Reciprocity

I look for guidance
Amongst my dreams
I sit in silence
My body steams
The mist it rises
An angel forms
While in my crisis
She came adorned
She speaks no words
Her eyes they pierce
Her wings they spread
Her might is fierce
Her fury brings
Me to my knees
She sees the things
I try to keep
I look inside
To find the answer
I know this time
It will outlast her
A feather floats
Across my face
My neck it slopes
From all the weight
What has she gifted?
I look behind
The weight is lifted
These wings are mine

 

Step outside yourself.

Several patterns have been discussed in this book, and many of them overlap in some way. Undoubtedly, there will be other patterns that you see in your own life, that may or may not be connected to what has been laid out here. Even within these patterns there will be characteristics that others will think of. It is impossible to try to anticipate every situation, and it is worse to try to formulate complex rules to follow, rules that will inevitably need to be revisited as times change. Rigid dogma prevents you from adapting to circumstances as they become known, and forces you to be on the defensive when any new idea is introduced.

Certainly there must be a simple, common thread that binds these patterns together. Something that allows you to eventually derive each aspect of them, no matter where in the thought process you might start. Something that, through your own reflection, without the direction of others, allows you to come to the right decision for yourself. Something flexible enough to withstand the endless variations of situations that we all may face. To explore this, I would offer that each of the patterns in this book can be summarized in a particular way. A way that asks: how would you react to someone else’s behavior? Let’s see:

  • You would probably respect someone who finds joy in discovery, who finds more worth in the journey than the end.
  • You would probably respect someone who didn’t get caught up in formality, or try to impose formality on you.
  • You would probably respect someone who didn’t try to fit in, and who didn’t try to make you fit in.
  • You would probably respect someone who found the intrigue in every experience, and made connections to their own life.
  • You would probably respect someone who constantly absorbed their surroundings and strove to understand every detail.
  • You would probably respect someone who wasn’t afraid to genuinely approach who they were in awe of, or who was awestruck by them.
  • You would probably respect someone who kept their composure where others might panic.
  • You would probably respect someone who didn’t keep things unnecessarily private, but still respected your privacy.
  • You would probably respect someone who always remained honest.
  • You would probably respect someone who didn’t waste any time being inactive.
  • You would probably respect someone who valued listening over talking, and gave purpose to each of their words.
  • You would probably respect someone who admitted their mistakes and wasn’t afraid of failure.
  • You would probably respect someone who always sought out challenges and never became dependent on luxury.
  • You would probably respect someone who pursued what they truly desired, and didn’t ask others to relinquish that right.
  • You would probably respect someone who didn’t give up on someone else, who worked to look for the diamond in the rough.
  • You would probably respect someone who never believed they couldn’t accomplish their goals, who tirelessly strove for mastery.
  • You would probably respect someone who rejected the idea of perfection.
  • You would probably respect someone who didn’t overdramatize the small things.
  • You would probably respect someone who didn’t try to avoid debating their ideas, or validate your conclusions for their own benefit.
  • You would probably respect someone who was steadfast with their decisions, but agile enough to absorb new information.
  • You would probably respect someone who didn’t presume you did something that you didn’t actually do.
  • You would probably respect someone who didn’t resent you for something you were unconsciously doing.
  • You would probably respect someone who exercised the power of their choice to change their situation.
  • You would probably respect someone who didn’t have a sense of superiority, and tried to learn from every interaction.
  • You would probably respect someone who never let their dark thoughts turn into dark actions, but also didn’t needlessly fight with their mind.
  • You would probably respect someone who didn’t look for recognition, but still went out of their way to recognize you.

Every pattern, every potential pattern, and how you should act in each situation, can be derived from the simple idea of reciprocity. Imagine your actions being taken by someone else, and think about what your reaction to them would be. To be clear, I am not saying imagine what their reaction would be—their opinion in this case is meaningless. Given your own full understanding of your situation, how would you react to someone else doing the same thing? Only you can provide that answer. It certainly may be the case that you disagree with many of the observations in this book. That is perfectly alright, as long as you are reciprocating what you expect of someone else in your shoes.

The standards you set for yourself must not be influenced by the tides of the masses. People around you will be making decisions based on their own situations, their own outlook of the world. You may find reprieve in following the crowd, in allowing your own discipline to be relaxed when others are so openly bending theirs. But, as has been mentioned many times in this book, the only actions you are ever fully in control of are your own. The actions of others are not a justification for what you do and how you do it. The choice will always be yours and yours alone. If you can step outside your body, and play the role of a spectator who has every ounce of context at their disposal, and can judge accurately whether they approve, you will have a compass that always steers you in the right direction. It is a compass that will lead you down the path of breaking the perpetual pattern.

 

Comments (2)

  1. Inspiring, you’ve touched on topics I’ve held in contemplation many times, introduced me to new ones, and visually articulated them in your poems.

    Thanks, and best of luck.

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