeting people halfway. And meeting people halfway seems about the kindest, truest and most humane thing any of us could do for one another. Imagine how that feels to act from that place, and be on the receiving end?
With the turmoil and conflict we can face in relationships, and our greater world, meeting people halfway seems a simple and lovely trip to take.

Heart and Mind

Aging deliciously seems to include acting from one’s heart, that ones heart is the master of our choices, and the mind then serves that master. Meaning that the mind can plan, organize and get us to our goals, yet when our mind is also in charge and deciding all the time, we seem to lose something important, our connection to who we really are.

It can take time, even unlearning and relearning to know what it feels like to be making a heart connected choice or decision. Usually though a heart connected choice feels good, light, sure and even a sense of ease. The mind may have us analyze, weigh, go back and forth, and sometimes what to do isn’t obvious or clear. Yet it seems when we can quiet ourselves down and really ask and listen for the true heart connected answer, the answer can feel clear and relatively simple. When love or kindness motivates a choice, taking in other criteria too, we can experience less angst and more rightness.

Once “heart” has chosen, or we listen and choose from our heart, then our minds can enact the plans and actions necessary to fulfill our decision. And effort can be involved. It may not be smooth sailing, but the path will not be full of suffering and struggle and the effort will be worth it. Trusting our hearts to be the master, and the mind to be the servant is a valuable practice with valuable outcomes in living the path and purpose we are here to enjoy.

Enliven

To feel enlivened, to give spirit, make cheerful, feel invigorated, how does that happen?  The word enlivened came to mind after attending an unexpected dinner party in a new setting with new people. Afterwards, driving home, trying to identify the feeling, enlivened was the word that cropped up and clearly was the perfect fit.

Enlivened. Enliven. What invigorates us? Generally we think of things like taking a hot shower or going on good run to invigorate ourselves. Yet enliven can mean something slightly different or does it just depend on what enlivens each of us? Maybe how we interpret a social event can create an inner response or inner connection that raises some peoples’ sense of well being the same way a good run might? Can we be enlivened by something intangible like the energy in a room of people, and the experience?

Maybe the unexpected nature of attending the party and then leaving with this vivacity brought to the fore a word and feeling that had been absent for a while. And because of its’ surprise appearance, it is a reminder feeling enlivened must be a beautiful ingredient to aging deliciously.

Observing rather than Evaluating

The Indian philosopher J. Krishnamurti once remarked that observing without evaluating is the highest form of human intelligence.

It does seem difficult in our western culture not to voice our evaluation or judgment. We might claim someone has a big mouth, when what we observe is he tells long stories that extend meeting times and make people late . Being a big mouth is an evaluation. It helps when we can observe and describe that observation as part of our communication, especially if we are hoping for some change. When we judge, we add on our own prism and evaluation. Often that weight makes it hard for anyone to really hear what we have to say.  Plus when we label something, whether we evaluate it as positive or not positive,  it can be limiting to effective communication. Is our evaluation right? Wrong? Who decides? With an evaluation approach we are likely to get a defensive, offensive or passive/aggressive response.

If we share what we observe rather than only our personal assessment or evaluation we have a much better opportunity that something positive would come from the exchange.  To give someone our evaluation only, such as “You are too needy” rather than including our observation of “When you call me 5 times a day, I think you are too needy”  provides a different kind of communication. And helps us too, when we feel clearer as to why we evaluated someone this way.

There are many steps in compassionate communication that starts with observing without evaluating. For many of us, getting clear on these distinctions when we speak might help calm down our own monkey mind, allow more relaxation in our bodies and provide better reception from those we communicate.