Sunday, January 17, 2016

Dropping the Basket

I dropped my basket yesterday.

Again.

I hate admitting it, as usual, but since there were a few witnesses my secret is already out.

Actually, I dropped it last week, however it was as if the event was videoed in slow motion, giving plenty of people time to catch up and watch.

In my case it’s not about depression; this is a situation more like the feeling of being an egg sitting in the boiling water too long that begins to crack (that analogy is something I’ve had the opportunity to associate first-hand – an attestment to my cooking skills). Of course, it could also just be Head Up Ass Syndrome.

We’ve all reached that point somewhere, sometime in our lives, when we just lose it. I’m not whining. I understand and even support that sometimes it needs to happen. I usually operate with an internal pressure release valve; when something happens, I vent (and vent … and vent). Sometimes my venting is quite entertaining (according to some of my friends) as I get creative in my descriptions of how I’d like to react – another part of my process; reaching for the ridiculous always helps me with perspective (or, it just highlights my own level of crazy – either way, it’s part of my charm). I have learned to temper my venting in front of a woman I work for occasionally, because even after 12 years she will still say, “But you’re not going to do that, right?”

Sometimes, the vent sticks shut, or is not open enough to allow enough air out, and the pressure builds.

Back to the basket. I dropped my basket. I always loved that saying, even before I heard it in The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood. With this morning’s acknowledgment of my own basket-dropping, I began to think about that phrase a little more, with a little mental imagery. Of course, I took it further – and then I found myself in the middle of another great (as far as I’m concerned) analogy.

I want you all to try something. (Seriously, try it and post pictures of it here or to my Facebook page) Fill up a basket with little plastic eggs (or superballs, if you have the time and really want to have some fun).

Take that basket out into the middle of any public area and just drop it. Watch the little eggs roll off in all directions (I think I really want to do this with superballs!). Here you can get a good visual of how the basket-dropping expression came about.

Now, watch what else happens. People start running around trying to retrieve the little eggs and bring them back to you. No, not everyone; but usually more than you think. Pay attention here: this is not simply a matter of other people trying to be helpful – it is that, but it’s more than that. Someone who is trying to be helpful has time to size up a situation before making the decision to do so – those are the people who were some distance from you who either saw you drop the basket or noticed everyone around you scrambling for the eggs. For other people, helping you out was automatic. Think about it; the people closest to you when you dropped the basket did not have time to think about helping you – they just reacted. Immediate reactions happen without thought; and without thinking, these people rushed to help you gather the eggs.

If you want to go further into this little social experiment, spend some time in this public place and study the people there before you let the eggs loose; see if you can pick out ahead of time which ones will help and which ones won’t. I guarantee at least one person will surprise you, by either not helping when you thought he would, or helping when you thought he wouldn’t.

This is life. You may let go, drop it, lose it, or fall down, however there is always someone there, in some way, to help you pull it together, pick it up, find it, or help you up. Automatically, because however our separateness, we have an innate connection in spirit. Whether it is the person who surprised you by not helping, or the one who surprised you when he did.

The actual physical experiment is nice in that you are detached from the outcome; if someone does or doesn’t help, it doesn’t matter to you because you had no personal investment in it – you were just watching to see what happened. In real life, you may feel disappointed if someone is not ‘there’ for you – but you also may be pleasantly surprised by who is (even if it is just for that one instant). But even then, you are in a position to detach yourself from that feeling of hurt, because if you step back and look at the overall picture, someone was there. And there will always be someone. That’s the order of chaos, the Universal system of checks and balances, this and that. We just have to believe it’s there in order to be able to see it.

We all have those blinders that prevent us from seeing what we have. Those blinders can also prevent us from seeing when another person needs assistance. In the physical experiment, you will notice that some people never offered to help because they didn’t see what happened – and yes, this is sometimes a conscious choice. Some won’t help because they are too far away, or they deduce that there are enough people involved. Each one of us has been in a similar situation where we didn’t see, chose not to see, felt we were too far away, or guessed the situation was under control. That’s human nature based on personal perspective, and it is in all of us. Whatever the case, someone was (and will be) always there for another. Trying to see the bigger picture will give you the opportunity to sidestep feelings of disappointment and be present in appreciation.

Back to me – yes, because I started this. I dropped my basket, and the eggs went flying.

And many people rushed around to gather them back up for me. I saw all of you.

Thank you.

So much.