Back in 1994 when I entered my first national art competition I was accepted to exhibit at The National Arts Club in New York City. I had submitted one of the early iterations of my Airscapes series
and when I spoke to one of the Club’s representatives on the phone she commented, “Your work was not the kind that I thought a monk would be engaged in.” I suspect that she had expected religious imagery. The fact is that we all come to a new relationship with expectations and they often betray a worldview that even we might not be aware we possess!
A difference in expectations within a relationship was made clear to me the other day while I was listening to an online Hawaiian radio station. A conversation occurred between a husband and a wife about their upcoming 5-year anniversary. The husband wanted it celebrated on the beach so that both of their families could gather together for it while the wife wanted just the two of them to go to a fancy hotel and spend the time by themselves. This suggestion seemed incomprehensible to the husband who feltthe anniversary did not concern the couple solely but also their families since marriage unites two families into one larger family. What stood out in my mind is the husband’s keen sense of ‘Ohana, of belonging to others and how different this was from a non-Hawaiian sense that a marriage is strictly between the man and the woman.
Relationship with others and their various degrees of belonging to one another are the arena in which we work out our sense of belonging! Sometimes this is pleasant and sometimes it can resemble an incoherent thrashing around! Ultimately we get separated from others and belonging to them by our selfishness and self-centeredness, by our insistent focus on what the relationship gives to ME! What I get out of the relationship is not what belonging to others is about!
A person who wants
but never gives
he never truly lives.