“If I destroy you, I destroy myself. If I honour you, I honour myself.” Nunbatz Men MAYAN
This is a daily meditation offering from White Bison. The message: if I secretly hold a grudge or resentment against someone, I will be a slave to that person until I let them go so let me remember to look at my brothers and sisters in a sacred way.
This is a hard lesson to really accept and learn when we so want it to be about the other person! Yet when we hold that grudge, the person we hold it against actually has power over us. To be even more direct, we have given our power away to them. Nothing can be resolved unless they do something, healing cannot take place unless they do something.
What a sad and wretched way to live if this is what we choose – completely at the mercy of another’s journey. What if they never change? What if they never offer us what it is we think we need of them? Or, even worse, what if they do and then we discover that that isn’t really the magic cure we’ve been waiting for? It’s not nearly as satisfying as we were sure it would be?
Healing of the soul is not an outer journey dependent on someone else. It is an inner journey that only we can navigate. Fortunately, there are many helpers, guides and teachers who show up along the way – but only when we are ready and can either perceive others as teachers or invite them as such. It is easier to understand coaches and mentors as teachers, less easy to understand those we hold a grudge (or worse) against as a teacher although they often catapult our learning once we open to it.
When we feel wronged, and particularly when we feel deeply wronged, it is hard to step into the path of inquiry that asks: why have I invited this into my life? This is not to make us wrong, make us a victim or cause us to take responsibility for another person’s actions. This is solely to help us understand our own soul’s journey and the lessons we need to learn.
When I have felt marginalized in my life, I learned to ask the question: Why am I inviting marginalization (or marginalizing myself)? How does that serve me in the place that I am in now? In a place of marginalization, I hide from stepping into my own power and purpose in life and, for some strange reason, this feels “safer”.
When I have felt voiceless in relation to other people I wondered what was my journey to reclaiming my voice? I recognized my own feelings of judgment arising – about others and about myself – and learned to step into it, initially with great trepidation I might add, inquire into it, ease up on it. Voicing my fears, issues and concerns in the light of showing up in ways I do not aspire to (as judgmental) began to bring me back to reclaiming my voice – a step toward also reclaiming my power – as a being of compassion, strength and love with important work to do in the world.
Jerry Granelli in my ALIA module Leader as Shambhala Warrior said: if you resent one moment of your life, that is aggression. Wow. Just one moment of resentment is aggression. Powerful. It resonated strongly with my journey and learning to find the gifts in life decisions I’d made that I’d come to regret. In truly finding the gift, the regret left, creating space for more compassion, strength, love and great joy – qualities that Byron Brown describes as inherent soul qualities in his book: Soul Without Shame: A Guide to Liberating Yourself from the Judge Within – a book that literally changed my life.
Letting go of regret and resentment can be a daily exercise, a daily reminder that this is a journey and, when we do step into it, it is a shape shifting journey. We get to make a choice about it every day. We only come to understand it as a choice as we journey, as we learn, as we sink into the soul’s journey by inquiring – with curiosity – into resentment, anger and grudges as they show up in our life.
Life has an interesting way of bringing to us that which we most need to learn from at any given time. My experience is that by learning to embrace it, it is usually a gentler journey – and I’ve learned that the hard way – from all the choices I made that brought me into deeply intense learning experiences that I wouldn’t necessarily have “chosen” for myself but which I now see that my “soul’s journey” chose for me to create the conditions necessary for me to step more fully into the gifts, power and talents that serve me and serve my work in the world.
These soul journey teachers do not appear to be friends when they show up. If we make them enemies as much as the others they show up about, we wither and die – literally and figuratively, spiritually and physically. This is motivation enough to take the difficult first steps of seeing them for their enormous potential as teachers. The more intense the experience, the greater the return in the soul’s journey.
Because at some point I embraced this journey – which was better than the alternative internal toxicity I found myself living in a few years ago, every day and most minutes in a day, I now find myself in a place of deep appreciation, gratitude and joy for my journey and the ALL the people in it who have contributed in some way. Waking up feeling joyful does not get old!