It is a beautiful thing to find out you've been wrong.
The more I find out I am wrong, the more I begin to open to a new way, a clearer path, one that leads with love.
I was wrong about my daughter. I thought she couldn't emotionally relate on the same level as I, that we would somehow always have a divide between us, and as painful as my assumptions were, I felt powerless to change what I felt to be set in stone.
Thank God for the unfathomable love for a child, that moves mountains, that moved me to take a closer look, to dig down deep to the roots, and to feel a bold-faced determination to find out the truth about both of us. Who knew I would be arriving at the Essence.
My daughter knew she wasn't just born into training--training that would prepare her to be just another blind participant in the rat race. She has shown me that I knew that too--deep down under all of my fear.
What I found was a child who wouldn't compromise, who wouldn't let me instill my fear into her, who wouldn't be brought to her knees in shame by my need for her to see her ill ways (but not mine), by my need to chastise her out of fear of her lack of adherence and correct responses, by my need for her to see me, cherish me, love me, and relate like me-- to stroke my victim identity.
And what a big identity that was, and still is sometimes, but mostly was.
My friends, I can speak with direct experience that choosing love, committing to love, and suspending judgement of what love looks like, opens up a new dance, new rhythms that you could have never even imagined. Until I began to see my daughter without the shadow of my victim identity, I never saw her. Until I saw my daughter without the yoke of brokenness, I never saw myself. Until I saw either of us, I never saw you.
I've come to see myself more and more clearly with the help of these uncompromising individuals who've made it uncomfortable for me to stay in the old stories. I've come to honor these people as my greatest teachers, for they have exposed me to my old and tired patterns: wanting to have control of my world, to have the security of knowing that those around me will bend to my will and to my fear, to give me the illusion of safety in knowing that there is the appearance of being able to keep it together in a scary world, that there is the appearance of love, even if the appearance is nothing but smoke and mirrors. The appearance of love can't hold a candle to real Love. Yes, the cliches start to take on entirely new meaning for me.
And yet, how often we choose the appearance over the real thing.
So, my relationship with my daughter was the catalyst for deep digging. This would expose basic patterns eating away at my ability to experience joy. Because as most patterns do, it affected every part of my existence.
The more I've learned to let go and love my daughter, and embrace her for who she is--even when I feel we are two ships passing in the night, the more I have seen the sun within her. The more she moves towards me for the warmth of mine.
I used to struggle to give her a little goodnight kiss on the head at bedtime, and my heart would break as I left her room, wondering how I could connect with her. Now she comes and holds me--this child I was sure just didn't like hugs.
Last night I said goodnight to her, and she scooted over lifting her covers to invite me in for a snuggle. I held her little self, our hearts together, and I felt the safety of a new kind of oneness, a love that was no substitute for the real thing. We fell asleep there, mother and daughter reunited. Me holding her in my arms, and she holding me in her heart.
This is my experience again and again with her, and my love for her is deeply profound and real. There is no appearance of love here. And how do I know? Because neither of us can fake it.
There is something about a little one who makes you stand on your own two feet. Because to find a way to love her, is to find a way out of your victim story, and to a new self-love and love of others. In my experience this love is foreign to most of us, because most of us have learned to just go through the motions giving the appearance of love. It is my experience that children sense this and don't accept shabby substitutes for Love willingly.
So moving into a new state of love requires not being content with the appearance of love, mustering the courage to be open, and to show up in life where we are in our process, again and again, even when feeling unheard, unseen, misunderstood, and underappreciated, and in the dark--to know that what comes up to the surface is to heal within ourselves. It is always choosing love, or what we think is our closest approximation of it, that begins the process of converging our bravery and our readiness to heal, beginning the healing process.
I am learning that the road to Love sometimes looks as simple as telling the truth for the first time when you've been hurt, or letting yourself get really angry for the first time (without inflicting harm, knowing it is part of a shedding process, or in my case a chance to model getting angry and then choosing in the moment to do it differently) so that you can see the situation differently, or maybe it is doubting that you could ever face a person again who has offended you, or whom you've offended, but showing up anyway, and letting go and trusting love will take over. It is letting go. Sometimes love looks like leaving. But in my experience your Soul will tell you when and where. I am learning that when you leave, if you haven't healed what you left for, you get it in a million other ways, but that it was right to leave, because somehow you know you've needed to free some space enough for a variation in dynamics.
Choosing love in the face of adversity is choosing freedom from our victim stories.
I have a friend who identifies as black. She and I discuss racial tensions tirelessly, because we are both activists and passionate for peace. Sometimes when we talk, we too become ships passing in the night, sailing our victim ships, feeling unheard, unseen, misunderstood, and underappreciated. We've felt the fire, and wondered if we can come back from the burn. But we know the heart of the other. And so far we've always come back. This has amazed onlookers, but the truth is, we just aren't afraid of the fire as much, and each time, less and less so.
It as is if we are realizing that on a deep level that we might never ever see eye to eye, but so what! We'll love each other anyway. And then we see the stories that we are fighting for begin to become irrelevant. We recognize that they are part of our individual and collective make up, but we choose to move toward the warmth of our suns, and find them merging as one.
It takes so much courage to show up, feel yourself in battle, but choose sanity, to rise up over the battlefield, and find the love that allows another to shine, without the shabby projection you've placed between you.
Deeper connection means showing up again and again with others, and being as authentic as you know how, and knowing that the process of building trust in people is going to bring up your own insecurities and deeply ingrained stories of victimhood. It is about welcoming these stories to come up for healing, and then letting them go when they get in the way, and then opening up to different feeling relationships that become easier because they are more connected and meaningful.
In my experience it is deciding that you don't care anymore if you are right and the other is wrong, that you will let go of anything to be at peace.
I find that others will join you there, because when all the shit is out of the way, this is what everyone is vying for.
It is about focusing into the light, and finding yourself embracing others with all of your battle wounds exposed, and finding the balm of unity easing the pain and healing the wounds.
It is knowing that there is not one person who is not capable of meeting you in this place, but knowing you might just have to be the one to show up first, sometimes really early.
In my experience, again, Love, not the appearance of it, leads the way.
My heart is humbled today, that I am experiencing heaven, where I was sure there was only hell. And there is something that feels fearless in this.
And my motto becomes, I will love anyway. As A Course in Miracles teaches, when you release your brother, you release yourself, and when you release yourself, you release your brother.
The question is what kind of values will fall away and which ones will stay when every man has the courage to live from love, has the courage to enter into gentle and frank conversation, to expose his fright, and to ask his brother for loving kindness, for understanding to the best of his ability, and for healing--and then to give this in return. And when the going gets tough, nobody runs, they stay there and lift their consciousness up and over the obstacles, until they have taken flight right off the battlefield.
When we find two together in this place, the entire world can feel this, our children can feel this. Our suns lift up and unite, and we move into a new dispensation, and we move quickly.
My prayer is that I open my doors, my shutters, and let in some fresh air-- the light of another that becomes so much more splendid than I could have ever dreamed, when unobscured by the power of love. That I resist the urge to lock them back out when the going gets tough, and that if it is welcome, I show back up with a commitment to peace and love, and to letting go of what divides.
Let me begin to usher in a new dispensation of peace and love, and not be content with imitations of it. Let me begin with those closest to me. Let me live finding a brave heart that loves with the wisdom of following a sacred voice of release, of setting others free instead of crushing them with my empty ideas of ownership, of defending social ideals that imprison, and outdated modes of being.
Let me show up to where we are all being beckoned, into a circle of lasting peace and joy. Let me put one foot inside, and let the warmth within help draw the rest of me inside.