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.