It is so much easier to look back. I’m sure I’m coming across some turning points at this very moment. They are too close to glean any insight. Except for spring flowers. They are immediate. They let you know the season is about to change. the lightness of spring is imminent. The brilliance of summer is not far off. My formulas for shibori dyeing fabric begin to change.
Looking back for turning points, I ask, how far back can I go? To my junior year in high school when I changed my style wearing a borrowed, white, v neck dress with a circular, cinched-waist skirt to a civil air patrol dance on the Air Force Base where I lived. Guys out numbered girls ten to one. I danced and danced.
The time when I was 20 and I went shopping in at expensive boutique. I tried on linen pants, fuchsia and orange. They were bold and bright. I hated them. Wanting a change, I bought them. My dad said I was stunning.
I was working in an office. I sewed a deep sea bluegreen maternity skirt and floral print top. Wore it to work, brazen and pregnant. So many compliments.
My first divorce. It was not a bad marriage. Ms Magazine arrived. It was intellectual conversation I was seeking.
Letting my kids go live with their dad. It was the right thing to do. I wanted the divorce. It was my idea. I knew I could handle being a better mother away than he could be a father so far away.
There was a recklessness in the decisions to divorce and custody. A recklessness that gave me a freedom to seize my vision.
There was chaos and disorder in the second marriage. I divorced again. With a clear vision that I deserve to be with those who appreciates who I am and what I can do.
Today I am following my curiosity. That will lead me to my passion, Elizabeth Gilbert says. I believe her. I am most curious about how to deepen my relationships. To know more. To understand more.
Michelle Obama says, “It is hard to hate up close.”
Maybe that’s true. That’s what I want. But most times my arrogance gets in the way. Like when someone takes a different stance and I stand back, with hands on my hips, and say to myself, how could you?
I had a fantasy the other day when we were at my daughter’s house. They had created a new “pub room.” They had arranged it with a little bar, a few tables scattered around. There were several different conversations going on at each table. Every one was smiling, nodding, laughing, listening. Most likely all in agreement since we are all like minded.
I had a thought. What if that wasn’t true? What if the conversations at each table we’re radically different? Opposing views were being expressed. And everyone was still listening, nodding? What if it was like the game of musical chairs and when the band of brothers and cousins stopped playing one person would shift to the next table and enter the conversation? One they might totally disagree with? Could it be done? Could the knot in their stomach be pushed down when they heard things they disagreed with? Could they be silent for two beats and let the conversation flow without the need to be the lone dissent? Could they let listening be the path to deepening?
My husband said, “No, there’s too much at risk.”
“Isn’t being silent and listening equally powerful? “I asked. “Doesn’t living by example mean anything?”
Curiosity has lead me to explore the distinction between empty silence and the the silence of listening.