A little while ago I came to the realization that I need to get out more. That’s one of the things about working as a writer / marketer / event planner… I end up spending a lot of time alone. And because I like to be alone, I spend a good bit of my personal time alone too. I think there’s a lot of value in that. I do. In fact I’ve written before about how imperative I believe it to be… spending time alone.
Of course, as in all things, a balance must be struck and of late, I’ve been feeling as though I was swinging pretty far to the solitary side. In an effort to correct this I’ve been trying to put myself “out there” a little more, I’ve been asking the universe to bring me opportunities to connect to new people and experiences, and I’ve been doing my self-talk-training exercises; spelling out what I want in my mind and distilling it down ever further until I can use just a few words to define exactly what I want. And then I repeat it, a bunch. Over and over in my mind.
The other night, when I was out walking Ru, after a friend and I had been discussing this very topic on the long drive home from an event, and JUST after I had mentioned this intention and my effort in that direction, and IMMEDIATELY after I had turned off my street and mentally began asking the Universe to help me open up… I got invited to a party.
By a very enthusiastic man shrieking about my beautiful booty from his friends-packed-patio.
I giggled and kept walking, like I always do, but a few blocks later I found myself wondering if I’d done the wrong thing. Afterall, I’d been asking for opportunities to meet people, participate more in my community and neighborhood, and I had JUST asked the Universe to help me open up… could it be that the Universe answered my plea with a cat-calling frat boy? I shook my head and laughed at the idea, and then went right back to wondering about it. Who am I to judge the way the Universe delivers what I ask for? And really, if I was asking to be “out there” more, what better place than a friendly neighbors BBQ? If I’m going to trust that I’m taken care of, if I’m going to literally ASK for spontaneity and new experiences, how dare I poo-poo them because of how they come to me? Fundamentally, I believe I create my reality and if I’m deeply connected to myself, I’ll be well taken care of. Particularly a block from my house. With my pit-bull cross pup quite literally tied to me. She would have happily wandered over there to see if they had any treats and enjoy a belly scratch. She would not have worried about being perceived as anything but her perfect little self. She would have wandered right up to them, tail wagging, and if she didn’t like the way it felt to be there, she would have wandered on.
Back at home (it took me so long to process the whole situation and decide that it might have been safe and exactly what I was asking for, I was already enjoying some lemonade on my back patio.) I began to wonder why I’ve told myself all these years that the only “right” way to respond to that kind of behavior is to ignore it, and why that felt like the more powerful response. I realized it was because it allowed me to “close off” so to speak; to go back to that solitary reality… and I had somehow equated solitude and independence with power.
But what if it wasn’t power? What if it was fear? What if I made solitude powerful because it felt safe? Less chance of rejection, less chance of judgement, less chance of heartbreak? Maybe the strongest, most powerful response is to open myself up, to become vulnerable… to trust myself, my soul-self, know that it will only bring me valuable experiences, and just be who I am in that vulnerable, open place.
I have no intention of responding to every cat-caller that gives me a sidewalk shout-out. But, in retrospect, perhaps I should have taken it as a gift. Maybe it would do me good to be a little more spontaneous, to be a little more adventurous, to be a little more open – and not judge how the things I want are brought to me. Maybe it would do me a little good to be a little more like Rumi. Particularly when I’ve just asked the universe for the very opportunity which presents itself. And I’m in my own neighborhood. With my stout little protector at my side.
I want to act on opportunities more often, with trust. And – if I’m at all uncomfortable, I’ll keep my sweet little pit-bull at my side, and if it doesn’t feel right for us, we will wander on.