I veer away from politics. It is my self-imposed third rail. Personal growth, self-empowerment, and becoming self-aware can get lost in the body politic because of its divisiveness, inflexible structure, and suspicious nature. But as I fought to go back to sleep at 3:30 this morning, President Obama’s infamous quote during his first campaign played a continuous loop in my head:
“You go into some of these small towns in Pennsylvania, Ohio—like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years, and nothing's replaced them. …So it's not surprising then that they get bitter, and they cling to guns or religion, or antipathy toward people who aren't like them, or anti-immigrant sentiment, or, you know, anti-trade sentiment [as] a way to explain their frustrations.”
The ensuing debate will not be discussed here. However, why and what we cling to when we feel broken will. We attract where we are emotionally, and where we are emotionally is the sum of our life experiences.
President Obama’s quote put me in mind of what I clung to during my marriage. While there was love and endearing moments, I held on to the parts of my marriage that were filled with rage, immobilizing and castigating words, and sometimes-violent actions.That became my supreme focus. I held those moments almost dearly to my heart, enveloped them into my very being, and let those moments become the very essence of who I was. Why? It was where I found comfort. Those actions were the actions of my father, the man who terrorized my mother, me, and my two sisters with the unpredictable and raging actions of a drunk. It is no wonder I attracted a mate to replicate some parts of my childhood experience because that was the space where I craved love and healing.
We attract what will heal us. We are not seeking to cause ourselves harm; we are seeking to understand. To re-frame what may be deemed as disastrous into a sublime opportunity is the true nature of our choice if we are open to healing. Our soul desires to grow and thus the repetitive act of re-engaging in what caused us pain in different forms provides us unlimited opportunities to move beyond that pain. The continuous loop will never cease if we fail to heed the opportunity to heal and grow. We will engage in the same types of relationships, compulsive behaviors, and self-sabotaging impulses.
To look deeply at ourselves and have compassion for the other is the only way to move forward. What do I cling to, and how is this an opportunity to become whole? That is the liberating question and catalyst toward the process of healing. Dire circumstances and binding relationships simply exists to remind us how to return to who we really are—loving, caring, whole, creative, curious, wondrous beings.