Thursday, July 22, 2010

Circles


I went to see the new movie "Inception" the other night. Actually, I saw it twice this past weekend. I don't know how many of you, dear readers, have seen this movie yet. As much as I hate writing a movie review, there are a few points about this film that need discussion.
One of the most interesting parts about it is the blurred line between reality and dreams. As many of you know, I am a big fan of getting my head all wound up in thoughts about what is really going on. This film was totally appealing to my "c'mon give me something to scramble my brains with " characteristic. I won't go into detail, since I don't want to ruin anything for those of you who have not seen it. It was just a fascinating way of diving into what triggers memories and dreams (things we cannot control) and how much those things play out in our "awake" life.

Ok, I just realized this is not the first time I am starting my blog with a movie opinion.... hmm. Perhaps I spend too much time in the theater.

I also wanted to write on the idea of understanding. Not understanding in a big, Buddha, Universal sort of way. Understanding in your daily life and with the people whom are closest.

?

I guess what I am trying to get at is that for many people, change (there's that word again) means leaving some of the people they love. I don't mean physically, per say, although sometimes this is part of it. But for many of us, we are a certain way for a long period of our life, maybe our childhood, maybe most of our adulthood, and then OOPS! You drastically change something about yourself, and some of the people around you are left scratching their heads. They may even disapprove, and tell you all about it. Or they may be secretive about it. And sometimes, whatever change you went through might be so big, you actually keep it a secret from the people you know won't come down the road with you.
I think most of us have had instances of this in our life. Relationally, spiritually, professionally, heck, even dietary. And somewhere in there you had to drop a couple people. Erase the line that holds you back, sort of thing. And when I say drop, I mean nothing more than no longer being vulnerable with the people who do not approve/don't understand your change. It doesn't mean erasing their name from your phone (although I have done this too...) or banishing them to your mind's underworld. It only means protecting yourself, and not with any kind of armor. For that instance, you choose to love and protect YOU over someone else. Sometimes the protection is actually in trying to explain, sometimes it is simply not mentioning the change again. It all depends, I think.

What is so absolutely beautiful in realizing that you can't take all of your buddies and family with you on the road is that there is a lot of freedom. Agree to disagree, and move on. It also makes you more empathetic towards all of the people in the world who feel misunderstood.

So I ask you two questions, on this beautiful morning, to any of you dear readers. The first is to ask yourself if there is anyone out there who really misunderstands you or something about you. Hopefully (or not) you are bobbing your head at a screen. Next ask yourself if this REALLY REALLY Bugs you. If it does, ask yourself if you had some sort of expectation of this person. More than likely, there is a yes here too. And more than likely, your expectation of this person to react a certain way to a change in your life is actually quite impossible for them, for now. You can't give what you don't possess. THEY can't give what they don't possess , yet.

Now second question. Is there someone in your life who you just don't understand why they have changed? Maybe they were SO great before, but now they are a little annoying and stuck on themself? Maybe you admired them completely, but now there is a big, gaping gap in their character? Or maybe they are spiritually or morally not as upright as you thought? You are probably, if you are being honest, bobbing your head again at your screen. I know I am. Ask yourself if you have really understood what this person is going through. Maybe it is change, maybe it is pulling the layers off, maybe it is what was there all along. Whatever it may be, your idea of them has changed, and you're not so hot about it.
See how the two are related? See how if you take that knot in your stomach that comes with somebody TOTALLY misreading you and apply it to your empathy of someone else, it can make you almost cry at the thought that you might be doing the same thing to someone.

Empathy is the damnedest thing.

The Dalai Lama once said that empathy is, at the core, true love. Once you have felt injustice put against yourself, you feel it for all other human beings who must endure it. A full circle, if you think about it.

Speaking of circles, and also to lighten things up a little, I think I am getting a tattoo of a circle for my 30th birthday. I'm going to try to ask this very wonderful Chinese calligraphist (who is 85 years old, and a total badass, may I say) to paint me, in one swoop, an ink circle with one of her brushes. Circles keep popping up in my life. Or I guess you could say they have probably been there all the time, and I am starting to see them. I believe suffering to be a circle. I believe creativity to be a circle. I believe empathy and love to be a circle. I believe family to be a circle.



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