Oh, and I was in front of the toothbrushes.
I know this because I started to put one in my purse.
But don’t worry, I haven’t taken up shoplifting.
Instead, my body was in the aisle but my entire Being was in the phone, sucked across the ether and plopped down into the person I was talking to.
And here’s why.
I love that person on the phone a ton. A deep and old love. You know the kind. The kind where you don’t want them to hurt, feel wrong, stupid or bad in any way.
But I heard the sadness in their voice. I heard their tone
So I whipped out my Super Rachel cape and tossed it around my shoulders!!!!!!!!! Except I didn’t literally put it on which could’ve been REALLY helpful to make me pause. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
The point is I fixed it. In mere seconds, I thought of an “I can do it”, said it out loud, and heard them snap to delight,
“I did that!” the puppy yelped, “I made them HAPPY!!! Keep making them happy!”
It felt SO good in the moment, giving them that hit.
(I mean, that’s what I should do, right? Make them feel better? Whatever it takes?)
Then we hung up.
And now I’m back in my body, in front of the toothbrushes, staring at my still glowing screen and realizing,
I feel numb
I feel frozen
I feel shaky
I feel confused.
“What just happened?” I wonder.
How did I go from picking a kid’s toothbrush to feeling kind of weak all over?
Gobsmacked, it hits me.
Oh riiiiiiiiiiight, I just dismissed myself. And I didn’t even see it happening. I abandoned my own desires and carefully crafted plans to offer bandaid joy to someone else.
I didn’t offer them a solution. I offered a trade.
I traded their deflated for my own deflated.
I traded their suffering for my suffering.
That trade seems kind of funky, right?
Now I pause.
Knowing that this knot in my stomach is about me dismissing my needs.
And about me rushing to the rescue.
Knowing that I assumed I needed to do some rescuing.
Knowing that I assumed this loved one was in need of some rescuing.
How we play into the status quo of our lives is a sneaky thing. One that’s tricky to catch real time, especially with loved ones, right? Those interactions can be sticky-slick. Sticky to how we’ve always done things together and slick as we slide down the track of the same ol’ same ol’.
I can’t change that moment on the phone. It sent me down the shoot and out the ol’ toboggan track where I careened into a snow bank.
But what can I do? Where is my power?
My power is in my very next choice.
The next choice is always there for me.
Open and expansive and full of possibility.
And the chance to choose differently this time.
The question to ask yourself isn’t “what’s the right thing to do?”
The question to ask yourself is “what’s the thing to do right Now?”
In the tricky thick layers of loved ones,
in the crashing currents of spouse and children,
in the foggy night of serving yourself, your family and your world,
on and on
it’s your choice, your way, your life.
What’s your thing to do right Now?
My business email is down for a short bit so let me know at email@example.com .
You’re doing great,
p.s. Please forward along to someone who could use support as they navigate family or dear friend hard. It’s tough stuff.