egads, this thing with my sister has had me in a tussle these last few days. Really edgy. uncomfortable. defensive. offensive. confused, weary and frustrated. That is a very good sign. Pair that with having the good fortune of being behind on the Business Plan for Peace episodes and needing to play catch-up. The chances of those two things coinciding is… well… divine, right?
At the end of the day, i can be perfectly open but only when I feel safe. And, really, I can only feel safe when I am grounded in my body. When I’m up in my head telling stories, I am not safe one bit. There are always more sides to the story! Some clarify the story, but most muddle it. Some make me look like a hero, most make me look like a villain. Actually, very few make me look like a hero –
When I am in my body, weirdly enough, i am free. this moment is my reality, my breath is my privilege and my body is open to sense and respond to the world. It is a beautiful place to be. Every breath I spend here diffuses my problems. As I relax into it, the truth reveals itself to me, both in moments of stillness and in moments of activity – but activity that is purposeful and open – activity inspired by stillness and in service of love in some way. such were the activities of my afternoon. Not grandly in the service of love, just mundanely so. taking josie to get her hair done. then popping into run an errand nearby and next to a used bookstore I just love the energy of. so of course i’ll stop in. even in the downpour (which did dissuade me from buying a book to carry back). but i got to browse and i saw a book entitled: spirituality of imperfection. and i saw it. i saw how much i was trying to be perfect. how much i was trying to defend a perfection that doesn’t exist (certainly not in the context of the mind’s stories, but clearly in the stopping in to a particular bookstore). I’m glad I didn’t buy it, though, because the answer isn’t there. i don’t need another book. i just need to live in the present moment.
don’t get me wrong. i may get and read the book because I love and need the reminders. I go off on stressful tangents when I am not anchored in my body. I need to read about it and talk about it and breathe within it and have it be the basis of my relationships. I need to be in my body and do what my body is asking me to do.
in this case, my body is asking me not to interact with my sister. I’m just not into it and the thought of it provokes an unpleasant physical reaction. OK. Simple.
It’s not until my inner critic pipes in, and the cultural attaché voice, the family guilt voice, my sister’s defensive voice, my angry voice – all these freaking voices! Who needs it? But when I’m in it, I can’t see my way out of it. It’s a maelstrom of confusion and regret and disappointment and yuck!
My body is fine with my sister. It’s fine with her choices and her life. In the past, there were many times when it enjoyed being around her. there were times when it craved it. there may be times again. my body’s only really concerned with how I feel *when the question comes up*
and that is a very, very freeing realization.
and from this grounded place, I can look at the situation anew.
and through the exercises of TheBusiness Plan for Peace, i can put myself in her shoes and argue a very convincing point of view. She has the right to live exactly how she chooses, we all make mistakes and don’t people who rub it in our faces suck, and she deserves my respect. Absolutely. 100%.
I can distill my position to: I don’t need to have things in my life that I don’t want to have in my life. and that doesn’t make me a bad or mean person. I can forgive her for not being who I want her to be, or think she should be. She gets to be herself and I honor that she is an aspect of God, making divine choices and growing each day. and I get to be myself. And myself is 100% focused on doing things my body is at least balanced or neutral about. All the better if my body is craving it. But first, do no harm. To my body. Even if that means doing harm to my relationships. they have to come second. the only way I am going to succeed in interacting in the world in healing ways is listening to what makes me flourish and stopping things that make me feel yucky.
I spent a lot of time wanting someone’s approval (or at least not such overt disapproval) in my relationship with my brother. I *hated* that he didn’t think I was great (that in fact he wouldn’t so much as defend me to someone who said i was evil to my very core). How could he feel that way about me? I was his sister! Then I proceeded to act in ways that made it very hard for him to possibly like me.
I can see that my sister might feel like I felt, and I feel bad for making her (potentially, i don’t want to assume she feels how i think she feels, she is entitled to her own feelings and not my assumptions). But I think she’s mature enough to know that my approval isn’t going to help her, and i know she knows my company isn’t essential to her having a fun and enjoyable life. Consider the source. She and I have very different lives and very different values right now, it makes sense we might not resonate like we once did. I had to come to that with my brother, and it took 25 or so years, but i don’t think she’ll need that long. and i really have no malice for her. i think she’s lovely in lots of ways.
I feel great freedom listening to my body in this and not needing to be right about anything other than interpreting my own physical state. I don’t need to be right. from a psychological point of view, I am open to the possibility that i am 100% wrong (i can say in any case, i was bonafide mean to her in making the break. which isn’t nice. but i’m not all kuan yin. i’m also kali. she only comes out when she’s repeatedly invoked, but she comes out swinging). When my body allows me, I am happy to address all of it with my sister. I can be present to trauma. i can take responsibility. i can, but not until then (and probably with a facilitator). sadly, my body’s instincts and receptivity is more important than her feelings. that feels horribly selfish, but when i act when my body tells me not to because something else is more important, that’s another invocation of kali. it doesn’t go well.
I am grateful for this practice. I am grateful for the orientation to evolving. I am grateful for the orientation to peace and the course i’m in and the practices. also for the byron katie worksheets and the colin tipping worksheets and that wonderful book i saw in that charming book store. i am grateful to my sister for giving me an opportunity to learn this. to explore the relationship between judgment and discerning, how we make choices, how we fail sometimes and that has to be ok. because it is. and to shed the guilt and the doubt and appreciate the serendipity even if you haven’t seen it yet, trusting that life is unfolding as it only can, that it loves each of us with the fullness of the universe, and the more I can be in my body and in the present moment, the more I can recognize it.