Some weeks ago, after returning from a less than stimulating social engagement, I considered writing a post entitled “I’m allergic to small talk.” Skimming through pleasantries and inquiring about mutual acquaintances ran its course until we settled into the uneasy conversational currency of complaint.
I yearned to be home writing and was unable or unwilling to push the conversation into new territory. I accepted the limitations of my company and chose an uneasy silence and feigned sleepiness.
When I got back to the keyboard I thought better of such a negative invective against well-enough meaning people with whom I could not find a conversational groove. The bright side was that eventually we got to go home – that is not exactly the little ray of hope and insight that turns a pedestrian moment of my day into an epiphany.
There was no flash of self discovery. There was just relief when I got to escape and a lingering sense of guilt for being unable to be a good guest.
But during another nighttime walk with our visiting canine friend, I forgot about hunching down into collar of my jacket and let the chill tickle my neck as I tilted my head back to take in the stars. Brilliant on the frigid, moonless night, there was the constellation of the faithful hunter keeping watch over the winter sky.
And a lyric that so often comes to mind resurfaced: I see Orion and say nothing.
Amazing how a line from a song about the ultimate love/hate relationship peppered with healthy doses of the mother-of-all-words can help put everything in perspective, but hey, that’s Ani for you.
Suddenly I was having that long overdue epiphany about how I might have transformed that visit from a session in alienation into a chance at real connection. I sat behind my eyes and tended private dreams and unspoken thoughts. I greedily gazed into my own dome of stars and refused to share them with these people that I still wanted to call my friends.
There are plenty of people in this world that are incredibly difficult, if not impossible, to connect with. Racists, misogynists, homophobics… the list of unsavory characters you would never want at your dinner table is easy enough to create. There may be worth in trying to court these creatures and pull them over to the lighter side of being, but that takes intense effort and dedication and often turns out better in the movies than it does in real life.
What I was asking from myself was nothing like that, and connection would be nowhere near as hard. They may not be my soul mates and our worlds may seem totally unrelated, but they are good people and they deserve the stories and ideas I am holding in reserve.
I may continue to be allergic to small talk as I feel all of these momentous ideas and changes rolling through my life, but that is not supposed to be a reason to lose touch with the people who have walked along my path with me to this point. Sure, some relationships need to fall away because needs and attitudes evolve and some former companions are not meant to accompany us forever. It is important to be able to let go of the people and places and habits that no longer help us serve our highest purpose.
At the same time, a great deal of responsibility still lays in the hands of the journeyer. The reason to embark upon a quest for awakening is to positively effect the entire Universe – to let the beautiful diamond dropped in your own consciousness to ripple outward to heal the entire world.
At the very least, I owe it to the people who have loved and supported me to point out Orion and describe how to find the North Star and remind them that the stars move above them and around them every moment of their lives.
Who knows, they just might have been waiting for me to contribute something just like that to the conversation…