SOMETIMES, just sometimes, I’m as stubborn as a mule. It doesn’t matter how much people warn me about a person, tell me to be careful or give me that look, if I’ve seen something I trust, something good, I tend to give the benefit of the doubt.
There are a number of people I consider more than pals, those I count as my soul family, those I’d walk to the end of the earth for and defend to the hilt. Maybe it’s my wolf spirit, my pack mentality, coming to the fore. Maybe, just maybe, I’m simply old fashioned.
But here’s the rub… to truly count someone as a friend, as a member of my soul clan, I need to feel they have my back. I have a deep-seated very human need to feel I can trust them, and that if someone is sticking in the knife when I’m not there, I want to KNOW they’ll defend me, just as I would defend them if roles were reversed. Furthermore, I need to know they’ll never be the one wielding the dagger. And sometimes, just sometimes, it turns out that the mutual protection I crave isn’t there… this person I chose to trust turns out to be just a mate, rather than a shield mate.
It doesn’t happen very often but, when it does, I usually end up feeling deeply, deeply wounded. One of those festering, weeping wounds that refuses to heal for some time. It’s one of the teachings of my life path this time around… to trust my heart, give all I can, but the flipside of those wonderful lessons is not trusting BLINDLY, and knowing when to let go.
And, one might argue, the trick to truly loving someone is loving without conditions, without expectation – and that includes expecting someone to always have your back.
So, just this week, when someone I’d counted among those close, trusted friends acted in a way that, to me, felt very wrong, I ended up with a great big, weeping, painful, knife-shaped wound, right in the back of my heart. Other friends – the ones who’d warned me, and others, used words such as betrayal and cruelty and demanded to know what the other party’s problem was. But….
…. and it’s a big but….
…. when we choose to walk this shamanic path, we live every day asking for teachings. And, sometimes, the most difficult and painful situations bring the most wonderful teachings.
What’s the teaching?
So, when the tears and the snot and the snuffling and all that victimy stuff we ALL submit to from time to time subsided, I began searching for the teachings.
Lesson one, of course, is the simple one I’ve already alluded to… love must always be unconditional. As much as I need to feel protected and safe among those I choose to see as friends, I have no right – or ability – to insist they adopt the same stance.
Lesson two (and tapping into some of my old NLP training helped with this one) is that not all things we experience as betrayal carry malice as the intent. In NLP, we call it value sets. Those personal assets and belief systems I value most might not be shared by everyone I’m close to, and it’s rather silly to assume otherwise. So, actions I see as out of order might be seen as perfectly acceptable by another party.
Lesson three is to protect myself energetically at all times, and to remember who I am. One of my teachers once said that if we can know ourselves, deeply, intimately, know exactly who we are, the words of others cannot hurt us. It’s true. Very. In this case, it was actions, rather than words, that caused the wound, but if I’d been properly shielded, if my energy had been strong and intact, the damage would have been so much less.
Lesson four is to trust, but not to trust blindly. To check in with my heart and gut and, sometimes, amend my outlooks accordingly.
Lesson five is to stay true, to not allow the actions of one to turn trust to cynicism. Sure, I’ll sometimes end up hurt, but a little risk helps us to live, and I’d rather experience the joy of an open heart every day than be closed off and bitter just in case.
Lesson six… and this is the biggie… is to pull that knife out of my back and take a long, hard look at it. In shamanism, we see knives as representing truth, of speaking straight, of walking an authentic path. So, in that case, the knife in my back delivered a true, important lesson (or six) straight to my heart… and, if I look back over these lessons, if I truly, honestly, look at how this wound came to be, I have to accept that, on some level, I was the one who put it there.
As always, I’m thankful for the lessons.
Until next time,
Walk in truth and beauty – and always be thankful for the teachings, no matter how difficult.