My heart is burning this morning after an intense and vicious texting exchange with my children’s beloved father last night. Both of us reduced to a flurry of angry fingers from our separate homes, 3 1/2 years divorced, directing whatever insult and injury might most deeply impact the other’s fragile heart. It is amazing to notice the toxicity I am still capable of generating and hurling out from the wounded core of my own fury and sadness. So humbling to see, after decades of conscious growth practices, profound healing awareness, a potent practice of shamanic ceremony, the wisest mentoring from elders, and a deeply vigilant commitment to living as Love, that sometimes (and thankfully not too often) all of that well-honed skillfulness and spiritual maturity gets violently thrown out the window in favor of pure, volatile meanness.
Not even an hour had passed before an immense feeling of deep sorry-ness welled up inside my heart~ not only for the harshness of my own words and energy, as well as the true pain I had been caused, but mostly for this heartbreaking human condition that many of us, even the so-called “conscious” ones, habitually fall victim to~ This fierce tendency to polarize, to point fingers, to blame, to judge, to punish. I lay in bed, exhausted and yet sleepless, still vibrating in the after-effects of such potent, mutual ill will.
How many of us, who took vows of marriage, who conceived children together, who walked through circumstantial fire and emotional floods trying to save a form of family eventually destined for dissolution, now find ourselves doing our challenged best to still navigate together the realms of money, time, livelihood, and most poignantly, the sacred upbringing of our beloved offspring? Divorce as a torrential terrain of lawsuits and emotional warfare, in which the precious children are the collateral damage, is what is most commonly modeled for us in this culture. The terrifying and humbling reality is that if we really want a different model of divorced co-parenting~ one which celebrates a new, holy form of family and friendship, commanding ever-deeper vigilance, maturity and kindness, awake communication, continuous gracious forgiveness and self-forgiveness~ WE are going to need to create it ourselves. No one else will do it. We are the only ones who can lead ourselves in this unprecedented way. And the choice has to happen moment by moment, trigger by trigger, wound by wound, text by text, breath by breath, heartbreak by heartbreak~ as though our very peace, wholeness, integrity depends upon it.
I remember last night, my feelings all aflame in a sense of righteous injustice, that just as every time I am triggered in a painful dynamic with my children’s father, I had a clear choice: I could either carefully craft a pointed, reactive collection of words intended to cause pain and guilt, and press SEND, or I could sit there, breathing into the seemingly endless vulnerability of my own aloneness, my own immense pain and anger. I could use biting sarcasm and emotional venom as a weapon, OR I could turn the inquiry back on myself, and bravely enter the fire of my own despair, taking full responsibility for my own peace in this lifetime, breathing empathy and forgiveness in my co-parent’s direction. And last night, already weakened by fear and a deep heaviness in my heart, I chose war. I chose war over peace, hatred over love. I chose to embody the typical unconscious behavior of a wounded human being not getting what she wanted.
In the middle of the night, my little boy Ezra (almost 5) showed up at my bedside. He said, “I can’t sleep Mama.” I pulled him into bed with me, and cuddled him close. After about 30 minutes, still restless beside me, I asked him “What is it, Baby? Why can’t you sleep?” He said “My heart feels yucky. Hot. Hurting. Does your heart feel yucky too, Mama?” Tears welled up in my eyes, the pain of my texting war with his Papa still freshly raw and tender inside me: “Yes, Baby, Mama’s heart feels yucky too.” Ezra could hear my emotion, and turned, in the darkness of my bed, putting both of his small, warm hands on my heart, whispering: “I sorry about your heart, Mom.” His healing compassion felt almost unbearable to me, this sweet, amazing child whose flesh and heart and soul are informed by both his dear father, and myself; he who is one of the holy, precious fruits of our union. I hugged him tight, and said “Thank you Beloved. I’m so sorry your heart hurts too. Can I help you make it feel better?” He was quiet, and then said, “It’s starting to feel better now. Maybe we just needed to talk about it?” And his breathing deepened, as he fell back into the cradle of sleep.
There is no hiding a parental dispute from the children. Even sneakily lashed out in texts, without a single raised voice, the children feel it in their hearts. These ones who we made with our love, our DNA, our wildest dreams and surrender. These ones who look to us to model the way for the future generations. These ones who are counting on us, with their very lives, to find a new way of being in relationship, in conflict, in love. May it be so. I walk through this day now, holding my ex-husband’s tender heart carefully in my hands, holding my own, as well, in deep self-compassion. My walk today is Ho’oponopono: I’m so sorry. Please forgive me. I forgive you. I forgive myself. I love you. Thank you. And: Aho Mitakuye Oyasin~ to all my relations~ Please bless us all as we explore uncharted territories of peaceful living…for the children, for ourselves, for our world