One thing I learned over the years, especially in relationships, be it romantic or platonic or family — is that you have to let the other person have their dream.* You have to love them & all that they love. It doesn’t mean you have to want what they want for yourself, or even for them. It just means that you lovingly allow it. Because you see that it is what gives them life & joy.
I recently came across this little story I liked in a Tao book:
Once, when a seabird landed outside the capital, the Marquis of Lu escorted it to his ancestral temple, had the music of the Ninefold Splendors preformed, poured out a cup of old wine, and spread before it a feast of beef and pork. But the bird became dazed, and it pined away, refusing to taste the meat or wine. In three days it was dead.
This was treating the bird as the marquis would have like to be treated, not as the bird would have liked to be treated. Had he done so, he would have let it roost in the deep forests, play among the islands, swim in the rivers and lakes, feed on the mudfish and minnows, fly with the rest of the flock, and live any way it chose to.
After I read it I thought about myself. I know that sometimes I can be a “different bird” in relationships. I seem to prefer or feel most comfortable with things that most people can’t relate to or wouldn’t want for themselves. So when I read this story I thought: how beautiful, the author perfectly put it into words what I would have loved to be able to express myself.
*Just to add one more point about the dream & the dreamer: let us remember that life itself is a dream. The dream is not only what we want in life, but it is the the form that life itself takes. It is what you create & see in life, & this includes the self you think you are or identify with. So as long as we share this dream together — let’s make it fun, let’s make it loving, let’s make it ours — & let’s allow it to be uniquely individual too. It’s all dreams within a dream. There is no right one or right way. It’s all made up. We make it up together.
[Galapagos Gulls photo credit: www.ExerciseCompassion.com]