The Path of Beyond and Beneath, Episode 79
What can we do, when we get wounded, to stay in a relationship with others that’s dignified and respectful of everyone’s humanity? It’s a question pertinent both to our personal relationships and to our troubled, fractious conversations about the big issues of our times.
Here’s Episode 79 of Turning Towards Life, a weekly live 30 minute conversation hosted by thirdspace coaching in which Justin Wise and Lizzie Winn dive deep into big questions of human living.
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In this conversation we explore together how we might navigate a course between ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ without it having to entail that we give up on ourselves or others. We discover together that much of what’s often called for is a kind of acceptance of life’s inevitable messiness, that there are limits to our attempts to have the world go just the way we want it, that forgiveness nearly always involves a kind of grieving, and that through all of this there is nevertheless a profound kind of hope and healing that’s possible between us.
Our source this week is written specially for this episode by Lizzie.
Deeper and more subtle realms.
I don’t know a wound that doesn’t somehow involve other people.
By a wound I mean a hurt, a raw emotional feeling that also has a physical pain to it. I often experience my wounds in my chest, just between where my ribs meet. I know others have different physical sensations. Where do you feel it when your feelings are hurt?
The thing is, because the wounds involve others, often communicating about them to the people involved is a part of healing and reconnecting. But that’s so hard to do when you are hurt. Because what often arises in the conversation is the wound itself.
The primitive sometimes rageful, sometimes ashamed, sometimes withdrawn, sometimes angry part of us shows itself right in the middle of the relationship that needs help. Right in the middle of where healing is needed there is the wound.
So how on earth do we shift this?
We love someone (which is why they had the power to hurt us). Or at the very least we are connected to them by some shared system (a family / company / school / community etc). And that someone is the person we need or want to speak to to find forgiveness or a way through to something more peaceful and aligned with how we want to feel.
There have been many times when the path of being (and staying) wounded and unforgiving has been presented to me. It often feels like the only ‘righteous’ path. The only one that’s justified and the only one that doesn’t let anyone off the hook (that often feels like a bold and just cause). It’s the path that holds everyone to account, that seeks to change things and make things better. Many times, the path is about things coming round to my way – the way I think things should be.
But at the heart of things, beneath the story, there is also another realm of relationship at play. A more elusive realm of forgiveness and acceptance, compassion and a very grown up feeling of being beyond the right and wrong of life.
Access to this space is granted by empathy and allowing. This realm is about being more and more able to stand in other people’s shoes and strengthening ourselves so we don’t feel we have to change others in order to love them.
Our own personal deepening is required to see beyond and beneath our stories to our own hurt and pain. And only then can we see and feel the possibility beyond punishment and retribution, revenge and fractured relationships.
This is all really hard. The path of the wound is so very easy to slide down and maintain. The path of beyond and beneath is something that takes work and courage and relationship with wise and deep fellow souls who can hold us to our true nature better than we can in those moments.
I write this from a commitment to truly forgive. And also in the knowledge that I hold grievances that I am deepening into and which require ongoing work. I am writing this as a statement of my wish to hold a deeper truth in life than my version of events whist also carefully and delicately holding my version of events as very important too.
Let this be the conversation about what forgiveness might mean for each of us. Not as a spiritual bypass where we pretend everything is fine and carry on. But as a day to day, moment to moment enquiry into the deeper, more subtle realms of the heart that allow people and things to be just the way they are without trying to fix or change them. And still remain in some kind of relationship with them that’s dignified and respectful of our own and others’ humanity.