You don’t know me well…

I hear that a lot — in many forms, and context: as a warning; a dismissal; or simply, just an FYI. The last you-don’t-know-me-well chide I received made me wonder what should be the minimum information I should know about someone? 

You see, everyone has a story — each with their own fears, their own truths, their own principles. Memories upon memories stacked up like books on the shelf of our innermost being contribute to who we are. Thoughts, ideas, opinions are formed — part and parcel — by these memories and experiences.

Knowing how somebody responds to certain situations or what he enjoys are just basic truths about someone, barely scratching the surface of who they are and what they are. We are doomed to these limitations by the restrictions set by the universe, which do not allow us to send memories and experiences, thoughts and ideas, hopes and dreams, skills and flaws in an envelope marked: For Your Information.

So, how do we get to really know someone well? First, we have to realize that no amount of chit-chat hours spent learning their secrets and fears, the tiny tidbits of information that make up the fiber of their being can truly define the Who and the What of a person. These are best revealed by giving them the opportunity to express and unravel themselves. Oriah, in her The Invitation, captures what I have been struggling with…

It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living.
I want to know what you ache for
and if you dare to dream
of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me how old you are.
I want to know if you will risk
looking like a fool for love
for your dream
for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me what planets are
squaring your moon…
I want to know if you have touched
the center of your own sorrow
if you have been opened by life’s betrayals
or have become shriveled and closed
from fear of further pain.

I want to know if you can sit with pain
mine or your own
without moving to hide it
or fade it or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy
mine or your own
if you can dance with wildness
and let the ecstasy fill you
to the tips of your fingers and toes
without cautioning us
to be careful
to be realistic
to remember the limitations
of being human.

It doesn’t interest me
if the story you are telling me
is true.
I want to know if you can
disappoint another
to be true to yourself.

If you can bear
the accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul.

If you can be faithless
and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see Beauty
even when it is not pretty every day.
And if you can source your own life
from its presence.

I want to know if you can live with failure
yours and mine
and still stand at the edge of the lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon, “Yes.”

It doesn’t interest me to know where you live
or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up
after the night of grief and despair
weary and bruised to the bone
and do what needs to be done
to feed the children.

It doesn’t interest me who you know
or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand
in the center of the fire with me
and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me
where or what or with whom
you have studied.
I want to know what sustains you
from the inside when all else falls away.

I want to know if you can be alone with yourself
and if you truly like the company you keep
in the empty moments.

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About Seeing with Brahmin eyes
My sense of humor can be keen, sarcastic, silly or corny -- sometimes all at once. I enjoy meeting new people with no preconceived ideas about what or what is not possible. You get much more out of life by being open minded and willing. I'm an easy going, good-natured person who loves life and loves people. I'm both optimistic and realistic and pretty objective when it comes to assessing situations, events, etc. In general I am a very positive person and you'll usually find we with a smile on my face.

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