I was talking with someone the other day and she seemed off. I wasn’t sure if this woman was just in a bad mood or was feeling physically ill, but the visit was edgy and a little uncomfortable. We’d made a plan to go out for coffee, and I really felt like cancelling, but I didn’t. Half way through our time together, she brought up something painful that I’d said to her in the past.
She said it with a laugh, but there was also a barb.
I almost apologized but stopped myself when I realized that I had already profusely apologized to her…several times. As a matter of fact, almost every time she brought up the past, I would find myself apologizing for something.
As I drove away, I thought, “No apology will ever be enough for her. She sees herself as an innocent player in a hurtful past and seems to crave, and get some sort of temporary relief from, apologies that she either can’t believe or accept. She wants to have meaningful, loving, relationships, yet holds onto the idea that almost everyone in her life has hurt her…and she will not forget, so she never really forgives anyone. She is stuck in the past…the unhappy, unloving, unfulfilled, past…and no one can free her except herself, but she doesn’t know it.”
I forgot about this interaction until several days ago, when I woke up in a less-than-good mood, began a conversation/grievance (can’t remember about what) with Jack, but was stopped mid-sentence when he said, “I am so sorry. Can’t we put that behind us? We are in such a new place….”
In that moment, I realized that I was doing the very thing that I hated being done to me. I was bringing up a past hurt (because of my own in-the-moment, bad mood/insecurity) and wanting Jack to, yet again, apologize, say he was wrong, say I was right, acknowledge how much he’d hurt me… I wasn’t at all interested in looking honestly at my own past behavior and how I’d hurt him. Nope…in that moment, I was (rather unconsciously) blaming him for my bad feelings and demanding that he make me feel better.
I sat there quietly and thought; “No one can free me except myself. It doesn’t matter what he says now. If I don’t change, I will continue to be the same kind of emotional victim that I find so unappealing.” This new thought brought a feeling of light to my mind and heart and I even felt grateful for that interaction with the woman several weeks earlier. It was as if I was given a glimpse of who I was or would become, if I didn’t change.
I also knew that I was being called up to higher level of living/love and that keeping my mind and thoughts in the now, continuing to gently turn them away from past and future, was the key to everything in this expanded field. Of course I’ve known this (at some level) for years, but this incident: being able to see this negative pattern in myself so clearly, brought me to a new awareness that the work of awakening is really quite a trip…and one that I really want to be on!
“Suffering is not holding you. You are holding suffering. When you become good at the art of letting sufferings go, then you’ll come to realize how unnecessary it was for you to drag those burdens around with you. You’ll see that no one else, other than you, was responsible. The truth is that existence wants your life to become a festival.” Osho
Mary’s Skin Survival Balm available now!
I’ve made another batch of my skin balm. If you are interested in purchasing any, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can. The tins are 2 oz and are $8.95 each (buy 4, get one free). Shipping is $3 for one, and a flat $4 for any amount over one.