Archive for the 'recognition' Category

It’s the babysitter!

August 18, 2014

So my mother is in the processing of selling her house, which I grew up in, and she’s got a (local) real estate agent, and the agent and I have talked on the phone, texted, emailed, and faxed.

The agent and I have even discussed who we know in common in town from our school days, including the family who used to own the house she now owns.  And we’ve determined she’s about six years younger than I am  —  she was a classmate of the younger children in the family whose house she now owns, I had been friends and classmates with the eldest of the siblings.

We finally met face to face yesterday, during my current visit with my mom.  And the agent interrupts the flow of the conversation and suddenly says to me, “You look so familiar.  Did you babysit for me?”

I asked if her current surname is her original one, and no, it’s her married name.  She tells me her maiden name, and then I recognized who she was.

It’s interesting, too, because I never changed my name and she didn’t recognize me from that.

It was probably the hair.

Anyway, it was funny to be recognized after all these years as the babysitter.

Flight control systems

June 29, 2013

My father was an electrical engineer by profession, worked for Bendix Corporation his whole career (it got bought by Allied and then Honeywell, so the name changed, but his place of work didn’t).  He worked in aeronautics.  He designed flight control systems for commercial and military aircraft.

That’s about the extent of what I know about what he spent his time doing.  He didn’t discuss it at home, I think largely because some of it he couldn’t, because it involved classified information.  I doubt the flight control systems for commercial aircraft actually did, but I think he dealt with the classified information issue by just having a blanket policy of not discussing his work.  And there was really no reason for him to.

But the concept of flight control systems is something helpful to me.  It helps me understand something I experience in my spiritual life.  (It was also a neat thing to learn about in the aeronautical context, and I was proud and fascinated that my father knew how to do what he did.)

My father once explained to me that what he designed allowed a pilot to steer a jumbo jet with he same ease with which the pilot steered a small plane.  My difficulty is not the same sort — mine is more like needing cross a deep gorge on a bridge without rails.  It can be done, but I can get in my own way if it’s too clear to me what I’m doing.  So I have help that just gives me what I need to know — what I need to know to do what I need to do to walk across that bridge — for all I know I’m walking across a lovely parquet floor in an expansive ballroom while I do it.

My talent is not bridge-walking, it’s trusting, it’s willingness to be guided, and it involves surrender.

When I’ve gotten to the other side, I come to know that I have crossed a gorge, when I am encouraged to learn to modulate my trust with the free will I had largely suspended.  That process leads to an understanding of what I’ve done, as if a curtain is being raised or a veil removed.  It’s kind of like the pilot deplaning and for the first time seeing how big the aircraft he was flying actually was.

I think my father’s job was something important in its own right, but I also like that what he did helps me to interpret what I do.





Innocent missteps

June 23, 2013

I’ve seen this happen in a couple of versions.

I had a roommate who forgot we were of different races when we were filling out law school applications, I once told an interlocutor that my kid’s hair was brown (like my own), when it’s actually black.  The situation can be more difficult when the oversight puts the other person in an awkward spot; an innocuous example might be when I take a walk with someone and expect them to keep up with my pace, or vice versa.

But the thing I think that is helpful to remember in navigating all these situations is that the oversight is an indirect compliment — the other person’s glossing over a difference between you reflects a kind of acceptance of you, of not seeing you as different, even if others might.  Doesn’t mean you can’t call to their attention that some adjustment is necessary in light of a real difference that needs to be taken into account, especially in light of how other people see things and react, but I would see such an oversight as a kind of an unwitting faux pas and try not to take offense.


February 23, 2013

I’ve gotten feedback at times that I intimidate people and/or  have expectations that make them feel inadequate.  It took me a long time to understand how that happens.

The basic idea is that if my talents go unacknowledged by others, and if I don’t appreciate them myself, then I expect everybody else to have them too — else why would mine not be valued and appreciated as special, as making me deserving of some sort of recognition?

Willy recognized and appreciated them, and, as I think I’ve written here before, wrote about that in a letter he wrote me when he was on Kwaj.

When I recognize and appreciate them myself, I am more charitable towards others, on the one hand; on the other, I am much more detached within my relationships.

After Willy died, my sister remarked to me that I must regret having married.  The context of her remark indicated that she thought of marriage as some dry business partnership in which there is exact bookkeeping of things brought to the relationship and things used from it, with a big emphasis on the financial.  I know her to be an outlier in many respects (my college roommates made that clear whenever she visited), so I didn’t give much thought to whether her notion of marriage is a model others use.  But I think I’m encountering it with others, with men who seem to want some kind of a resume in order to have a social relationship.

The most important aspects of my particular talents are not on my resume, although what is there reflects the skills I’ve learned that help me make use of my talents.  People for whom this makes no sense clearly need to be dating someone else.  And people with whom I have to have an argument about this probably don’t want to date me for some other reason they prefer not to examine or communicate.  That’s okay with me, too.  And both these sets of charming men can do what I do on their own if it’s so unremarkable, they clearly don’t need me.

Stimulus and response

September 21, 2012

I know a few people who want to substitute being told exactly what to do for developing their own way of figuring out an appropriate response through understanding the impact of their behavior on others (the self-awareness and walk-a-mile-in-your-moccasins tools).  “Just tell me what to do, I want to be a good person,” one of them said to me a couple of weeks ago.

I actually can’t see what they’re supposed to do;  I can discern what I am supposed to do at such a point as they’re at if I pick up their stuff through my experience of them as an empath.  I can also mirror back to them their own behavior.

In one case what I could see I was being called upon to do with their stuff in my place was to locate and shower on them a deep and charitable love, so I suspect that’s what they were supposed to do for me, but maybe not.  In any case, I got coldness, literally (the room became inexplicably very cold — it was a topic of discussion in the ladies room afterwards) and socially.  I was surprised.  The person didn’t recognize me from previous communication (or lives), didn’t want to get to know me based on what I presented, either, and I accepted that.  I accepted that the coldness was the best they could do and I found myself doing my mirroring thing and leaving and then afterwards pursuing what looked like unvirtuous professional conduct (I’m going to guess that’s one of their m.o.’s).  I reflected back to them their own conduct so they could experience its impact, but then it’s up to them to decide what to do next, I don’t furnish a set of follow-up directions — they need to analyze their reaction to the experience and go from there.  If there’s a different reaction going on within them from what they presented to me, maybe part of the issue for them is to connect the inner and outer selves in a different way.  I suspect, though, that it’s really that they want to act one way but want to incur a set of responses from others as if they had engaged in different behavior.

In another case I found myself eventually actually telling the person that becoming the “good person” they claim they want to be is developed by the person themselves through a process involving increasing self-awareness.  This person seems to prefer asking for detailed instructions from others and then finding fault with them and rationalizations for not following them — of course, thus they do their part to demonstrate the limits of what another person can do for somebody else, which is helpful for me to learn from.

I know that some of these “I want to be a good person but I don’t actually want to do what it takes” sometimes resort to shattering the mirror (that would be me) either intentionally or inadvertently.  I have helped restore shattered mirrors — if I hadn’t learned myself from them, I’d probably be one myself.

“Mystic Pizza”

September 2, 2012

Jordan had this at a friend’s house and liked it enough to ask me to look for it at Trader Joe’s next time I went.  It wasn’t there, but he brought home two from Roche Bros. this morning, after visiting the same friend again.

Interesting that there was a Roche Bros. market at that shopping plaza we stopped at to look for a reading pillow the other day, the one I felt prompted to notice at the traffic light.

I guess you never know when you’re actually in the right place but looking for the wrong thing, near what you want but don’t realize it — my experience is that things come into focus through repeated iterations of a pattern.

Unfortunately Jordan doesn’t want to heat the pizza yet — I’m a little hungry and impatient to taste it.

“No, thank you,” revisited

December 29, 2011

I wrote a post a week ago about people who decline to do their share when it seems to be their turn, analogous to asking for the bill in a restaurant and then giving it back (unpaid).

After reading about contexts in which cluelessness might be more relevant than intentional negative behavior (linked to in this post, fifth paragraph), I wanted to revise what I said, and suggest that maybe there are contexts in which what feels like getting stiffed is more like what happens when the other person has a completely different understanding of prior interactions.


December 7, 2011

I know I have trouble recognizing people I’ve met before and remembering people’s names.  So I really shouldn’t have been surprised, but I was, when yesterday the guy whose dog I held while he went down to the shore of the reservoir to take pictures of his wife feeding the swans and geese thanked me and I didn’t realize who he was until he had included some details of our prior interaction.  We were walking around the res is opposite directions, and when our paths crossed, he stopped a moment to thank me again and to tell me that the pictures had come out great.  I have no idea whether he realized that it took me until he mentioned the our prior encounter for me to realize who he was.  I’m glad the pictures came out great — I’d love to see them, but I doubt that will happen.