"A frog cannot clap with one flipper. What does this mean to you, Irwin?" asked the Wise One. Thinking that this was an easy question I quickly replied, "We need both flipers to clap, Sir." Dharma just sat there and looked at me...no smile and he certainly gave me no indication that I had answered correctly. "Yes," he said, "that's partly true, of course, but Irwin, you didn't think about the deeper meaning." And I hadn't.
My wise teacher began our lesson by explaining to me that our greatest accomplishments happen when someone else is involved. "We all need other frogs, Irwin." We weren't meant to be alone, although many frogs, and too many humans, cut themselves off from the rest of their species. This leaves them feeling lonely and does nothing to help their sense of well-being. We need each other, tadpole. But there is a difference between need and being needy. We need each other for love, companionship, emotional support, physical help, and for learning and growing. We feel connected and thrive when we have others in our life. What we don't need to become codependant on others...needing others to make us feel happy, or to make ourselves feel worthy, or safe. Each of us already has all of those strengths deep inside us. We are born with them. They simply need to be nurtured as we grow up and mature." You see the difference, my little student?" I nodded in agreement.
"Irwin, do you remember when you played T-ball as a young froglet? You enjoyed hitting the ball, but you also enjoyed the camaraderie of being part of a team."
"Ahhh," I reminisced,"those were some good times...happy times." Well," Dharma explained, "life is a team sport. No frog is a lily pad unto himself."
I thought about what he had said, and he was so right. We do need each other but we push others away when we become needy. I've been guilty of doing that before. And just like we need two flippers to clap, we need others to help improve our life. It got me thinking that, recently, I had become isolated. I wasn't actively participating in MY life. I was, indeed, spending WAY too much time alone. I realized that I was missing my friends and I wasn't getting any of that "team spirit" that makes us all feel like we belong. I vowed, right then and there, that this weekend I'd get my friends together and we'd have a little fun...maybe try something new.
Our tea was gone and Dharma's lesson was finished for the week. I knew that he was pleased; he smiled and told me I'd been a very good student! As he hopped out of sight, I picked up my cell phone and began calling my friends to schedule some "together" time for Saturday. Just as I need my two flippers to clap, I need my friends and family. They add so much to my life. I know I can make it alone; that I have what I need to survive. But, heck, who wants to just survive when you can have so much more? I want to flourish; to thrive and grow as a frog. And I want to help my friends do that, too.
If, like me, you've been spending too much time alone pick up the phone, call your "peeps," and schedule some together time. Good memories are hardly ever made when we're alone. What we do remember are the happy times we spend with others.
So go ahead; make some great, new memories! Life is so much better when you use "both" flippers....