Wednesday, July 20, 2011

In my defenselessness, my safety lies

My intention is not to make this a blog about the Course in Miracles. However I find that the lessons, such as the one above, really speak to me and are relevant to what is going on in my life.

Last week I had a huge argument with my new landlord/house mate. I was feeling attacked and I attacked in return. We both yelled at each other, and finally he said, "That's it! I want you out of here in three days." It was very clear to me as well that I needed to move out. It didn't matter whether his request was legal or not. We were making each other miserable and each day spent in misery was a day too much.

So I brought my cats into my room and closed my door. I was feeling unsafe, alone, and helpless. I had no money and two cats, and who would take me in? I called my mother to see if I could move to Florida (I so can't see myself living there!) as I didn't see any other alternative. I emailed my siblings to see if they could send me the airfare. I called a friend who said she could store my things. OK, I wasn't alone. But I was in a house with a man who was angry at me and I didn't feel safe. I wanted to blame him for all my misery and make him the villain. And I did just that for a little while.

Then sanity prevailed. I prayed and opened The Course in Miracles at random, as I often do when I am suffering. And as is usually the case, the Course spoke to me. Will you forgive your brother his illusions? it asked me. Will you remember the good things? There is no sin and guilt, there are just mistakes that need correction. Make your brother guilty and you are keeping yourself guilty and in hell. Forgive your brother and you both get to Heaven.

What the Course was asking me to do went against every fiber of my body. All my friends would totally support me in feeling wronged. But I had a small amount of willingness and I prayed and meditated. The next morning I was able to send my landlord an email apologizing for yelling (the fact that he yelled didn't give me an excuse), committing to move, and offering him a gift--a painting of the ocean that I know he likes, as he is a surfer.

What came back to me was a very loving email. He was "flabbergasted" that I could see through his anger to his pain and not make him guilty. He was touched and sad. And he would help me. We still agreed that I needed to move, but we could end this in love.

That day I met a woman who had written a spiritual book that needed editing. We talked for a couple of hours and connected. When I told her of my need to move, she offered that the cats and I could stay in her house for the month of August, as I edited her book. She also offered to pay me a nice sum and gave me a deposit. For the first time in months I could fill my car with gas, have the oil changed, buy all the groceries and cat food that I wanted, and even go out for a bite to eat. I felt so abundant!

My landlord and I are back to being good friends, and we are working out the best way I can move. My shift from anger and attack to defenselessness really did result in my feeling safe and taken care of. The Course is so right, and following its advice really is the path out of hell to Heaven. According to the Course, anger is never justified. People are only doing one of two things: they are either extending love or crying out for love. Either way, love is the only sane response


Dara said...

I'm learning about the Course from your blog, so don't apologize for referring to it. It's your path right now and it resonates deeply.

I can see where the ideal perfect enlightened response would be to never ever be angry no matter what happened, and to always instantaneously send back love and forgiveness. But what is the purpose of calling a normal human response insane and judging yourself so rigidly, especially when you are feeling so vulnerable? That doesn't feel at all compassionate and forgiving of yourself.

And whether or not anger is or isn't ever justified, my thought is - who cares? If anger is what you are feeling, then why can't that be okay? When I get mad it's actually a healthy response because I was SO conditioned to never ever EVER lose my temper and to always be a little lady. That suppression has wreaked havoc in my life and having permission to actually feel what I feel is true freedom. Freedom to be exactly as I am. Anger, depression, exuberance, illness, despair - all of it. I am reminded of Rumi's poem, Guest House. It's all welcome!

Despina Gurlides said...

Hi, Dara.

I agree with you. We can't make it wrong to be angry, as we are human. Believe me, I can't stand being around "spiritual" people who never show anger, even though it's running underneath.

And anyone who knows me, knows that I get angry. I stopped suppressing it a long time ago, and I don't judge myself for it. If this post sounded judgmental or preachy in any way, I apologize.

I actually have started feeling a great deal of compassion for myself, and as a result can feel more compassion for others.

Still, I have to marvel with the shift that happens when I go through my anger and can come to a place of love. It doesn't happen instantaneously, but I don't hold grudges for years, as I used to. That's a blessing for me, and the people around me.