I seriously broke someone’s heart almost twenty years ago. I did not do this gracefully or kindly. I had fallen in love with someone else and the transition was abrupt and unskillful.
I didn’t talk to this man for almost ten years, though I thought about him often. And then I had my heart broken. One of the greatest gifts of that pain was using it to go back and clean up where I had hurt others. And one of the biggest blessings was that I reconnected with this person I had hurt so badly. He is now one of my dearest friends and confidantes. (In fact, his music is behind this New Moon’s meditation. More about that below!)
During our lifetimes I believe that all of us will have the experience of being betrayed and being the betrayer, of making mistakes and being the recipient of others’ mistakes. Navigating human relationships is challenging, and sometimes messy, and we often learn through the experience. And that experience is often one we wish we were not having, or looking back on it we wish we had done it differently.
Dear ones, you are going to mess up. Sometimes you will unwittingly or accidentally dismiss or betray or hurt another. You will also be hurt and betrayed and dismissed at times. Trying to avoid the pain or pretend everything is fine will not serve you. But having the fiery courage to face and move through the pain, to learn from the experience, and to integrate the lessons will serve you for a lifetime.
There are so many things in my past that I wish I could have done differently. But I also have compassion for the woman that I was, and for all that went into creating my actions or reactions. We do not exist in a bubble; our past strongly effects our present. But we do not have to feel helpless to change how we act and respond, nor do we have to be bitter toward another person’s behavior. Compassion is key. Human interactions can be complicated. And we can use every interaction to clean up our past and take responsibility for our actions. Or we can use every interaction to hurt ourselves and others with our unconsciousness, frustration, and/or anger.
I vote that we all use our actions/reactions to clean, clean, clean. All interactions, no matter how difficult, can help us to mature into compassionate, wise, and open-hearted beings. This is not something that happens effortlessly; it takes a lot of effort and courage and perseverance to navigate human relations and communication, especially when it gets tangled and ouchy. Sometimes we can do this with the other person’s participation, and sometimes we must do our own healing by ourselves. We must be willing to respect and release the other person, and allow them to have their own reaction and experience. That is sometimes the most challenging lesson.
When we behave immaturely we avoid conflict and fear change, or we put all of our focus on how the other person has wronged us. As we gain wisdom and experience we are more able to be with contradictions, discomfort, and the confusion that can come with differing points of view. We take responsibility without judgment of ourselves for our actions, make amends where we can, and understand that others are acting from their own hurtful past. We are all a work in progress, and no one can know what another’s journey should look like. We tend our own hearth and growth, and mind our own fire; as my friend Coral likes to say in regards to others: “not my fire, not my fire pit.”
Here are five ingredients to moving past betrayal and cleaning up your mistakes (or releasing the mistakes and betrayal from another) that will help you mind your own fire and keep it burning brightly…
• Be with your hurt
Don’t try to pretend you are not hurt, or lose all of your energy focusing on the other person. What are you feeling? Where do you feel it in your body? How is the hurt you are feeling similar to experiences that you have had in the past? And what agreement or belief is the hurt highlighting for you to heal? Make a commitment to yourself to use your current hurt as a portal to getting freer from the past, more loving in the present, and more mindful in the future.
• Acknowledge the other person’s hurt
If you have hurt someone else, don’t try to negate their feelings or talk them out of their experience. Don’t deny or try to manipulate their experience. Listen fully and acknowledge their words and feelings. If they are open to it, share your experience and your motivations. Be vulnerable and expose, in-depth, what was going on for you. Be honest. Listen more.
• Trade-in judgment for discernment and story for truth
Blame, shame, and guilt: these emotions can create deep pits of hell that we can wallow in forever. Explore whether or not you are holding blame, shame, or guilt towards yourself or someone else. The first step is acknowledging how you are judging or victimizing yourself or others, and then reviewing what is actually true. Yes, they acted the way they did. Yes, you acted the way you did. How can you mourn, grieve, and then release? What is a larger truth and how can you separate from what you wish had happened?
• Clean up as best you can
Apologize. Share your vulnerability. Show up and listen. Learn. Wait. Listen to your intuition for any next steps. Slow down. Breathe. Cleaning up your mistakes is not about using judgment or blame; this would be like using a dirty oily rag to wipe down your countertops, or vacuuming your rug while you are wearing muddy boots. Instead, forgive yourself, commit to do better next time, and pay attention to where you can apologize, be clearer in your communication, or ask for clarification about what would have worked better for the other person (or yourself.)
• Integrate the lessons
One of the most powerful things I’ve learned from past hurts and mistakes is to review and learn. I’ve found it most helpful to wait until I am no longer holding shame, blame, or guilt, and instead act only when I’m really ready to look back at what happened from a place of witnessing, free of judgment and victimization, and ascertain the lesson learned from the experience. To do this, wait until you can go back and look at a past experience as an observer. Be curious about what you could have done differently. Was there any place where you ignored your intuition, or procrastinated, or weren’t clear in your communication? Where could you have been more conscious or brought in more love or wisdom? What would have helped change the situation for you in a positive way? Again, no judgment… simply gathering the data and learning. Then replay the situation again with new awareness, and feel what it would feel like in your body. This will help you to integrate new actions and awareness in the future.
Here’s to moving past blame, learning from our mistakes, and growing through adversity…
P.S. My book, A Little Book on Big Freedom: Discover the Four Elements of Transformation, launches April 9th! You can pre-order here: https://www.hierophantpublishing.com/big-freedom-by-heatherash-amara/ This book is an updated version of my first book, The Toltec Path of Transformation. Enjoy!!!
Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like. ~ Lao Tzu
The theme for this moon’s cycle is “Fire.” (You may have noticed we are going through the letters of the alphabet, a to z, to find our moon theme words!) Your fire is your inner energy, your life force flow that nourishes and moves you through the world. When your inner fire is high you are courageous, passionate, creative, and able to make changes in your life; when your inner fire is dampened you tend towards fear, procrastination, self-doubt, and can struggle with your thoughts and actions. Each day of this moon cycle I’ll share ways to build your inner fire; both through clearing old beliefs that sap your energy and through finding ways to feed your spark. One of the biggest ways that we can gain more energy is to stop the fire-dampening habits of judging ourselves or resisting reality. (In fact, judging oneself is the height of resisting reality!)
In today’s New Moon visualization, I share a meditation for clearing both self-judgment and resistance. You can also join me during this moon cycle in a daily meditation practice by joining my Warrior Goddess / Warrior Heart circle on Insight Timer (for all genders), where I am gradually uploading these New Moon meditations. Music by the amazing, Grammy-award winning artist Kevin Braheny Fortune. Learn more about Kevin’s music at http://www.kevinbrahenyfortune.com I highly recommend his extended songs for meditation and relaxation; especially check out The Night Fairies of Stillhaven Forest (I listened to this song many nights when I lived in New York City!)
New Moon Visualization: Moving Past Self-Judgment and Resistance