June 8, 2010

One thing driving has taught me, is that you have to look in the direction you want to go. If I’m looking backwards while I’m moving forwards, I won’t be very successful. In fact, it’s a recipe for disaster.

Likewise in my life, in my relationships. If I’m focused on what’s behind me, I won’t be very successful in moving forward. If I’m focused on resentments, regrets, or unresolved hurts, I can’t move forward at all gracefully. I had best bring resolution to my history, because it is the very nature of unresolved energy to snare us and turn us backwards. When we are mired in the past, moving forward is at best a clumsy effort.

Let’s say I’m caring for my elderly mother, and she isn’t in a state to participate in resolving the past. (I’ve been hearing that a lot lately.) Maybe she has dementia, or maybe she’s just unwilling. Or maybe she’s dead. Her state really doesn’t matter. The energy of any unresolved situation keeps me looking backward and thus messes with my forward movement. I must resolve it. How?

It has something to do with acceptance. Accepting her for who she is, coming to terms with the truth of who she was. And it has something to do with expectations — with letting go of my expectations that she will love me, that she will be curious about my life, that she will have remorse, that she will (fill in the blank). Coming to terms with who she is, and releasing my expectations of who I want her to be, will allow me to have a relationship with her based on present time truth. It will allow me to move forward with grace.

This is true of any relationship — my spouse, my neighbor, my friend, my family members, my boss. If I expect my boss to be fair, and he isn’t, the sooner I can accept him for who he is, the sooner I can make thoughtful decisions about my job. Letting go of expectations allows me to see him for who he is, and stop lamenting who he isn’t. Then I’m facing forward, then I can move on.

There’s more to resolving my history than this, but accepting people for who they are and letting go of expectations is an excellent place to begin.