The other night I stood before two friends I love dearly, took their hands in mine, and with genuine tears of joy in my eyes, gave them my deepest heart’s blessings, for their gorgeously blossoming love and union.
What made this a particularly powerful and exquisitely challenging blessing for my heart to extend, was that this man was one of my previous beloved lovers, and the woman, a cherished beloved sister of mine, with whom he had fallen in love while he and I were still inside our committed exploration of partnership. It had been I, in fact, in enthusiastic love for them both, who had introduced them to one another, and then stood witness to the exposed pulse of undeniable attraction between them.
It was a sticky unfolding when it all went down a while back, and at the time definitely triggered a core wound within me, of feeling betrayed inside a moment of feeling deeply open, trusting and receptive to love. In the end it served as deep medicine: instigating a profound and essential healing process, resolving a very young place of distrust and sense of victimhood within me. The medicine of the wound delivered me home to a deeper knowing of my own unconditional wholeness and the necessity of truly choosing myself.
And so the other night, driving away from presencing the beautiful, mutually devoted love between these two, I was still feeling the genuine blessing I had offered them, as well as the blessing I had received in the light of their radiant union! It resounded and emanated, as Grace, through my entire being. And I was noticing how tenderly stretched my heart felt, pounding inside the sweet poignancy of a life unfolding; where love and grief and gratitude authentically co-mingle within the complexity of true human relating.
Isn’t it always the difficult blessings, the ones that are the most challenging for us to give, which most profoundly awaken our hearts to our own beauty? Revealing to us our own surprising capacity for maturity where it counts? Announcing the place of feeling humbled by our own depth of compassion and self-compassion?
For me it is a place of sober delight within myself as I receive the real rewards of loving, forgiving, and celebrating other peoples love from a place of non-threatened wholeness and trust. Where it’s no longer about what I lost, how I was betrayed, how I didn’t get what I wanted, or the fear that I never will.
Rather, it is the deep release of true blessing; blessing as forgiveness; blessing as a generous allowing of what IS, to simply be. Blessing as a wholehearted bow to the mysterious design of Life itself; blessing as faith, without a need to understand why or how it all is the way it is.
Life brings us so many opportunities to stretch into this kind of blessing, doesn’t it?: With our lovers and ex-lovers, our spouses, and ex-spouses, with our children, with our parents, with our friends and colleagues, with our own tender hearts and bodies?
Blessings for another’s success, that perhaps emphasizes for us our own personal loss, failure or sense of limitation? Blessings for another’s bliss and delight, that perhaps illuminates our own sorrow, loneliness and longing? OR blessings for another’s unfathomable loss, in light of our relative unscathed luck?
Where are the places we are asked to stretch wider and look deeper, polish our hearts a little brighter in order to give authentic blessing? And in so doing we are perhaps confronted by the discomfort of our own unresolved grief, envy, fear, judgment, longing, sadness, bitterness, resentment, hurt?
I remember an immense personal test in this way was the first time my ex-husband, my children’s father, moved in with a new partner about a year after our divorce. And for several weeks what an emotional stretch it was for me to drop the children off with beauty and grace. I was triggered in that environment, by the overt way in which being there in my ex-husband’s new life, emphasized the loss of my own dreams of family, of marriage, of motherhood.
There was a way in which witnessing their new, blossoming union forced me to deeply realize the true death of my marriage, my unresolved grief and anger still lingering from our relationship, and my fear of my children experiencing an informative (and beautiful) part of their childhoods without me as a part of it. I would drop the children off, with as much graciousness as I could muster, and then get in my car and drive away sobbing, profoundly confronted by my own heartache.
After a couple of months I was able to deeply and sincerely bow to my ex-husband’s new relationship, to the gifts my children were receiving from being in relationship with his partner, this other mother, who embodied offerings that were so very different from my own, and actually feel incredibly grateful for the ways this sister was enhancing my children’s world. Yes, it was a stretch in moments to bless it, when I myself was still single and felt alone and apart somehow, in contrast with their dynamic home and family energy. But when I could sincerely bless it I would feel how my blessing would free up the energy, the life-force, in my own heart, and all of our hearts.
What does it feel like to the hearts of our children, if in the wake of divorce we refuse to bless the other parent’s life? What does it feel like to our own heart, if in the face of another’s joy or accomplishment, we refuse to bless their opening, their revelation, their good luck or gift?
We know what it feels like to avoid these blessings. We know the consequences of tight-hearted avoidance within us; when there feels like a need to segregate and separate and hide and divide ourselves away from others and their lives, an illusion of protection, which is really a division within us, an inner war, right? A feeling that there isn’t enough space in the world for the openings of the present, and the failures of the past; for both our sorrows, and their joy, or our failures and their success.
We know the suffering we serve when we refuse to accept the invitation to let go and let love; to allow our grief and fear to exist alongside the true blessings of forgiveness and compassion within this moment of our heart’s aliveness. And we know the immense freedom we can feel when we let ourselves go to the blessings that want to extend themselves through us, regardless of how deeply it stretches us to allow this.
There are so many kinds of suffering in our world which I feel I have a very slim chance of actually impacting with my love and perspective. But places like this~ the every-day privileged suffering we engage in and cause in our reluctance to open more generously, more bravely, to stretch wider in forgiveness and blessing~ this is a common way we suffer in this world that I am actively inspired to encourage to shift~ by embodying, voicing and inviting a different choice.
Just think: what a deep sigh of relief our whole world would take, if everyone who was harboring a grudge, a blessing unspoken, a betrayal unforgiven, just let go to love instead? Just took a leap of courageous faith into our own inherent, unbroken wholeness, widening our hesitant trust in life, and bowed, with sincere blessings, in the direction that is most challenging for us to do so?
Because truly, the hardest blessings are always the most beautiful to give. <3