I was a bit out of my body.
Town was crowded.
Delighted to find a very tiny parking spot that was close to the post office, I began to maneuver my way into it.
There wasn’t a lot of room. A yellow “no parking” line was my rear boundary, so I parked my front bumper waaaay closer to the blue car already parked in front of me than I would ordinarily. Inches away actually.
Feeling slightly guilty, justifying my actions, I quietly grumbled out loud to myself as I worked my way into the spot – “Huh! They sure could have parked farther forward! There’s almost a whole empty car space in front of them! That would have been way more courteous. I know I certainly would have!”
Moments later, as I was still sitting in my car gathering my things, a woman walked up to the blue car, looked at how close I was to her bumper and frowned at me.
Eyes flashing she got in her car and then – yes, she really did – deliberately back up and hit my car!
My mouth dropped open. My eyebrows met my hairline.
I so did not see that coming!
For a moment I sat there – frozen. Then I quickly started my car and reversed into that yellow line in a nanosecond. I wanted to be certain she had PLENTY of room.
Without a beat she moved out into the street and drove away.
It was only then I saw the truth – she had NOT had more than ample clearance in front of her. A shiny blue moped was parked luxuriously smack dab in the middle of all that space.
I felt mildly ashamed, yet also fascinated by the entire encounter.
The purely erroneous assumptions made by both of us.
Me – that she was a jerk for not leaving me enough space to park comfortably – because after all, I would have.
Her – that I was a sleazeball because I did not leave HER enough room to get out – indeed I was such a ratfink that she felt no hesitation getting into her car and promptly backing up into mine and making it rock.
Obviously, as I write – I am now and was then making all kinds of assumptions about what was going on in her head.
Neither one of us gave the other the benefit of the doubt.
Neither one of us made a quick move to resolve the situation kindly. Peacefully.
And I am willing to bet that both of us continued to make assumptions and create stories about the other and ourselves as we moved away from that incident. Fortifying our own view of ourselves and the world. Because that is what we humans do – right? Until we begin to question them and our own insidious need to be right.
Today I was asked – in reference to my writing and what I share with the world, and in my business –
What are you protecting yourself from?
What are you hoping to avoid?
My answers were prompt and immediate.
I am afraid that if I tell the truth about certain things I will be the target of someone else’s anger.
That people will make things up about me that they have no way of knowing are true or not.
That they will make assumptions.
That they will not give me the benefit of the doubt.
That I will be seen in a not so wonderful light.
That people I believe are friends and allies will turn away and assume things about me that are not so pretty – or even true.
That people will rewrite history or what I say based on their own ideas or someone else’s without me having an opportunity for full disclosure.
And then I remembered the woman that hit my car and all the assumptions – we both made.
I remembered all the times this has ALREADY happened.
And not just targeted toward me, but all the times I have made assumptions about others – without giving them the benefit of the doubt. Thinking the worst of them. Sometimes never bothering to try to understand things from their view point because mine was just so comfortable and automatic – like well worn slippers.
I felt sadness swell and settle.
I flashed on all the times when I was the one whom assumptions were made about – as distance became rifts, turned into canyons, finalized in endings. The hurt of this came back with a surprising freshness.
THIS is what I was defending myself against.
Being hurt. Being a target. Being judged harshly. Pushed out of the herd for speaking up and telling Truth.
A deep breath.
OK. Good to know.
And then this poured out of me as well. Things I know, yet sometimes forget – especially when I am not centered. Present. In my Core.
What others think about me is really none of my business.
I have no way of controlling what ANYONE believes about me or thinks of me. That always rest with the other person.
Whatever someone thinks or assumes about me always says more about them than me.
As I stand straighter and rest in my own inner authority and mastery in more powerful ways there will be those that will be threatened by that. Because although I have a deep and burning desire that every single person on this planet stand up and shine in their own amazing authentic brightness – unfortunately some feel diminished by the luminous light of others.
Some feel shame. Some will feel envy. Some jealousy. And without examining their own discomfort – rather than celebrating greater individual power, authority, autonomy and radiance– will unconsciously strike out and make others wrong to make themselves feel better, smarter, more powerful. Right.
And last but not least – Not everyone will agree with me or love me or even like me.
And all of that is so ok.
I am not here to please the world. Or answer to them.
I am here to live my own life to the fullest most magnificent extent I am able in each and every moment.
I answer to my own Soul – to Source.
The most important opinion to me is my own opinion of myself. Because at the end of the day I am the only one that lives inside of me – that knows how it feels to be me – in my body, my mind, my spirit.
I am an ever unfolding process more vast than even I can comprehend.
Risk of exposure means I am courting my perceived limits and on the verge of possible brilliant discovery.
Fear is not a signal to ignore or to stop and turn back. It is a signal to pay attention. Fear tells me I am stepping into something as yet unknown. Something fresh. I am at the creative edge.
I can trust my own good discernment and inner knowing to let me know what border to step beyond and which one to turn away from.
I now know with every fiber of my being that every single thing that happens to me is taking me to where I ultimately long to go. No matter what it looks or feels like in the moment.
Whether I enjoy the ride and flow with it or drag my feet and experience the painfulness of resistance is ultimately up to me – no one else.
So, I would ask you dear one…
What are YOU protecting yourself from?
What are you hoping to avoid?
And what might happen if you stopped?