June 27, 2010

Finding


The master spoke to me when I was 14.

I found myself stumbling and bumbling yet again at a cocktail party put on by my friend's parents in which there was plenty of under-age drinking. I couldn't talk to anyone, my age or older, and my discomfort was such that I couldn't even blend into background of the far wall. 

Sure, there are larger problems in life. But not for a 14-year-old.

I fled to the basement. 

I figured I'd pray in the dark until someone crashed downstairs for a rum-and-Coke refill from the basement fridge. At that point, I planned to pop up and claim to have been taking a nap. But no one came downstairs, and I ended up praying for nearly a half hour. The string of prayers I recited over that half hour was like meditation, in retrospect.

I didn't want to be an awkward loser anymore. I was desperate. I said so. 

Well, about the time I forgot I was even praying, about the time I stopped listening for the basement door to click open, I understood something.

For most people, asking questions of others is common sense. For me, common sense said to run from the party and never attend another social event again. I compromised with my common sense and retired to my friend's basement to pray, instead.

Turned out, I actually had a curiosity about others. And the more I learned about other people, the more I realized we shared things in common. Though I'm still terribly shy and continue to struggle in many social situations, I began to lose my fear of superficial encounters after the master sat on that basement sofa with me and let me peek at his roadmap of the universe.

If you want to accentuate your beauty, find the beauty in others.

If you want others to listen to you, hear what they are saying.

If you want to become more interesting, develop a genuine interest in others.

52 comments:

buttercup600 said...

It has always been my believe that we are all on a quest...might not always know where to or what about...but in the end....always learning! I love reading what you write...with such true feelings and sense. I've added you to my blogroll (if you don't mind) Have a wonderful weekend :)

Ed Pilolla said...

buttercup600, a quest for sure. with twists and bumps and downhill slopes and inclement weather. and i have added you to my blogroll:)

Roland D. Yeomans said...

Often, but not always, we receive what we give.

You are wise to realize that listening, truly listening, not just waiting for the other guy to pause so you jump in -- that is the key to opening up relationships with people.

Most conversations remind me of the two sides of a railroad track -- going in the same direction at the same time -- but never connecting.

Have a healing Sunday, Roland

Ocean Girl said...

Is that why you couldn't come to my party? :(

LadyFi said...

Those three last sentences are such a good guide to living.

James said...

In my experience, it is when I find it impossible to go on, unable to decipher, at the bottom of the well, out of gas, that the Divine finds me; as if waiting for me to shut up and get out of my way long enough to start listening.

Thanks for reminding me.

Brian Miller said...

ed,

some great wisdom in those last sentences...i had a similar realization years ago myself...as i fit in nowhere...for a while i accepted that and took it to an extreme...but no one s made to walk alone...nice one...

TechnoBabe said...

Fourteen was a very young age to have made such discoveries and incorporated them into your life. It took me most of my life to acknowledge I am worthy and I do fit in as we all do, we are all connected. The same with listening to others, I heard but did not hear. Today I participate in conversations buy truly hearing. Nice way of explaining your young self's growth.

Lakshmi said...

i can relate to the findings..very well written..have written similar posts in my personal blog, http://hermonologues.blogspot.com

Lucy said...

Ed, I love this post and its sentiments and I love that you live this.

Wine and Words said...

You, outside the in also? The Master is very wise, the advice sound. Another defining moment captured beautifully.

The Words Crafter said...

Wow, fourteen! I'm so glad for you. My first conversation on the sofa with the Master came when I was thirty seven and dead (like one heartbeat away). Literally. It's A Dark Tale. And, you're right. Being less critical of others, choosing to see the good helps the good in us to grow and shine...some great wisdom you're sharing...

G.~ said...

It's wonderful that you are blessed with such insight and that you can put it into words so beautifully.

Lori said...

Terrific work! Now, if I could just follow your lead...

Claudia said...

With you! I'm not a lover of cocktail parties and I'm not very good with smalltalk. But in my job I often have dinner with people I don't know and I discovered the same that you write: I let them talk, I ask them questions about their work, their country, their family and they love that someone is listening and ask back and at the end of the evening I discover I had a great time. I have talked to someone from Bagdad about their life as a family there with all the terrorism and I have talked to people from Southafrica about their hope in the Worldcup for their land and I have talked to people from Australia, the Czech republic, Austria, Saudi Arabia.... and that broadened my view and made me rich (think that was the longest comment I've ever written - and I could go on writing.....)

Love, Evolution, and Resilience said...

I can just picture the 14 year old... so much wiser than his years. A true seekers heart and writers spirit. Even then you explored avenues for expression... Beautiful. Oh, and I can totally relate. xo

Alexandra said...

Great perceptions on life! I love this blog because you go BEYOND. Not everyone dares to do that.

DEZMOND said...

Ed, since I'm new here I have a possibly stupid question since I haven't read all of your posts in this blog and am probably uninformed - who is this "master" you are constantly referring to?

DEZMOND said...

PS the last three lines in your post should be mantra for every human being.

Ed Pilolla said...

roland d. yeomans, it's so true that often and not always we receive what we give. i'm still coming to terms with that. i guess if we always got back what we gave, then it all would really be about ourselves, or something. the universe's brilliance is never being defined.

ocean girl, would have loved to. and it's not 'cause i'm that shy. just a few thousand miles away:)

lady fi, wish i lived by those sentences all the time. i don't. i need reminders, plenty, and often.

james, we have similar ways of communicating with the divine. yes, when we're emotionally at the bottom, when i'm desperate, truly, is when i feel direct communication ensue. it's the most awesome thing. only when we really truly need it.

brian miller, i really like how you put that: no one is made to walk alone. even for the loners, i really have a feeling the divine is hanging out with them, perhaps even rehabilitating them, er, us:)

technobabe, at 14 i began to incorporate these lessons into my life, mostly in one-on-one situations. i couldn't be comfortable at a large social gathering for a while, until i built up enough confidence interacting privately with people. but hey, it's all a journey and some things take time, as i've been told, and as i've discovered for my self.

lakshmi, thanks for stopping by. i'll check out your stuff.

lucy, i live it. not all the time. i find myself closing down for stretches, but for much less time than when i was younger. instead of shutting down for a year, i might shut down for a day, rarely longer. i'm hoping that's progression. feels like it.

Ed Pilolla said...

wine and words, thanks so much. and the irony, as you know, is that being outside the in makes more authentically in. another gift of the divine for having the courage (or desperation as the case may be) for separating ourselves from the herd.

the words crafter, i wasn't old enough to appreciate the direction of the master. i think it was so profound that i just took it in stride. and it was a long process of building confidence in myself socially. it was only late in life that i reflected on the gift of that moment, like someone pointing to a star in the sky and me setting my course in that direction so that i would arrive somewhere along the route years and years later. i'll take that deal:)

g.~, it was some time to get to where i wanted to be, though good things began happening right away when i began to express an interest in other people. but that moment of clarity built a lot of credibility with the divine for me.

lori, you are quite modest, seems to me:)

claudia, thanks for sharing. i also find that many people at these cocktail parties are thirsty for authentic interaction. it's not far away at all. those functions are scary propositions still for me sometimes, but not like before, thankfully.

love, evolution and resilience, i was seeking, but only because i was desperate. i think a lot of us seek only when we're at the end of our lines, as james points out. i've learned that courage ain't much compared to the power of desperation. perhaps that's how it's meant to be. a good friend of mine, who lives a very alternative life of volunteerism, and often can't provide for his family as he used to, says that god wants us to follow the spirit, but when things get too rough and we freak out and say, 'i can't take this anymore,' then god steps in for us, pretty much immediately. i find this to be true as well, even if the change is an attitude adjustment in the moment to get us through to more tangible help in our lives somewhere.

alexandra, thanks! i've been writing on inspiration for a while now, and i'm continuing to do so, as many of us are doing. maybe going beyond is going deep into me, the scariest (and most familiar) place in the universe.

dezmond, ha! i've been dreading (and waiting) for someone to call me on this. dig that it's you, my new friend. the master is, well, i'm not sure. god? i don't think so. i think the master is a go-between for us to communicate with the divine. or something like that. i'm not sure. the master may very well be my higher self. the master may be the holy spirit or the christ spirit. i really don't know for sure, other than the master knows better. that's part of the fun, i guess.

thanks for asking and for your kind words.

Su-sieee! Mac said...

At my 25th high school reunion, years ago, I was talking with someone who I thought was part of the popular clique back then. She surprised me by saying how she felt like she was on the outside looking in all the time. It made me wonder if most of us thought of it then as teenagers. What's wonder, and wonderful, is how each find our way out of that suspended animation eventually....I agree with your other fans. The last 3 lines are a powerful mantra. Hope you had a great time in HI. :-)

Ed Pilolla said...

su-sieee! mac, while i vacation here in hawaii with my family, and the nieces and nephews have the run of the house, and astroboy is the favorite movie of our stay, i keep hearing a bit of dialogue from that movie with each viewing. a character complains he feels like he doesn't belong, and another character says we all feel that way sometime. the fact that we all feel that way makes it only more profound, not less. and you are right about the wonderment of finding our way out. wonderment it is. most of us are fortunate enough to find our way out.

DEZMOND said...

Oh, glad to be the first one, Ed :) You know that asking questions equals curiosity - curiosity equals learning - learning equals understanding - understanding equals love and appreciation :)
And about your master, then I guess we can basically call it the energy which leads you through life and makes you follow your main principles and goals.

Ed Pilolla said...

dezmond, i am blessed to be energetically connected with you. thanks, bro.

Claire said...

i am listening. i sit here, quietly.

Deidra said...

i was twenty-one before i understood what you discovered at fourteen. we all want to know that someone hears us...that someone is listening...that someone sees...

Tori said...

I love the last 3 lines!

Jingle said...

your writing is excellent,
I am in immediately...
being young could be miserable and troublesome...magical finishing..

Mashuga Mom said...

found you at SoccerMom, your comments have an insight into men you need to share with ALL of us women. Freakin' charge a fee, but do tell.
Love your blog, ver thought provoking and insightful. New follower here.

She Writes said...

Is this really your story, Ed? I must know.

Tiffany said...

Really wonderful, Ed. It made me think about myself and how I should become more interested in others ... especially since I was on a hating people track. Maybe that will renew my inner child.

Jayne said...

Great summing up there - absolutely believe those three points are the way forward in life. Thank you for reminding me of them. :)

Ed Pilolla said...

claire, so cool you're here:)

deirdra, i was still working out my social insecurities at 21, and i still am. i'm lousy in large groups, and there's definitely a pack mentality when one is younger. that's part of why i knew life would improve for me once i became an adult.

tori, thanks!

jingle, you say so much in so few words. much appreciated.

mashuga mom, ha! that's hysterical. i don't know much, but i do know men are hypersensitive. and our culture teaches men to protect our egos at all costs. and those two thing make for a dysfunctional combination, oftentimes. thanks for stopping by:)

she writes, this is my story, for real, but not all of it, obviously. it's funny how much more of my story i tell lately in the comments. weird.

tiff, you're further along than you realize. you're so close to what you want. you're amazing, girl:)

jayne, thanks. i have to be reminded myself. i think all writers write to themselves, just like when we talk we are also talking to ourselves. sometimes, oftentimes we have to listen to what it is we are saying to other people.

Lydia Kang said...

Such great thoughts here. There is a part of me that would like to scurry down that basement and hide too. But the loss of connecting with people isn't fun either. It's human nature to want to connect, yet we have a consciousness that makes us...well, embarrassed and shy sometimes. And so our nature is at odds with our nature.
Great post, as usual Ed!

Ed Pilolla said...

lydia kang, beautiful insights.

Phoenix said...

Great post - wonderful thoughts. Even though I'm not technically shy by any means (I'm very open and friendly with others) I have used the advice at the end of your blog time and time again. In fact, it's what keeps me from becoming shy after I do something stupid or embarrassing or say the wrong thing yet again. I always come back to the fact that what I want more than to be loved is just to love... and then it doesn't matter how many people I hit at parties by accidentally flinging my blueberry off my plate. :)

Ed Pilolla said...

phoenix, you made me laugh. i love it. that's a post i'd be too scared to write: stupid things i've done at parties.

Lori said...

But you know we would all LOVE to read that post Ed. Mainly because most of us have done the same stupid things. Seriously. :-)

Ed Pilolla said...

lori, since i've only been invited to a few parties, one of which i've written about here, i suppose (hope) there's not much to tell. constantly hanging out in the bathroom to avoid making small talk, running away from women during that lengthy stage of life when i was scared of women, running away from guys during that lengthy stage of life (is it over yet?) where i'm scared of guys, hanging out with the stoners in the backyard, even if i was the only stoner. you know, stuff like that:)

Lori said...

You need to give yourself WAY more credit! Don't make me bring out the mopey pants. Oh, too late.

Ed Pilolla said...

lori, what you do is you hit the downstairs bathroom, watch tv, hit the bathroom again, preferably upstairs so you can take your time, walk around the block, twice, and by then, half the party is over. at least:)

Wanderlust said...

I agree, 14 is a very young age to have such insights (and to seek them). It took me much longer. I'm still seeking.

Gabriela Abalo said...

"Could we change our attitude, we should not only see life differently, but life itself would come to be different". ~Katherine Mansfield


Inspiring post Ed!

loveNlight
Gabi

Ed Pilolla said...

wanderlust, i had emotional issues at 14. i was totally self unaware of them. i needed help from the spirit world to keep it together. i was given it. i still have those issues. i'm just not totally self unaware as i was. but i still need help. plenty.

gabriela, what a great quote. i believe that as well. i find that changing one's attitude often includes reaffirming that changed attitude at points. it takes moments of clarity. and a commitment to the new path.

Lynn said...

I've hidden in the basement too. Sometimes to hide, but other times to regroup, get connected with me, remember my convictions, so I stay stong in a crowd. I still at times think connection requires sameness, but even physics proves that wrong. Nice words Ed, and thank you for your comments on my photo site.

Vicki Rocho said...

At first I thought this was an excerpt, so I kept waiting for *something* to happen. LOL. Enlightenment happened.

I don't like parties. Scratch that. I like parties, I just don't like crowds. I can do okay (not great, but okay) one on one...but in a crowd I fade into the background. Need to work on that!

Hilary said...

You certainly had a lot of insight at 14. And still have very wise advice today. Thank you for this.

Ed Pilolla said...

lynn, i love that: regrouping, getting reconnected with me. fascinating insights. thanks!

vicki rocho, yes, crowds are the concern and challenge for me. just went to a party tonight, but it was a party of journalists, and i, for some reason, can unwind among my own easier. maybe that's true for everyone.

hilary, i was thrown a lifeline at 14 and began the lifelong work that still goes on today. i was marginally -- marginally -- better as an older teenager. but headed in the right direction. thanks!

Graceful said...

I love this, Ed. I can relate -- I have social awkwardness, even though I would identify myself as an extrovert. Maybe we all have a slice of that.

The Empress said...

How sad that I'm just learning that now, and you knew it at age 14.

You are so right. The best advice for life ever.

Wild Rose said...

Passion is a great thing to have...keep up with your writing. Hope to see more love stuff :)