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Old 04-26-2014, 05:55 PM
CherryBlossomGirl CherryBlossomGirl is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 212
Default Context and perspective.

I've been thinking a lot about the concept of context and perspective as of late. The idea that looking at anything through a certain perspective isolates you from a certain level of understanding. I think about some of the ways that I have looked at partners, work, or self only to have life spin me 180 so that I could see the exact same issue from the opposite perspective.

I remember so clearly, dating this one married man. He told me that his wife had given his full permission for him to have a lover. I was younger and didn't think to verify this with her; I trusted him and since I had done such careful work to open the relationship I was in at the time, assumed that he had done the same. We were having a beautiful love affair and our connection was golden. I had an online journal that I wrote in daily; it was pretty innocuous, and friends from all over the world kept in touch with my life through it. I woke up one morning to angry comments from a woman on a number of posts, and realized that they were from his wife. When I called him, it turned out that she had gone through his internet history and found emails between us, as well as my blog and was facing the full weight of his betrayal. I was mortified at having been deceived, and called my sister to get her advice. She told me to break up with him; that a man who was capable of displaying a lack of integrity like that to his wife would carry it forward in his life. We had been due to move in to a room in her shared house to carry on with our trysts, and that door was quickly shut, and she shared what was happening with everyone in her household. I talked at length with some trusted friends, and their advice was the same. That this style of betrayal would play itself out again in my own life if I stayed with him.

I remember thinking that there was no way that they could be right. He was out of love with his wife. She was controlling, angry, didn't give him what he needed sexually and was prone to drinking too much. He told me that it had been over for awhile and that I was simply a catalyst for change in his life. I stepped back from the relationship to give them time to sort things out and sent her a number of emails explaining to her that I had no idea that I was party to her deception, and sending her my respect and good intentions. She never wrote me back.

I met a girlfriend in the city for dinner, and after some text correspondence between him and I, he met us in the dimly lit restaurant. I was caught between feeling angry that I had been complicit in hurting someone else, and happy to see him. He walked with me outside, and insinuated himself on my physically, kissing me and telling me how much he missed me. It was so confusing. I went back to the friend's place that I was staying at, and wrote a long letter that I never gave to him that I recently refound while going through forgotten about drawers. About the feelings that came up inside of me when he asked me to compromise my own integrity for his own sexual and emotional pursuits. About how it felt to have been made the other woman, and for even now, him not to be respecting either woman by contacting me and applying pressure for physicality. I was free and clear to do what I saw fit in relationship, and was already in love with him. It was a terrible place to me.

We did end up making a partnership. Years later, the same thing did happen to me. Putting other women before our relationship even with us trying to be open in an honest way, pigeon-holing me tighter and tighter into a place of being unwanted, unloved, and increasingly insecure and controlling. It didn't take long for me, when standing in that woman's shoes from the exact opposite perspective to see my own past selfishness and ignorance for pursuing a relationship with a man so capable of deception and betrayal. Life had slowly but surely turned me around so that I could look at myself from the perspective that I had ignored in my compassion so many years prior. Working in counselling I wrote a long letter to her, and while I never sent it, it serves as a reminder to me.

I also watched the women that he chose to play out this same pattern with. Watched how they tried to have integrity and honor our marriage, but ultimately did what felt good and right for them. They compromised their own integrity at times, listened to his silky smooth words, and bought into the idea that I was a monster. They saw my suffering and insecurity as control and evilness. They played into the dynamics that brought out the same qualities in him as before, and the same qualities in me that his ex-wife had experienced. I knew what it was like to be them. Knew what it was like to be the object of his undiluted desire and to be gently and easily bent to compromise what was the truly correct thing to do. I swung between the anger that his ex-wife had experienced for me once upon a time to pleading with them to see my side, to apologizing to them for being so insecure. It was wretched. I watched myself behave in ways and chose misguided and inappropriate methods of trying to protect myself and our marriage that I experience a great deal of shame about, and work hard to be gentle and have compassion for my flailing self. To have a man look me in the eyes and swear on the life of his mother that he is telling you the truth, only to discover that he is not? They cannot know what that is like or have the perspective to know how that feels. I do, and that helps me soften against myself and his ex-wife, understanding the things that can be brought out of betrayal and pain.

The only perspective I have not experienced firsthand is his and I try to work through the judgement that I feel towards him to find compassion. I struggle to see things as he must have, at any time, and the grains of my lack of understanding slip through my fingers. I ask my friends, my family, and they have wisdom to share with me, love and support. I watch him grind his teeth and rail against me for my shortcomings, and refuse to do the same. I will continue to love him and hold him in my heart with sweetness no matter how much it hurts at times. It's the only way I will ever be able to understand his choices - to see them with my heart instead of my mind.

I think that is one of the most beautiful gifts that solidly developed friends and family give you. They can offer you that perspective that you cannot see in your own experience, and allow you to vision through what it would be like to see things from 180 degrees without having to actually live out that truth. Some of my teachers would argue that this is the path of life; to allow you to experience that which you need to grow your soul, and put you in the shoes of those that you have wronged, or who have wronged you so that you can heal the wounds inside of you and move forward with a more wholesome experience of self and life. I am beginning to see this, but also have gotten much more perceptive of warning signs that I would have simply ignored in my past.

When trusting someone, I look and see - are they truly trustworthy? Have the decisions that they made in their life built on been like mine? Are we people who have the same core values and come from the same place in our hearts and souls? I think about my partners at present - both are in counselling and are fearlessly facing their own demons regularly, as am I. Both are willing to invest in the talks needed to keep both of our sides of the street clear of our unhealthy patterns and come from a place of honesty and moral forthrightness. Both are self made and have their own careers that they have developed with diligence and discipline. Daith and I are on the same page financially, and sometimes we laugh that we should really record more of our conversations for a book that we are going to write together; we speak from our core values and the places inside of us that we allow to define the vast majority of our lives - honesty, integrity and respect, love and honour. Qualities that are increasingly rare in today's fast paced, multi-option world.

My ex bullies me. He shames me, harasses me and continues to violate agreements that we have made. I struggle with judgement and skewed perspective and context in his story, and feel what it must like to be shamed. I can see how I have done that to him in the telling of mine in the past, and my heart fills with compassion for both him and myself. Forgiveness springs from compassion in my process, and I can feel that blossom starting to open in the warmth of acceptance and hard work. Fearless. It's the only way to truly live a life - to be wide open to the perspectives that it offers you and see yourself from different angles until a whole self starts to emerge.

And so in context, and with perspective, I step forward into a new life. I never would have chosen some of the things that have unfolded in my life over the past couple of years, but I have experienced both successes and failures. I have kept my chin up and moved forward with my own wounded heart, and refused to allow judgments of others define my own experience. I continue to look for opportunities to put myself in other people's shoes and sit in meditation, looking at myself through other people's perspectives to see what truths and lessons lie for me in those contexts. Forgiveness is such an incredible gift to give oneself and others. It's a letting go of how we wanted things to be, and accepting life as it is and releasing oneself from previous versions of self.

Stayed up so late last night with Cereb talking and slept clean through the early morning. Days off are so fucking glorious for that. Listening to the ever wonderful S. Carey and dreaming of steaming cups of hot coffee and a good book in bed.

Last edited by CherryBlossomGirl; 04-26-2014 at 06:05 PM.