Last night my husband and I attended a stunning performance of Stravinsky’s Petrushka by the Boston Symphony Orchestra. At the intermission I asked him what he was thinking about during the concert. He said with a smile that he imagined old Bugs Bunny cartoons. At first I felt annoyed that his mind had not drifted off to a loftier place. While he was picturing Bugs I was imagining a cadre of ballerinas sweeping across the stage telling their story of pain and joy.
“Don’t judge. Just listen,” I reminded myself. It didn’t take long for me to emerge from my judgmental state and consider what my husband had just shared. He even said to me, “Randy, sometimes imagery is just imagery.”
What goes on in my husband’s head is deeply personal and unique to him. I don’t get to control his or anyone else’s thoughts, nor do I really want to. Besides, when I thought more about his image of the Bugs Bunny cartoons, it made me laugh. It brought me back to some wonderful memories. The pictures of my animated friends from the past darting through the woods and all of their cockamamie antics became much more vivid. For the rest of the performance I could not help thinking about the zany mischief these characters got into. This was indeed the soundtrack to our childhood.
Matters of the mind belong solely to each of us. As we move through our days and nights, inner thoughts, fantasies, and dreams are ours alone. We can shape these thoughts through meditation, affirmations, and self-hypnosis, but even then, the images that arise belong exclusively to the person having those thoughts.
What struck me about my husband’s imagery versus mine was how differently we perceived the same event. I could not help thinking of John Gray’s book, Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus . Simply put, men and women need to accept each other’s differences in order to be able to experience happier and more satisfying relationships.
So Bugs it is for my man and the cadre of ballerinas for me.
Viva la difference!
How do you honor the differences between you and your partner?