The art of invitation
My journey over the cancer seas and beyond.
We have all been there. Those moments where we make a decision upon who to invite and who not to invite to any given event. Its a tricky one. When I consider the thought of throwing a large party I become assailed by worries of managing the many characters I know in this world. Some folk I just don’t think will get on and there you have it. In that moment the decision is made to invite one person over another. Not that I am considering throwing a large party any time soon, but you get my gist.
The scenario ends up being the cause of much sadness and misunderstanding, less because we make the decision to exclude a person from our plans for gathering, but more because we don’t allow them to understand our process in that decision. Maybe its an issue of capacity, or personality, it doesn’t really matter. This is the art of invitation as I see it, the ability to find the graciousness to extend the reason for the exclusion, rather than leaving the space silent. What it requires is a level of vulnerable honesty in our communications and I would hasten to suggest that we all need to work upon these skills with each other. I know I do. Even as I write I can hear the echoes of moments where I have pulled away from people because it seemed easier than being honest with them about why I have pulled away.
Over this past year through my cancer treatments I was most touched by receiving invitations for events from folk who knew I couldn’t attend. And yet they invited me regardless. Some even sending messages to explain their reasoning about wanting me there even though they knew I was not physically able. It was a joy. And this is the thing I want to focus upon. Rather than pointing out the places where we have failed to show kindness and compassion, can we embrace the ideal of doing better from this point? Can we make greater decisions? By wiping the proverbial slate clean, we can free up more energy inside ourselves to reach places of peace with each other?
There is another side to this. In that if you are the one feeling the silent exclusion in any situation, are you willing to reach out with enquiry rather than cruelty? Is it possible to bypass the gossip wheel entirely and go to the source? Humans so easily pit themselves against each other and there is a surge of energy that goes with the righteousness of feeling ousted. I am just wondering if we can take a breath and step more quickly to resolution.
There are people we all get on with better than others and that is normal. I am not for an instant suggesting that we act without some boundaries in place for ourselves. Its much more about our skills of communication. Words became my joy over this time of challenge, as did listening to the machinations of community out there. I know no more than anyone else. I’m just sharing my thoughts with you from these quiet observations, as I continue to venture out into the world. However, when we all consider the emotion tied up within feelings of exclusion, and the anger wrapped around being excluded, perhaps a little more kindness is needed on both sides?