Who is Olivia Benson?

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We now know physical appearance is a very small part of who we are, and quite to the contrary, the varia­tions are, in fact, something to be valued and cherished. – “Answers From Within” Chapter 8-Dividing and Conquering!, The Energy Can Go Either Way, Page 172, Book Link

Life always gives us opportunities to see where we are in our growth process. The experience I’m about to describe surprised me, not because something like it hadn’t happened before, but because I was in such a position I really had to work with myself to make sure it didn’t turn into something more unpleasant.

I was sitting at my desk in my office.  Behind me a window of glass looking out at a bay.  No one was sitting at the front desk and the door to enter the general office space happened to be unlocked.  I can see through the glass in front of my desk who enters the general office space.

Unexpectedly, a “White” male, I would say in his mid-thirties, about 5’5”, entered the office as though he was supposed to be there.  He was dressed in a dark suit, with a white shirt, and a dark hat.  He was also wearing a Tzitzit (the fringes, or tassels some orthodox Jewish men wear) hanging from his waist.  He not only entered, but he didn’t stop at the reception. He just kept walking further into the office. Usually, people enter and wait at the reception for someone to come to them.

He walked until he was at the door of my office, which I found uncomfortable, because I wasn’t expecting anyone, and I didn’t know him.  He stood in the doorway of my office, while I sat at my desk, and asked me for Olivia Benson—yes he did!  There was no one else in the office at the time, and I wasn’t sure what this was about, so I calmly answered, I am Olivia Benson.

You could see his face drop, and I instantly knew what had happened. I had seen this before where members of some orthodox Jewish sects seek contributions, usually from those they believe are Jewish. In one of my prior offices which was close to several synagogues and temples; I experienced what appeared to be members of orthodox Jewish sects who would come and ask for the “boss” to seek contributions.

He pulled himself together, and went on to say he was seeking contributions for the children, for activities, etc.  I was still sitting at my desk, and he was still standing at the door.  I asked him if the donation was for ALL THE CHILDREN?  I can’t remember exactly what he said, but clearly it wasn’t.  It wouldn’t have mattered because I have made donations to Jewish organizations before.  But, I wanted him to think about what he was doing.

In the face of his embarrassment, he decided to try to insult me. He said, I, Olivia Benson, the one he had chosen, probably from the name on the door, was probably not in a position to make a donation because the people who usually donate, usually write six-digit checks.  Obviously to him, the Olivia Benson, he imagined could have done that; but the one I turned-out to be, could not.

At this point, I was watching the main entrance through the glass in front of me, and behind him, and thinking what I would do to get him out of my office peacefully. I then stood, looked at him again, and said: “How do you know I can’t do that?”

He just looked at me.  He didn’t have a response, and I could now see clearly through him, so I walked towards him to escort him out the door. He didn’t object, or say anything further. The building doesn’t allow soliciting, so he should not have been there asking for money anyway, but now he is banned.

I’ve learned over the years to look at every experience as a teaching opportunity for myself; and while I mastered self-control in the face of his limited beliefs, there was more here.  This experience reminded me that appearance is a very small part of who we are as human beings; to not be guided, or limited by appearances; and to be flexible in my beliefs.

I am not sure what he thought Olivia Benson would look like; or why he particularly thought Olivia Benson was a good target for solicitation. But he apparently made a decision about who Olivia Benson should have been. I’m also not sure what beliefs blinded him to the possibility the person sitting in my office at my desk could be Olivia Benson.

As humans we can always see the issues with others’ behaviors.  But for the lessons, we have to look at ourselves. Where am I allowing appearances to guide and/or limit me? Where are my beliefs inflexible? Even when circumstances are speaking to me clearly.

Sometimes human thinking is so programmed it is challenging to get out of the program.  Yet, the current times speak to us about a world that is much different than what it has been, where Olivia Benson can look a million different ways, belong to any religion, be the boss, and be any place in the world. This is what we are called to understand at this stage of human evolution, as we see more clearly every day there is but one human race and one world, and we are really barely separated by time and space.