A Case for Greatness

We live in a world where speaking to someone’s Greatness is infrequent.  Most often we speak to what is wrong, what is incomplete, aggravating, and problematic in a person.  Praise and appreciation fall between the cracks of relationship usually rendering the basic pallet of connection one of working it out, putting up with, overlooking or simply, reactive confrontation when we get overwhelmed.

The basic ingredient that can change the tide in any relationship is honesty:  Speaking the truth, first with yourself and then with the other. The first question is “Why am I not telling the truth?  What am I afraid of and what do I think the outcome will be if I keep choosing to withhold my feelings or thoughts and observations?”

Yet, in our new age culture where tolerance is far more desired than confrontation, we have gone to the other side of the equation.  Tolerance tends to end up looking like skirting the issue, having sympathy for the plight of a friend, when many times it is really fear of confrontation that drives our silence and in-authenticity.  So we call it “Tolerance”.  That is a kind of lie that we feed.

There is a middle ground that we rarely find ease at identifying and then live out in our relationships:  A combination of Empathy and one of Fierce Truth Telling.  The question is for most of us, how to tell the honest truth from the heart in a way that speaks to the appreciation for and the greatness of the person we care about, instead of how they have failed?”  This is the essential and necessary shift we all need to make in all our relationships, both to self and others, and in the larger Shift that is happening on our planet.

As the paradigm of power shifts incrementally from a patriarchal model to a more balanced form of Power, which now includes the feminine skill of empowering through intuition, instinct and empathy, we are challenged to re-write the common ways in which we approach all of our relationships.  It is way past time, to eliminate all the dysfunctional forms of relationship with other people and with ourselves no matter what we imagine the risk to be. The cost of not doing this is far greater than the perceived risk.

There is a long list of habits that we learned from our parents, our government, our culture, our church and an even larger list that is fed from unspoken fears: Namely, that if we are ruthlessly loving, we will be rejected and unloved in return.  How many of us have become expert at ways of being in relationship or business that in fact never helps us achieve what we want, which is connection, love, power, creativity, full expression of self and harmony?  How many ways of undermining the success of relationship do I practice without consciously thinking?

*  Withholding the truth because I believe the person cannot handle it?

*  Withholding my feelings because I don’t want a conflict or to be rejected or in many cases loose the little bit I have or think I need from that person?

*  Telling myself that I cannot say the truth because I need something from that person that they will take away if they do not like what I say?  I then settle for something that is incomplete, dysfunctional and dishonest. I fall out of integrity with myself.

*  Rationalization is the biggest lie that we use to protect ourselves.  We tell ourselves that it is better that the person does not know the truth because they will be hurt, offended or will not be able to handle the truth, so “I will protect them from those feelings because I love them”.  This is the root of becoming an enabler:  Allowing the person to continue to be or do things in ways that alienate and create problems for themselves and for others and not speaking to the power and greatness in them, but to their weakness instead.  By doing this we never allow for the possibility of change and growth and everything becomes stagnant.  Not only the flow of love in the relationship but the flow of money and resources.  A kind of energetic constipation where nothing is moving takes over.

The minute we conform to someone’s dysfunction, adapt to it, and accommodate even for selfish reasons, we have supported limitation and dysfunction instead of health and vibrancy in the person we are with.  And have you noticed that we then feel less vibrant ourselves, more constrained and unhappy? In other words, we strip the person of the possibility to grow into the person they are capable of being and strip ourselves of a life of integrity that only brings ill health.

When we do this the toxicity of Resentment and Bitterness worms its way into the groundwater of each person in the equation.   We do not foster greatness in ourselves or in the other.  We live in a model based in fears and limitation.  Therefore, the outcome of ANY relationship, whether it is a love relationship, a friendship or a business partnership, will reflect the energy going into it; namely, limitation and lack of greatness, stagnancy of feelings and of resources.  As within, so without.

A model for a new paradigm in relationship or business must be based on not only honesty at all costs which is rooted in holding the vision for a persons greatness and for their own ability to learn and change, but also for our capacity to rise above the adaptation to weakness model and firmly plant ourselves in the vision of who we are capable of being and who the person is capable of becoming.

We do not hold with respect, a persons inherent Greatness, if we allow a friend, lover, parent, husband, wife or colleague to become defined by their limitations or blind spots.  And, we do not live in our own Greatness if we are not willing to risk living in total honesty and fierce loving.

The Whole Nine Yards

Ah, once again it is Mother’s day.  A day that we do one of a few things.  We love our mother down to our toes and thank her for life!  Or, we reluctantly send a card or flowers out of obligation or guilt  because we are still hurt that she has disappointed us as our mother.

But for many we don’t do anything.  An action sometimes born out of the wounds of childhood and an act of resentment.  But, none the less, this time every year we make a choice on how we approach Mother’s day. Each year we have one Hallmark moment to do it differently.  To change course and create what it is we truly want.

I am approaching the year anniversary of my Mother dying.  The anniversary of my leaving Oklahoma after years of being a caretaker for my mother.  Those years changed me.  Changed my resentment to joy  and in the end was a singular time of coming to terms with who my mother really is , which has everything to do with who I am today.  My mother  is me.  I am my mother and in loving her I love myself.  Not an easy task for many of us. Certainly not for me.

And I found a piece of writing I want to share with you about my struggle toward forgiving her and allowing myself to be human in the process of my life with her and in the time of her dying. I look back on those days before she died and am grateful for the painful, agonizing, heart wrenching, lovely, sweet time I had with her.  I hope you find this writing a catalyst to seeing your own mother more clearly and embracing a path of forgiveness and love. But most of all that you will do something different this Mother’s Day…something truer to your own nature of love, more giving, more spacious, and more of exactly what you have always wanted from your mother.

“I hold my breath with my mother. I remember not breathing in her presence as a child. Waiting to be criticized in all the details of life and not seen in any of the large ways I occupy myself. These patterns persist as I live in her presence and she perpetuates all the old ways I was with her as my mother. Being in a caretaker role is very confusing for the child in me and the adult in her who is feeling much more like a child these days. I cannot see her as this child for how strong her controlling and fearful personality is in every moment. I cannot find the child in me that is not wounded either. And yet in my spiritual journey this is what I called for in being her daughter and she my mother. I called for a time when I would reverse roles and I would behave toward her as she behaved toward me when I was young. I detest my own behavior because I am being just like she was with me. If I persist in this role with her I will no longer be able to stay here and I will need to deal with the guilt of failing myself and her in this endeavor.

That is one story. The other story is that she is simply a soul searching for herself and unable to find her own connection to spirit and is in a panic that time is running out. She has looked to me for that guidance and I refuse to give that to her out of anger and resentment. She is disappointed in the fact that I have not helped her in this way. This is a past life story between us when I were once her priest and did not give her a time of confession before she died, letting her die feeling alienated from God. The pain of that was unbearable for her and as her priest in this other life I carried the guilt of failing her. This karmic story is trying to be healed in this arrangement as I live with her. I cannot be her priest but I do have the power to extend forgiveness to her in this life from my own heart, releasing her to go on and in doing so end the karmic nature of our relationship and alleviating the guilt I have for not having “saved” her in this other life.

This is a very difficult confluence of energies trying to iron themselves out and I struggle with the depth of this problem. But I must understand that in this arrangement that I chose and she chose, that there is grace for the asking. That I can simply not expect myself to be her savior, but I can release myself and forgive myself for being human, for letting her down, for letting myself down and I do not have to do this perfectly. Can I give myself that? The right to be imperfect? The right for my mother to be imperfect? Can I just let go of my ancient need to be loved by my mother and simply learn to love myself?  Even if I do not do this commitment as well as I had expected? I can walk away. I can choose myself. I can also finish this time with grace and with a kind of simplicity, treating her as I would a lost child that cannot find her way…just like me. Pointing her back to herself by being myself fully. That is all this is really about. Not about caretaking at all but about being myself. Fully flawed and imperfect and joyful and loving and angry and sad. All of it …all the messy whole nine yards of being human. The real story is about the humility of being human and in that realization I am truly divine and my mother is the divine. Ahhh the paradox of it all!