But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. –-Thomas Merton, Thoughts in Solitude
Maybe I wasn’t clear enough, I thought when something went wrong. But as I considered what led up to this, I remembered that we’d had a conversation about it. I was clear.
I let it go.
Maybe he was trying to tell me he wanted to do things differently? I sat with that question and thought of this capable person. He could ask for a change if he wanted it.
I let it go again.
A third time I returned to what happened and thought about how this misunderstanding may have affected him. It bothered me. I felt responsible even though I wasn’t.
I listened to that thought: I felt responsible even though I wasn’t. Doing something about it felt like the right road, but it wasn’t.
I heard it. I felt it and told Cherie about it when we met together to do some focusing.
In the opening guided meditation, Cherie invited me to sense my solar plexus and my personal power there. I felt a surge of energy. The words I HAVE A CHOICE popped up in capital letters. I wanted to leave my body and live in those liberating words, but when Cherie asked me to notice what wanted attention in my body. I felt a gnawing in my stomach. As I welcomed that sensation, a picture of myself as a toddler curled up in a ball came to mind.
“If something is wrong and no one owns it, and there is a shred of a possibility that it might be my fault, I take responsibility for it. I have to fix it. I can’t relax until someone owns or fixes what’s gone wrong.”
I sat longer with the image and feelings and allowed that scared little girl to be there. She crawled into my arms and snuggled into my neck. She felt heard and understood.
After our session, Cherie and I talked about how regularly I experience this. “No wonder I get angry when people don’t own up to their mistakes. No wonder I want them to. But they can’t always do it, and it’s often complicated. But I have a choice. Even though something’s gone wrong and the one responsible for it isn’t admitting it, I can let it go. I don’t have to take responsibility for it.”
Noticing is freedom.
Over the next few days, when things didn’t go the way I’d hoped. I noticed how I felt responsible. With that awareness, I began to see the right road I had known nothing of. I had a choice. I could do something to make things better or I could let it go and trust.
You are true to your name, and you lead me along the right paths.
∗ ∗ ∗
The poet Rumi said, “Let the beauty we love be what we do. There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.” Giving ourselves to beauty allows us to honour the way we’re made, the Creator of all, and creation itself. April 22 was Earth Day. We care for the earth when we see its beauty, when we open our eyes and see.
Today’s photos are by Mike Beales who also took the photo that’s on the cover of my first book, Stories of an Everyday Pilgrim. I am so grateful for Mike and all the other photographers who share their work through Flickr or other sources. They help us see the world’s beauty.