CHALLENGE TEN REFLECTION
This blog is part of a series. You might want to check out the initial blog of the series http://hubpages.com/hub/MERRY-HUBS-MONTH to get a quick overview snapshot of the series and how this blog fits in. BUT this blog also stands on its own!! Well, maybe it’s tilting just a tad! Okay, I’ll shush so you can read.
I believe in critical mass events. You know, each of us does our little teeny tiny bit to make the world a better place to live, and lo and behold, some spectacular event occurs out of the blue, like the fall of the Berlin Wall. So imagine what could happen if each of us did our little teeny tiny part to make peace with those we love, our husbands, wives, partners, our children, our parents, those in our neighborhood, those at our work, those in our church. Oh yea, lots of wars within church communities! In my book, From The Frying Pan To The Jacuzzi, I invite couples to consider that their committment to work on their relationship is their personal contribution to the war on Terrorism.
Do you know how many folks will not get together with family during the holidays because of family feuds which just go on and on and on with no willingness on anybody’s part to come to some resolve or PEACE? I have couples, either on the verge of divorce or divorced for ten years or more, carrying on a war that rivals the conflict between Israel and Palestine. Of course, their children pay an extremely high price. And so do they, and so does everyone else around them, and maybe all of us share in the price in some way or another. The ol' ripple or butterfly effect.
What drives us to keep such wars going?
For me, making peace raises the fear of surrendering, losing, having to eat crow, having to admit that I am dead wrong, having to admit that someone else is RIGHT! Ugh! I hate being wrong!
My history of being hell bent on not wanting to be wrong harkens back to my relationship with Dad. Even when Dad WAS wrong, he was still right. Man, it drove me almost insane. It created this uncontrollable urge to catch Dad being wrong, and then do whatever I could, to rub it in his face. And just as an aside, what is the mechanism, anyway, that one becomes privileged to be RIGHT when, in fact, you are absolutely WRONG? Oh, I would love to have such a privilege! I’m sixty four, and somehow I missed the boat on that one. I never got a thing in the mail asking me to sign up for the right society, like you do for Whose Who. So how did Dad get that privilege? If someone out there knows the REAL answer, let me know. No "tripe" answers like parents deserve our respect no matter what. Boy that’s as crazy as it gets. They do not deserve that. No one does.
And what is really nuts? There are a lot of self-defeating behaviors I practice faithfully, sometimes daily, simple stuff like being late when I could be on time, just to rub it in Dad’s face! The worst part of it all is Dad is DEAD!
Recently, a friend of mine was telling me that he finally realized that he "unconsciously" NEVER files his taxes on time as a way to get back at his Dad, who was an accountant and always warned him that if he didn’t keep it all on the up and up with the IRS, he would someday go to jail. In fact, his Dad would call him every April 15 and ask him if he were in jail yet.
When I reminded him that his father had been dead for twelve years, he looked stunned, then smiled and laughed. "Oh my God," he said. "I’ve been carrying on a war without any enemy."
We talked about the insidiousness of those primordial relationships (relationships with Mom and Dad) taking up residence in our head, so that even when these folks are dead, the war goes on! Because their voices are so LOUD in our head, we imagine, literally imagine, that we can still rub their noses in whatever it is we are still trying to prove them wrong about.
We both concurred that it was time to make peace! And making peace is probably the greatest gift we can give ourselves and anyone else with whom we are at war. Yes, the implication is there. When I am at war with someone else, I am ultimately at war with myself and vice versa. A part of me or all of me and a part of them or all of them is going to die!
Right now, there are people in my life who I treat kindly and even lovingly, but I am not at peace with. I am on guard when I am with them. I hold on to the times they tried to kill me (metaphorically), and I still hold them as dangerous. Now, whatever truth there is to my assessment, I want to keep reminding myself that I am all growed up. I am sixty four years old, for crying out loud. Maybe I can be appropriately self protective when I am with these folks by staying conscious of the conversation, the topic of the conversation, and keeping in check that little whirlwind of energy inside of me that wants to "blow" them away and show them that I am big and bad and can’t be pushed around. But at sixty four, I can see it coming. I know ahead of time what is going to start a war. I really can catch myself, and even excuse myself, leave that person’s presence for awhile. A bathroom break is an awesome end to a potential war! Whatever it takes to stop the toxicity that the two of us are adept at brewing. I don’t have to sit there and take it, because ultimately when I’m taking it, Im really just egging for a fight! And I’m not talking about the ax murderer who lives next door (just joking), but I’m talking about people who are just like me, people who are doing their best to make it through this life, people who are my relatives, friends, and colleagues. They are as dangerous as I am when I get on my high horse!
Imagine that? I’m dangerous too! Nothing like looking in the mirror!
Hey, you know, there is a very interesting novel, Your Valved Voice, written by Roger Pierce. The title comes from a line in a Walt Whitman poem. Roger’s story takes place after a nuclear holocaust, and one of the characters in the novel is attempting to put into practice the Beatitudes.
There is also the Tao Te Ching, the Chinese Scriptures written by Lao Tsu over twenty five hundred years ago, which perhaps not coincidentally, sound very much like the Beatitudes, particularly the paradoxes. In a recent book, Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life, Wayne Dyer, meditates on each of the verses of the Tao. Both Roger’s and Wayne’s books are excellent reading. Well, I know Roger on a first name basis, but not Wayne!
The material in these books provide me with a map for making peace. And I think we do need some kind of map. As hard as we try to let go of the need to be right, the awful feelings surrounding being proven wrong can short circuit our best efforts. So it’s good to have a map to follow, a map that will bridge those moments we want to revert to getting on our high horse and being dangerous!
What would happen if I made peace? What would happen? Wow! I am not asking what would happen if other people made peace with me or made peace period. But what would happen if I made peace. I mean that’s what I have control over. I can make peace with everyone, if I want to. Of course, it is HARD to do. But it is doable.
Now making peace doesn’t mean you have to lay down and be steam-rolled. It just means you have to be willing to put down your arms, and maybe open your arms, and tell those you love that you are DONE fighting.
Hey, let’s keep this simple. Don’t bring up self defense, because we are not talking about self defense examples here. We’re looking at the simple everyday relationships where our life is not on the line, only our pride, only our fear of being wrong, only our misperception that another person could actually make us feel small, when that is absolutely impossible. That small feeling is inside of us. It may be literally trapped inside our amygdala and has been trapped for a zillion years. Maybe even something we inherited.
But the small feeling, at this stage of my life, is about me and no one makes me have that small feeling. So I can even make peace with those folks I accuse of making me feel small.
It has been a warring week for me with many of the people I love dearly. As I try to conclude this blog, I am crying because I want so much for there to be peace, and I find myself stuck in not wanting to be wrong, not wanting to be smalll, all the things I can blog about, but find difficult to shift into gear at this moment.
My fellow blogger. Dave, sent me a link today to one of his blogs. http://hubpages.com/hub/Affirmation-Nine-It-is-My-Intention-To-Be-authentic-and-peaceful-with-all-of-my-relatives I know he did not know I was struggling to complete this blog, but that’s how life works when we live in the awareness that we are connected to each other. I reread his hub, and I would invite you too as well.
Maybe the best way to end this blog is with St. Francis’ Peace Prayer
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
when there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
Grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand,
to be loved as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.