…reciprocal engagement…

 “Got a little motto / Always sees me through – / When you’re good to Mama / Mama’s good to you!”  — from the musical, Chicago, lyrics by Fred Ebb
Reciprocity is a mutual exchange.  It behaves like a social “fact.”  Reciprocal relations are unavoidable.  It’s simply the way the world works;  roles, and the various relationships they create, must coordinate together.  A ‘son’ requires a ‘father’ and a  ‘mother.’   A ‘hero’ requires a ‘villain’ and a ‘victim.’   You cannot play a one-sided role and still be understood socially. 
Many people, who occupy one-sided roles, are labeled  ‘crazy.’   Especially,  when the one-sided role forces other people to assume a role that no one is willing to validate.  Think:  Dan Quayle for President (or crazier still think: Sarah Palin as “fully elected President”).  Sadly, there are people who would gladly validate these one-sided role assignments.   
My point in all of this is that reciprocity looks and behaves like a fact, and yet,  it is constantly being interpreted.  We are always in the throes of deciding whether to align ourselves with socially established roles and relationships or whether to reject them for something more expressive and fulfilling. 
And politics is merely one area where this necessary aligning and rejecting action is both seen and appreciated as a personal statement of integrity, value, and belief.  
In yesterday’s blog, I looked at “speculation” and  its impact on the personal and unique invitations that originate from our “outside…other interests.” 
The summary point here is that “What we are invited to do — reciprocally– is to move into a state of openness and freedom or into a state of resistance and withdrawal,” and we are always free to either honor or ignore the invitations that we ”thin-slice’ out of  habit and attunement.  (see …speculation, honoring life’s invitations…)    
In ways, both subtle and playful, we are constantly making assessments about our behavior vis-à-vis our role relationships.  We are always trying to align ourselves with the total “picture” of what any socially constructed role means to us. 
And that alignment work is never easy. Growth, itself, is never easy. 
Resistance, when it shows up, expresses itself as anger, fear, blocking, stonewalling, criticism, contempt, and defensiveness.  And yet, we are always being invited to a place where we can be bigger than ourselves.  We are always invited into a space of integration and cohesion, one that alleviates resistance. 
How is that possible?
The only way to make sense of any role is by standing “inside” it.  And try as we might the “inside-role” adjustment cannot really be done objectively.  We have to speculate and feel our way around the situation.  We have to accept the unconscious and partial impressions that come to us while we are inside the role.
And once we realize by speculating and feeling the reciprocal edges of trust and engagement (not by defaulting to some pre-determined reaction) – only then can we see that every role behaves like a social fact, but in reality — it can only be lived as an honored gift, one that allows us to be fully and abundantly who ever we choose to be.
Every role has it’s own set of expectations:
  • We must claim a vision,
    by letting go of pre-conceptions.
  • We must put ‘who we are’ into our choices,
    by self-determining what we want.
  • We must validate the impact that we offer,
    by feeling the personal and unique invitation to be bigger than ourselves.
  • We must lay claim to whatever happens next,
     by hold the belief that “enough” is genuinely possible.
The sum total of who we are (that is, the sum of our human endowments) give us the strength to choose “otherwise,” to be the different person we want to be, to different from the one we were… just yesterday.
And try to remember:  “Got a little motto / Always sees me through – / When you’re good to Mama / Mama’s good to you!”  
What an entirely different way to look reciprocity!  The ego-informed attachment that we give to ‘Mama’ is really the deal we make with ourselves.
Thanks for listening!

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