Life seems so blissful and peaceful and easy. When I don't leave the house, that is. As soon as I start engaging with other human beings and the world in general, all kinds of crazy shit comes up. Because it's all about relationship, isn't it? That's where the juice is. That’s where we are triggered, and it’s where we get to observe ourselves. It’s where we get to discern whether or not we’re in alignment.
We humans take things so personally. We are quite beautifully sensitive – much more than we give ourselves credit for. Sometimes we are co-creating a painful situation, and sometimes it truly is not about us at all. It takes mindfulness to witness our inner world. It takes courageous vulnerability to accept – or release – responsibility in our relationships.
A long term friend and I recently experienced an opening in our relationship where we each lovingly acknowledged some things that have stood in the way of our closeness. For my piece, I revealed that I greatly admired her skill as a therapist and agreed with what she had taught me around a certain topic, but I had felt watched and judged by her for years, which had triggered feelings of insecurity. As a result, I learned to protect myself by withholding what I valued most - I diminished my spirituality, a core piece of my existence - in her presence. In response, she revealed that she had indeed been judging me - and that her judgment came from being triggered due to some extremely harmful experiences from others' spiritual bypassing in the past. This was a huge revelation for me! I had made the assumption that because she's a brilliant woman and a skillful therapist and communicator, she must be operating from a place of wholeness at all times (an extremism that holding on to false beliefs about myself can bring).
It’s easy to idolize people and think that everyone but you has got their shit together - so it must be something you're doing or saying that's wrong and is causing your suffering. Take that one step further, and you stop letting your heart guide your actions, deferring to others’ opinions instead. There are so many powerful people in the world! So many people who appear to have it all together in one way or another - whether it be in their skill set, their social confidence and connections, their thriving career, their ability to state their needs, their successful marriage, their spiritual path, or the way trouble rolls off their back like water off a duck. So many beautiful, amazing people. And all of them are HUMAN. Which means that they have things to deal with - different things than you, but just like you all the same... and their stuff can come out in ways that perfectly trigger YOUR deepest stuff. Welcome to relationship, my friends. Welcome to your opportunity to see yourself more clearly. Welcome to the opportunity to shed the strategies you’ve designed to keep you safely disconnected. Welcome to your opportunity to be who you really are.
As I laughingly said to my husband earlier this evening, some fucked up thing in you attracts some fucked up thing in another person, and you are drawn to each other to learn and to heal (totally uncouth, I know. I’ve learned the value of levity).
Here’s another situation:
You are the executive assistant to an internationally recognized motivational speaker. He has helped thousands of people to witness their inner experience and transform their beliefs in order to manifest the lives they want to be living. You love your job, you get along with your boss, and all is well... except that today, he has completely turned on you. He seems to be searching for things to correct or criticize. Each time you pass each other in the hallway, you feel a thick tension in the air. You feel edgy and you start combing your behavior for errors. What have you done to negatively impact the business? Why is your relationship with him suddenly in the garbage? You breathe and take some space, finding stillness and then flow. You soften. Without judgment, you witness your behavior and discover... nothing. You are doing your job as well as ever. There isn’t even anything to forgive. You recognize that his behavior is unusual. Later, you find an opening and engage him in authentic, heartful conversation about something meaningful to you – gently engaging the trust you know exists between you - which changes the energetic charge in the room and slowly rekindles your connection. After a few minutes, he reveals that he'd had an argument with his partner just before he came to work… where he saw you… and he’d pointed the blaming finger away from himself for relief. You rest in your knowing of your self and hold a spacious lovingness for his experience to unfold. He thanks you, apologizes for unjustly blaming you, and makes use of your offering to process his feelings. The air feels clear again.
Every interaction is a gift from God. And when I say God, I mean your Higher Self. I mean Source. I mean the One who takes every opportunity to steer each of us back to our innate wholeness by way of triggers and awareness and courage and vulnerability and healing and LOVE.
Humans are human, including those people who seem to everyone else like they've got it all figured out (like you, perhaps). Sometimes we aren't seeing something about ourselves, even though we are affecting others by our unconscious behaviors. It takes slowing down to understand what’s going on. It’s a combination of slowing down, looking at what’s being reflected back to us, witnessing our inner landscape and our behavior... and then, even when our behaviors and the beliefs that cause them are conscious, it requires great courage to acknowledge what's happening. Vulnerability with ourselves and others can open wide the doors to personal healing and reparations.
Every single one of us is worthy of love and compassion: you, me, that coworker who flew off the handle again today, the helper who's great at healing others but can't show up in relationships, your lover who can't relax into physical intimacy, your parent who can only connect on the surface level, an acquaintance who entices you to want to spend time with him but always waits for you to initiate a get-together. Our best work is to be exquisitely mindful of our inner selves and how we do and don't show up in the world. Our best work is to love ourselves. Our best work is to give everyone a break. We’re all doing the best that we can with what we have or haven’t learned and what we have or haven’t healed and how we are blindly bumbling along or choosing to show up in life. Wherever we are on our path, every interaction has something of value, and every single one of us is worthy of love and compassion while we interact with and co-create this Great Mystery.
Blessings on your exquisite journey.
Hi Sweet Hearts. I just wanted to post a quick note about receiving good medicine. The prescription is short and sweet, but it can have a profound effect on your experience of life. Check this out:
Four really simple situations, right? Notice any similarities between them? In every one, "you" kind of blew past the medicine you were being offered. Call them compliments, call them love, call them what you will - I call them MEDICINE. The kind of medicine that can move deeply into your brain, into your soul, into your karmic patterns and make change in you. The thing is, you have to receive it. You have to make space for it to enter you. You have to give it some presence for the medicine to do its work on you. Let's look at those situations again:
Things like this happen all the time. Everyone has medicine, and they are all great opportunities for sparking some amazing things in you. Truly receiving love medicine can help to heal past wounding. It can bring you right home to who you really are. It can actually change the neuropathways in your brain - moving you out of habitual ways of experiencing life into new, beneficial ones. It can help you to believe in yourself. All of which can have dramatic effects on your entire experience of life.
I’ll just offer one more example from my own life. I hope this is useful to you; it sure was for me.
My husband Peter (back then he was still my boyfriend) and I were going to change both tires on my bike. Actually, he was going to teach me how to change a tire. You see, when we met, I hadn’t ridden a bike in over 20 years and actually had to re-learn how to do it (I can assure you, it wasn’t like riding a bike). I was out of practice riding and had never done any bike maintenance at all. Peter was going to change one of the tires to show me how, and I was going to do the next one myself. While he was changing the first tire, I started to have a mild panic attack. The panic attack consisted of these ingredients: I couldn’t hear what he was saying. I felt embarrassed. I felt ashamed. I felt stupid. I was sinking into an old belief that I was not a handy person, that I wouldn’t be able to do it, that I was too slow, and that I’d be judged and chastised for all of that. Tears were silently rolling down my cheeks. All the while, Peter was happily changing the tire, talking to me and paying attention to the task at hand. When it came my turn to change the second tire, Peter looked at me and asked what was going on. I didn’t explain to him that as a kid, there wasn’t a lot of patience with my pace of learning. I didn’t explain that I felt humiliated before I even began. I didn’t explain that I hated doing things like this for these reasons. I just said, "I don’t know if I can do this. I need your help." A moment passed. He said: “You’ve got this, baby. I’ll help you if you need. Just take your time.” I paused for a minute to take that in - to take in his MEDICINE. He was encouraging me. He was being patient. He was going to help me if I got stuck. I felt all of that. I looked at him – really looked at him. My boyfriend. Now. Today. Right here, in our backyard of the house we live in together on this gorgeous, sunny day in my adult life. I took in the fact that there was all the time in the world for me to do this. And I felt a sense of trust that allowed me to begin. I felt challenged a couple times while I worked, and the panic flared up again. Each time, I just stopped and breathed and got present to what was actually happening right now - as opposed to how it was in the past. I wasn’t being rushed. No one was annoyed with me. It was ok to not know how to do this the first time I did it. How could I? I had never done it before! Yes, it really was ok to not know how to do this the first time I did it! I asked Peter which tool was best, which angle. I stopped and sucked my finger when it got pinched. He waited. All of this I soaked into my cellular structure by being mindful of my experience: I am doing this for the first time, and it's ok. I'm right where I'm supposed to be, and there is all the time in the world for me to do it in. And I got that damn tire changed. That awesome new tire on my kickass mountain bike that I love. Yes I did. And each time I tried to do something that required tools or building or fixing, I let myself feel more and more worthy of time, attention, and skill-building.
So. All of this is to say: be mindful, people. Everyone around you – every single person and every experience in your life – has medicine to offer, whether it's about changing a tire... letting go of a beautiful but boundaried identity... supporting another... or anything else you may be healing in yourself. You can pay a skilled therapist to see this stuff in you and guide you toward healing (I will always recommend Hakomi therapists). You can come see someone like me who will work mindfully with you to make change by the grace of the shamanic realms. AND, most importantly, you can know that every single person - every experience in your life - is here by your choosing and your creation (consciously or not) to show you where you need healing and to bring that healing on, if you are willing to go there. The only thing standing in the way of you receiving the medicine is you. So be mindful. Slow down. Take your time. Take it in. Feel gratitude. There is love and healing for you. It abounds. The Universe is conspiring for your healing and your total experience of freedom, if you want it (and you do, or you wouldn’t be reading this right now). Open your eyes. Listen. Slow down. Take the time to let the medicine move through you.
It is yours, if you will have it.
We are all on this journey toward who we really are. We are all coming home.