Lately I have been thinking a lot about invitations: the invitations we are constantly offering ourselves and each other; and the invitations we are constantly receiving. I have been thinking about how much suffering in the world could be alleviated if we could all commit to a practice of being aware of & responsible for all the offers arising in our lives, and how we respond to them. The Eurhythmics are a good place to start:
Some of them want to use you. Some of them want to be used by you.
And so forth. I think it's important to recognize that all of the above & many more are invitations we have each given and received, over the course of many lifetimes. We might not like to acknowledge that we've wanted to use other beings, but even the slightest bit of introspection about, say, our eating habits, reveals that this is so. We might not be willing to admit that what have said to someone, Use me with impunity, but surely at some point in our employment, family, or sexual history, we've issued an invitation just like this. We've also said, Please stay with me. We've said, Please see me. When you see me, I see myself.
In terms of living well and whole, Invitation Practice could encompass
The compassionate & generous face of Yes is culturally & psychically easy for most of us to feel: She said yes! Yes is the good breast, the compliant and grateful student, the land giving willingly under the plow.
Touching the compassionate & generous face of No is harder for us in the West, in part because most of us are missing Kali/Durga from our vocabulary of the world, and in part because we've all been exposed to so much bullshit and cruelty masquerading as Tough Love. Kali's not sending you to be brutalized in some former slave plantation masquerading as an institution of reform & contrition. She's the one saying No when you are so wrapped up in what you think you want that you lose track of What Is.
Invitation Practice means you can stop evil coming into the world with the power of your own No, and with your willingness to hear No, when you need it. It means you can bring good into the world with your Yes, and with your intention to offer invitations that bring out the good in others with their Yes, too. Invitation Practice means you always have the power to be an active participant in shaping what does and does not come into the world. You are creator and destroyer, being created and destroyed, moment, by moment, by moment.
Say Yes. Say No. Wherever you are, your heart is there.