Reflections for the inner life.
One of the things I enjoy most in the world is writing. It's a space where I am able to sit in quiet and pay some attention to what's going on within me and around me. As an extrovert, writing invites me to do things my head, heart and soul need most in order to recover from being so fragmented and begin to slowly reintegrate.
Writing is a catalyst for restoring my integrity, allowing me to move into these fragmented places and pay attention long enough to bring language around my inner and outer experiences and do some much needed listening.
Recent;y I have been scouring opportunities online to do more writing professionally so I've been scouring LinkedIn and a handful of other professional sites designed to connect professionals to writing opportunities. I've never had to do much of this before so it's both captivating and overwhelming to read though hundreds of job descriptions..
A couple options caught my eye, so I sent my resume and curriculum vitae off to a couple of the companies and foundations looking for staff writers. One foundation has brought me on as one of a handful of staff writers tasked with curating meaningful content to serve mental health needs of psychologically wounded veterans. I sent my first piece off today for their review.
As I've hunted through the online haystack looking for writing opportunities, I also stumbled across a website that caught my attention. The hook read, "Do you want to make $6000-7000 per month and eventually per day out of the convenience of your own home?"
Moments later I was on the phone listening to this brash vague circular pitch with everything in me screaming, "run away!" Without getting into the particulars, I found myself on this phone conversation with a rather aggressive and manipulative salesman.
Right away a number of large red flags went up and I started making my exit plan. I shared my resistance with this salesman to do any business with complete strangers. Historically I have helped grow a business or a non-profit from a posture of well established relationship and trust.
Then the salesman made a comment that pinched a nerve. In a condescending tone he said, "Oh, I know your type. You are the kind of guy who wants something for nothing."
The next words that came out of my mouth were, "You don't even know me. You don't know my story, which is precisely why I have no interest in continuing this conversation, which is your loss. Good night."
This smarmy stranger of a salesman thought his clever well time shaming comments would pierce my armor and sink a hook to reel me in for the big sale. Nothing could have been further from the truth.
Since that phone call, it has been a very helpful exercise to spend some time reflecting on the friendships where I am deeply known. I could help but think of Ruth Ann, Heath, Brittany, Luke, Ray, Tony, Greg, Russell, Keith, David, Justin, and Chris...men and women who have known me over decades.
A few minutes after I hung up the phone from that call and one of my most trusted friends. (who had no way of knowing what had just transpired over the phone) sent me a personal and professional endorsement for me to post on my counseling websites.
Through tears I read, "We all want real conversations with people, like the ones you have where you're not editing what you say. Hayne Steen provides this type of conversation, and my life is more full and alive because of it. So if you are a person searching, questioning, struggling, and wandering please know your heart will be met with a radical hospitality if you are fortunate enough to be a recipient of Hayne’s care."
Then I made a list if those courageous people who have trusted me deeply, allowing me to really know them as a friend, counselor or spiritual companion. As I capture the names of these dear people, it hits me. I am a known man.
Despite the lies and manipulation schemes of a world full of fork tongued salesman, I am known. Fully.
There is no more satisfying way to live than to be known.