An unforgiveable act may serve as a catalyst taking us into deeper examination of our values, our responses, our expectations and demands, the rules we live by. That’s the way it was for my client. Many of her friends urged her to pull out all her reserves of ammunition, her hidden resentments, the slights that she had accepted and tolerated. They were pleased to help her stockpile the weapons, to justify her reasons to mete out harsh punishment, to create a war with no way of retreat – for him or for her. Other friends became parental, under the guise of being helpful, by encouraging her to look at her own patterns, her wavering at places where she should have taken a stand or called him to account. Still others told her this act could be a turning point for changing her own behavior; this friendly tactic being a subtle, “punish the victim” stance.
My client was a most amazing woman. Despite her pain, she remained balanced and secure within herself. Never once did she deny what she was feeling. She gave full expression to anger, to hopelessness, to grief, to confusion, to deep hurt, to smugness and self-righteousness, to moments of plotting revenge. She suffered and she knew her suffering, she stayed with it as it did its work. As for the conflicting advice from well-meaning friends, the place she returned to again and again was her own inner knowing:
“That doesn’t feel right. That’s not who I am. I wouldn’t do that or say that to anyone. I won’t stoop to that. It may not make sense but I understand him and I don’t hate him, I love him.”
All of these ways of thinking and feeling and being were her touchstone.
In the process of living her own truth, without knowing where it would take her, she grew stronger. By refusing to compromise her authentic self, she navigated the experience and emerged deepened in her knowing, more trusting of her own wisdom.
The words of Leonard Cohen “love's the only engine of survival” were true for her, though she had never heard them. She had not studied "A Course in Miracles" yet she vivified its core teachings:
When you meet anyone, remember it is a holy encounter.
As you see him, you will see yourself.
As you treat him, you will treat yourself.
As you think of him, you will think of yourself.
Never forget this, for in him you will find yourself or lose yourself.
I was immensely blessed by walking with her at this difficult time. And as you can imagine, her love continues to bless the many who know the remarkable woman that she is.