“At ease?”, the question, softly asked. “At ease”, I said. And I was. That hidden and elusive paradise that is also quick to fold and run away. It was the chunky soup of the thing that made it happen. All of the ingredients and in the right order and in the right proportions and the right spices to finish it all. It is like the last night of a vacation on a secluded beach with a fire and a sunset with a glass of wine, a gentle breeze and a close friend. A knowing glance of acceptance, and you are transported to a place that you may not often go… At ease.
You really do know, it isn’t a place that you go to. It is a place that you allow to bloom and enfold you. If it is strong and flexible, then it will also enfold others into your cocoon of ease. The test is simply that, do you create space for others in your world? How many, when, in what circumstances, of what breadth of different or sameness? The same in reverse, who creates that for me? When to drop the shield and for how long. When can I sing with abandon, and with whom?
As I age the need to find this place is becoming more important to me. The places that I find it are rarer now, but then more precious for the finding. Knowing it is not a place, although a setting creates the space for it, it is a place of vulnerability, which resides in the mind. You either feel safe or you don’t. The tension is found in the amount of desire and the lack of finding. This is where betrayal is also found. It is also where the most damage is done. In the crazy world of opposites, you cannot find great sorrow without the opportunity for great joy gone away. Also, the inverse… To hope greatly is to become the least guarded, and most wounded when it collapses. And so, we stay protected or we simply numb. There is no other option.
It often comes as a surprise then. But it is a curious kind of surprise. It happens unannounced, of course, but the surprise is less about the fact that we had it happen, but that we were so desperately dry, and it was so refreshingly restorative and undemanding. That is the real surprise… that we forgot to measure how much it was needed. We had become numb to our situation. What I am pointing out is not some sort of expressed joy, but an internal rest. A simple calm from a simple understanding that I am OK. Not the “list” (best, greatest, bla, bla,) but a clear knowing that “I am”… at ease. For the first time in a while, or an easy place to go to remember, again. With you.
While personally I am often told that I do this for others, and it is true (and it is not hard), it is often a defense tactic to simply show that I personally, am not safe yet. That it is easier to listen and to hold and to create some space, for you to feel that acceptance and protection. Perhaps for the first time in a while, and that I know that you appreciate me for allowing it. It is easier than to reciprocate and to let my own armor down. In a curious way, that analogy works. The warrior had an armor bearer for a reason. The trusted aide, to help take off the protection, to bring a cup of ale and to make the light jokes of the close companion. I do that a lot but allow it seldom. It is my curse that I am that capable and knowing and yet reluctant… I think it is with us all. Only by degree is it different.
What then shall we do? Perhaps it is easy to simply say, “walk gently among the people, they are scared and need a friend.” And while that is true, it may be that you could be more intentional about it, to show some vulnerability, trust, and to listen first. Knowing that it will be surprising, and a bit fear causing to the really scared, so be ready to be rejected. Yet, while knowing this, do try. Speak of the pain, lean into the fear. It is really a fragile dragon that we fight but fight we must. First with ourselves, we are the best at deceiving ourselves. Own your frailty, your pride, your unwillingness to take your own medicine… then you will be at ease with your companions, and able to make space. They will know you are different, but not know how.
“At ease?”, I asked… I had hoped so but was still curious. I wanted to create that space for ease, and would adjust if needed, so I enquired. “Do you have enough room?”, the thought is this, if you get enough room to expand your thoughts, to open the door of the “dark place” I am not certain how much room you will need… and I want to make that available to you. How much time, how many tissues, and can I keep it together to hear of the stories of the past… I was promising that I could, I so wanted to. I wanted to at least try. To take it in pieces and to try again.
“At ease”, you said. And I believe you are. Your conversation is unrestricted, your topics wide ranging, your creativity unbridled… you are at ease because you are accepted. By me and yourself. It has bloomed wonderfully, this rarely seen you. I am glad to have been given the chance to watch it unfold. At ease, again.
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