Friday, July 29, 2016

Hospitality of wishes

What if I treated wishes with kindness? Listened graciously to the desires of others without hearing obligations? Was patiently attentive to my own hopes instead of snarling, "It doesn't matter what you want." What if?
What if I heard wishes not as needs, and not as insulting fancies arising from privilege...what if I could recognize wishes as something gentler, something more significant...respectful preferences of a guest, or trusting confessions from one heart to another, or from my own soul?
Would I be less likely to fall apart later, hysterical about my lover, family, friends not meeting my needs - my ignored wishes returned to me in disguise? Would I be a better friend, less resentful, more present?
Would I sometimes give joyfully to panhandlers without discomfort, and sometimes politely decline without guilt, without needing to pontificate about my decision? 
Would I be less afraid of drama, secure in my own boundaries?
Would I be better equipped to listen to intense pain from those I love? Would I be less defensive and hurt when their pain is about me, and less likely to assume it is about me at all times?
Would I?
Would those I love feel more heard, seen...would strangers in my world feel more included? Would all of us feel less needy? If our wishes were treated more politely, if we ignored wishes less, and rolled our eyes less at disillusioned disappointment, and were less likely to tell each other that wishes matter less than needs, would those hopes be less likely to mutate into demands? What if it was ok to wish, without waiting for all needs to be met first? Is there a way to honor wishes, so as to be more discerning about needs, to limit what cannot be declined, to get better at honestly requesting care, to worship our fellow humans by giving them more sincere choices? 
What if my gift to you is to give you the freedom to decline my requests, without punishment? To promise that I will take care of myself if you say no?
What might it be like, if there were more choices than obligations?
I can see Terence's smile at Olive Garden in 1993, "Hospitaliano." Can I learn hospitaliano, towards my own wishes, towards the wishes of others, moving beyond "niceness" - a land of repressed desires and cyclical explosions of resentful needs - into a place of attentive kindness and self-sufficiency and earnest free will?
What if I had fewer needs and more whims? What if I said no more often AND more kindly? What if I granted more wishes and refused more burdens? What if I was more of a dad and less of a mom? What if we all were?

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