How I've Found Peace Amid Family Drama

I’d guess that we all have at least one family member who stirs up emotions inside of us that we thought we'd long conquered. These people can strike chords that we'd never allow others to access. 

I am a yogi. I teach. I practice. I live the principles that I teach. I believe in love and compassion. I trust that everyone is doing the best they can with the faculties they have at their fingertips.

But, on occasion, I find myself triggered. A childhood wound resurfaces. A snarky email can send me reeling for days. Why? It baffles me. I think, How dare that person do that! Then I follow the thought with some choice four-letter words. And I seek what I think I deserve (i.e., retribution, the last word, vindication, retaliation, etc.).

I think, I can’t believe this is happening. I want to defend myself, to lay blame, and attack the people nearest me.

I’ve come to a point where I am less tempted to fire back a defensive retort. Certainly, it is not easy. As a writer, I am skilled in wielding words in ways that uplift people, as well as ways that tear them down.

A Course in Miracles says, “In my defenselessness my safety lays.” But, lately in my defenselessness—in my decision not to yell back, not to hit reply—I find myself angry. Anger and safety are not synonymous, at least not for me.

Our thoughts—albeit positive or negative—gain momentum. And so, I find myself steamrolling toward more manure. Modifying my behavior and choosing not to spend my energy in a war of words should constitute a healing choice, right? So why am I still hurling F-bombs in the recesses of my mind?! Where is my Spirit, the wiser part of me who knows that this shit doesn’t really exist?

Ana Forrest says, we can’t just talk about Spirit: “That’s like looking at food and expecting to get fed.”

Some days I, too, wonder, “Spirit, where did you go?”

And there’s something about asking that question that brings Her forth. It is part siren call, part surrender. Suddenly, there you are, Spirit.

In A Return to Love, Marianne Williamson talks about the significance of asking for a miracle. Williamson says that “Healing takes many forms. Sometimes a miracle is a change in material conditions, such as physical healing. At other times, it is a psychological or emotional change. It's a shift not so much in an objective situation—although that often occurs—as it is a shift in how we perceive a situation. What changes, primarily is how we hold an experience in our minds—how we experience the experience.”

I am learning that when I feel angry, I can ask for a miracle. As Williamson writes, “In asking for miracles, we are seeking a practical goal: a return to inner peace. We’re not asking for something outside us to change. We’re looking for a softer orientation to life.”

The midnight monologue between me and Spirit goes something like this:

“I want to see this situation differently. Allow me to transcend this shit, to leave this nightmare, and return to a space of peace. May I experience a shift in my perception so that I may look through the eyes of love instead of the eyes of fear.”

It's uncanny how this has helped me. One evening, the anger took up residence in my low back like an unwelcome tenant, and I awakened the next morning having long forgotten about the pain in my back and the anguish in my heart. As I emptied the trash, I heard, “They're doing the best they can.”

And suddenly I perceived my relationship with this person entirely differently. The veil of struggle lifted. I wished this person peace and felt a seismic shift toward love. And that was, indeed, a miracle.

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