Tuesday, September 13, 2011


"You've given me the best of you, now I need the rest of you." ~Billy Joel, from the song These Are The Times To Remember

Last night, I took Trooper for a late evening stroll through the neighborhood on what we believe will be the last hot summer night of 2011. As we wandered, I looked up to find bright and full before us, the enormous Harvest Moon low in the eastern sky. It was idyllicly framed at the end of the long stretch of road we were on. My breath caught in my chest and I spontaneously laughed at the majesty of it. At the precious surprise of it. I was frozen in place watching, witnessing its presence for what seemed like hours -- which didn't bother Trooper at all, since she would rather go for a "sniff" than a walk these days anyway.

It made me wonder what it was about the moon -- Harvest or not -- that always gives me pause. All I could come up with is that it engages me. Somehow with its presence, just by its showing up, I feel drawn in, nourished and grateful. It is the moon's being that fills me. The moon simply is and in that, is complete and offers a feeling of wholeness in me. As ineffable as this relationship between us is, it's pure and unconditional.

How often do we feel we need to do something or provide something for someone in order to be in relationship with them?

I've noticed this past week that I have a tendency not to get too personal with the people I work with. In order to keep the relationships professional and to feel free to leave work at work, I've kept my work-life and my home-life mostly separate. This isn't to say I'm not friendly with my co-workers, but I've kept a certain reserve that I've believed is respectful, not only of others and the work environment, but of myself as well.

Perhaps it began during my years in the corporate world, which was essentially high school in an office setting -- complete with cliques and heirarchies, where I spent most days feeling like a square peg in a round hole. In that world, doing work that I didn't especially enjoy, with rules of importance and status that I didn't buy into, it seemed easier to keep things separate. Cleaner. Safer. More predictable.

Today, I find myself ten years strong in a small business that I've enjoyed immensely, still hanging onto these old habits that I've come to learn, no longer serve me. This became clear to me last week as a co-worker and I were having a frank, personal discussion. This woman, who is young enough that I could easily be her mother (Egads! Could I be old enough for this??) remarked that she was essentially afraid of me because of my said reserve.

Scared of me? Really? Hmm.... How clean and predictable is that?

Perhaps in my effort to keep things tidy and separate, they had actually become convoluted and messy. This young woman was simply asking for engagement, not just from me as a co-worker, but from me as a woman she saw who could possibly serve as a mentor and friend, or -- GULP -- a role model. And what she saw in return was someone closed off and unapproachable, which, as someone intending to live from the heart, is the complete opposite of what I really want.

All at once I realized that perhaps I had something of value to offer the people I work with beyond my skills, my talents and what my position as general manager requires of me. Maybe just playing a role isn't enough and I have been invited to bring the rest of me to the table as well. It occured to me that what began as an innocent lack of engagement was actually coming across as a closed door more than the simple reserve I intended it to be.

Boundaries are certainly important, but we must continue to challenge the beliefs that serve as their foundation. Beneath mine I found an old, worn belief that my heart, my "is-ness", had no place at work and I've been protecting myself ever since. And now I have someone just wishing I would show up, heart and all. What an incredible gift it is.

The Harvest Moon I happened upon last night reminds me of this -- that we don't need to do anything or be anything more to those around us than to be who we are. What we have to offer is ourselves, our perspective, our spirit, our being. No special skills or degrees or training are needed. All that is required is that we show up with a willingness to engage, to be surprised and to receive as well as to share.

The moon and I simply showed up last night and found each other, sharing a beautiful engagement in the process. I don't imagine it's all too different with people...when we let it.//

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