A Simple Act of Caring

Do you usually dream at night?

When you do, do you remember them or do they just disappear, leaving a trail that’s too hard to follow?

Sometimes I remember them, but they don’t make any sense to me. They’re so full of places, events, and people, all jumbled together.

Recently though I came across a fantastic book titled, Infinite Purpose by Liv Lane and Lori Portka. One chapter is devoted to dreams and the emphasis it focused on surprised me. Rather than attempting to decipher all the parts of an individual dream, the suggestion was to take the dream as a whole and follow the theme to see where it led.

The authors recommended that you try it for a week and see what you experience.

I decided to take their suggestion and discovered a whole new world. I was able to capture the essence of the dream and find some profound insights.

This morning I woke up and was able to remember an entire story. Many of the details remained fresh and clear, but it was the central theme that was important to me.

There was an elderly lady who was conducting a transaction, perhaps in a bank and she was extremely dissatisfied with the service and the outcome and demanded that her voice be heard. A meeting was scheduled for the next day to attempt to review her transaction and a member of senior management was called in for support.

The meeting time arrived, and all were assembled. At first the staff tried to explain, but soon discovered the elderly lady was not interested in hearing their rationales. A different tact was taken, and a more general conversation ensued. This pleased her and it soon became apparent that she had no desire to discuss the transaction from the prior day. What she did seem interested in was being heard and seen, as a person.

Toward the end of the conversation, she became very quiet and closed her eyes. Her breathing slowed, then ceased.

The staff were concerned and tried to wake her, but she did not respond. One attempted to take her pulse, but there was none. It was then that they realized she had died.

One staff member looked at her carefully and was surprised to find she’d died with an enormous smile on her face.

I’m sure there could be many interpretations for this dream, but what jumped out at me was this…everyone wants to be listened to, to be valued, to matter to someone, anyone, even if they have to be angry and demand attention to make it happen, as the elderly lady did.

All she really wanted was to be seen, heard and at a deeper level, loved.

There is a powerful message in this dream for me, one I would have previously missed.

During my working life I was involved in two ‘relationship’ fields, the first in banking and the second in human service. One thing they both centered on was recognizing the inherent value and worth of each individual. Demonstrating caring, support and encouragement meant everything to the customers and folks being served.

Simple acts of caring feed both the giver and receiver.

I try to remember this and am often granted opportunities to show caring, whether it’s reaching for a product on a high shelf for an elderly person, opening a door or looking into the eyes of someone I thank for their service. There are a million ways to connect and each one offers tangible ways to care, should we choose them.

Forgiveness

I’ve spoken with a lot of people over my sixty-eight years. One of the most common themes I’ve heard is the sense folks have of being out of balance. Things are going along nicely and then, poof, something happens to change them.

Often, as the stories unfold, a disagreement has occurred. Sometimes it’s small or seemingly insignificant. But, at times, the issue creates a major flare up. And when a resolution to the issue doesn’t happen quickly, everything can unravel.

When each side feels that their opinion is worth more and that they should not have to give in, a distance occurs. Closing this gap and restoring harmony requires a degree of openness, a willingness to listen and a belief that common ground can be found.

Forgiveness can become the key, allowing each person to release the thought that there is only one right path. Hearts can be opened to see other directions so that new possibilities can become visible.

I want to offer two consecutive posts about forgiveness because I feel it is so important.

Many years ago, a friend of mine was having an extraordinarily difficult time forgiving an important person in their life. They asked me if I had any suggestions. My response to them came by way of a story. And, this story became the first chapter in my Little Buddha book series.

A man, Sam, asks Claire, a young six-year-old girl he’s met on the beach if she can help him understand how to forgive others. She’s shown her wisdom to him, enough so that he feels he can risk asking her this.

This is her response to him.

 “Imagine (pointing to the pail beside her) that my bucket is you. It’s everything you think and feel and experience during your life. Imagine that everything that is within you- YOU chose to put there. Nothing got in without your choosing. Nothing. Whether conscious or not, every thought, feeling, idea, reaction and prejudice. Every cruel word, every kind gesture, every act of faith, every indifference, everything. Imagine that each of these things takes up space, just like the grains of sand in my bucket. Once it’s full it’s very hard to find any space for anything, no matter how valuable or important. There are ways you can empty part of your bucket if you choose. One way is forgiveness. But first you have to imagine one more thing. Can you imagine that everyone else here is just like you? They’ve lived their lives filling their buckets and sometimes they don’t have any space left either. They’re doing the best they can with what weighs them down. In their hearts, they too wish to be free and to have open space to experience more of the beautiful things in life. But they too don’t know how. They probably sense it, dream about it and desperately want it just like you do. This is very important to know. To forgive anyone anything, requires YOU make a conscious choice. No one else can do it for you.” She eyed (Sam) carefully, “now bring to mind something which begs forgiveness. Feel the space it holds within you. The weight of it, the size, color and dimension. Imagine knowing it needn’t exist and that you can fill its space with something beautiful. Now, close your eyes. Welcome it in. Let it rest in front of you. Believe that it has served its full purpose for you, but does so no longer. Look inside your heart and allow love and compassion to open within. Breathe easily. Smile for a moment. Know that no matter what, this decision is up to you and no one else. Picture your love and compassion surrounding you and the focus of your forgiveness. Now, allow it to fade and fade and fade until it disappears. Breathe and feel the space inside you open. Feel the sunshine enter you and the air move around you. Listen for the sound of your own being. Sense the room created inside of you, now open for that which does serve you. For beauty. For wholeness.”

More to come.

Information about Little Buddha Book One, Two and Three is available by clicking on BOOKS and scrolling down.

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