Healing work can only come through a brutal self honesty….also referred to as “radical self honesty.”  This is because of how  adept we are at ducking responsibility for how we react and respond to others around us.  Until you are able to get to this deep level of honesty about what is happening, you will be unable to heal. It seems that only this kind of self examination is the prerequisite to true healing.

Not long ago I was able to heal something pretty important in my life.  I had been told for years that I might just have to find a way to forgive the person who was part of the issue that has been involved.  It sounds reasonable to think this, and I think that in some cases, it works.  But what I have found is that the only path to true healing is by forgiving yourself.  Why?  It seems that karma has to do with you, not the world.  This is the radical side to being honest.  If something was your problem, then forgiving another person would not heal the karma.  The only way is to inquire within not without. If the problem really is about how you felt, then forgiving another is like lying to yourself, the same act as projecting all of your junk on another when that junk should be examined as your own baggage, not the other way around. On a karmic level, it is dishonest to try and saddle another person for your own shit, but sadly this is what we all do at some point or another.  My recent healing was in learning not to be reactive to those who would try to make their own shit my problem.  I simply stopped responding, stopped reacting.  This small simple thing gave me enough breathing room in my spirit to effect the release of something that has dogged me for so long.  It worked because it was true.  The soul knows the truth even when the personality does not.  You can’t bullshit yourself into the truth.  You just can’t.

I was also talking with an old friend and teacher from my college days today.  I had reached out to see how she was after she had gone through a PhD program and went from doing art to a big change into mediation work with inner city kids.  Something told me that something was up and that I needed to check in after a couple of years of being out of touch.  I recently contacted another old teacher in the same way recently to express to him how his teaching had impacted my creative life.  He died about six months after I told him this.  Life waits for no one.  So I jumped on this and acted because, well, you just never know.

We wound up in a conversation about the trials she has been going through with family.  She explained how this other person was the source of so much pain in her life.  Gently, through a series of turns, I explained how important it was to learn to see these things in a different way.  I began with a simple quote by Wayne Dwyer which states that how someone else acts is their karma, and how YOU react to them is your karma.  Do you get that small but important difference?  No one ever makes you feel any way at all, except that we each choose, yes choose, to feel the way we do.  After all, I explained, she could easily have a sibling who, going through the exact same thing might just wave off the same behavior as something not worth worrying about when it comes to that other person.  I see this all the time. I saw it in my family, I have seen it in class mates in college, and I have seen it in my children, too.  Two children living the same kind of life see and react completely differently.  The difference is in how we choose to feel.  Simple.  But people continue to want to see that it is the other person’s fault for HOW they MAKE them feel.  No, no one MAKES you feel anything.  YOU make YOU feel.  That is how things work.  Knowing this and living this truth is the only way to get out of the emotional and spiritual prison that we often find ourselves in, in our lives.

The problem with how we normally go about this way of relating is that we make everyone around us responsible for our feelings.  Normal sensitivity aside, we each have a choice.  I explained to her that by thinking and acting this way she not only misdirected her awareness, she also gave her sibling the power that she now has over her, which she has such a glitch now in dealing with.  It has resulted in a pretty big block emotionally for her, and she wound up revealing the severity of how she felt (which wound up being the most honest thing she could have done during our talk).  But the challenge is that she has this block that goes way back to her past, an issue she knows comes from when she was a small child. And the problem with these old repressed and blocked emotions is that they emerge in our adult lives with the same level of maturity in them as when they were shoved down and repressed to begin with.  Now imagine having a feeling that haunts you that was designed by a three year old. No perspective, lots of drama, and me, me, me. That is the kind of thing you get over and over until the issue is healed.  Can you imagine just how hard it would be to have to deal with the merry go round of feeling  something like this?

Until we can get really honest with ourselves about what is at work within ourselves, these repressed emotions simply keep playing themselves over and over seemingly with no end in sight, no resolution.  People die or move away and so often we feel like they are the people that we need in order to work this out with.  But this is the trick that keeps every  one of us in the game of our karmic entanglements.  She even asked me if she could clean this mess up if one or more of the people involved had passed from this life.  The answer was a firm “Yes!” because even though someone does die in the body, their soul lives on (and besides, the karma is not on THEM, it is on the person who owns it).

To do this, you just need radical honesty perhaps for the first time ever.  Take a moment and stop thinking about how someone pushes your buttons or upsets you and focus on how you wind up reacting to them. It is here, in how you actually do choose to react, that the problem emerges….for you.  Trust me, the way to healing all of this is by doing this.  When you hear yourself saying the words, “But he made me feel so rotten, so terrible….” STOP!!  Stop right there and back it up a little and look at what is happening here.  No, they are not the one who has power over you.  You have the power.  You have the power to find a way to release this so that YOUR issues cease entering into the marketplace of emotion.  You can go from being upset to realizing that this is just their stuff and has nothing to do with you and everything to do with them.  Pity the soul who must make another responsible for how they feel.  How powerless a state is that to be in?

The first step in authentic healing work is to clear up this one issue first.  If you are used to being the victim in life, this will be a hard one to overcome.  It will take time and training your mind to see things differently. But as you do, you will increasingly begin to breathe the fresh air of freedom instead of the stale air of dependency.  We have to be very clear about whose stuff is whose stuff.  My friend described a dream she had in the wake of a difficult encounter with her sibling that involved someone having pooped all over her yard.  Even in her dreaming she was aware that bad stuff was happening, but she was focused on the poop coming from someone else.  In the end, the shit was hers.  By going back into the dream, I explained, and imagining herself cleaning it up without making it anyone’s problem but her own, it would be one important way to cement just whose poop is whose, and then it would change the terms of engagement forever.  But I know how hard it is to shift so radically in order to see it this way.

Now mind you, I was the gold standard in shifting the blame at one point in my life.  I saw where it got me: nowhere.  Even though I did believe that others were responsible for my happiness, I learned that there is a different way, a more realistic way, and it is in our grasp.  When you can do this, this radical reorientation of the self, then things can change pretty quickly.  We each deserve this honesty even as we fear what its implications might be.  But the fear is unfounded.  Why we fear being honest might come from the fear of the unknown, or of upsetting others, or getting hurt by those who cannot or wont hear the truth.  But those who cannot bear the truth are probably not anyone that you could stand to be with in any significant way.  In the end, it is the greatest compassion you can pay yourself, something that might be hard, but is the greatest act of self love you can give yourself.  This really isn’t about anyone else but you, and the buck must stop here.

May you cast a great light in your life….

Advertisements