We have all been conditioned to leave ourselves when we most need ourselves, so Life puts us in situations to bring up the parts that were frozen inside when we were young. As I say in What’s In the Way IS the Way, “Life is set up – to bring up – what has been bound up – so it can open up – to be freed up – so you can show up for life!” Well, Life set me up this past weekend! I have done a lot of work around fear, shame, despair, and dread over the years and I am calm most of the time. On this day, however, a situation came up that really tested me.
The young man who helps me with my yard work arrived in the afternoon and I asked him to cut some branches behind my house that were hanging over the alley. The trees belong to my neighbor, but I thought I would have my yard worker do it rather than asking her to take care of it. I was particularly careful to point out to the young man that he should only cut the branches up to my neighbor’s fence.
Not long after the branches had been cut, I received an angry call from my neighbor saying that the trees had been cut back too far, her privacy was gone, and now she could see my next-door neighbor’s house across the alley. She went on for what seemed like an eternity expressing her upset. Then she said that she was going to take back the “privilege” of allowing me to plant my flowers along her side of the alleyway.
When I got off the phone, a feeling of dread rose up inside of me. It felt like a ball of fire in my belly, and it was very uncomfortable. I realized that this was what I lived with most of the time when I was young. But now, rather than being overtaken by it, I saw it as an opportunity. So, I sat down to be with the dread. At first awareness only lasted a few seconds, and then I would bounce right back up into the story. Each time the feeling of dread came up, I dropped down into my heart, and then back up into my head I would go.
The feelings of dread and shame continued to re-surface for several days. When they finally calmed down, I decided I would write my neighbor an apology note. I certainly could understand how she might be feeling, as I would probably have felt the same way if someone had cut the trees around my garden sanctuary. So, I wrote the note and left it in her mailbox. Later that day, she called to thank me for the card. She said she was still very upset, however, and that she would be in touch to let me know what I could and couldn’t do in the alleyway with my flowers.
I realized that this act of kindness that went awry was absolutely perfect because it was a set-up that allowed me to work with my Judger at a deep level. I can now bring so much heart to that part inside of me that really and truly believes she is bad and wrong to the core. When I was growing up, my name was Mary Lynn, but I was known by my middle name, Lynn. When I was 30, I changed my name to Mary and my whole life changed. Lynn believes she is bad and wrong and is the one who is having such a hard time with all of this. I am truly grateful for this opportunity to meet her fear, shame, despair, and dread.
I understand now that this set-up is for my highest good and for my neighbor’s benefit too. It is yet another invitation to meet these disowned parts inside of me. I am taking good care of Lynn right now by bringing her into my heart so that when my neighbor comes over to talk with me, I can be compassionate and kind, both to her and to Lynn.