“You are so shiny… very shiny. Don’t get me wrong. I feel so f*cking lucky that you are here, that we are friends, I feel so peaceful… But you are too shiny. The kind of shiny only 70 year olds have with their accumulated experience. But you’re not 70… something is missing. I can’t sense any darkness in you… Maybe you hide it.
Like me, I have my loneliness and sadness, and I carry it with me wherever I go, do, it is a part of me… I don’t hide.
But you… I’m not seeing anything.
You are perfect,
Humans are not supposed to be that way…” – G, describing my aura, in Berlin.
Trust me, when G shared what he shared, nothing made sense. Being bright, and full of light is supposed to be a good thing, isn’t it? If he can’t sense any darkness in me, that’s an even better thing, isn’t it?
My mind understood nothing. All I had were questions and a growing sense of discomfort with each passing day.
Then one afternoon, as we were making our way to the biggest art supply shop in Berlin, he says, “We see the bad in others that we don’t want to see in ourselves… we project it out.”
That idea struck me as bizarre.
It was such a radical thought, I felt myself getting a little defensive. How can he equate me to so and so, and reduce it to a mere projection? But even in my moment of resistance, deep down, I felt that he may be right.
For two weeks, I was put through a masterclass of a different kind. There were no classrooms, no lectures, no teacher. Just Life, unfolding in a way I was totally not used to.
It was so uncomfortable, I had to drink every single night just so I could feel at ease. But something was happening. I was not meant to feel comfortable. I was meant to get in touch with my darkness…
…to own my shadow.
I got reacquainted with the Coward in me, the Liar in me, the Insecure, Self-Centred child in me… It was shocking, but it was also healing and liberating.
By getting in touch with my own darkness again, it helped me to see that I’m not much different from The Loved Ones I am struggling to forgive.
It brought forgiveness.
In my last Silent Retreat, I was speaking to my Spiritual Director about a personal struggle, and I was being all solemn and serious. Smiling and relaxed, all she said was, “Have you watched ‘How to train your dragon’?”
I still have not seen the movie, but after an unexpected encounter with my “dragon” today, I’m interested to watch it.
All sorts of things were coming up this morning. I was observing, a growing sense of Superiority, thinking I could do this or that better than this or that person. And then, I was observing a growing sense of disgust and shame towards what I had perceived as someone’s Ignorance and Stupidity. I reacted by tuning out, and taking selfies instead of listening. I knew I was being rude and judgemental, but at that point, I did not care.
Coming home, I felt drained and tired. Went to bed and picked up a book I’ve been reading. And what do you know, my lesson of the day has just begun. The book says, “If there’s an aspect of ourselves that we don’t accept, we’ll continually attract people in our lives who act out that aspect.”
What a scary thing to read! I do want to stop attracting certain kinds of people into my life. So I’m ready to do what it takes to move forward.
A page later, it says, “Start by concentrating on qualities that offend you. Take out your list of words that describe the people you dislike or hate, and examine each trait. No matter how resistant you are, you must own each of these traits in order for the process to work. Find a place in your life where you’ve displayed this trait or where someone else might have perceived you as embodying this trait.
Try on each trait like you would a jacket…”
So I did, and things began shifting in me.
I began to see that my growing sense of “Superiority” this morning, showed up to point to me that the very thing I had resented in someone else, was also well and alive in me. I am capable of it, and am still struggling with it, this need to Compete and Compare. This need to be better stems from an inner struggle with worth and Inferiority, the need to prove oneself. I had thought I had grown beyond that, but I see now, I’m still growing in this area. With this new insight, once more, I am reminded that I am just like that person that offends me.
We’re more alike than unalike.
Next. I began to realise why I had felt so offended with what I had perceived to be Ignorance and Stupidity.
Every person is being our mirror, reflecting back to us the things we can’t see about ourselves. I am learning that the thing that we dislike the most in the other, the thing that “offends” us, is the thing WITHIN that needs our attention the most!
I began to see the root of my anger.
It goes all the way back to my own acts of Ignorance and Stupidity in the past and present. It has cost me so much. I have lost so much. And it has put me through so much pain. In the end, my annoyance with the other person’s Ignorance and Stupidity is really my annoyance with my own!
It’s reflecting my own Shame and Disgust towards my own Ignorance and Stupidity.
Next, the book teaches us to look for The Gift behind the negative traits.
The Gift of my Ignorance and Stupidity is a conscious, life-long commitment to growing, learning, and keeping an open mind.
In acknowledging its place in my life, it sets me free from the Fear, Shame and Disgust I’ve associated with it.
And by coming into acceptance of my own Ignorance and Stupidity, I am able to feel more compassion towards others who are, like me, still in their own process of growth.
“One can only face in others what one can face in oneself.” James Baldwin.
Epic day. Feels like I got punched in the face, but it’s just Ego.
Three cheers for Growth!
“Fear less, hope more; Eat less, chew more; Whine less, breathe more; Talk less, say more; Love more, and all good things will be yours.”- Swedish Proverb
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