I love that song by Dave Mason: We Just Disagree
I think it’s really a love song of sorts but every time I hear it my heart finds its way back to family and old friends where wounding happened and stuff still isn’t healed. My eyes prick with tears as I tell you that. Sometimes it’s just really hard to be awake and on a journey and have people in our lives where the shit has gone down and the path with them isn’t smooth and easy anymore.
Harder still are the places where I feel like the horrible stuff was done TO me and I am still victimized by it. I am still hurt by it, I am still wounded by it even after all this time, even after all this healing.
And harder even still is to see that I continue to make that person into a bad guy/wrong guy/perpetrator rather than see him or her as a human being on a journey, just like me.
When I find myself holding hands and hearts with friends in the healing room who’ve experienced the horrible splits and devastating breaks too, I am reminded again and again that I am not the only one.
It is so painful when we are locked in an energetic dance with someone: when we insist they are the bad one –they did this horrible thing to us, and we are forever altered. The dance is that we want them to agree to our version, to admit to it the way we experience it, to see what we see.
Locked in the dance, we are unable to see clearly.
All we can see is our side, our story. We are at the center of the experience and the other people are out there, doing it TO us. And so long as that is our reality we can’t move, we can’t change, we can’t evolve.
We are at the mercy of the other person then locked in a tight space of waiting for them to see it and admit to it. And it’s toxic in there–in that I am right and you are wrong space. It’s costly for you to stay there. You think you’re powerless without that other person’s acknowledgment or apology… but the truth is: nobody can free you but yourself.
Often it’s not until someone else is yelling at you like you are the bad one, and you did all of this stuff to wreck their life that you are able to see and understand that you’ve been living from a very small one-pointed perspective.
That’s when you wake up.
And you see it so clearly because the other person is now speaking to you from exactly that kind of place you’ve been living about someone else. Now you’re listening to them blast you and it makes you feel crazy inside–all you want to do is defend yourself and reject EVERY premise they are offering you.
Yep, that’s when you see it.
At least that’s how it started to open up for me. I remember one day after my stepdad died, we were cleaning out his house and we found some journals. Skimming through one of them, I landed on a page where he wrote something very upsetting about me and my mother. My heart became hot and it was like a painful burst was released and then for a long time there was this wave of fear rolling through my body.
I never realized a parent could feel that way about a child.
I had no idea he felt this way about me.
In all of the therapy sessions I had been attending I had been seeing it one way: What he did to me. What I suffered because of him. The hurts he caused.
And you know what? He DID do things to me, to us. And we did suffer. Hurts were most definitely caused.
But I never in a million years thought about him having his own feelings and experiences. I never considered he might be wounded. I never realized he was living his own life from his own first-person perspective. And perhaps life was a struggle for him as well, and so he made mistakes and he fucked things up.
While I am not excusing his behavior in the slightest, I began to have compassion and to see him as a fellow human being on the journey. And this helps me release from the position I previously held and this is a good thing and totally what we want to do even though it’s hard because allowing ourselves to continue to align with the _____________ (abuse in my case) only keeps us there.
If I don’t transform it, I will remain stuck and wounded, victimized and unable to thrive.
I realized I needed to stop waiting for an apology if I wanted to be free.
I had to stop carrying the billboard in my pocket: Wounded, damaged, abused and HE did this to ME.
I had to get free.
I thanked spirit and my stepdad for that learning opportunity–even though it was a painful one. I am grateful my eyes and heart were opened that day. I wasn’t seeing him as a human being on his own journey, I was only thinking of mine.
Something I often tell clients is this: The courtesy extends both ways.
If I am going to extend myself the courtesy to have my perspective about what happened, I have to extend you the courtesy of having your own perspective about what happened too. You could call it the namaste way–we’re working to greet the spirit in ourselves and the other. Neither of us is required to change in order to make the other happy and this stance allows all kinds of new possibility to happen. When we say there ain’t no good guy, there ain’t no bad guy, there’s only you and me and we just disagree, we free ourselves.
And that’s very different and quite evolved from the victim/perpetrator mentality. Not that we don’t get caught there from time to time, all of us do. I do and you do but the thing we need to ask ourselves is, is this really what I want to be affirming? Is this really how I choose to spend my energy? When we practice, we have every chance of remembering that we are BOTH sparks of the Divine flame, loved and cherished equally – we both have Buddha nature.
This is the point when people say to me, I understand what you’re saying but what I am I supposed to do from here?
First of all, if you get what I am saying even just a little bit, I celebrate you. Already so much is healing because you are willing to see. And for a time, this may be enough for you. Just keep working to free yourself. Every time you catch yourself thinking about mom or dad again, or your kids or your siblings or the exes and you remember what I have told you, that’s a win to celebrate. You are making progress. Hug yourself for that. It’s big and it’s huge and hardly anyone you know is doing this.
Next, commit to practicing on the regular: Keep working to see the bigger picture. While you gently hold the parts of yourself grieving what happened (and embracing the anger too), make the choice to let go of your one-pointed perspective. Not because you’re doing someone else any favors, but because you have been suffering under that old story. Decide you will practice zooming the lens way out to see the other aspects and people in the story, a lens that includes the other person or people who have caused you so much heartache and pain. That’s advanced stuff if you ask me, but we are all making our way there.
If we truly are interested in healing, we eventually must shift out of the perspective of you did this to me. If we really mean it when we say we want to be free, we will make the move in our hearts to let go. Later, we can make the courageous choice to extend the courtesy to the other person to live as they choose while we do the same. And perhaps later still, we can decide to release the stories we carry, to burn the old identity badges away of hurt, abandoned, abused, maligned, wronged, damaged and choose new ones that represent more fully the beautiful soul we truly are.
Easier said than done, I know my friend. And that is why I’m so glad we ride together in the Spirit Bubble. And remember that you are not alone. We are doing this together.