So often we wish to change people:
– That our partner would care more for the cleanliness in the house
– That our children would stop speaking so disrespectfully to us
– That our mother would listen without giving advice
– That… that… that…
– And how many times (a day) we try to change ourselves… (to be more disciplined, be less impatient, be more…)
When mediating couples this is the main dynamic I see: 2 people trying to change each other.
→ Tragedy 1: when people come with the wish to try to change the other, the other resists (resists as a way to protect one’s own autonomy or spirituality). Same is when I try to change myself: a part of me resists.
→ And deeper: As there is a very very very specific reason why a person behaves the way they do (often unseen reason), trying to change someone is risking to mess up with God/Nature/the delicacy of life.
I find ‘resistance to change’ to be very beautiful- it is there to protect God.
Here below is a small such story about my girlfriend and I.
1 story about trying to change (1 of a million of such ones):
My girlfriend likes to drink coffee. Often, before leaving my house, while preparing a coffee to take with her in the car, she says: “Can I take a cup and bring it back?“
I say “yes” while inside of me I feel unquiet… “Will she bring it back?” I so like to have my things… and so often she forgets to bring it back.
The other day when we followed this ‘repeated ceremony’, I noticed a very familiar and uncomfortable intention rising in me: I want to change her. I wish her to remember to bring back the (fucking) cup. It already crossed my mind to ‘threaten’ her by saying: “If this time you don’t bring the cup back I will not let you take cups anymore!“. I wish her to remember things (the cups, where she leaves the keys, to remember to clean the shower after using it… common REMEMBER! I don’t want to be your parent reminding you!).
Before letting those words come out of my mouth, I remembered: “Trying to change someone is to mess up with God“. I breathed… I slowed down… and I checked with myself: “What is the beauty in her being as she is?” and very quickly it came to me: she has a very special quality of relaxation, she is not as bothered as I am about so many earthly little practical details. She has a certain capacity of spaciousness and connection to love and spirituality that I benefit from it tremendously. I so like the way she is, the quality of spaciousness and presence she has, her being present to and with me, her being present to life, her being so loving… So many qualities I wish to learn myself.
If I will try to change her to be more ‘practically aware’ I might risk destroying the very qualities that made me fall in love with her!
This is what I so often see in couples I mediate: The very thing they wish to change in each other, actually carries the very quality and reason why they fell in love with each other at the first place!
In Taoism there is a concept called: ‘The un-carved board’ which is the intention of meeting things in their true nature, effortless, simple. And the magical power this carries.
My voice teacher often tells me: “Many voice teachers say you should do this or that. This is stupid. The voice is more intelligent, you can’t change it nor improve it. You can be with it gently and it will find it’s path“.
Biologist Dr. Zach Bush says that if human would extinct, it will take life/nature few weeks to heal most of the damage humans has created the last 100 years. Life has HUGE inherent healing power.
This is for me the power of compassion & empathy: It is trusting life/honesty/the body- meeting things (myself, people) as they are. When meeting life, life changes by itself. Life moves naturally towards healing when it gets the space to do so.
By the way, while writing these lines now my girlfriend suggested to cook for us and is now cleaning the kitchen. She is caring for all the ‘practical matters’.