Word Prompt: Advice | Story Prompt: from the story “In Search of April Raintree” by Beatrice Mosionier

Write It Out: Instruction Video

“Just then, an older woman came up to us. Thinking that she wanted a private word with Cheryl, I moved away a bit and occupied myself by studying some Indian art hanging on the wall. Then Cheryl and the old woman approached me. The old woman suddenly reached towards me and put her hand on mine. I glanced down at her hand. It looked rusted and old. Her fingers were swollen at the joints, disfigured, the veins stood out, and it took everything I had not to move my hand away from hers.

Her hand felt so warm, so dry, so old. I’m sure my smile froze and then faded. I waited for her to take her hand away. I looked at her questioningly, but she didn’t say anything. Her gaze held mine, for I saw in her eyes that deep simple wisdom of which Cheryl had spoken. And I no longer found her touch distasteful. Without speaking a word to me, the woman imparted her message with her eyes. She had seen something in me that was special, something that was deserving of her respect. I wondered what she could possibly have found in me that could have warranted her respect. I just stood there, humbled. At the same time, I had this overwhelming feeling that a mystical spiritual occurrence had just taken place.”

***

Advice. As much as we sometimes wish to seek it out, at the end of the day we need to know what it is we want in order to know if advice given is right for us or not. There’s work we need to do, first. When we don’t do the work to discover what it is we really want, or need, but instead follow advice that has been given to us (given in good faith, of course), we often find that the advice has taken us somewhere we didn’t wish to go. The advice had unintended consequences for us. These unintended consequences are not the fault of the advice giver, after all the advice was given (hopefully) after a request and the advice giver shared what was true for them – what worked for them in a certain situation.

But no two situations are exactly alike. No two people are exactly alike. What worked for you may not work for me. That does not mean we shouldn’t share our experiences – of course we should. Sharing experiences help me to see what you and I have in common, and what we don’t. Hearing your experience may give me a clue about how I might respond to something – perhaps in a way I hadn’t thought of before. That can be very powerful. Especially if I have done my work and have a good idea of where I’m going and how I might get there from here. The more I share with others, and they share with me, the more opportunities or options open up – more opportunities for connection.

So. Advice? Yes, but never blindly taken. Advice with consideration about what it might look like for us, and how it might feel for us. Advice is best when offered freely with no strings, and accepted gratefully with a discriminating eye.

Thoughts? Feel free to share them here.

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