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When I was in my 20’s I co-authored and co-produced a play in New York with my brother, Michael. We worked SO very hard on it. For years. We poured our whole hearts into it. Looking back now, I can see that a big part of why we were dong it was to give my brother and me a chance to heal our relationship, which was filled with ego driven arguments and upsets.
Our play was a success in so many ways. Standing ovations every performance. It was thrilling to feel and see the audience respond and be so deeply moved by the performances. And yet, we didn’t build enough of an audience to keep the play running. We ran out of money. The play had to close.
We’d had two productions in different cities before we brought it to New York. It was four years of work that just ended. Although we did a version for it for PBS Televsion that was acclaimed, I was so very deeply disappointed that it didn’t continue on.
The play was based on a true story of a man I admired so much, a true American hero whose father had been a slave. This man had been raised by a man with a slave consciousness, who treated his son like he’d been treated, and yet his son learned to forgive, and to go on and raise his children with a new idea of success and self-esteem. I wanted every school child and every parent in America to know this man’s story and feel his wisdom. (The play is based on the book of the same name, All God’s Dangers.)
My disappointment was crushing. It was late November when the play closed. I remember how dark and grey everything felt. My ego was decimated. I was learning the searing pain of attachments and false idols. I’ve had similar experiences in relationships.
These patterns of disappointment can crush the majority of our life. It can lead to bitterness, illness and devastation of all kinds.
And right now, at this time of year, with the holidays and the virus, and all the fear mongering in the world, we have an opportunity to turn within to the Christ Light within us and find that resurrecting Light of Love within, to raise us from the darkness of despair, dread and disappointment. This is where our salvation lies – in our divinity.
One of the most common ways that people really put the blocks to Love in their relationships is expecting disappointment. I used to do it. Especially at the holiday times.
For me it was a pattern I could call “rehearsed disappointment.”
Here’s what it looks and feels like:
Let’s say you’re planning to be with loved ones for the holidays. In the past, you’ve been disrespected, mistreated and maligned. You’ve been ignored and belittled. Or so you think. You feel like the victim. And as a result you’re angry, bitter, hurt and lashing out, creating more turmoil, guilt, shame, regret. Ugh.
In the past, the meaning you made of this was that you weren’t worthy of Love. This was the damning affirmation of your own sense of not being good enough. You got triggered into a deep sense of rejection and hurt.
Now, it’s time to join with these same people again.
You’d like to have a new experience.
You say you’re “hopeful,”
but in truth,
you’re expecting to be disappointed.
Even the most dedicated spiritual students fall into this old pattern.
It’s a trap of the ego.
As Shakespeare’s King Lear said, “That way madness lies.”
This whole pattern was so familiar to me – and I never, ever saw that it was completely of my own making and that I could be the fulcrum point of healing in my family. Well, actually, I never saw it until I was willing and then I could see.
I once was blind, but now I see.
When we’re expecting to be let down, we’ll rehearse the disappointment so we can be fully prepared and not have any surprises.
That’s the ego way.
Spirit knows “everything works together for our good and there are no exceptions except in the opinion of the ego.”
It is Self-loving to catch yourself from going down that road of rehearsed disappointment.
It is Self-PUNISHING to let yourself go down that road of rehearsed disappointment.
The highest path of all is to hold the “high watch” and anticipate the opportunities to share Love and to extend Love. We have the opportunity to be the ones who shine the Light, without attachment and that is deeply healing.
With no attachment to outcome,
Without needing, wanting, and craving,
There’s the possibility of success and the elimination of disappointment.
When we’re disappointed, we invariably blame others, thereby increasing the negativity.
Blaming others for what our attachments have wrought is more insanity. The madness is fermenting and spreading.
We can be vigilant only for Love and not for ego’s disappointment.
Left unchecked the ego will find disappointment in every moment of every day and we will drown in the bile of our own making. We’ll blame it on others, but it’s not their fault we were attached to the outcome and held a vision of disappointment. It’s not their fault we were rehearsing Love’s failures.
It’s hard to believe that we would want to be so punished, but that’s what’s happening. The deeply hidden guilt we feel for having pushed God out of our hearts and minds, comes through in this punishing feeling of rehearsing disappointment and negative anticipation.
The cure is given to us in A Course in Miracles. It IS forgiveness. This teaching is our liberation. Let us choose it! From the ACIM Text, Chapter 21, Section 2:
This is the only thing that you need to do for vision, happiness, release from pain, and the complete escape from sin, all to be given to you. Say only this, but mean it with no reservations, for here the power of salvation lies:
I am responsible for what I see.
I choose the feelings I experience,
and I decide upon the goal I would achieve.
And everything that seems to happen to me I ask for,
and receive as I have asked.
Deceive yourself no longer that you are helpless in the face of what is done to you. Acknowledge but that you have been mistaken, and all effects of your mistakes will disappear.
It is impossible the Son of God be merely driven by events outside of him. It is impossible that happenings that come to him were not his choice. His power of decision is the determiner of every situation in which he seems to find himself by chance or accident.
My little shorthand for this is:
I am responsible for what I see,
And everything is as I wish it would be.
Until we’re willing to take responsibility, it’s hard to understand why we would torture ourselves. And so it continues.
My way out of this hellishness was to take responsibility for everything. Everything. No more blame.
It was a tall order and I didn’t get there by taking a weekend workshop.
I didn’t get there by reading or studying a book.
I got there through the active, daily practice of activating my willingness by choosing again and choosing Love. WITH the Holy Spirit and not on my own. I partnered UP! One hundred times a day or more. That’s the #1 thing that helped me.
And that’s why my Masterful Living Program is so effective. It’s a year-long course so we can do it together. It’s alive in us and unfolds through us together, and individually. It’s not intellectual. It’s from the heart.
Let’s pray to be willing to forgive and to remember the truth that sets us free from those gnarly awful patterns of pain.
We’re walking the talk, we’re living the Love and we’re rising above!
My Masterful Living Program is open for registration right now with EXCELLENT bonuses that expire. You can talk with a spiritual counselor now to see if it’s right for you. There’s no charge to have an exploratory call.
What are you doing on New Year’s Eve? Masterful Living 2021 starts with my New Year Reboot online Workshop on New Year’s Eve. You can join us and I will do everything I can to help you succeed beyond what you thought was possible for you.