Sunday, January 13, 2008

Room to change

It's Sunday morning and I'm moving a little bit slowly. I've been sitting in bed with my laptop doing my morning pages, checking my email, fiddling around with the blog. Somewhere in the backdrop I was aware of my cat Morgan crying, but that isn't unusual. Morgan is one of those cats who will leave the room that contains everyone else in the family and then cry as if to say, Where is everybody? So my thoughts are somewhere else completely and I hear this sort of funny scratching sound and I think she must have found a bug, which would account for the crying. I look up and instead see Morgan hanging out of the top of my chest of drawers. The front of one of the drawers fell off a while back, so I moved it to the top of the dresser and use it like a shelf for my t-shirts. Morgan had squeezed herself in amongst the piles of shirts, not very well mind you as she ended up falling right back out again. It was so startling I burst out laughing, which of course annoyed Morgan to no end. I tried to apologize to her saying it was just that I had never seen her do anything even remotely like that in all of her six years with us. She's not a jumper, having difficulty even getting up on the couch with grace, and she's not one of those cats who likes to crawl into anything and everything they can fit in. But my cats never cease to amaze me with the crazy new things they come up with, even in the midst of a life that appears to be all routine, and mostly sleep.

The truth is, however, that if we pay attention, the people in our lives can amaze us as well. The reason we don't usually notice that, however, is that we expect them not to change. Have you ever had a full conversation in your head with someone and then you're surprised later when you try to talk to them about it and they have no idea what you're talking about? We think we know the people in our lives so well that we know what they'll say or do around just about anything. The funny thing about that for me is that I am so invested in my own growth and work pretty hard to shift the way I interact with the people around me so that I am showing up more authentically -- meaning, it would be challenging for someone to know how I was going to react at any given time because I'm not sure I would know that myself in advance. So why can't I apply that concept to the other people in my life? Now, I'm not saying that we should expect people to change -- that really never works and just leaves us disappointed. I guess all I'm saying is that we should leave them room to change. Don't assume you know what your mother or your brother or your wife thinks about something -- ask them. I suspect they'll surprise you.

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