Seeing My World Through Someone Else’s Eyes

A friend stopped by yesterday, and they’d never visited before so I had to take them on the tour.  I always like the chance to see my place with new eyes, as I do when I show it to a new visitor.  But it can also put me in that mode of doing a frantic show and tell, wanting them to not miss one magical thing; all the while knowing I may be the only one who sees enchantment of it all. I surprise myself by getting nervous with new visitors, mostly since my home is not decorated in typical style.  I never know what they really think of all the altars and art and guru/saint portraits, with the meditation area and the bookcases of books being the focal point.  I realized at the last minute that I had no sitting area where 2 people could sit and face each other to talk.  We’re usually all facing the same way during meditation, or in a circle on the floor, sitting on cushions.  I never presume that a new guest is comfortable sitting on the floor, so I quickly arranged a sitting area at a table, like normal people have.

Our plan was to make my newfound love, my homemade french onion soup and visit over lunch.  I’m so stoked about this soup, I want to share it with everyone. And I wanted Lu to see how easy the soup was to make, so I was explaining the steps as I went through them.  Until I realized I’d been incessantly chattering the entire time – my nervous reaction: the frantic show and tell.  So I let my guest speak and, as usually happens when I shut up, I learned something.

Lu kept making jokes about me being a control freak, and I can’t disagree.  It’s something I work on when someone reminds me I’m doing it.  I had a new postage meter to install, and to package up the old one to return via UPS, and we tackled the project together.  The new meter had been sitting here for 3 weeks because I just didn’t feel like dealing with it.  I find that for some jobs I like to have someone there as a witness and helper if need be.  So a bunch of my control freakness came out during the installation process.  I wasn’t aware of it until Lu pointed it out.  I always laugh to bust myself doing that.  I’m so used to doing things on my own that I automatically take over.  Not good.

Another obsessive kind of thing I guess is that when I cook, I like to clean as I go along, that way I never have a messy kitchen to deal with afterward.  So half of our visit was me chopping onions, stirring onions, chopping salad stuff, making curry roasted chickpeas for the salad, and washing dishes.  I may not have looked relaxed from the outside but all that ritual and bodily activity is a natural stress reliever for me.

Lu joked about my rituals and I thought how quirky they must seem to someone else. For me, I find comfort in them.  But I Iike being reminded what it looks like to someone else as well.

I like being exposed to friends’ observations and perspectives.  It helps me decide if it matters how they perceive me. And it makes me consider if any course corrections are in order.  There usually are 🙂

The soup was delicious and I sent Lu home with 2 quarts of it. Barely payment enough for reminding me to loosen up a little.

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