Hi everyone! I’ve brought an enormous paper sculpture that is important to me and is also symbolic. You may be wondering how to maintain a happy life. I’m still learning too, but these are some of the things I’ve learned and maybe they will apply to you.
My name is Shanti Robinson and I’m going to talk about some of the most precious aspects of life: family, friendship, and love.
Connection is one of the most important things in any relationship. Like this paper sculpture. It’s connected to make this unified globe. And if you were to take one piece out, the whole thing would fall apart.
I’m really grateful for my family because we trust and respect each other completely. Trust enables us to share our deepest thoughts and feelings with one another. So our discussions consider everyone’s feelings and disagreements often end in compromise.
My mom and I are both very strong-willed individuals so sometimes we argue. But we learn from each other. One of the things I’ve learned from my mom is to think before I speak. I treasure this insight because it has helped me in all areas of life, particularly in friendships.
I calculate everything I plan to say. What I mean by that is before I respond, I predict how a person’s going to react and I edit in my mind until I can visualize a positive outcome.
People are multi-dimensional like this 3D sculpture, so people will react differently to what you say. The perception of kindness is relative. So in order to be compassionate with everyone, I learn about that person and adjust to better communicate with them.
My best friends are kind and we connect on a very deep level. Although I love all people, through experience I’ve learned that there are some people I can’t be friends with. These are people who take more than they give. That can be really draining. I learned that lesson when I fell in love.
The person that made this sculpture for me was the first person I ever loved.
Even though love is always magical, our relationship didn’t end well and I realized that there are two different kinds of love: incompatible and compatible.
Incompatible magic was what I experienced. It was magical because our connection and the moments we shared were intense and inexplainable and we wanted to spend all our time together. But it was incompatible because our needs conflicted. He wanted an undefinable romance and I wanted him to be known as my boyfriend.
Compatible magic is what I believe everyone desires. It’s the type of love where everything is mutual. Both people’s wants and needs are met. Compatible magic lasts forever. It’s beautiful and sometimes complex but there’s always a happily ever after.
So again, I’m Shanti Robinson. And these are my deep thoughts on family, friendship, and love.
When I let go of what I am,
I become what I might be.
— Lao Tsu
One of the things I love about Kai Chi Do is that we meet without our story. How refreshing and liberating that is!
In most places in our lives, there are stories we habitually tell. Especially when we’ve just met someone and we’re trying to get them up to speed quickly on who we think we are. And we invite them to do the same. We tell our careers in answer to the inevitable question, “What kind of work do you do?” We tell about our families. We might even tell about those big life events that shaped our beliefs. Mistakes we’ve made. Or we tell our opinions – politics, the economy, the news, someone else’s mistakes.
But when I show up for Kai Chi Do on Sundays, I don’t know your story. You don’t know mine. We’re not dragging our past along with us. We’re not sharing our judgments and evaluations of life. We just meet in the moment. We enjoy the moment together, the beauty of the place, the aliveness we feel, in the moment.
It’s clean. We all get to start new.
We don’t tell our stories – We don’t need to . We define ourselves by the energy we bring in that hour. We reveal our identity through the safety we create for each other and for the group, the emotional vibration we project, the Life we allow to flow through us. We reveal the truth about who we are when we release and let go of all the stuff that stands between us and that brilliant flow of Energy. And when we are content with ourselves.
In that hour, we have the courage to let go of the stories we tell and be free.
I’ve been meeting with some of the same people for years of Sundays, and I know so much about them from our experience together. But none of it includes their story.
I know your name and probably a nickname that Tina has given you. I know your coordination and how it’s gotten smooth and graceful over weeks of Kai Chi Do. I know your intensity, your laughter, the sound of your voice. I know your smile and your T-shirts. I might know whether you can carry a tune. I know what you look like when you’re happy. I know how it feels to hold your hand.
I like meeting you in that place that is deeper than our stories.