The universe does not judge us;
It only provides consequences and lessons,
And opportunities to balance and learn
Through the law of cause and effect.
Compassion is the recognition that
We are each doing the best we can
Within the limits
Of our current beliefs and capacities.
That I feed the hungry,
Forgive an insult, and love my enemy—
These are great virtues.
But what if I should discover
That the poorest of the beggars
And most impudent of offenders
Are all within me,
And that I stand in need
Of the alms of my own kindness;
That I myself am the enemy
Who must be loved—
Richard Bach’s, “Illusions” was published in 1977, the same year as my first divorce. Little did I know then that one of my all-time favorite quotes from that book, “You teach best what you most need to learn,” would so embody my calling. It’s not surprising, though. Concepts reverberate like church bells in my body for reasons that eventually reveal themselves. This particular one captured my essence.
I have been both a deeply flawed wife and an equally flawed mother. One abiding obsession—my insatiable appetite to know myself—has been key to my relentless drive to autopsy my failures. Facing and accepting my own acts of self-sabotage provided a road map for the course corrections necessary for my growth. Self-examination and the acceptance of my own culpability ultimately put an end to staunchly defending my victim status.
Life has given me a smorgasbord of opportunities from which to learn forgiveness, compassion, and empathy, traits not role-modeled in my upbringing. My brother’s preferred status based solely on the basis of his gender infuriated me. I toted that baggage for decades. Each betrayal felt cruel, discriminatory, and unfair, until, in my late thirties, I was led to the teachings of Caroline Myss and learned a new way to view my life. Continue reading