Archive for childhood

“Notions” of Friendliness

Posted in Feelings, Not your normal letter to the editor with tags , , , on February 4, 2011 by matthewstruth

 

(Originally posted on a separate page earlier in the week, now moved to it’s own category.)

”Do you think Crested Butte is a friendly place?” This was a question that a friend asked me point blank and out of the blue, with no preamble a few weeks after my return to this wonderful place. And now, in the most recent “notion” of Mr. Norton, he also seems to be asking if friendliness is a trait that is perceived by those who live and visit here? These questions of openness are crucial, not just because of the economic benefits, but also because they provide the backbone for one of the spiritual imperatives of our times, as we move away from a culture of “my, me, mine” toward one of “we, all of us, and ours“.

While attempting to answer my buddy I stuttered, stammered and dawdled as my mind raced through a myriad of experiences, many that were very wonderful and extremely generous, and equally many that were less than stellar. I sheepishly admitted that “no, I don’t think it is.” Ouch.

But doesn’t this statement of mine to my friend really reveal at least as much or more about me, than it does this place, or the “other“. Even as those words were coming out of my mouth, a larger question appeared before my eyes–“Am I a friendly person?” Isn’t this the more important question? And if I were being brutally honest in answering I’d have to admit that for much of my life, No I haven’t been. And if I haven‘t experienced myself as friendly, wouldn’t this then color all of my other perceptions?

While sympathizing with Mr. Norton’s butterflies for the business community, I am led to ask, “Are there motives for being, or attempting to be, friendly?” Is the desire for money or the attempt to sell something the driving force behind that smile? Or does it derive from our intrinsic connection to the entire human race and sharing the wonders of our inner life?

These considerations were never near the forefront of consciousness for most of my life. Struggling to survive horrific conditions as a youngster led to a withdrawn struggle to survive in adulthood, insular, shut down, closed hearted; certainly not the prerequisites for friendliness. It only takes a small willingness to let go of and heal the past to then begin to see the vastness of the splendor all around us. Small steps become larger.

What would happen if our society and culture began to let go of the hoarding, greed and unsustainable entitlements of all flavors? What if gossip or bad-mouthing another never occurred again? Would we then outgrow our cultural adolescence? Wouldn’t a new human emerge, one that was capable of being in the moment, recognizing everyone before us, whether we knew them or not, as a sacred being, deserving of our attention, care and love? Wouldn’t that be friendly?

We are living amidst a great spiritual and cultural transformation, while also living within this glorious place. These lands exude great power. While immersing ourselves in this place, each of us can also search within our own being to cultivate an awareness of connection, thereby recognizing our opening and blossoming hearts. No one will remember “rudeness”. Friendliness, compassion, joy and ease will flow naturally.

May it be so.