As Annie and I meandered through the relatively empty streets of Disneyland, I noticed what felt like an abundance of couples holding hands. Often, in my interpretation, making their path more difficult having to maneuver two tethered beings instead of just one or making it difficult for those around them having to accommodate a pair. I shared my observation with Annie who says she always holds her husband’s hand. In relationships I never do, “it’s impractical!” I argued. We went back and forth with the topic all day after I brought the action into her awareness. “What if you lose someone?” She would ask. “You don’t lose them, you can feel it when they leave you.” I answered. She would later test this by lagging back in a crowd, an action which caused me to pause and look around. She laughed, “well not everyone can feel people!” I disagreed and we kept our debate up even as we walked to the car. Her bumping into me wanting to be closer and me with my boundaries.
The thing I kept from the conversation was this idea of sureness or certainty. We have come to rely on our physical senses and have made them synonymous with truth versus intuitive sense. Holding someone is how to keep them near and touching is how we know they are even there in the first place. We ultimately tend to trust that which our senses tells us is real.
For me, I’ve come to trust my somatic intellect just as much as my sensory perception. In a crowd I am already always managing the boundary between myself and others. It would become an even more arduous task if I were holding on to another pool of energy. I’m sure of everyone already because I can feel them. Touching is an invitation into me, and I into you, and I don’t think it’s one I wish to accept in large crowds. Never say never, not just not now.
That’s others…but what about the idea of being self assured? I believe our life is nothing more than a hall of mirrors. Bouncing reflections of ourselves back at us so that we may make out our true form. Sure, we can look ourselves up and down, but that only tells us what’s on the outside. My best friend tells me often enough how good I am, in various ways. My mom tells me she’s proud. My other friends offer their praise. Yet this one day…
I’d written a note to a former professor I’ve had the good fortune of traveling with twice. I admired her Way. She was so intentional yet so effortless. It was as if she’d been Being her whole life and radiance just came naturally. She’d worked in both the education and consulting fields, and did both with much professional success and accolade. In her last course with my university she lead our group to Bali. There, we had conversations about dissertation, and next steps. I was maybe too afraid to admit how much truth was behind my admission, “I just want to be you when I grow up.” As much as she works for and with other schools corporations and organizations, you can tell that it comes from the inside out. It is the thing I appreciated most about her courses, I felt so free to be creative in my work because she was so creative in hers.
Suffice to say, she was one of my life mirrors that I paid particular attention to. So I’d written to her. I told her of my dissertation topic as I’d settled on it and I asked her for advice for next steps. What she told me in response were exactly the things I was harboring deep in the tiniest chambers of my heart. Reading her words made me cry because it affirmed that maybe it wasn’t just some pipe dream and that if one person saw it in me, then others might too. Not because it was the worlds greatest charade since Oz, but because it really WAS me. I cried such joyous happy tears and I shared the letter with my best friend who then said:
And what I really realized is that maybe you don’t hold hands to be sure of the other person. Maybe you hold hands to be sure of yourself. I am still here. I still matter to someone. I am still loved. I am still capable of influence. I am still worthy. It’s the sort of things we want to tell ourselves but that feel so damned good on the lips and tongues of others. In her letter, Rose held my hand. And she reminded me to be sure of myself.