Monday, May 9, 2011

A lesson in compassion, forgiveness, and letting go of ego.

(crossposted from my journal elsewhere and edited slightly to explain the backstory a little to those who wouldn't know it)

Right. So at the moment I am in a MASSIVE fibro flare through stress (cumulative over the last month or two since my girls were living here) - it's horrible, I have never hurt this much in my entire life. My back and neck feel like someone wearing steelcaps has been kicking the shit out of me in my sleep (ha, not that I actually GET any sleep, if I'm not in too much pain or just plain can't get comfortable, I'm tossing and turning all night with mental hyperactivity), my skin feels like it's on fire all over, and even clothes hurt to wear today My hands are screaming - but I need to keep them moving or they will be worse tomorrow (it's a fine line between not enough activity to keep them mobile, and too much so that they hurt even more, and one that I often don't know I have crossed until the next day).

A lot of this flare has been caused by family dramas (those of you who know me on facebook will probably have some idea what I'm talking about) - gist of it is, there was an incident that bounced off people's issues and escalated, misinterpretations and a few people who decided to get in other people's ears and lie and twist things and make the situation worse. And as a result, I lost my fiancee, and almost lost my adopted little brother over it.

Anyway so on Friday I had finally calmed down enough to be able to step back and evaluate things (PTSD is a bitch like that, and mine is still in the reactive stage after almost 12 years, and I can't take psych meds to chill it because I'm hypersensitive to all of them so I just have to try to deal - and when it cascades like it does often, the only way to deal with it is to shut down any outside stimuli and just try to ride it out till it stops). So I realised that no matter what the dispute, Nic is still my brother - for over three years he has been my closest friend and staunchest supporter through EVERYTHING, without fail, and has been more of a brother to me than my own blood. And I wasn't prepared to lose that without at least trying to work it out, I figured I at least owed Nic a chance to explain himself and to get him to hear my side. And I believe that true brothers, especially close ones, will have headbutts from time to time, but that their bond will always transcend the dispute so they will always work it out (unless one of them does something like burn your house down LOL, that's different).

There were a few people during our dispute who got in my ear and told me in no uncertain terms I should never speak to Nic again, no matter what (it's funny how you find out who your friends really are in times of crisis like this, isn't it?) - but in the end, I know my brother and I know the bond we have, and I'm glad I decided to be an adult and try to work it out, because both of us have gained a better insight into each others' issues, understanding of each other and have worked out how to avoid such major blow ups in the future. I apologised for my part, and laid out what I needed from him, and I got it, unreservedly (not bad from someone who has a policy of never apologising for ANYTHING lol!), so I have forgiven and forgotten and I am just glad that I have my little brother back There is still some work to be done to repair the damage, but I believe that it will be done and I have faith in my little bro, he has never let me down yet.

In the middle of all of this, (back to the fibro flare for a minute), I have been spending a lot of time in the company of a couple of very Dark Mothers (those of you who are any shade of Pagan will understand this next bit, for those of you who aren't, I will try to explain a little). I had called on Lilith and Kali-Ma and have been keeping them around pretty much constantly for almost the last 2 weeks. Now one of the consequences when I work with dark Goddesses for anything is that there is always a high physical price for me to pay for it - so I don't do it lightly, and I always make sure that what I am asking of them is the right thing because I know there WILL be kickback to me for it and I have to be sure I am willing to pay that price, because I will have to pay it regardless (hence my fibro flare, the presence of Lilith and Kali-Ma is largely responsible for the severe degree of pain I am experiencing currently. But to get my brother back, it was worth every bit of it - now to see if the rest of what I have been asking them will be granted, because I'd go through all of this pain again for what I have asked and more, because what I have asked has no price that would be too high by my reckoning).

For those of you who don't know, Lilith is not strictly a Goddess - she's a Demoness, more correctly speaking (although having worked with her for years, I dispute that lol, she's a very dark one yes, but I believe a Goddess nonetheless). Her story is that she was the original woman God created as a companion for Adam, but because she refused to be submissive to Adam and wanted to be his equal, she was banished (some sources say she left Eden of her own accord) and God created Eve. So Lilith has many associations with archetypes of the sacred prostitute, destruction, darkness, chaos, motherhood and children (part of the many legends around Lilith is that after she left Eden, she slept with the archangel Samael and basically continues to spawn many demon offspring and wherever she goes, she unleashes chaos - another one says that she is unable to have children so she takes her revenge on newborn baby boys, there are too many to list here).

Kali-Ma is the Dark Mother aspect of the Hindu Goddess Kali. She is associated with eternal energy, the consort of the lord Shiva, and is considered the goddess of time and change, as well as death. Another name for her is "the redeemer". She is often seen as the Mother of the whole Universe, and the great protector. I like this description of her by Ramakrishna:

My Mother is the principle of consciousness. She is Akhanda Satchidananda; indivisible Reality, Awareness, and Bliss. The night sky between the stars is perfectly black. The waters of the ocean depths are the same; The infinite is always mysteriously dark. This inebriating darkness is my beloved Kali.

So anyway, due to the nature of the situation, I went to both Lilith and Kali Ma in their Dark Mother aspects to ask for protection (not only for myself but for the other main parties involved in the dispute), guidance, and to be shown the way forward to make it stop and resolve it the best possible way for all parties involved. And I went with humility - I have learned in the past that both Lilith and Kali will give me a huge slap if I ask for either the wrong thing, or for the wrong reasons, so I also asked that if I am asking for the wrong solution, or my reasoning is off, to be shown the right way. And I believe that this is why my request was granted so swiftly and dramatically (and yes, I did get a bit of a slap for allowing my anger to get the better of me for a while, but I learned and I think I was actually let off pretty lightly by both the Dark Mothers because I went with the attitude of being WILLING to learn and ASKING to be shown if and where I was wrong, rather than just "I'm right, they're wrong, slap them down for me because they need it" - that would have resulted in ME getting the biggest slap of any that were dished out )

I have had disagreements with one or two pagan friends who, as soon as they heard Kali-Ma and Lilith were involved, assumed that I had gone to Kali in her Destroyer aspect and to Lilith as the Night Bird and hater of men, in order to seek vengeance or somesuch. I know the two Dark Mothers FAR too well to dare to ask for that lol - aside from the MASSIVE slap I would have got for being such an arrogant little shit as to ask such great Mothers to meddle in such a dispute and end it to a purpose that may not have been the right one, the consequences for the other parties would also have been disastrous and again, I would have worn the karma for exercising my free will over theirs. So yeah, no thanks, I am too smart to EVER get on the wrong side of the Dark Mothers And those who assume that Kali-Ma's energy is one of vengeance, do not know Her at all. Yes, She is dark and terrible and can be vengeful, but that is not what Kali is about - see above, She is the Redeemer and the Mother of the Universe. And because the party I am most concerned about in all of this is a mother who is currently having a very dark and chaotic time that she is struggling to cope with in any form, I felt it was appropriate to ask the two Mothers who would know her position better than anyone, to help her through it. And this is why my fibro is still giving me hell, because I am doing what is needed for someone who needs it and I have taken my ego right out of the equation - no price, physical, emotional or otherwise, is too high for the safety and wellbeing of my loved ones, and I will do whatever is necessary and take whatever kickback I get for it.

So yeah, the theme in all of this seems to be (again lol, story of my life) compassion, seeing past the surface of things to what's really underneath, losing the ego to do what's REALLY right, and forgiveness as a way of moving forward, rather than allowing anger to destroy everything.

I know that some people won't be able to understand why I have forgiven my brother and forgotten what he did (particularly given the fact that he came between me and my fiancee, his sister - and I don't know if I will ever get her back) - the answer is simple, it's BECAUSE he is my brother and understands what he did and is truly sorry for it and willing to fix it, so I have no reason to continue to hold anger or a grudge. He is human, as am I and everyone else, and it would be unrealistic of me to expect him to be perfect or to never screw up - it's not the screw up or the fight that matters anywhere near so much as it's the way it is dealt with and whether the parties involved can move forward. I have understood my brother far better now and been able to forgive him BECAUSE I stopped and took the time to address the situation with compassion and to remember that he IS my brother, for life. I also understood that fear was a large part of the motivation for the dispute - fear of loss of a loved one, fear of loss of control - and I understand that fear is as far from love as it is possible to get. So I chose to address the situation with love and bring it back into balance.

I am reminded today of a quotation that I read so long ago that I have absolutely no memory of where I read it or who said it, but it is very much appropriate for this situation:

Forgiveness recognises that what you thought your brother did to you has not occurred.

I love you, little bro.

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