I’ve been thinking about betrayal lately – and the effects of holding on to stuff on your mind, body, and spirit. Something happened yesterday – no need to discuss what (that just fuels the fire sometimes) and there was someone in my life that I wanted to punish. And honestly – it’s a lot of work, work and energy that I’m not committed to expending anymore. Oh yeah, I also cleaned up with someone yesterday that I was punishing. One of our partners from the states hadn’t responded to a few emails that I had written that were difficult for me to write and requested some response that I had not received. So for the past week, every time he has called, I have been cool and distant to him on the phone. My form of punishment!
Well something clicked in me yesterday – perhaps it was our work on betrayal, or on embracing our shadows that I’ve been speaking what’s so for me more often and not just letting stuff sit and stew and so I was crystal clear in my communication with him yesterday what my needs were and that I was disappointed that I hadn’t heard from him regarding the email. In about 12 seconds, it was over, there was no discomfort – he was crystal clear and although I didn’t get the exact answer I was hoping for, there is a huge opening that I created to get what I need in the next day or so. And, by the way, if I had just continued to “punish” him, I am super clear that he would have NO IDEA that he was being punished by me AND I would not have an opening to get what I ultimately need from him – a waste of friggin energy.
Now, the flip side also ends up working too. We can devise our own ways of punishing ourselves for our own betrayals. I once moved in directly below a friend I had betrayed. I was still unpacking when I cleaned it up with her. And for a few months she needed space from me and I heard her footsteps in her apartment, heard her walk down the stairs, etc. and every step was a reminder of what I had done. It was a time period of tremendous grief for me – I needed to go through a process of self-forgiveness over and over - certainly an effective form of punishment that I devised for myself! And although it was a difficult few months and I certainly wish the betrayal hadn’t happened at all, I would not have the blessed relationship I have with her today if I hadn’t cleaned it up. Punishing ourselves is also wasted energy. My favorite saying: Life’s messy – clean it up!
But what I just described is a cake walk compared to some of the ways that we can punish ourselves! Eating disorders, drug and alcohol abuse, cutting ourselves, any sort of extreme anything (working too much, exercising too much, excessive risk taking, sabotaging relationships, etc.) If we put all that energy toward world peace, it would be achieved in no time!!
If we break it down further we wouldn’t be punishing ourselves or others if there wasn’t a payoff – something we get out of it – but there are also costs. It’s because we don’t connect – truly connect – to the costs that we allow them to persist in our lives.
So the payoff – what we get out of it – is
- We get to be right or making someone (or ourselves) wrong or
- We get to avoid taking responsibility for our actions.
Now for the costs:
When we truly get clear to the costs that these incompletions are having on our lives – that usually is the inspiration necessary to clean it up. And you may have the misconception that having a mess in one area of your life isn’t really affecting the rest of your life. Not true. It is a similar tenant in Feng Shui. Just because you feel you have effectively compartmentalized all your clutter into one area of your house – that clutter is affecting or blocking the flow of energy to the rest of the house and therefore to the rest of your life. When you have this incompletion – it is like spiritual clutter and although you feel like you have it effectively compartmentalized – it seeps into every aspect of your life.
Patty’s Challenge: Get clear about the costs of something that is incomplete and go clean something up that you have been punishing yourself for. And if you can see the punishment, but not the event – sit quietly and figure out what you need to forgive yourself for. AND – who can you let off the hook that you have been punishing? How can you clean that up and work on spending that energy in a more effective way, like world peace…?
Love to you,