I realized yesterday that I am very much accustomed to projecting my own attack thoughts onto Bill by feeling as though he’s attacking me…or wanting to. In spite of what I am about to share, I still unconsciously believe he’s directing unloving thoughts in my direction and I am not taking responsibility of this perception, that I am attacking him and have not gotten in touch with it. I still struggle with the belief that he victimizes me, I certainly don’t do that to him. Hmmm….
As you all know, we’ve been married 45 years, dated for three prior to marrying and we certainly have had a love/hate relationship, a special one for most of those almost 50 years until, about two or three years ago, I decided it was just too painful.
He was upset with me for some reason, cannot remember. It was a Saturday and he left in a huff, had decided to go to our office to work. This leaving on his part is a behavior he has demonstrated countless times over the decades. If it were at night, perhaps he’d go to a bar/pub for a beer. Don’t know. He always came home, but he wouldn’t talk to me when he returned. Until at which time he would decide to talk to me, usually when I apologized, I would be the recipient of the silent treatment.
NOW….I used to hate him for this. Feeling so powerless and helpless. Also, I felt ashamed, embarrassed, I don’t know, “full of sin”? I didn’t realize it was just a game, a cycle of behavior, that I had a choice to no longer allow it to affect me, define me.
That Saturday, however, I sat on our family room sofa and thought, “I cannot allow this behavior to define me. I am not a scoundrel, this is his work to do, not mine, I do not have to allow it to affect my day/my weekend in an adverse manner, feeling like the absolutely worst wife on the planet.”
Whew! It is not my intent to paint a dark picture of Bill. This behavior I am describing was his coping mechanism. I don’t want to judge it anymore nor do I wish for you to judge it either, not my point.
The point is “I am not the victim of the world I see.” I allowed myself to be imprisoned. I have studied and thought I applied the Course for years, our marriage was the love/hate relationship I was clearly unwilling to place on the altar for transformation. “Nothing holds me in this world.” I held myself in bondage.
“I have invented the world I see.” I was aligned with the ego thought system. I allowed it to play itself out, believing I was victimized, it never occurred to me I had imprisoned myself and Bill, both of us, neither of us was free, sure, I could apply the Course to other relationships, but not to this one. This was my “hidden hate and secret sin”, I did not want to get out of the prison I had made for myself nor was I willing to accept I invented it to begin with.
Ah, but “There is another way of looking at the world.” I saw this scenario “upside down, and my thoughts were the “opposite of truth.” I did see the world “as a prison for God’s Son” until I didn’t that Saturday several years ago. I will find my freedom and by so doing, will liberate, am liberating, have liberated my husband.
“I could see peace instead of this”, my goodness, I could have always chosen peace throughout the decades of marriage. Not that we didn’t have joy at times, but that’s the point of a special relationship, by definition it is characterized by duality; joy/conflict, love/hate, miracles/murder, one or the other, separate interests, kill or be killed, attack, defend. This marriage was a sticking point for me. I must have believed that I deserved to be punished for my sense of sin and I allowed Bill to be my imprisoner. If martyrdom, spiritual superiority and powerlessness ensue or are intensified, well then, not only am I imprisoned, Bill too, but we both found ourselves in solitary confinement devoid of any form of communication whatsoever.
Finally, to speak to the last among these five lessons, one of my favorites, as much and as often as I have practiced this lesson over many years, I think, at times, it was quite robotic and mechanical. (Jesus often has guarded against this inclination.) If I had truly practiced, “My mind is part of God’s. I am very holy”, I might have decided for holiness long before. Regardless, since there is no time and space, I did choose and, overall, our relationship is no longer fraught with this “extreme” disconnection and there is truly far more communion than ever before. It really is quite lovely.
Furthermore, I pray more, take more quiet time, step back and am far more willing to accept that I am responsible for what I see, for what I experience and I can decide for freedom, liberation and peace.
I can realize that the ego is relentless and I must be vigilant for God and his Kingdom. It isn’t a “I’ve got this, I put it on the altar and I no longer have to worry about my marriage.” No, that’s NOT the way it works.
I hope my sharing how specialness can play out in all its destructive and disconnecting forms, will help anyone who reads this that choosing nothing but holiness does heal, does transform and does bless.