“The reasons why so many of your relationships have failed aren’t out there somewhere in the ether. They are right here, within you. And chances are, unresolved relationship conflicts have a lot to do with it.” He’s Scared, She’s Scared. Steven Carter and Julia Sokol.
It’s entirely possible to relegate the word “relationship” to mean those of the romantic kind. I’m not saying that those aren’t important, or that they are inferior in content…though sometimes they are…All of those relationships, no matter how wonderful, disastrous, long-term, blink of an eye-term, etc, were all important. To the extent that, like it or not, they were intrinsic to your growth and development. If you read that and instantly feel as I have often felt in my life, “Huh. I guess my growth must be stunted.” don’t fret. You can’t see a lot of what goes on inside of you…Think of how long it takes a wound to heal, but eventually, you look down and TADA! Healed. The change occurred and all you had to do was want it and then, leave it alone and let it heal. Romantic relationships are then, definitely important…What I’m saying is that there are other, more important and undeniable relationships that existed before the romance started. Relationships that like it or not, formed the foundation of the relationships to come- and again, not just the romantic kind. But, it’s the romantic ones that we focus on isn’t it? It’s the romantic ones that can, and will if we are willing to walk that way, lead us right back to the relationships that got us here in the first place. And it’s these relationships that we must heal within ourselves first, or else all other attempts are futile. This is really the long way around to saying that dismissing your current relationship problem to a “daddy issue” or an “overbearing mother” conflict is not the same as realizing that both of those examples are the real unresolved conflict that are causing your current near failure, catastrophic, repeat adventure, and or, general, “WHY is this happening again?!” moment.
“Often the right path is the one that may be hardest for you to follow. But the hard path is also the one that will make you grow as a human being.” Karen Mueller Coombs, Bully at Ambush Corner
The hardest path I’ve walked is not the one of my relationships- romantic or otherwise. And though I know that they have helped me to grow towards where I am now, I spent more time feeling stunted than expanded. There’s no denying that it was a hard path. It was painful, defeating and often in the end, they left me feeling as if it were all pointless…but more than anything, they were self-inflicted. Yet, I remain strong in my stance- they were not the hardest path to walk. That’s what’s ironic about self-inflicted anything- especially pain. It’s a controlled substance, even if we feel we have no control. We say, “I can’t stop” but we can- we just don’t. We don’t know how and that sounds like as good a reason as any not to, but there’s always the option of figuring out HOW to stop. There’s that little voice inside of our head, reverberating inside of our souls, telling us what NOT to do. This isn’t a test, it’s a call to your healing and NOT doing something is often as close, if not ALL we need do to stop the one thing we say we can’t. Doing the same out of control thing, over and over again, is in fact how we control the situation. Control is the problem. Trying to control the rate at which we are designed to grow, is the biggest mistake we make. Next to trying to control someone else’s growth that is.
“Rejection is an opportunity for your selection.” Bernard Branson
It’s a path, you are designed to move along it. You were given legs and feet to walk it. Knees to crawl upon it. Arms to drag your broken self along it. No matter what, you are designed to follow it. You are not designed to control it. This doesn’t mean that you become a rock in the middle of the road you call life. This means that you stop throwing rocks at the windows of your soul. It means you quit digging holes, building walls, running in circles, opposite directions and nowhere fast. It means not looking down, behind you or off into the mirage of the future- it means trusting that if you just take one step after the other, head high, eyes forward, the Universe will get you there. The path isn’t limited- if that’s what you’re thinking…If you’re thinking that God and the Universe are going to bind you to a life of 9-5, three kids and an organic garden, rest assured, they won’t. Unless that’s your path- and only you and them know that. IF you find yourself saving for a bigger house than the last one, but daydreaming of the orgainc garden, and sick to your stomach every night in anticipation of the 9-5- THAT’S you trying to control the path- not walk it. God and the Universe are, if nothing else, practical. Not to be confused with predictable, but that has more to do with you than you think.
It’s not just a stroll in the park. It’s just that you are designed to walk your path, putting “your best foot forward” and not complicating it more than it needs to be and undoubtedly, already is. Rest assured, the path isn’t easy, but it’s EASIER if you don’t add more to it than what has already been designed for you. Those shows you see where the group of people wander past the same tree ten times…that’s a good analogy for life- especially relationships. If you wander past the same thing ten times while trying to get somewhere else entirely, chances are, you’re lost. It’s time to do something different. You may consider where you’re going as a good starting point, and you will have to consider where you’ve been to get to somewhere new. If worse comes to worse, just stop moving and wait for someone to find you- by someone I mean, the authentic you. Don’t worry, help is on its way.
“If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading…” Buddha
“It’s a lot easier to be lost than found. It’s the reason we are always searching, and rarely discovered…so many locks and not enough keys. Sarah Dessen, Lock and Key
My hard path, my hardest path, is the same one I am on now, but with one difference- the way in which I walk it. I walk it in order to be found, not to remain lost. As it turns out, every path is the right path, it’s how we walk it and the footprints we lay upon it that are hard on us. The hardest path is the one we choose to walk with our eyes wide open. It’s the day we come upon that same damn tree and throw our hands up in the air- “I’m LOST!” We are tired. We are hungry. Embarrassed. Angry. Hurt. We realize that besides that “tree”, the only other thing recognizable around here, is us. We are the defining landmark of our lives. We are everywhere we have ever been and everywhere we will ever go… and so it becomes clear, or at least it should, that the only thing we can change is the way in which we carry ourselves along the way. My hardest path thus far is the realization of how I have carried myself in my relationships- ALL of them. It’s in the brutal reality of what I have done, and therefore, allowed to be done to myself… In the 8 Habits of Love, Ed Bacon quotes someone as saying in regards to the crucifixion of Christ, that the people responsible, had to crucify the best in themselves first. When we realize that the golden rule “Do unto others as you would have done unto you” reminds us that what we have done to others, we first did to ourselves- we are set free by accountability. It’s easy to change direction when you realize that you’ve been walking in circles for far too long.
“Knowing can be a curse on a person’s life. I’d traded in a pack of lies for a pack of truth, and I didn’t know which one was heavier. Which one took the most strength to carry around? It was a ridiculous question, though, because once you know the truth, you can’t ever go back and pick up your suitcase of lies. Heavier or not, the truth is yours now.”
Sue Monk Kidd, Secret Life of Bees
I can honestly say that the baggage I carried…still carry…is heavy. I can say the lies were heavier, but the truth, well, it’s awkward. Like carrying a box that’s wider than your arms and just tall enough to force you to look ahead and trust that the next step will be beneath you and not a free fall into the unknown abyss of life’s undeniable reality, whether past or present. The truth is, we have a lot of unpacking to do. Sometimes we come to a spot on the path, a green, grassy meadow, and we decide to set up shop. We spend so much time thinking that we have to get somewhere that we don’t realize we are where we belong, all the time. Maybe that tree needs to be rested under, climbed, trimmed, or appreciated for its gnarls and knots…the tangled branches…maybe it’s the perfect tree for a tire swing to wile away the summer hours…My father is a fantastic tree. I’ve spent years searching for a different tree- a better tree. A nicer tree that was easier to climb, prettier to look at, less obstructive and somehow…NOT that tree. When you spend all of your time trying to find something and you just keep coming upon the same thing- it would serve you well to take a good long look at that. Sometimes all a thing needs, all a person needs, is to be loved and accepted as it stands. Ask yourself, do I deny others that which I most crave? You will see that the answer is probably yes. I climbed the tree and looked out upon the Kingdom of my Heart and saw that there was a forest beyond that tree. I felt denied. I realized that I had denied myself the forest and in doing so, denied the forest my self.
“We are all on our own journey, but the way we choose to walk it, affects the path of everyone because we are all on the same path.” Melissa
Where do I go from here?
Holding onto what someone else did to us is an excuse to stay bound to the past. it’s a way to avoid, if not deny our own accountability in the actions or lack thereof, in our own life. It is also a way to control life. Never forget that the Ego is a control freak, with a capital F. The Ego cannot exist in that which it doesn’t control, or know. You cannot know the future, but you can decide not to take the Ego into it and It knows this. Excuses, binding ourselves to what was, is an open invitation to Ego. It’s crack to the addict. I’ve really struggled with this in the past because I lose the balance between what I have done and taking the blame for it all. I issue a lot of “get out of jail free” cards to others by announcing my accountability in the relationship and not expecting them to do the same. It’s rare that I will hear another person follow-up my ownership with their own. As my Healer would say, That’s not their path. You know, it still pisses me off. It’s hard to walk the path with patience, grace, love and acceptance. But you can’t walk anywhere if you are waiting for something that will never come- or at least not anytime soon. Sometimes you have to make a choice- freedom from your prison, or sharing theirs. That’s the truth. Sometimes the tree isn’t strong enough to climb. Sometimes branches break. Sometimes we appreciate the tree, we love the person, and they cannot love themselves. Trying to change that is another way we can bind ourselves to a past that they, themselves are stuck in. You have to know when to walk away…when you’ve outstayed your welcome…when someone else would like to go. It’s not that you are alone, it’s that while you’re standing there waiting, others are passing you by and wondering what in the hell you are staring at. So pick up your suitcase of truth, trust that along the way you will lighten your load when you learn that your truth doesn’t have to be everyone else’s and you don’t have to carry a truth that isn’t yours.