Life isn’t here to serve us it is here to unfold some larger mystery through us.
This thought came to me when I was considering a reply to a friend who has been emailing me recently. We came into contact after many years apart, over 20 and have been sharing about our lives and relationships, most especially with our parents: the difficulties and challenges we went through and the harsh treatment my friend received when growing up from her father around her emotions fears and vulnerabilities.
What she told me was a very poignant story of how as a child she would be scared of the dark and want a light left on. Her father bullied her and told her she was being a baby for needing this. Now many years later her aging father, a Vietnam vet, has the onset of dementia and it is being recommended that a light be left on at night, which he is accepting. I understood this was such a profound thing she had communicated to me. It showed how the fears, vulnerabilities and traumatic experience of a parent’s hidden inner child will be played out by their children only to meet with the resistance, defences and fears of the parent’s own history.
Due to this kind of treatment by her parent while growing up my friend was attracted to abusive relationships where she was put down or her needs were not met. The harsh invulnerable stance by her father had its effect, but in later life she is choosing forgiveness. It is not always an easy call, but in reflecting on it, growing in awareness around these kinds of issues shows us that without a choice around the treatment we received in time resentment can only be diminished through the realisation “they did the best they could with what they had” even though that best was definitely not good enough. In this moment armed with this awareness we have the choice to respond differently and take care of ourselves while not abandoning other people.
Many years ago I remember having a conversation with a therapist I was in touch with long distance. He said to me, “I know it is very hard at times, but perhaps once you can realise in the case of your family that the way they respond to you had nothing to do with you and is more about their own projected fears, vulnerabilities, inadequacies and insecurities, in time you will be able to live with them by realising they are unconscious. This will free you from the burden of thinking there is anything wrong with you.”
This journey of coming to be okay with me, with knowing that the things that made me not okay were very much concerned with coming to believe I was not okay due to the projected “not okayness” of others has been a long one. At times I have even had the thought “Can I even dare to hope that this is true?”, a kind of disbelief in the face of it, sad to say. And in any case I am now even beginning to see that a lot of my beliefs around how other people aren’t quite getting it right in my own eyes would be best dropped. The realisation is dawning that they are okay for doing what they do, because that is what they were conditioned to believe or do, or what circumstances (many of which may have been out of their own control) led them to do. It is just a case of life unfolding with all different levels of consciousness.
To let go of judgement does not mean you don’t see what they do. It means that you recognise their behaviour as a kind of conditioning, and you see it, and accept it as that, You don’t construct an identity out of it for that person.
That liberates you as well as the other person from identification with form, with mind. The ego then no longer runs your relationships.
I’ve also been reflection this morning about what Eckhart Tolle calls the “victim story”. I have reservations around this at times. When we are small or when we are not yet fully conscious we can become victims of all kinds of things others throw at us and perpetrate on us. As we grow we come to realise that things that have harmed and hurt and we are on a quest to be free of them. And yet these self same things we are struggling to be free of and which we define as “not okay” are the very things that shape us and in some way will never be totally free of and will lead to us feeling okay about ourselves once resolved. In time awareness will come, with this awareness we will be able to make new choices and be less of a victim in the future.
The turn around from the “victim story” comes when we see the larger picture of life’s unfolding which only led us to certain realisations due to the fact, that at one time we were victims, often acted upon by larger forces in either family, culture or collective.
I’m dwelling on this a little lately after sustaining yet another injury that has echoes along familial and personal lines stretching back over a number of years. Over years I must be honest and say I have held resentments against both parents for certain things, but there has also been love there for them, too together with the realisation that they were struggling too, perhaps choosing ideals that I don’t really think served me or my life well at times. It has taken many years to find some kind of power within this, to see the ways in which I could move out of the victim story without being damaged further.
In my own case injuries of some kind have been associated with a struggle for separation, to find some place outside the web of things set up by family that exerted such profound, often very negative, effects on my life. It’s a very Neptunian theme : emeshment in a family or system. My Uranus in the first house tries to fight against it. My Neptune in the third feels all the deeply buried emotions energetically and struggles to express in the face of the Saturnian resistances of my mother and sister, which I need consciousness to realise too. Just lately a larger part of me realises it may be best to step outside of it.
In truth my longing for connection even after sustaining hurt, can end up rebounding and causing further injury, in other cases getting upset could cause a permanent rupture and lead to me to forget that the damaging incident was only one part of the story and came from other people’s unconsciousness. There is the ongoing dance within between been connected and being disconnected. I know I am not alone. It’s a fine dance for some of us to find ways in which to separate while retaining a connection. Where relationships are damaging many decide to break connection. In my own case the connection with my family has been too strong, to break.
Perhaps what is dawning in me now after several years of having moved back to my home town is the realisation that on some level I will never be totally free of the forces that shaped me, but that understanding and a self compassionate approach bring acceptance and freedom of a kind. In the end I’ve made choices and those choices took me back to something I’ve struggled to understand and be free of. I was not a victim, but in making some choices I was not conscious. In the end I didn’t do anything wrong. I did the best with what I knew at the time and at times I was really struggling. I was human. What I guess I can say is true now. I no longer am beating myself up as much but realising the psychic reality of the enormity of forces that have surrounded me within which I struggled to be free. Much was not of my choosing, some things were. In the end I lived a life of experiences that led to here.
For some reason over the past few days since Neptune has moved forward many memories are percolating up to consciousness and coalescing, drawing to them other interconnections. Perhaps this is what happens as we grow older, we get a larger more transcendent perspective on our lives and in some way find the meaning that was obscured since we had not yet travelled far enough down the road to gain the necessary perspective that could only come through distance. This must surely lead us to be less fraught and more accepting of ourselves and of others.
And perhaps these are the gifts which Neptune is finally revealing as it crosses back over my Chiron in the seventh house for the fifth and final time. There is the perspective on the wound and the healing of a wound that comes not through fixing but through piercing through to a deeper level of realisation, understanding and acceptance. And perhaps, within that healing process, something is emerging with represents freedom on a far deeper level than is visible. It is not the end of the story, as life is still unfolding, it is in process.
The truth is I am not just a separate individual, I am part of a web of interconnection and relationship that is far greater than me. And yet within me is an individual essence too that on some level is separate and complete, even when i am damaged or in pain. As I feel myself twist and turn in response to this interconnection and these forces I also feel my body uncoiling. I feel on some level I am letting go and coming closer to the ground of life, nature and my inner world.
Injury has forced me inwards and that inwardness has a poignant beauty. A profound wholeness within stillness I have never quiet experienced before. Resting within that still and profound wholeness I feel the buzz of the energy that is life and the deepening mystery of its unfolding. In the silence I understand things I did not understand before, things which are perhaps best understood in silence. For this is a silence that is not empty but so profoundly full, is buzzing with frequencies. And within that stillness and silence, I am coming to know a peace I have never known before.
Love does not want or fear anything.