In the fall of 2007, I set about cleaning up my life and participating in it again. I didn't just settle for taking responsibility for my own actions and cleaning it up, I made a commitment to personal excellence. To becoming a loving and forgiving person.
But true love and forgiveness come from examining yourself. There is no substitute and as I grew over that two year period, I almost forgot one vital thing.
I did the deal. I hurt, I accepted who I was, and most importantly- I vowed never to hurt or diminish anyone again. I committed to the idea of becoming the best person I had ever been.
Yet the people around me did not. They continued to behave in their same old fear driven and unconscious ways. They simply refuse to take their game to the next level. It's not that they won't or that they can't, they are simply unaware, unconscious. They have acquired beliefs, their own brand of truth- which has no universal nor infallible application. And as I left the old me behind, I am forced to leave those people I knew back then behind. Not because I don't love them, but because I have to accept that they are entitled to live in whatever state of consciousness they choose.
Such are the men that crucified Jesus. Ask any one of those "conscious souls" and I'll bet they thought that carrying out that sentence was right at that moment in time. They had a belief. They feared what would happen to them if they did not carry out that sentence-perhaps they would find themselves hanging from a cross. Fast forward a couple thousand years and find 1942 Americans putting Japanese Americans- citizens- in camps. In fact, to this day, many of those folks living in the 40's adamantly defend those actions. Yet, in our latest war on terror...we didn't go harvest every Islamic Fundamentalist, Muslim, or Middle Eastern son and daughter and imprison them, did we?
So are we always right? Were we right in 1942 or were we right in 2001? Ponder the implications. Flawed and fear driven human belief systems, a collective ego, making decisions.
The people in my life- I owe them everything. Without them, I am nothing. I need only look at them to remind myself of what it used to be like. And I am humbled that I was given this gift. I want to make one thing perfectly clear. I just stumbled into a new realm.
If you want different results, you must do something drastically different. And in the fall of 2007, I wanted drastic change. I was willing to do whatever it takes. Eliminating people from your life that are diminishing or hurtful. Because loving them should not be painful. Loving yourself requires the ability to leave people behind that don't really love you. Generally through their own incapacity to see beyond their fears and wants.
You see, love is an abstract concept. It is easiest to describe what it isn't-rather than what it is. Love is not self seeking. Love is not about material possessions or wanting. It is not about pointing out flaws or belittling people. It is not about sitting with your girlfriends and throwing a pity party and behaving like victims. Talking about and hurting others. It is not about being critical, judgmental, or isolating people we think we don't like. Love is none of those things. In fact love is the opposite of all those things.
Love takes all comers. It is inclusionary rather than exclusionary. It is about patience, tolerance, and understanding. It is about ridding the chains of that subconscious ego of yours and loving anyone. Absolutely anyone and wanting the very best for them. You can't receive love until you become willing to give love. It is never about what you get- it is always about what you give and give first.
There was a time when I did not understand that. I thought it was about getting something for me. Really.
And if you find yourself at the end of a string of failed relationships, or surrounded by a bunch of people who don't really care too much for you, then it's time to examine yourself. What do you bring to the party? And if that answer is "not much" it might be time to try something different and work toward a different result.