Don't try to change the world. Simply Be the Model for what you want for others.
I have always had a challenging relationship with my mother. Everyone who knows her has had a challenging relationship with her, as well. I spent many of my adult years trying to figure out how to be in harmony with her. I would try and try and just when I was exhausted from trying so hard, she would perfectly "hit my button" and all that trying turned to burnt ash on the floor. In the fall of 2008, I finally gave up. I went to her and said, "It looks like we are just going to continue the vast challenges in our relationship and I am at peace with that. I just want you to know that no matter what our disagreement or argument is about or how long it goes on, I unconditionally love you and will not abandon you." She graciously gave me the same gift in return. A funny thing happened in the experience of just accepting and being harmonious with "what is," just after the start of the 2009 New Year, our relationship became beautifully flawless - without a single moment of friction between us. This lasted until April of that same year.
At the end of April, I journeyed to Peru and the "real journey" was that I was stripped of all resources and even knowing who I was. I was without face or identity. I wasn't fearful but I was in a state of complete uncertainty about who I am and why I am here. I no longer had a safe place to land; that safe place had always been me and when I didn't know who "me" was, there was no safe space and no landing. Needless to say, I brought this experience home with me. Upon reconnecting with my mom, she unknowingly started to push all my buttons; without the wherewithal to stand in my own intrinsic power, I easily caved. The immediate result was a HUGE emotional dishevel in the kitchen of my home. Without discernment or better choice making, I told my mother my perceptions of why we don't get along, pointing out exactly how she is the cause of all our problems. My mother experienced this as extremely hurtful, cruel and proof enough that I would one day abandon her and leave her all alone to die. Her worst nightmare. At some point, my adult and very wise son, Dustin, came into the battle ground, formally known as the kitchen, and he focused all his attention on me; clearly telling me I created the disturbance and I should end it now. Of course I didn't hear him until he told me ten different times in ten different ways. Later that day, I privately confessed to him that I thought my relationship with my mom had been healed because we each changed in such a way that supported ourselves and the loving relationship to each other. Once again, my very wise son stopped me in my trap; he succinctly showed me that my mother never changed at all. It was only me who changed and because I changed, she was naturally showing up different for me. She literally was more loving, open, honest and easy to get along with simply because I saw her that way. Her behavior drastically reorganized itself to align with my new story about her and the relationship. `
The only problem came when I returned home from Peru and I was too weak to remember who she really was in her divine beauty (she is beautiful!) How could I remember who she really was when I couldn't even remember who I really was. With my son's perfect wisdom in place inside me. I made a new permanent choice to always see her and treat her as the beauty she truly is - especially when she forgets it herself. With this new choice in place I never even notice the venom. I only experience love trying to find a safe place simply to love and be loved. This New Powerful Choice silently freed her from having to change and act in a certain way. It also freed me from needing her to.
With this Powerful Choice securely in place within my own being, I called her very late that night (she's a night owl) to apologize. I told her that I was sorry to have reacted so cruelly to her and that the only excuse I had was that I was emotionally recovering from an overwhelming journey to Peru and back. She quickly apologized too and said that she knew I had a rough time and that I needed time and space to recuperate. She went on to say that she should have respected what I desperately needed and that she should have been more gentle and patient with me. We forgave each other, made plans for lunch and instantly became the best of friends. All this and I was the ONLY One to Change. I could hardly believe it, but I did. It was absolutely true. In response to one of my mom's argumentative and defensive bad-attitude days, my extremely wise son wrote a little note for himself and posted it on his desk. The note eloquently read; "Sometimes the only way to win is to lose quickly." We both laughed at that insight and I have had numerous opportunities to remind him of exactly that; good thing for that powerful post-it note. Who can argue with a Post-it note in your own handwriting? For me, my greatest gift and lesson was the direct and intimate experience of "The other person doesn't have to change for the relationship to change. Only I have to change for the relationship to change.
The key is simply being the model for what you want from, and for, the other person.
A perfect by-product of this paradigm shift is that the other person suddenly shows up to support the changes you have committed to within yourself. Transformation occurs simply by one person changing. Imagine the global effect of that ripple in the pond. Phenomenal! Be the change you want to experience in all your relationships. It's easier than it sounds. Try it, and you'll see for yourself. It is true when they say; "all begins and ends with me". Brilliantly simple - now that I totally get it!
In grace & gratitude,