We were visiting with Su in Onalaska, when she asked us if our trip was an invitation for people on the West Coast to “express” themselves (West Coast Express?).
Well, we hadn’t thought of it but I guess it was.
What is it about being fully self-expressed that releases us from our pain, suppression and resistance? What is it that restores us to our Self?
There’s something very powerful about the truth once told completely. When people around us succeed in telling “the whole story,” so to speak, something happens. It’s almost as if they want to give out a big whoop. The whole story has been known! They are free from … something! I don’t think I know exactly what it is.
Su and I’ve been corresponding for perhaps three years and I promised her a year ago that I’d get down to see her. As with so many visits that Kathleen and I’ve made, this one too had to be juggled as we travelled and at last we arrived in Onalaska around an hour later than our umpteenth “revised” schedule.
Su, it turns out, has a mind surprisingly like my own. Susan in San Francisco was telling us about having seven other incarnations on the Earth at this moment. If I thought I had another, Su would be the one, out of anyone I’ve met.
We’ve now met her cat Wonderful (“What’s her name?” “Wonderful.” “But what’s her name?” “Wonderful.” Is she hard of hearing?), picked Jerusalem artichokes from her garden, stepped into every mole hole on her property, sipped her boysenberry brandy, and gone out for a sumptuous Chinese meal in the middle of nowhere (next restaurant: 30 miles). I’m now settling down to contemplate this chance remark that she said.
Yes, this has been the West Coast Express.
Self-expression has been the theme. I’m not sure we’d have said it that way setting out but I think we both see that now.
We’re in the last state, Washington, before arriving home again in British Columbia.
Self-expression takes the willingness, the cooperation of two people.
The first has to be willing to share openly, transparently, and intentionally.
The second has to be willing to listen patiently, consciously, and quietly.
One person failing to play their role and the whole thing slides into the sea.
We’ve seen some people demur from sharing. The setting wasn’t right; the occasion wasn’t appropriate. When that happens, there’s little or no self-expression. There may be an exchange of words, but little of substance or consequence is shared. (No depth reached.)
And what we meet from most people in society is next to no listening. We get a few sentences out and get redirected. Or if our share has any emotion which is seen as troublesome, we receive sympathy (“There, there. Everything’ll be better tomorrow”) and are encouraged to stop.
We watched one man burst into tears two tables down from us at the Chinese restaurant and try to share (Su explained that unemployment here is 33% and suffering general), only to have a relative or friend thump him repeatedly on the shoulder as if to get his attention, reassure him and terminate his process.
I said the other day there was little sharing going on at a social level but a lot of loving going on at a personal level.
I say today that there’s little listening going on at any level. We’re untutored in it. Most people don’t know what effective and productive listening looks like.
So that’s another place where our intentional interaction hits a bumpy road.
But when you have one person willing to share and the other person willing to listen, wonderful things can happen. Wonderful. The chemistry, not the cat.
I’m not sure Kathleen and I will ever be the same, Bekki, Nancy and Nelda.
We’ve come out of our shell so far, Alan, Julie, and Jay.
We expanded a great deal in your presence and through your shares, Susan, CJ, and Charlotte.
This has been pure chrysallis time for us, Janine, Wajid and Gregg.
Last night we were in a great bed in a very large house looking out over the Pacific Ocean.
Tonight we’re in a beautiful cottage in a garden full of fruit trees, herbs and vegetables. And we’ve bedded down on a couch, having refused to stay at a motel because we’re enjoying the company so much.
A memorable trip altogether. A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to express ourselves.