Onnolee Stevens

"How is it between us?

When one of my sisters in circle gave me feedback about my shortcomings for the third time, while acknowledging strengths in others, I could feel the tears coming. I told her "I feel like a bad little kid and that you like the others better than me". Bless her soul--she was not defensive and owned it.  And I could look at what was true in her comments about me. It broke our circle open to a deeper level of authenticity, candor and love. Each part of the process created our evolution: her words to be helpful, my tears, my little kid comment, her openness, the support, and acknowledgement of the group, the risking to go to a deeper place. The phrase we use is "How is it between us?"

I remember what she said in circle….

When she talked about we all have an assignment.  I had heard her say it before, but this time it fell on me like she was speaking directly into me; as if she had called me over, sat me down and said “now listen up.” Like she had asked me to bend over and I in anticipation of a whisper, had heard a loud and roaring yell that said, “wake up.”  That word “assignment” just landed deeply in my lap with a whoop and has made a clankety, clank noise ever since.

I turn around and there it is like a ball and chain, but it feels more loving.   When I think of the word assignment, I go back in my memory to the days long gone of my teachers and having homework. There were favorite subjects, and not so favorite subjects.  I had a tendency to tackle the things that I liked first, because it was effortless and caused my heart to sing and dance.  And then there were the times, that I found myself missing a special activity or trying to keep my eyes open in the wee hours of the night, because of those subjects that pulled and tugged, as I wondered, “why do I need to learn this stuff.” And in the end, they were both assignments of a different kind and simply replicated the polarity of LIFE, the cycles of LIFE.

Some experiences we just love and some experiences we just hate.     Yes, it's true, I do have an assignment that needs to be completed.  And like the teacher who collected my homework, graded it and reflected back to me with an A or a C, and heaven forbid those one or two D’s, the time has come to turn it in. It’s time to pay the piper – no matter if the feeling is my heart singing and dancing, or my missing out on a special activity or two, while trying to keep my eyes open in the wee hours of the night or brightness of the day, or rejection or, or, or.  No more excuses it’s time, time, time.   She, who speaks, knows her assignments and has come to a place of perfection in completing it over and over again.  Untarnished by the critique, she rises like the phoenix touching the fabrics of our hearts with that prickly kind of sensation known as truth. Yes, its that’s critic.  I must make friends with her!

Do I have the courage to turn in my homework; to wait with baited breath and trust that I pass with a high score?  Can I live with myself if I don’t turn it in? Am I so fragile, that I can’t take the grade, no matter who or what it turns out to be!  These are the questions that now make that clankety clank noise, oh is that coming from me?   Like a long slender index finger pointing directly into my large brown eyes,  my assignment curls and beckons, come sweep off the dust and breath life into me.  The world is waiting!