The last few weeks have been pretty challenging for me from a relational standpoint, or at least in one particular relationship. Now this is a person I happen to love tremendously, and I believe he loves me. We've both put a ton of work into this thing for the last few months, but it's been rocky the last couple. As I've gotten older, and from long-time practice in my work holding space in painful, sometimes conflictual conversations for clients, I have learned to step back from apparent reactivity and just sit with what's going on, even if it doesn't feel good. This is a lot easier when my own feelings aren't involved! Sometimes clients tell me stories that make my heart ache for them, but that is very different than having a wave of my own emotion crash over me. But the other day my buttons got pushed so much that for the first time in ages I felt like saying something mean.
Mean, as in unkind and cutting. Designed to hurt. Yeah, it was bad. Those who know me personally know that "mean" is something I have really tried to weed out of my behaviors, no matter how I'm feeling. I have witnessed so much damage done by people out of control of their emotions that I never want to go there. But the other day I was sorely tempted. To use a horseback riding metaphor, I was a rider pulling back with all my strength on the reins of a runaway horse, and that bit was sore in my mouth! I was both the rider trying to contain the urge and the horse wanting free rein to gallop towards an interaction I knew I would regret. Words can never be taken back, no matter how many apologies may be made.
So I was mostly successful. I kept the words in but let the 'tude out, which really didn't bother anyone but me. But I was still really upset. As I said, over the last few weeks there have been a lot of wave sets in my emotions, which definitely impacts not only how I feel but the choices I make throughout my day. I eat more sugar, I work out less. I also miss out on opportunities to feel good--to be joyful, surprised, excited, peaceful... something besides upset Then a couple days ago I heard the phrase, "Be the lighthouse, not the storm," and I was immediately reminded that I know how to do this. I have spent years cultivating an awareness of love (which I call God, but others may call the Universe, Nature, Source, etc) , including the knowledge that at every moment each of us is being held in absolute peace and compassion, and that we can choose to let it in. No matter how many wave sets there may be in our life in a particular moment, the lighthouse is always available to us. We can choose to stand in our tower self, feeling the tides crash against us but trusting--actually knowing--that we are okay, that we can choose to weather our storms with grace and patience, that the waves will again calm, and that through it all our light is shining.