Dear Terri: Can you go into HOW men respond to our deepest wounds and fears and cooperate to create our worst nightmare/most needed lesson? How do we dismantle this mess? Thanks.
This is a question that I did not have time to address on a recent webinar. Not much detail is included with her query, so we can only imagine what is really going on. What I can offer is a starting place.
She presents a big question, really, with all sorts of working parts and pieces. What comes to mind is the visual of a Rube Goldberg machine — a giant, intricate contraption with many parts, all working “perfectly” to create her “worst nightmare.”
It’s the kind of machine where every part depends on another part to contribute to the end result. One lever triggers the next one, which starts the fan, which blows the whirly-gig, and starts the music playing, which flips a switch that flings a ball in a perfect trajectory, which rolls down a ramp into a hole and triggers a gear, which rolls toward a lever, releasing a spring, and so on.
Below is a brilliant example, a commercial for the Honda Accord. You’ll get the idea! Honda’s video is creativity, intricacy and precision all rolled into one amazing process, with a delightful outcome.
Below are four life-giving and empowering premises to help solve any dilemma.
1: First And Foremost. “This Is Mine. I Did This.”
When unraveling a “worst nightmare,” it helps to begin with a point of view that acknowledges your ability, ownership and power. You might start with, “This is mine. I did this.” Or “I create my life.”
When an outcome is good, say “I did this. Good for me.”
When it’s not what you wanted, say “I did this, too. Good for me.”
And what about when my dilemma or “my nightmare” includes another person? Where does my responsibility as creator stop and the other person’s begin? A relationship with another person is a co-creation, yes — but still, I’m looking at life from my personal vantage point, so I’m going to go with the idea that I’m the director of my co-creation.
At In Care of Relationships, this is the beginning point for every successful conversation about personal change and transformation. When a client fully embraces “I did this,” she will fly. She will do well.
She will flourish and create her life in ever more pleasing ways because she knows she is the beckoner of what shows up on her path. She knows there are no accidents and nobody is doing anything to her — she is the one issuing invitations. She knows that what comes is hers.
There is no advantage in claiming that we’re not responsible, or helpless or unable. Being a victim declares powerlessness, and it’s nigh on impossible to create a life of joy from a place of no power.
Asking your partner to change so you don’t have to feel the way you feel is backwards. In the long run, it doesn’t work. Blaming your partner for your unhappiness is pointing the finger outside yourself and saying “I’m powerless, so you do the work. Please fix yourself so I can be happier.”
It takes a lot of effort to get other people to change. It’s exhausting, it’s a temporary solution at best, and it’s an endless endeavor.
And then there’s that pesky problem of lack of cooperation from others, and of course, their resentment.
My highest recommendation: Give it up!
This is the starting point for successful change: to understand from the tip top of your head right down to the bottom of your beautiful toes, that your life is your life and nobody else’s and everything about it is in your capable hands.
2: I Have Unlimited Assistance To Be Who I Came Here To Be
This is where grace comes in. This is where we hold hands with the Universe and together run through our daily field of daisies — our life, our work, our relationships. This is point of view says, “I am never truly alone. I am never on my own.”
You know, it’s a really good thing that we have unlimited access to the wisdom of our Inner Being, or any Master past or present — if we listen on the inside. Every moment, every day, all day, we are guided.
But am I listening?
With all my heart?
Life is not “me against the world” unless I’m putting up a giant umbrella to ward off the life-giving sun and rain coming my way. When I take time to be in a receptive mode (meditation, yoga, prayer, quiet time) my umbrella is down. I am more likely to receive the inspiration and guidance coming my way.
3: Life Is FOR Me (Not Against Me)
Maybe I’m up to my ears in alligators. Maybe my heart is broken. Or, like this woman who asked the question, I’m living my worst nightmare. If I investigate with an open heart and mind, I’ll probably discover that some-how-some-way, this very situation supports a deep wish of mine.
Maybe I forgot what I wished for, but fortunately my Inner Being didn’t.
For instance, maybe I’m interested in painting, but I’ve ignored my inner impulse pick up a paint brush. I’ve passed up plenty of opportunities to study art, practice art or travel to places with art I would really appreciate. I’ve been too busy with my family, my job and life. I’ve been too busy to take care of me.
Then one day, along comes a notice for a watercolor class, and instantly I think to myself, “Oh, I’d love to do that,” and I sign up.
Lucky for me, I make a snap decision! If I had thought about it very long, I may have talked myself out of painting.
But thankfully, the Universe handed me the idea when I was least expecting it. I didn’t have my guard up, or my excuses ready. My umbrella was down.
Now I’m in the class, and I’m quite surprised by the flood of emotion that comes over me, as I realize how much I LOVE to paint. With paint brush poised, and quiet tears streaming down my face, I’m overcome with grief, joy and everything in between. Other people in the class are simply sitting there painting, while I’m having a life-altering experience!
For a little while, I try to talk myself out of the emotions I’m having: “This is just painting, for heaven’s sake!”
But it isn’t just painting. It’s an expression of my deep desire.
I see that life has been handing me opportunities to paint and I just now said yes! Life has always been FOR me.
The belief that whatever is before me is for my benefit is a powerful and life-affirming knowing.
4: I See and Appreciate The Perfection Of What I Created
The perfection of events unfolding in a relationship is no less awesome than all the parts and pieces in the Honda Accord Rube Goldberg video!
The interaction of two people can be a “happy clink” as one part rolls into another to create more happiness. Their “relationship machine” can be “merrily we roll along” — or not.
Two people can produce a happy outcome — a baby, a business, a snowy and beautiful winter getaway with friends, or a delicious pot of stew.
And just as easily, they can produce an outcome that’s not so happy.
Either way, the unfolding works “perfectly.” One thing drops on another, which rolls into a second thing, which triggers a third, which creates a pattern or outcome.
In a relationship, the unfolding might begin with a word or idea that drops on a heart, which is felt and responded to, which produces a decision, which guides an action, and produces an outcome.
This woman’s situation is not a mess.
Change any part of the “relationship machine,” and the pattern shifts.
To the woman who asked the question, I’d say, “Your situation is not a mess at all. It’s a precise outer unfolding or out-picturing of what’s inside you (and him). First, appreciate that. Appreciate what you’ve created together. Your relationship is the opportunity for both of you to grow in a way that was asked for from the heart. Because you are a match in this way, you came together. You are being given the chance to grow into the people you came here to be.”
So, the good news and bad news is that our problems are not about the other person. Our life is about what we invite that will help us become the person we want to become.
And by the way, Good For US!
“Gratitude, like faith, is a muscle. The more you use it, the stronger it grows, and the more power you have to use it on your own behalf. If you do not practice gratefulness, it’s benefaction will go unnoticed, and your capacity to draw on it’s gifts will be diminished. To be grateful is to find blessings in everything. This is the most powerful attitude to adopt, for there are blessings in everything.” -Alan Cohen