Have you noticed that loss, change and transitions invite the opportunity to drop the veils and get down and dirty with what is really important?
Simultaneously, what do you notice about all the ways you try not to be where you are, embrace what you’re feeling or face what is in front of you?
Within a few short weeks life asked me to respond to the crushing sudden death of my father and to end a romantic relationship with a man who had been the primary witness and cornerstone in my life.
I knew from my life experiences that my only job at the time was to stay present to all of my responses and feelings.
It seems to me that these thresholds melt the layers of defenses to invite asking the deeper questions.
For me, it usually feels like a time of aloneness. The kind of aloneness that calls me deep into the interiors of my heart. A heart that feels shredded and gaping in the cool breeze of life’s circumstances.
It is also the kind of aloneness that reminds me that, “I am held, and part of everything“, even when the ground from which I’ve stood trembles, cracks and crumbles.
“It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling me is true. I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself; if you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul; if you can be faithless and therefore trustworthy.”
— Oriah Mountain Dreamer
I resonate with Oriah’s poem because it speaks so eloquently about being true to oneself even if it appears to betray another.
When we override our deeper truth no one wins. But, when we are willing to cultivate greater presence with our own experience and to listen to the ‘knowing’ that guides us then opportunities open for authentic connection and flow.
Where do we join forces? With the ideas of who we think we ‘should be’ and how our life ‘should look’ or with something much more fundamental and quiet within?
The Courage to Start the Conversation: How do we each innocently betray ourselves?
What is it that we know, but we pretend we don’t know?
It is up to each of us to find the courage and discipline to start the conversations, with ourselves and others, that are being called forth. We also have a choice to invite the conversations that no one is having, but everyone is feeling and reacting to, or to stay in the dark together.
It takes courage to meet the fears that keep us attached or holding on to people, ideas and beliefs about how things should be and still show up to open the conversation. Being honest sometimes means rocking the boat to wake ourselves or others up out of our limited view.
The Impact of Denying Our Experience
One challenging crossroads can be the belief that accepting and sharing what we are authentically experiencing may feel like a betrayal to ourselves or another.
When I reflect upon my life I see the countless times that I held on longer to something, or someone, for fear of betrayal of ‘our agreement’ and a desire to stay connected. Whether this was a loved one, a job, a belief or a dream.
The smoke and mirrors of denying my needs in order to stay connected is fear in action. This fear says that ‘if I take care of myself I will lose connection with what is important to me’. It makes sense that this would arise because enjoying connection is a vital part of being human. What happens to the connection to ourselves?
When we allow fear to take the reigns, and we don’t trust the wisdom of the conversations that are arising from inside of us, we limit the depth of intimacy. A strategy to cloister ones heart and needs away, for whatever reason, can cut the sense of connectedness off.
Years ago when my ex-husband and I separated I felt storms of guilt and betrayal of him, our vows and the powerful love we shared. ‘We love each other so deeply, why can’t I make this work?’, I asked myself over and over again. It was heart wrenching for us both. However, it wasn’t long before he met someone, remarried and now has two beautiful children. If I had betrayed my feelings and truth would they have found each other and created their precious family?
Love Expresses Itself In Many Ways
What I’ve learned is that there is an infinite source of love guiding our lives. This doesn’t mean things won’t get messy or pain won’t arise.
It means we are being encouraged to take conscious responsibility for how love moves through us.
How often do we indulge the impulse to create drama or resist what is arising versus getting quiet and connecting to the conversation that is seeking attention? These honest conversations begin with ourselves.
Where in your life are you allowing the fear of betrayal, to yourself or others, override the wisdom that is speaking to you?
The process to uncover and embrace these strategies can feel like a solitary journey. No one can truly know or understand the subtleties of our belief systems, and the influence of our life experiences, that bring us to how we respond today.
Ironically, this inner exploration is one of the greatest love offerings we can give to our life, our children, our communities, all living beings on this planet and the world at large.
What practice do you have in your life that allows you to initiate the difficult conversations in order to stay connected?