I read your column and like how you answer people’s questions. I know you talk a lot about personal responsibility, but I am tired of being the one who always has to do the work. Sometimes I just want my husband to get a clue, or my (adult) kids… In fact, I find myself getting pretty angry that the world around me is so clueless. Why is it that I am always the one who has to do “the work,” especially when they are the ones who are doing things wrong? I know you are going to turn this back on me, but maybe I am just looking for a reminder to inspire me….
The simple answer to this question is, because you are the one who knows how… and because you are the one that is angry (which I’m guessing you don’t enjoy). The bigger-picture answer is, you are here on the planet, in this body, in this life, in these relationships specifically to learn how to do “the work.” As long as you are expecting “them” to “get it” you will turn yourself into a powerless victim and create suffering for yourself (and undoubtedly for them). Doing “the work” will set you free.
Let me share a personal, spiritual story with may serve you as the same kind of wake up call that it served me:
I once had the honor of sitting across a table from a holy man in India. In that moment, I knew that he knew everything about me, everything I’d ever done, said, or thought, even though I’d never told him. As I sat there, he said nothing. He simply looked at me like he was watching the movie of my life. All I felt from him was unconditional love. He knew everything about me, yet still he accepted me and loved me as is. One might imagine that it was a beautiful experience, and indeed, it was—on one hand.
On the other hand, it may have been the most uncomfortable moment of my life. I had to sit with the same knowledge he had about me and all the choices I had ever made and all the things I had ever said, and although he wasn’t judging me, I was. I squirmed in the presence of God and unconditional love because I didn’t believe I deserved it. I vowed silently that when I again come face to face with God and have to judge myself in the presence of unconditional love, I would deserve it.
I am quite certain that “Judgment Day” is not the day when God judges us, as most of us have been mistakenly taught. Rather, it is the day when we face God’s love and judge ourselves. The goal is to be able to sit in the presence of pure love and not judge ourselves but simply be free to receive, knowing that we deserve this love merely by virtue of living our lives authentically.
Now, can you imagine having this experience and hearing yourself explain to God, or even just lying on your death bed rationalizing to yourself as you look back on your relationships with the people you loved most in the world, “Hey, I got sick and tired of being the one to rise to the highest level in my family. They were all so clueless! At some point I just gave up and got mad!” Somehow, I think you would find yourself in the same boat I found myself in (thankfully not on our death bed), squirming.
So, also just like me, you have the gift of not being on your death bed as you consider this. We are hear simply to learn how to love and be loved. Anger and judgement are ego reactions to the people around you. See if you can find ways to respond to them that would allow you not to squirm or cause a need to explain or justify. See if you can find ways to respond that would allow you to simply “rest in peace” while you are alive and well, with no regrets or unfinished business with the ones you love.
Intellectual Foreplay Question of the Week:
Do you feel like you deserve unconditional love?
Love Tip of the Week:
Live each day as if it is the day when you will sit in the waterfall of God’s unconditional love, because, of course, it is… and you already are!
Eve Hogan, author of How to Love Your Marriage, Intellectual Foreplay, Virtual Foreplay, and Way of the Winding Path, is also the proprietor of The Sacred Garden, a nursery and healing sanctuary in Makawao. It is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. For coaching or speaking events, call (808) 573-7700. Website: www.EveHogan.com Blog: www.AskEveAdvice.com. Send questions to AskEveAdvice@aol.com.