Archive for the ‘Forgiveness’ Category
Without clients my life just isn’t complete. I shine when I see people move on from their fears, their pain, their acceptance of letting go. I feel them changing at the other end of the telephone line. Their voices lower, their shoulders relax.
Sometimes all it takes is one or two words, sometimes it takes longer. More often than not, just being at the end of the phone for encouragement, support and validation of a client’s feelings is the first step to them being able to move on with the rest of their life.
I want to share this email, and I have permission from the writer to do so. I’ve been moved to tears by her words. Please enjoy them and understand my work too.
Last week, a situation between me, and let’s say “significant other” whom I had been involved in a “relationship” of kinds with in my life reached breaking point. Our relationship terminated forever. Neither one of us can go back to where we were.
For three days I had not been able to stem the tears, the hurt and pain weeping out of every pore, the mind going over every conversation, every event, over and over like a mad person just possessed by the pain, reliving every beautiful moment but unable to comprehend why or how it suddenly, and literally overnight, turned into the ugliest and most painful experience.
I don’t reach out on personal matters. Its something my hard exterior will not allow. If I let someone inside the brick wall that surrounds me, they will hurt me…..past experience tells me this…and now I have learnt that when you allow people inside, where you heart is raw and hurting, there is quite simply the capacity for someone to wound it further.
I am an armadillo. What the world sees is the tough shell.
If there was a chance of making the relationship better I would have leapt in a heart beat to it. Like the word fatal after a car crash, this relationship had ended fatally too. In my heart I knew the separation was ultimately the absolute best thing in many many ways, the pain was still crippling. I could not see a way forward, and despite my life being almost hideously fortuitous in every other way, this person absence from my life was soul destroying.
Through these days, one person was popping in and out of my conscious mind. My twitter contact Jackie Walker. Her location “at the end of the phone” was propelling me to call her. I was not sure why.
The universe I guess was at play. We meet people after all, for a reason, season or lifetime…..and there is no such thing as a chance meeting.
From the moment the phone rang, and I started to talk, the tears started to spill, I was almost hyperventilating as I cried, unable to breathe, the hurt inside as I spoke, tearing me apart and just hearing someone’s calm and rational voice, that cared, someone who just let me talk, who understood the pain, who asked the right questions, who gently probed was enough….….until an hour and a half later not only could I actually breathe again but the heavy black cloud that has engulfed me for the past 72 hours had started to part allowing rays of sunshine to pour into my heart and start to just melt the ice that had surrounded my insides and stopped my lungs from functioning. As Jackie probed and questioned the answers that I was searching for, that perhaps I knew already deep inside, started to talk to my logical brain. As I rubbished the way I felt, embarrassed to say the words “I loved this person, I care, and I feel hurt and angry” Jackie gave me utter permission to not only feel this way, but to almost celebrate allowing the emotion to come out.
It was an exhausting call, I had totally purged my emotion in a way that society tells me is simply not appropriate to do. My instant trust in jackie reassured me it was OK. Jackie left me with some amazing meditations to cut the emotional ties that were holding me down and to just cut myself and focus on all the wonderful things that remain in my life, which are actually the most wondrous and precious things of all.
The next few hours and days became easier to cope with the feelings, and several days later I can now reflect on this call.
Jackie is a mediator. Her passion and dedication is to mediate Ugly situations. I could not ask for mediation as my situation was long past that but, I know with Jackie’s help, my situation would not have ended the way it had if we had tried to resolve it with her help. I’ve never really understood the role of a mediator to facilitate improving a relationship, but I realize now, with no uncertainty at all, that someone with the gifts that Jackie has, can truly truly help.
I didn’t really know Jackie until that call. However the person at “the end of the phone” allowed me to share how I feel, she gently guided me through all the hurt probing me for answers and solutions and ways forward….and it was so natural it was like talking to my best friend, it wasn’t embarrassing or awkward and in such a relatively short time I could see the answers and solutions needed to actually move forward. My life had literally been suspended in mid air for 3 days, I would still be there now if it was not for the support from Jackie.
I absolutely would not hesitate in recommending Jackie to help others, especially people struggling within a relationship and preferably before its too late. I think perhaps we all hold onto so much pain inside, that if left trapped not only does in not allow you to move forward but the ugliness of the situation will always stay within you locked in the “here and now”. Jackie is someone you can open up to who will guide you through and out the other side.
I had a conversation which would have been impossible only a week ago. I felt calm, centred and grounded. I came from a place of willingness. At the other end of the phone, there was a tight voice, and as the conversation developed, it relaxed, became gentler, and the words flowed. There was space, on the line, for creating peace.
Hitting The Spot
I got to wondering about the times in our lives when nothing hits the spot. D’you find that you become disenchanted and bored with the contents of your fridge. The food you’ve been eating which once fulfilled you, is now boring. You yearn for something else, something to get your teeth into, to excite the taste buds and maybe even test your culinary skills.
I wondered then if perhaps we get bored with some of the interactions we’ve had with others and whether that affects us similarly. I know that this particular relationship is one which is too often trying, it’s monotonous in its predictability. It was time for something new. It just took a new recipe, and maybe a new shopping list of skills.
Peace … Again
Whatever it took, I’m going with the ease of today, and not resting on my laurels that it will continue unaided, it needs to be tended and nurtured. There’s much pain to undo, there’s a whole new relationship to be built, it might or might not be possible. My dearest hope and wish is that it doesn’t go back to the monotony of bitterness. If it were all up to me, I could guarantee it.
This is the challenge I have. If I’ve learned my lesson, the previous troubles should now fall away. What if the other person has lessons to learn which makes it continue? Or is it really going to be true that it won’t bother me anymore, it will be water off a duck’s back and that alone is what will create the peace? Ah, yes I think that’s it.
It’s hit the spot between the eyes, the third eye! I see it all clearly now.
Wow, this is even better than I thought at the beginning of the post and it’s nowhere near 800 words, but I’m done for today – my creation was in my conversation, live outloud writing!
I loved Status Quo but I don’t think I very often thought about the words I was singing along to. Often we don’t, especially if it’s an upbeat tune … we’re more likely to listen and remember words to love songs, or sad songs as we’re drawn to them to help find meaning in our own worlds. When we’re happy and upbeat we tend not to look inside, or even outside, for meaning but just accept the feelings of fun, peace, happiness – however you like to feel.
This last week, at the start of the 215800 challenge, I began to have old issues come up to the surface – was this the yoga, the meditation or was it just a repeat pattern? A seven year old pattern I thought I’d dealt with and put to bed to be precise. Or was this the time to go even deeper?
None of the changes and doors which I’ve shut this year have been about my family life. To date they’ve addressed – career, self belief, finances, training, knowledge, health, friends and trust – all needing a depth charger. I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised that family would be added into the mix at some point.
After 4 days of handling the first issue, insult was added to injury – or perhaps more likely, because I didn’t handle the first blip well, I was given an even bigger issue on top of the first in the same context. It was only when this happened that I began to realise that it wasn’t a repeat pattern, it was a depth charged door shutting exercise.
How did it go so wrong? After all, I’m an experienced and able therapist and tend to my own needs on a very regular basis. I’m also a human being with human failings, human needs and human learnings. I say this often in my blogs. Anyone who believes they are above and beyond the realms of being tested or willing to work on themselves and able to go deeper will stop evolving and learning.
I found myself angry, very angry. I thought I was being dis-respected, controlled, belittled, judged and excluded. That’s quite a list! I was in conflict with myself too. I knew I knew better than to react and after doing some work around this, found that I was responding calmly and rationally. I was actually very proud of how I was handling the situation.
That was until the second one came along and really took the wind out of my sails! Ok, I thought, this is now a bit bigger and requires a different approach. I reached out to a friend for some help and asked what I was missing. I knew it was me that needed to change my approach, but what I couldn’t see was the lesson and without the lesson, I couldn’t change. Is that just me, or do others find that the lesson has to be learned first?
I started to ask myself ‘What’s the worst that could happen’? and then ‘What’s the best that could happen’? When you truly can’t answer the first question, you know you’ve got the result you need, or you haven’t really got a problem!
I began with, ‘I’ll be treated like this for the rest of my life, or at least for the next 4 years’. When I realised we’d already made it through 7 years, 4 years was quite easy!
I then asked if that was actually true. Had it been 7 years of this, or just specific times in the 7 years? Was it really so awful? Was I making some of it up? Was I perpetuating my myth?
That meant I could then start to concentrate on how I could make a difference to helping the best to come to fruition.
Did it really matter what I thought about this person’s attitude? Could I create more flexibility? Could I look at this as their reaction to something and not take it personally? How could I disengage and let go while continuing to care and be available? How easy would it be for me to feel at peace and for what reason was I not letting it happen?
I made the choice to disengage and be at peace within myself. To test I’d made the right choice, I was presented with a phone call yesterday with a friend who isn’t into self development and there’s always a good chance that my way is not his!
It sure wasn’t and as I found myself listening to his solutions to my problem – fight fight fight. I could feel myself shaking my head, my stomach was giving little cramping signs, and I was silently saying ‘No, no. That doesn’t fit with me and my way’. After then being criticised for being a therapist and not handling my problems, I knew for sure that the chosen solution for my peace was absolutely the right one. I smiled and said thank you. I reminded myself that as a mediator I had just been given yet another wonderful lesson to use and practice.
All conflict is internal. Whether we are facing world, community, work, school, or relationship conflict – we must first look at the conflict we have within. When we are able to find what we really want instead of conflict, we are then able to work towards that.
I’m blessed to be able to mediate with my own inner conflicts, this one took very little time once I realised what I was dealing with. Bang, another door is shut!
I don’t know about you but sometimes a phrase or a word jumps out at me when I’m reading something and this morning as I read my ‘A Note from the Universe’, it happened again. ‘Seek Understanding’.
So I went and had a shower, and I made another coffee – decaff of course – and still ‘seek understanding’ is bouncing around the walls in my head and more than that, it’s sitting low down in my solar plexus and heart area too – I know that it’s important for me to pay attention when the message has an impact on my body.
It dawned on me that I’d just read a lovely blog by @JaneCWoods about swopping shoes for the day – this too is about seeking understanding.
With a double message in under an hour, I realised that I had some work to do. Who or what am I not understanding?
I started to examine what I’d been missing and I began to realise that understanding underpins love, respect and compassion. This isn’t new and is certainly something I advocate already, but today it’s going deeper.
What is understanding after all. Is it simply making sense of something, is it being willing to open your mind to a wider reality, is it being prepared to be ‘not right’? Or is it really about being willing to let go of your beliefs long enough to create a space into which love and compassion can flow.
Often we say we understand very quickly while inside us there’s a wee niggle which says ‘You don’t really but it’s easier and quicker to say you do’ . It often says ‘Don’t push just agree’.
To truly understand we have to be both passive and active – we might have to ask the question we don’t want to ask, we might have to check whether the understanding to be gained comes from outside ourselves or from within. Sometimes others do hold the answer to our learnings but more often than not, that answer is only the light being shone so that we can see what we have missed.
This morning I’m looking over some events which have happened in the last couple of months where perhaps I’ve not sought better understanding. With true understanding, one needs to detach totally from your own agenda.
We all have agendas and we all have goals and purposes and dreams to fulfill (if you don’t then it’s a good time to start making some ;)) Our paths are littered with people and situations which are there to help us, to teach us, to get in the way, to test our resolve, and to determine whether or not we are willing to understand.
What is it we are seeking to understand though? We need to understand the truth. The truth can hurt until we learn that it’s only feedback to help us grow. The truth is something which when we take personally or resist means you will never gain the understanding.
Stop, look and listen – outside and inside and seek understanding of others and of yourself. It’s a two way message and this is what is so often missing. Thank you TUT and Jane for mine.
Isn’t there a song which says ‘I wish I knew then what I know now’? This week my very good friend and colleague Tom Evans (@thebookwright) has tweeted his book One Hundred Years of Ermintrude.
It really is an extraordinary book, simple and yet profound. You can read it in next to no time, yet your feelings about it are still reeling hours, days, weeks and even months after.
The story is written in reverse – it is the story of a lady called Ermintrude who is 100 and she looks back over her life at the high and low points and many others in between.
When I’m working with clients who are unable to see past their current situation, I often ask them to imagine looking back on it as if they were now 80 years old and finding out what the older person in their future advises them to do. We can do this flip flopping about in time quite easily really, it just takes a bit of willingness to play.
You can use time travel in all sorts of other ways to create a different result. By that I mean it won’t actually alter what happened, but it can alter the feelings you have about it. Imagine if you were able to send back messages to the younger you so that they would know that all would be fine, perhaps you could even give the younger person some courage, some love and some resources to help them through.
Can you imagine just how helpful living your life backwards would be. Tom says something about living our lives backwards and experiencing them forwards – I’m picking up what he’s putting down, are you?
This story says it all, you get the results you focus on … enjoy …
“The Wolves Within”
An old Grandfather said to his grandson, who came to him with anger at a friend who had done him an injustice, “Let me tell you a story.
I too, at times, have felt a great hate for those that have taken so much, with no sorrow for what they do.
But hate wears you down, and does not hurt your enemy. It is like taking poison and wishing your enemy would die. I have struggled with these feelings many times.” He continued, “It is as if there are two wolves inside me. One is good and does no harm. He lives in harmony with all around him, and does not take offense when no offense was intended. He will only fight when it is right to do so, and in the right way.
But the other wolf, ah! He is full of anger. The littlest thing will set him into a fit of temper. He fights everyone, all the time, for no reason. He cannot think because his anger and hate are so great. It is helpless anger,for his anger will change nothing.
Sometimes, it is hard to live with these two wolves inside me, for both of them try to dominate my spirit.”
The boy looked intently into his Grandfather’s eyes and asked, “Which one wins, Grandfather?”
The Grandfather smiled and quietly said, “The one I feed.”
3 years ago I wrote this poem for my Dad, and then read it at his funeral – my first public speaking experience. Things weren’t always great between us, but there’s always time to understand, grow and make up when you come from a place of grace and forgiveness. I’d made mistakes and so did he.
‘I’ll tell you’ I said
waiting for a nod from his head,
‘your love and respect,
your lack of regret.
Many will say
In the cold light of day
I loved that great man
Who taught me ‘I can’
Compassion and laughter
Were things that did matter
To a life once led
Outside the confines of bed
For all the odd grumbles
And occasional tumbles
You always stood true
To your family and crew
As one voice we unite
To support your big fight
Move on with our blessing
And stop your distressing
This time is for you
One day we’ll come too
For now our dear man
We’ll remember ‘I can’
Jackie Roberts, 2006
Parents are extraordinary people, they aren’t given a handbook they can only do the best they can. They are only human and they have their own histories to contend with. Bestowing parents with an expectation beyond being human is a mistake we often make .
Becoming a parent myself and not getting things right has given me the latitude, grace and forgiveness needed to not only unconditionally accept my own parents but also to love the differences which make them so very special – I’m glad I chose to be their daughter! With no-one else would I have had the possibilities and lessons I’ve had from them.
What have you learned from this post?