Photo Credit- From the ~~Love~~ page on Facebook
I was a fairly smart kid (and sometimes a smart ass kid:) who often had her nose in a book. Thirsty for knowledge, hungry for information, curious to know how and why things worked the way they did, I asked a lot of questions of my parents who sometimes were bewildered about how to answer them. One joke in our family is that my younger sister Jan never had to ask some of them, because I did first and many were about sex and some at the dinner table. My father would blush and turn to my mother and say “You take this one, Selm.” This was both a blessing and a curse, since my mind would take me on all kind of musing tangents that my more here and now grounded in reality friends would shake their heads over and look at me as if I had just landed from another galaxy. Maybe I had.
I remember conversations with my blue collar, HS grad father, who was self taught and read a lot about history, Judaism, how-to, WWII (since he had served in the Navy), fitness and whatever else he had time to peruse even as he worked full time, volunteered in our community, took care of us and had quality couple time with my mom. Many of them ended with my telling him “I know,” when he would attempt to guide his sometimes overly certain daughter. “No you don’t know everything. Please listen and learn.” He reminded me that even though our life experiences were different, he still had acquired more information and having applied it, had wisdom to share. He used to repeat this Mark Twain quote: “When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.”
Feeling mildly chastised, I am now aware that he saved me a great deal of pain than had I gone out into the world, believing that I had the ultimate answers for everything and everybody. I continued my quest for understanding of what made people tick. I loved books with complex character development and movies that had me questioning, “What happened in this person’s life that turned them into what they became?” It fed my desire to become a therapist, writer and speaker so I might help others discern their own answers to these potential queries in their lives. I never got why people wouldn’t want to look beyond the surface of their lives to make such discoveries. I know it takes courage to do serious navel gazing (except to look for belly button fuzzies).
One occupational hazard I face is the expectation from others and myself that I am the answer-woman who carries around an ever growing box. bag, steamer trunk of resources. Friends, co-workers and clients approach with the idea that I know how-to-who-to-why-to-where-to direct them. Maybe it’s grandiose to believe that, but on a daily basis, I am asked for such information. More often than not, I rustle around and pull out something. I have to admit, that it is a bit of an ego stroke when this Cosmic Concierge gives the person the answer they seek. And then there are times, when I pout “If I’m so smart, then how come I’m not where I want to be in my career? How come I can’t guide certain clients to get past the impediments that keep them stuck in addictive behaviors? What keeps me stuck in my own hamster wheel repetitive patterns?”
I have come to understand that what my heart knows, is often more beneficial than what my overly processing, busy-buzzy brain could ever produce. I’m not dissing acquiring and sharing knowledge, but I have learned:
“Knowledge speaks, but wisdom listens”
“Any fool can know. The point is to understand.”
The desire to reach for the stars is ambitious. The desire to reach hearts is wise.”
It is from that golden place that I can offer love and compassion to myself and anyone else who crosses my path.