“You made a deal with me”
“It was a bad deal, if I had known how easy it was to get them I wouldn’t have made the deal”
“But you didn’t know and you did make the deal”
“I’m tired of talking to you”
Wait for it….wait for it…and there it is.
“Mama, Raffa is being a jerk again!”
The deal: Rafael offered Dessie 64 blocks of ice for one block of grass.
The setting: Mcall, Idaho, the bunk room of an RV where the world of Minecraft can be accessed through computer portals.
The dialogue: see above
The problem: After making the deal Rafael learned an easier way to get grass blocks for his construction project in Minecraft and began to “believe” that he had made a bad deal and “feel” stupid and frustrated.
The solution: Yell “Mama”, of course.
Cape across my shoulders I strode into the foray. The voice today…The Indian Man. He’s a character I use when the tension is particularly high. Have you ever tried to stay mad at a man with a sing song New Delhi accent. Not so easy. I think that is why the person with whom you collide with in a car in New Delhi and proceed to have a yelling match on a crowded street in the same city becomes your best buddy as you pass in the street the next day. “Thank you India”…ahh, but that’s another story. Back to the RV…remove cape and don metaphorical turban, diaper and accent.
“What is going on here?” There, did you hear it…its funny isn’t it? If you can’t imagine The Indian Man try for Robin Williams pretending to be from India.
As the tension broke, the story of heart ache, betrayal, confusion and feelings of stupidity poured through the crack. Does the cream really rise to the top? Sure it does. Because right through the first layer, the disturbance on the surface, is the depth holding it up. I listened until there was a lull, no point in talking in the midst of a storm right? Like surfing, there is no “love” to be gained from the wave through dialogue. One simply waits for the invitation. In this situation the invitation was the lull.
I could see my son’s attention entangled with the strong energies of regret, doubt and anger. And likewise, I could see the silence from which the energy sprang forth. Silence moving from the stillness through the layers of existence right on up to the tumultuous “attention grabbing” surface. As I see it, it is a matter of orientation. Like mining in a way. We can stay on the surface and sift through the sand. Adjust it in ways that are more comfortable to the people attempting to navigate the sand. I think this is what psychologists, and to a large extant society, do . They teach to adjust the surface so it is easier to navigate. Which is fine though it takes a great deal of memorization on the part of the recipient if you stop and think about it. I never liked that approach. For me it seems like a “heavy” ton of a load of work. Like non violent communication…so much to remember. At an early point in my school career I decided to never memorize anything I could look up. I like my brain to be free…makes it easier to listen. And EVERY moment leads home to silence if you listen.
Today, it was simply a matter of pointing him that way. When he complained about the amount of work he needed to do to meet his obligation I pointed to the lesson of value. When we have a limited amount of a desired object we are willing to exchange more for it. He didn’t have what he needed and he gave what he felt at the time was fair. Later, when he realized how to get what he wanted on his own he said he felt cheated and stupid for making the original deal. Yet, I pointed out, the original deal was the catalyst to the realization of value. And while knowledge is great, if you can access it, a realization once realized is not unrealized. What a small price the cheat now seemed. As we moved on through the layers of the experience the anger fell away, as it does. I’ve moved through anger in my dance plenty of times, but I’ve never held the anger all the way to silence. I don’t think its possible actually. That would be akin to carrying the wave to the bottom of the sea…not going to happen. But…it is a doorway. Although in this situation we did not move directly with it because, as I said, he moved into the wisdom part of the experience and the anger didn’t even survive there. By the end of this exchange he was mining the beginnings of the realization that stuff like this is probably underneath everything.
And somewhere an Angel smiled.
“…because in the last analysis all moments are key moments, and life itself is grace.” Frederick Buechner