It strikes me as funny, how I can feel like I have learned a lesson fully, and then, another opportunity to learn it comes along.
At the end of last week, I found myself tight, like a giant knot, unable to loosen. I was distracted, distant and disconnected. I acted like nothing was wrong, when I clearly knew that something was. I was in my head, swimming in the thoughts of what I had done wrong, and it seemed so clear and logical, from my own perspective.
Once again, I had chosen guilt and shame, and made a decision based upon that. At the time that I was lost in my thoughts, it wasn’t occurring to me that I had another choice, to choose something other than guilt. In order to choose something different, I had to be ready to tell myself the truth, about what I really believed, and to forgive myself.
I stood in front of the bedroom mirror, looking at myself, dead in the eye. I wanted to turn away. I wanted to RUN away. I felt fear, and anger at myself. I knew that I would have to tell the truth, in order to walk away from my reflection. The REAL truth.
The exercise was simple: look at myself, dead in the eye, and say out loud, over and over again, what my belief was, what I had done wrong. Until, I hear the absurdity of it, can smile at myself, and in turn, forgive myself.
After a minute of telling myself it was stupid, that it wouldn’t work anyway, I said the words out loud:
“It is my fault that she is destitute.”
I then said it again. And again, again…..
And, once more.
I had to say it until I broke the spell of the words, until I was willing to get out of my head and to bring the runaway train of my thoughts to a screeching halt. I had to say it out loud until I heard the flawed ideas and mistruths.
The truth is, it is NOT my fault. The other truth is, she is NOT destitute.
I was guilt free, if I gave myself that gift. I smiled at the silliness of it all, the ridiculous way that my mind thinks when I do nothing to challenge it.
The real truth is, that I made a choice, years ago, to build my life alone. That was after years of making it my job to fix anything that I saw as broken in her. Taking away her ability to save herself, and bigger than that, not trusting that she even could. After all, I was supposed to be the hero in the story, or so I believed. The one to save her from herself.
How important I saw myself in that scene. And so short sighted.
Because I can now see the real truth, the fact that she is able to care for herself more than sufficiently, and that it was never my role, especially now, to take care of her needs for her, I could let go of that which I bound myself with. I could let go of the guilt that I used to berate myself, and I could move and breathe again. I could build something different.
I am free.
And, the lesson, although I may face it one day again in my life, will never be learned in quite the same way.