Thursday, March 4, 2010

independent hearts


i am still north of san francisco. i'll be heading back to my place on friday. it is times like these that i am very grateful that i live in this age of wireless internet access, vpns, blackberries, mobile phones, skype, and the like. i am also grateful that i have the sort of job (despite its crazy ass hours sometimes) that allows me the flexibility to work remotely. this experience was also further proof that it doesn't matter where i am physically, i am still able to complete what i need to do for my job. it was also reinforcement about ensuring that i have balance within my life and how i will never forget knowing what is important in my life.

hmmmm, perhaps that should be "whom" rather than "what".

as i have referred to earlier this week, those that i love are a rather independent bunch. sometimes when they are going through things....things that i know that they can "handle"....i just wish that they didn't have to.....and with every part of me....knows that they shouldn' t "have to handle" it.....particularly on their own.

while i am not going to relay a specific conversation....but often times, a conversation with an independent heart that is going through a challenging time goes something like this:

"so, X happened to me. just wanted to let you know." communicates the independent heart matter-of-factly via in person, a phone call, email, or voicemail. nevermind that "X" can be some freakin HUGE event that would send the majority of the adult human population scurrying around frantically or weep openly. nope, for the independent heart...it is like they are exuding the meta message of....i-have-it-all-under-control-so-i-don't-need-anyone-because-i-can-do-everything-on-my-own-because-i-am-obviously-a-super-human-and can't-you-see-how-my-flying-boots-match-my-cape?

sigh.


my response? it is usually something along the lines of very casually and calmly saying

"hmmmmmm. oh really? what happened that led up to X?"
as i am listening to additional matter-of-fact statements.....inside....i can feel my heart ache for them....sometimes i am incredibly angry on their behalf that i want to kick and scream at various injustices of life. but i don't do that. that would be a bad idea. because it isn't about me, what i feel, and what i want to do. nor should it be. it is about them and what do they need in that moment. i am following their lead....and trying to give them the space that they need....to continue to feel independent...and to be safe.

so, i'll ask soft probing questions and wait.

i find that i do a lot of waiting.

sometimes, the independent hearts are like "no, you don't need to care or be concerned about me because I AM FINE. I AM FINE. I AM FINE." it is communicated just like that...in ALL CAPS as if the caps are part of this constructed wall that they are fortifying themselves with.

yeah. sure.

we both know that everything is not fine.

yet, i just nod my head in person or figuratively if this conversation is happening via email or the phone. while i may be nodding.....inside my head my brain is buzzing trying to figure out how to be there for them and what it is that they need. not what they SAY they need (because who them? need anything? never!), but what is it that they really need....and what is it that they really want....because independent hearts have difficulty acknowledging much less saying that they want or need anything.

however, i can be quite stubbornly patient when i put my mind to it. i am fairly certain that i can out stubborn any of my loved ones any day. if stubbornness was an olympic sport, i'd be a contender for a medal. it is not one of my most endearing traits....but oh well, they love me anyway. depending on the situation or the particular loved one, i'll figure out some way to hang around. i don't go away. if i don't see them everyday or if we don't live in the same town, it will be in a form of a call or an email....maybe even every few days or so.... just letting them know that "yup, i'm still here" and give them space.

i lightly linger....just on the outskirts...observing from a distance over their fortified walls.......just waiting.....for the independent heart to decide to step outside of its fortified walls....because they will....when they are ready.

because they aren't stupid. they know what i am doing. they know that i am listening for their heart, their needs, and their wants....and not necessarily listening (but taking into consideration) their independence and pride. sometimes just knowing that i am doing it is enough to make the challenge a bit easier to bear. because sometimes all it really takes is for someone to say with words and actions

"i love you and i am here for you."



because i do and i am.

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