A wonderful life

Summer nap

Fred, Esther, Bodhi and Noah taking a summer nap

It has taken me most of my life to realize that if I have a problem with something or someone then I have a problem. The “problem” is mine and the problem is always with my thinking.  I’ve heard this stated in 100 different ways but one of my favorites was something I heard Edween Gaines (a Unity minister) say, “If I see a problem with anyone, it is my vision that needs correcting”.

For a while, I thought this meant that I was the only screwed up person, no one else did anything wrong, and I needed to change so I would feel love toward them. This seemed like an impossible task. …and it was.

What I have come to see is that everyone really is perfect. Just because I don’t like the way they are acting, how they are treating me, or others, doesn’t mean that my vision of how they should behave is the right one. That is arrogance in the extreme…and ego running the show.

I am the only one who can determine what is right for me. If I’m around someone who is perpetually hostile or unpleasant and I choose to stay, how can I blame them? How can I call their behaviour wrong? If I want them to change, so I can be happy then I am trying to make them into the image of perfection that I like. Again, arrogance in the extreme.

But knowing that everyone is living the life of their choice (which I have no right to judge) also means that I can leave them, or ask them to leave, or not invite them into my life, without assuming that they are wrong.

I know a woman who stays married to an unhappy, disconnected, mean-spirited, man because she feels like she need to accept him as he is. And she has suffered for years over his behaviour. She has contorted herself 1000 different ways to get him to love her, while all the time ignoring her own pain, which is saying, “Make a new choice for yourself”.

Her ego is in charge but she thinks she is being “spiritual” by staying, while it is so clear, from the outside (and isn’t it always so easy to see from the outside!) that the most loving thing that she could do for herself and him is to leave. He is perfect just the way he is. It is clear that he isn’t perfect for her but she stays because she thinks that he is someone who needs her to fix him. She vacillates between feeling sorry for him, and being angry at him, and he just continues along ignoring her as she continues to ignore her dreams for a happy life.

Dare to dream of a happy life. See it, love it, become it…and that vision will guide and direct you in ways that you could never figure out, manipulate or plan. Trust that you were meant to live a wonderful life.

 

“Everyone is perfect, just as they are, but there are some people whose perfection I choose not to be around.” Edween Gaines

6 thoughts on “A wonderful life

  1. Another “keeper” of a post. It will take a quite a few re-reads of this one. The whole question of staying/remaining/continuing relationships – thinking things are their fault or thinking things are our fault——”if I’m so spiritual and loving, I “should” stay”; If it’s my the way I “see” that person I “should” change my vision of that person.” So many of us think/thought that we must stay and stay and stay – - I once read something that essentially stated we can see their perfection, but we don’t have to do lunch with them. You’ve given us a wonderful way to start to look at our relationships with new eyes.

  2. Oh my, Mary, timing is everything and I sure needed your post this morning. I woke up still angry about a confrontation I had yesterday and needing some guidance…and here you are! My mother being difficult is the norm and I thought I was doing pretty good getting around that but yesterday it slammed me right in the head when I did something that set her off….and off into where she dwells into her unhappy past. Surprisingly (for me to be hearing it) she said things in a way that were so like my childhood that I immediately bristled ~ wow, I’m 59 and words can still affect me.
    Wanting her to be normal, pleasant, happy, is arrogant on my part, I can agree with that. At 85 it’s hard to cut off contact with her but I sure feel like I could go awhile without speaking! That’s not going to happen but I’m torn between my options. I know this is unhealthy for me which is why I try to avoid confrontation with her. Would welcome any thought… And, I’m going to make this a good day. ❤️

  3. WOW! So well said. I’m saving the quote Edween Gaines quote on my desktop as a good reminder. Thank you again for your spiritual, insightful, poetic posts.

  4. Mary, I have had enough therapy to know that I can only change myself, not others and that acceptance, if I so choose, is essential in some relationships which I do not wish to terminate….but…I also believe that there are people, who for whatever reason, have difficult personalities because they ‘see’ things differently, for one reason or another…it may be, for example, someone with Aspergers, which, if high functioning, means they are in relationships and that in itself presents challenges. I don’t subscribe to being responsible for their behaviour but I do know that dealing with difficult people, as Marion explains above, can be a real challenge and requires great patience and skill to try and see things from their point of view and not my own. My mother, who’d argue black was white just to be contrary, it seemed, was fairly difficult at times, ready to do battle verbally on a moment’s notice…but I found that having a sense of humour with her, teasing her out of her difficult moments, worked well for us in later age.
    SandyP in Canada

  5. The Buddhist nun Pema Choedroen often says that what we perceive as difficult people, or difficult situations are there to teach us something about ourselves, but it’s not always clear to me what it is that l am supposed to learn (patience is one of these virtues that usually trips me up). So I fail the lessons again and again :-)
    I love the quote by Edween Gaines – thanks for that Cheshire Cat grin early on a sunny morning in northern BC.

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