Once upon a time, I was having a discussion with one of my coaches about Thai food. He loves Thai food. Me? Not so much. In the course of that conversation, he said, “Angie, you are really finicky. In fact, I think you may be the pickiest person I have ever met.”
I didn’t take those words as a compliment and they were not meant to be so. The definition of “finicky” on dictionary.com reads: excessively particular or fastidious; difficult to please; fussy. Given that, I imagine you can also see that he had not meant it as a compliment. The words were an expression of this coach’s judgment that my knowing of what I do and do not like was too tight of a constricting barrier for his taste.
Throughout my life, I have listened to the words of others over my own knowing and, most often, I have discovered that, by doing so, I compound the age-old wound that served to remind me that I was wrong, damaged and beyond repair. In the moment after someone offered a cruel remark couched in “humor” or a veiled threat or blatant disrespect or disregard, I would recognize the ping of ouchiness that had just hit my system, without even understanding the source of the pain. I wouldn’t recognize that the words had cut me deep but, instead, I would brush it off and accept it as them “wanting to help me or love me.”
Whoa… breathing… this is a new awareness… I once believed that “They” were showing me love and concern by being mean. Ugh. My stomach is sick.
For most of my life, I operated under the belief that I needed to learn everything the hard way. I would go about finding the most painful, tearful, difficult path possible and go at it full tilt. I’d usually come out on the other side completely serrated, fragile, exhausted and translucent. I would be experiencing intense pain and heartache, but couldn’t understand why.
Recently, I had the awareness of how much I had allowed this pattern to run my life. Yesterday, I was sharing with my best friend about my experience of being fully IN my Beingness and following the divine inspiration that came from that space. I shared with her that I went into it because I felt inspired and so very loving about what I was about to do, with no thought to what it would require of me energetically or to the actual physical stamina, strength and courage it would take to follow the process through to completion. I didn’t even notice any of that while I was in the process and I had no thought as to what the final outcome would be or what I would “receive” in return. There was none of that. There was simply this desire to share my love, spread it around and in the process, honor my calling in that moment to provide Sanctuary for a dedicated space.
Upon the completion of that process, I returned to home base and was greeted with an outpouring of love and appreciation that was so profoundly beautiful that I could only cry. Each person that honored me did so because they were moved to do so. Not because they felt I had “done something” that earned me the “right” to be served. They came forward, offered to care for me, nurture me, love on me and I, gratefully, received it all with an overflowing heart.
As I shared this experience with her and felt all the delicious emotions that bubbled around me as I shared, she got very quiet and then, when I was done, she asked if she could read to me a part of what she had learned in her morning studies. Ever curious about what nugget she will deliver next, I listened raptly and heard her give me an entirely new definition of what a Saint is.
You see, years ago, I had a mentor whom I had wanted to love me and SEE me for who I truly am. No matter what I did, no matter what I said, I could never win her love. She was brutal with me, frequently interrupting or aborting all together whatever process I was in and often speaking rudely to me, at me or about me in front of others. It was confusing to me because she was someone I loved, therefore, I thought she would love me back. My belief of “I love you, therefore you love me too” often resulted in such pain and confusion for everyone involved and this situation with this particular mentor was no different. She once presented to me that she judged me to be a Saint and she said the word with such derision and clear indication of how disgusted she was that I suddenly was willing to do anything to prove to her that I wasn’t anywhere near a Saint.
It was hard for me to listen to my friend yesterday, as she shared her knowing of what a Saint truly is and hear her outpouring of love for my gentle, loving, tender heart. She shared that a Saint is one who chooses to serve those around her in a space of ever-giving love and that a Saint does so with no regard to outcome, no consciousness of what is “to come” because of her actions. A Saint loves unconditionally and serves unconditionally and a Saint does so because it is her divine impulse, her design, her calling.
I cried hard as I listened to her reading. First off, because she called me a Saint and I recognized my initial abject disgust at being called so. Then I listened intently to hear what she was saying while, at the same time, absorbing what my mind was saying. I was instantly back to the conversation with that mentor who had judged me harshly and critically called me a Saint as though it was the worst swear word in the book.
As my dear friend continued pouring Saintly sweetness over me and I continued to be willing to drink it in, I saw myself that day in the coffee shop, a few years ago, when my mentor pushed her knowledge at me and said, “Had I known at the time what I know now about how you are designed, I would have engaged with you much differently.” That part was said gently and lovingly. I felt my heart melt. The wounds she had been inflicting over the years were suddenly healed.
And then she said, “In fact, I probably wouldn’t have engaged with you at all. I don’t do well with Saints.”
She spit the word out with elevated acidic eliteness and, just like that, the wounds were gaping open. Again. And I was pouring salve over them to sooth the raging hurt and to make myself understand that she was “just saying that” because she loved me and wanted the best for me.
And, as I listened to the words of my loving friend, the dawning realization hit me… I had been deeply and continually wounded (for years!) by that mentor all in the guise of her loving me and wanting “the best” for me.
I’m here now, sitting before you, as a witness that anything that cuts you open in the name of “love” is NOT Love. Whether you are simply perceiving it as such, or if it is intentionally such. It is. not. love.
I had disregarded myself for so long that I had become willing to tolerate anything. All my life, I’ve known I am a tender heart who loves big and without end. And, at the same time, I’ve created countless opportunities to experience harsh judgment for being so and then I’ve chosen to believe “them” instead of following my divine self and embracing that tender heart.
My stomach doesn’t tolerate Thai food well. So far, I’ve found the smell and taste of curry to be disagreeable with my palette. I know this for myself. When someone says something cruel that is hidden within humor, I feel the impact of their truth, even if they blow it off with a careless swish of their hand and a declaration of, “You’re just overreacting. I was only kidding.” And, if someone sees my loving heart as something other than divine and they choose to continually abuse it, that relationship is a “no” for me.
Perhaps all that does make me finicky… I’m okay with that.