These past several weeks have been a time of extraordinary events and significant transformations within the life of my family. They have included the sudden death of my children’s father, and the wedding of my youngest son — the ending of a life, and the beginning of a new one — within a fortnight of each other. Each of these events has brought a new world into being. A reminder that in every moment, the world is being renewed — not, perhaps, by momentous events, but by the ordinary encounters of each day, which give birth to the world we co-create together.
Imagination and intent are among the most potent forces with which we shape our world. A Mongolian shaman once told me this story: In his tribe, the training of a shaman begins with teaching the child how to shoot with a bow and arrow. The first time the child shoots an arrow from his bow, it is often clumsily done — the arrow falls short of its mark, wobbles, lands on the side of a yurt, or on the ground. The entire village comes out to witness the child’s initiation, and, he said, “the entire village immediately forgets” these first clumsy attempts at shooting. Instead, everyone in the village “sees” the child as shooting the arrow perfectly . . . and eventually, she does.
His story tells us about the focused and conscious use of the collective imagination to support the growth and unfolding life of the tribe’s children. And it illustrates the way in which we each have the capacity to bless and support each other. By taking responsibility for how we perceive the people in our lives, we help them flow into their wholeness. We help them shape their present and future in positive ways.
At my son’s wedding, I met family and friends whom I hadn’t seen in several years. As I greeted and spoke with each of them, I could feel, in my body, the stories or images they held of me. Some of these were based on our past experiences together. Others were projections of their own inner worlds. Some were stories they had been told, others were stories they had constructed for themselves out of their desires, beliefs or expectations about how things should be.
Most of the people I reconnected with that day were loving in their intent. And yet, the particular lens through which they viewed me acted as a force that exerted a pull on my energy field to conform to the shape of the story, the image that they held of me. It took effort to stand apart from these perceptions, to be myself in that moment, to not flow into the configuration of these expectations and perceptions.
We’ve all known the feeling of ease and acceptance when we are with someone who meets us where we are, without preconceptions or projections. We feel seen, heard, and understood. We can connect with each other on a deep, heart level.
In each encounter, we have a choice. We can identify with and see only the parts. Or we can serve the wholeness in each other, and in ourselves, by inhabiting our own wholeness, the fullness of our Presence. When no part of ourselves — no matter how painful or needy or fragmented, or powerful or magnificent it might be — is left out of our hearts, then we see only wholeness. We see people as they are, in all their beauty and vulnerability, their discord and their joy. Our seeing then draws into manifestation the wholeness that lies at the heart of us all.