In her book, “My Stroke of Insight,” Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor talks about the awakening that she experienced while suffering from a hemorrhagic stroke. The entire book is amazing, insightful and though it has been two years since reading it, I find myself thinking about it again and again. One of the most powerful things that she revealed was that even while she lay in a medicinal induced coma she could feel the intentions and the spirit of a person from the time that they stood in her hospital room doorway. From that distance, and while appearing asleep she knew whether the person was kind or not. She knew whether they would touch her gently or if they would disregard her entirely and treat her only as a body lying in a bed. As a nurse that often cares for people in this same state I felt empowered. It was uplifting to know that my unconscious patients may know how much I care for them, how frightened I am for them, and how badly I want to be there for them in their time of need.
This morning I found myself once again thinking about that book, about my intentions and how they are read by others. We are immersed in a new world these days, one which we feel free to scream aloud our every thought, emotion and notion into cyber space. This is a world where we can take a stance without any real action. Where a status update feels like “doing something” for a cause that we profess to care about. We can shove hurtful words (cartoons even, if you are so inclined) into someone’s face without ever having to stand beside it, to say clearly, “this is meant for you, this is how I feel about you,” or “this is how I feel and I know that it will be hurtful but I want you to read it and say nothing,” all done in front of a computer screen. My thought this morning, the one that brought me here to type was this; if the unconscious and drugged can read our intent so clearly, what about those alert and awake? The intentions so loud and obvious to someone that cannot see, or likely, even clearly hear our words, are like neon flashing lights to the rest of us.
Over Lent I gave up Facebook. I did so because the screaming of the world was getting so loud that it was making it hard to hear my own thoughts, clouding my vision and making it difficult to see my own path. My “friends” where hurling their intentions out into the world at the rate of a speed train, dismantling my equanimity to the point that I could not take it anymore.
Now with Lenten season over I have decided this, we are responsible for what we put out into the world. Every thought we voice, no matter the forum, is likely read by someone else. This is the social media realization of every action has an equal and opposite reaction. If we feel these things strongly enough to send them on their merry way then we need to prepare ourselves for the fallout, anything less is cowardice.
My hope is that those that I love and love me back will feel my intentions, my compassion for them from the doorway, awake or not. I hope that I will have the courage to have hard conversations as they were meant to be had, face to face. It can appear in this strange place that we have many, many friends, but the true number pales in comparison to the number of people whose thoughts I have invited into my life. I am so thankful for the few people that have been given to me to help me navigate this world, people that will say to me, “I disagree, this is why, and I love you no matter what,” and for whom I love enough to do the same.