I was having a telephone conversation yesterday with a dear female friend of mine, talking about relationships and the effect we have on others and the effect they have on us. At some point in that conversation I referred to her as being a “handful” in relationship and that credit should be given to the person who can hang with her emotional movements. I apologized shortly afterwards, but the comment stayed with me for several hours as I explored it consciously and subconsciously. What I have come to realize is that the truth, and not the person expressing it, is the actual handful, and that most of us simply don’t have the capacity to hear, stay with and hold the truth, especially when it is uncomfortable.
My friend tends to have stronger emotional swings than many of us, and she’s very open in communicating where she is and what she’s feeling/experiencing. Her capacity in being able to explore whatever experience may be arising for her in the moment is very honed. She is also an amazing source of support for me (and others) since she can listen to whatever kookooness I may be going through from moment to moment, and hold it without judgment.
Yet I called her a “handful.”
The closest I’ve ever come to defining “truth” through the writing in this blog is this: “Whatever is actually arising in this moment in our experience is true. Everything else is merely memory, speculation, expectation, belief, or supposition.” As such, the truth is an agile yet ever accessible moving target. Our experience moves very quickly, and my friend is a bit of a master at tracking that movement and being able to articulate it. Does that qualify as being a “handful?”
At the core of all of this, I believe, is a chauvinistic undercurrent in me (and for many of us) in the use of the word “handful.” People who can’t handle the emotional movements of women see women as being a handful. Whatever may be arising for us is true, and that experience is made up in great part, (along with such experiential states as simplicity, stillness, kindness, ease, strength, determination, etc.), by our emotional states. Our emotional movements are our truth.
I think we would all do a lot better learning to sit with and accept that whatever is arising for ourselves and others is true, rather than trying to push it away, label it, compartmentalize it, and judge it.