As soon as I got to the party last night I found myself by the door, waiting to leave.
Not literally, of course. The party was outside.
Fortunately, I immediately recognized what I was doing so I stopped and paid attention to those feelings and the people at the party. Eloheim talks about this human trait of ours, that of not staying present in the moment and jumping to the end of an event or a plan instead of being exactly where we are, on the step we are on, in the moment we are in. Their analogy compares this trait to going to Disneyland and then standing by the gate all day so we don’t miss the ride home. Our minds take us beyond the moment to an imagined outcome, a preferred scenario, and we pay no attention and take no joy in the current moment. We also miss everything in between, including the fun stuff!
I lived most of my life that way.
I argued with myself last night though, as I often do. I wanted to leave about ten minutes after I got there. I stayed because I knew I was trying to jump to the end, trying to skip the present moment so I could go do something else, anything else. Parties are not my thing. So I looked around to see what I might have missed while standing by the door. Well, I had skipped right over the nice weather, the flowers and trees, the birds, the food, the fresh air, the puppy dogs wandering around the circle of smiley people, and more. And while I do prefer one-on-one chats or small social groups and this one had about 16 people present, none of whom I knew well, if at all, I pushed myself to go beyond my comfort zone to get to know some of them better and to take in my surroundings on a deeper level. I stretched a bit. And stayed present to the experience.
There was also a time when I would have beat myself up for not liking to make small talk with people I don’t know. Or negatively compared myself to other, more sociable beings. I prefer deep, meaningful discussions or laughing with friends instead of surface-type talking. I know that now and I’m good with it. I don’t see that as a bad aspect of me that I need to delete or change. I love and honor those parts of me that seek out more from interactions with others. This shift in perception gave me permission to choose the times and the people with whom I want to interact. As alcohol and small talk don’t interest me (no judgments about that either, it’s all about choices), I stayed for about an hour chatting with the folks around me, eating a bit, enjoying my time, and then made a quiet departure.
Stop waiting at the door, stay out of outcome, stay in the moment, stretch, and don’t beat myself up. Was an evening full of reminders.