Finding self compassion

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“We must be willing to be completely ordinary people. Which means accepting ourselves as we are without trying to become greater, purer, more spiritual, more insightful.” Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche

It was four in the morning when I woke up with a shudder. Unsettled from the shock of a dream that had woken me up, I felt out of sort. There was no need to try too hard to remember my dream, which I usually do. The dream was so vivid and real that it seemed like it had just happened in real life. I was with my ex-husband in that dream. After realizing that it was just a dream, I felt relieved to be woken up, even at 4 am.

In my dream there was a gathering. It was some sort of a party. I couldn’t remember where it was or who else was there. The place didn’t look like my old house or the new one. Even during the dream, I knew I was no longer with him. I was also kind of curious of why I was there with him, knowing we are no longer together. It felt like that I had to have this party with him. It was strange. I was not fully comfortable, yet I was going along with it. After the guests left, he had his dissatisfied look. Something was not right. I was familiar with that look, the look of displeasure and annoyance. He started complaining about one of the drinks that was served. He was mad about the drink and said; he really didn’t care for that drink. I looked at him with a surprise and asked him: “why did you have it? I didn’t have any of that drink.”

Thinking about it, I realized that I never reacted like that in our married life. Having experienced numerous occasions of irritation and disapproval from him, I recall taking on the responsibility and trying to fix things. Even, when nothing required fixing. When it was not my issue. When it was not my problem. In order to avoid his anger and frustration and days of grouchy face, I tried my hardest to fix things for him. No wonder I failed, it was not mine to fix.

I had fallen into this pattern many times. When he complained and I apologized. Then I would try to mend things. I recall the first marriage counseling that we went to. After a few months, she asked to see us individually and told me that she can no longer be our marriage therapist. I was disappointed and shocked. She said; I can no longer help you because, you did everything that he came here and asked for. But he is still not happy. Don’t think you didn’t try, he will always find something to be unhappy about, and there is nothing you can do about it.

I left her office, thinking I am not going to give up. There must be a way. So we started another marriage counseling. Yet ten years later, similar issues, and similar problems still existed. It was time to make a decision. It was time to let go. Looking back, I am recognizing my fear. Why I stayed! Living in my fear, I enabled him to continue that pattern and behavior that was causing me so much pain and suffering. At the time I didn’t see any other way. Losing compassion for myself. Losing my truth, trying to resolve the issues for him. It took me years of meditation and therapy to recognize many of these patterns. To become familiar with how I behaved and why.

Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche in his book, “The Heart of The Buddha” says: “The transition from knowledge to wisdom is not simply one of first acquiring knowledge and then suddenly becoming wise. The definition of wisdom is that one intuitively knows everything already; it is independent of amassing information. But we do not seem to know how to make this transition from intellect to wisdom. There seems to be a very big gap between them, and we are uncertain as to how to handle it, how to become both a scholar and a yogi. We seem to need a mediator. That mediator is compassion or warmth; knowledge is transformed into wisdom by means of compassion.”

So did I intuitively know what I was doing was not helpful? Did I know that I needed to let him take responsibility for his unhappiness? Perhaps when I started having compassion for myself was the time that I was able to let go and allow things to fall apart. Or better say fall into the right place.

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