Thursday, June 19, 2008


Everyone is afraid of something.

I noticed this yesterday on a walk around town. I smiled at people because I felt happy and content with my life as it currently stands. The angst is dissolving and I'm moving back into a space of open-hearted joy for the world at large. (I can hear a collective sigh of relief from everyone who has endured my self-obsessed woes of the past few months)

As I smiled at people in a spirit of collective "We're-all-in-this-together" camaraderie, it fascinated me to note that for many people... it simply scared them! I could SENSE the depths of their confusion and fear, the instant a stranger - me - gave them recognition and encouragement in my acknowledgment of them.

If you look someone in the eye and accept them just as they come with no defensive strategies of your own standing by in readiness, it's amazing how people can react to that. Only one person grinned back at me in that reciprocated spirit of "Yeah! I hear you!" acceptance.

The rest shifted their eyes uncomfortably away from mine and their body posture was instantly guarded and defensive. I could almost hear them thinking "What does SHE want from me?" clanging in the back of their minds. Their discomfort made me ache for them. How sad it is to be so defensive and guarded against the people around you because you mistrust every motive and attitude they present to you.

Perhaps I sound a tad arrogant in saying that. It wasn't that I was feeling patronizing or superior to these dear people I'd never met was just that I wanted to express the heart of burgeoning joy I am beginning to feel within myself. That feeling of being centred and undeterred by emotional forces within. I wanted to smile. I guess I wanted the world to smile back and when it didn't I was astonished to see how much fear is really out there.

I didn't take offence that the world did not smile back in full measure today. The observation I made, showed me clearly that the world really does indeed, need Love.

A genuine love which is accepting of the truth about people without demanding that the self be gratified or vindicated.

Too much of this life is about The Self. The universal lie is that we believe ourselves to be of so little value that we have to puff ourselves up so we can assuage our own self-condemnation. We do this by blaming everyone and everything - but ourselves - for everything else we think, say and do. (Much of this is of course explained in much greater depth in the book I am currently reading, "Bonds that Make us Free". You can see it in the box in the top right corner of my blog page)

It's a tough lesson though. I am being awakened to the deep flaws of my very character and discovering the extent of my total self-absorption which I've been indulging for many years.

The steps to change won't perhaps happen overnight but the journey towards being more loving, gentle, patient, kind and genuine with people is a quest of such great importance and power for change in the world, I'm willing to do what it takes to make these changes happen.

The irony being that this process is NOT about me at all! It's about LOVE. It's about HOPE and it's about FAITH that others are deserving of so much more from me than I need to get from them. It's a lesson in compassion, patience, forthright acknowledgment of their significance and meaning, and yes! Forgiveness. The greatest discoveries of hope and happiness come from losing our notions of Self and then allow the light from others shine their truth on us.

People are valuable. We, all of us, are our own worst enemy in relationships. When we lose the desire to be proven "better than" and let the light of others show us their truth, we can simply love them and be exactly ourselves toward them without having to try.

Love is the natural quality and quantity that comes from knowing the truth.


fruitbat said...

Just a thought... possibly the reachins were not about the smile so much... but about being looked at directly.
Try smiling at people indirectly, simply radiating the joy. People tend to be defensive if we nake eye contact... the "what does he/she wnat from me" reaction.
But joy, a smile, can radiate. Let people onserve your joy, without stepping on their toes... I'd predict that a lot more of them will catch on that way...

Michelle said...


That could well be possible fruitbat.

I had hoped that in acknowledging people by really "noticing" them honestly, it would encourage them, but I guess it does come across as threatening for many.

For many many years, I had terrible trouble looking people...nearly all the eye. I suffered a lot of insecurity and well...quite frankly...I think it was shame if I looked another person in the eye.

I changed this habit about 2 years ago when something "clicked" inside of me and the art of being able to look another human being in the eye has become, not only easy for me to do, but almost essential too.

Perhaps I've swung too far in the opposite direction and have become "dangerous" for people who have not yet learned they can trust me!

It's something to ponder. Thanks for the observation :)