If you are one of the many earth dwellers who crave their coffee fix each morning, you are well aware of the comfort of having someone bring you this "ambrosia" and check on you occasionally to see if you desire More Coffee. Receiving this VERY welcome attention feels so wonderful...someone tuned in to what feels important to you! And, as the star of this production, you get to "Say When" you have been satiated.
The amiable person checking on you and pouring your coffee clearly wants to know when you have satisfied your desire for this daylight delight. He is practicing a very simple ritual… but an important one of great substance. We all have a curiosity to know when we have "filled a cup" to someone's satisfaction...whether it is coffee or some other important thing he is seeking.
Sometimes, words give us the information we are seeking. However, on a grander scale… beyond a simple cup of coffee...there are times we do not hear expressed in words a response indicating that someone has received what he truly desires. In these cases, we need to look in different places for our clues.
Consider the example of someone who is trying to share with us something deeply important to him. Something he feels very emotional about. In this moment, the speaker has a deep desire to express his feelings and, equally, a deep desire to have those feelings acknowledged.
But we sometimes miss these moments. How often do we respond with only a passing comment, expressing our reaction in a few brief words and then moving quickly on to the next topic on our agenda?
And, when we move abruptly away from someone's deep emotional moment and move instead to our concern, do we miss the chance to affirm someone's deep sense of angst or joyful elation? The opportunity to be with someone while that individual processes a significant emotional experience. And the profound and exquisite opportunity to affirm and honor the existence of those emotions and the importance of their expression.
How can we know when we have entered that sacred moment and stayed in that beautiful place until someone's metaphorical cup of coffee has been filled? By carefully witnessing someone's emotions and reactions…his nonverbal behavior. By really observing a person for a moment or two we can tell when we have truly met him in the space he is inviting us into. We can see the parade of emotions moving through him as he responds to our attention.
And that is when we intuitively know he has received his fill of the metaphorical coffee he is seeking.
Do you make a practice of fully entering into an emotional space you have been invited by someone to join? And do you stay there until you see the sense of comfort and gratitude that appears on his face when he has been truly heard, understood, celebrated or given compassion… whatever that particular moment is calling for?
Have you truly recognized the beauty of these sacred invitations?
Perhaps we all need to see the significance of helping people fill the spaces in their hearts that want to be recognized and affirmed. How many of these unanswered invitations have contributed to the fear and pain and even the violence in the world?
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