by Patty Young
Catch up here:
Well, this was a roller coaster ride of a chapter for me. It brought up so many memories, emotions and ‘ah-ha’ moments.
I will try very hard to limit my writing, or this will become Chapter 6A!
Although I can say I do not read my horoscope religiously, for some reason, I felt like I should before I began to read this chapter. If you will indulge me, the last line stated, “…tap into your natural ambition and your driven nature, and you have the recipe for success.” Who said there are no accidents? I believe we are what we expect, but to recognize the responsibilities of how we care or choose not to care about others is a bit alarming. Maybe even frightening and still it makes a hell of a lot of sense. It is what can make a leader strong or toxic and in the example of a teacher, their words can deeply scar or cripple a child. If anything this chapter means we must be mindful.
When Sonenshinein speaks of a self-fulfilling prophecy, that if people think something is real they run with it - has been proven over and over again just on Facebook! I’m constantly surprised people will read it and without checking if the site is legit (yes there is a way to do this, but yes it takes a little time too – so it seems people choose not to do it) and share it with more than one ugly comment of their own. I remembered as a child my father told me if it is in print, it is real and the truth, because they’re required to vet it. They can’t print false news. He truly, deeply believed this. Oh how I wish it was true. As an adult, I learned of the corruption in local/state/federal gov’t, the people who were elected to take care of us, and that hospitals may have originally been created to help people, but now that care is overshadowed by how much can be made from sick people. To college tuitions rising 1000% since 1972 – yes money is necessary, but it really seems to have become a God.
I loved the reference to Eliza Doolittle (Oh how I wanted to wear that white gown!) “…that people are often exactly what we expect them.” We have all experienced a smooth talker, a too good to be true person, a don’t turn your back on him, individual. Perhaps teaching our children to follow their natural sixth sense would save them from uncomfortable if not deceitful situations, people, and abusers. Give them a voice – and assure them they are heard.
On page 130, The Pygmalion Effect, Sonenshinein writes of managers confirming and strengthening their expectations of employees. Unfortunately from my own experience when working in Hospitality at Phelps Hospital in Tarrytown NY. The exact opposite was true. She would throw you under the bus daily, write you up for anything she thought was an infraction, watch every step made on security cameras and show signs of deep paranoia if someone in authority spoke to you privately. There was no trust, nor respect – “people usually live up to or down to those expectations.” I expected more. Yet now I know to simply chalk it up to experience. Right? Hmmm. When are we told this? How to experience something without being maimed by it?
As the chapter continues, we read of Blind Dates (and other first interactions) Are Never Really Blind. I immediately remembered doing face painting at our local County Center for a children’s day event. That must have been the day the joints in my hand went on strike after painting hundreds of balloons on cheeks, teddy bears, striped snakes, Harry Potter lightning bolts and a favorite – a dragon complete with fire. It was a happy time, funny when a parent would sit down, and the kids would help him/her stand right back up and move out of the way. But I will forever remember a little girl in a wheelchair. The kids flowed like water around her, pushing her farther back, until I finally stopped, parted the sea as it were, and signaled her to come park beside me. The kids were suddenly quiet, looking at the child's legs in braces, her back restrained and large metal screws sparkled in the lights. Did I see them too? Sure, but I had glanced to look, not stared – what I ‘looked’ at where her blue eyes. I smiled and asked her name, she brightened right up. Not one time did I ask what was wrong with her, what happened, nothing medical. I refused to. But. I did ask if I could ask her a question. You could see her body brace itself for what she thought I was going to say. She slowly nodded, I kept painting the most ornate dragon I’d ever done, then asked, “Does it drive you nuts when people stare and ask questions that are none of their business? And do you sometimes wish you had big ass mega tires on this chair that you could just slam into turbo charge and peel out?” The look on her face was priceless! She laughed and nodded her head, her mother chuckled, what’s more, the kids standing nearby picked their jaws up and started talking to her – not at her.
I think this is what being mindful means, and how we need to practice. It is not just the meditation classes, or prayers sitting in pews. It is in the every day. It is looking deeply in what is in front of you and trusting those feelings, our senses (we each have, but some have forgotten how to use or never relied on them, to begin with), yet that is the fertile soil where those positive seeds need to be planted. That is where we find the mindfulness of expectations.
p.s. I found the section about the Dunce caps really interesting too! (John Duns Scotus)
Breathe Deep, Think Peace
Up Next: Ch. 7 by Jeni Driscoll