Relating to Relations

Unity of Fredericksburg on 19 November 2017 & Center for Spiritual Living Baltimore on 26 November 2017

SONG (Bob Sima): If Your Hand Was in Mine, from The Movers The Shakers and The Peacemakers

I suspect many of our brains immediately apply the words of Bob’s song to some of the national or world events that have presented in the news over the past year. It is sometimes easy to review situations as a physically-removed observer and, for example, imagine a gunman receiving more than enough love as a child, so that they might learn alternative behavior patterns that support rather than harm others.

We practice sending prayers and blessings and love light to a misguided and misunderstood terrorist across the globe or within our own country, with hopes and intentions that their pain might be released from their heart for the sake of saving lives. Yet we tend to hold relatively high standards for those closest to us and we get triggered and offended at the slightest perceived inadequacy or indecency.

My intention for today is to relate that musical message to our personal relations. For this, I define relations as blood relatives, family by marriage, close family friends, and the relationship we have with ourself.

I invite you to share a breath pattern to balance the nervous system. Join me for a few rounds of a 3-second inhale and 4-second exhale. Exhale all the air from your lungs and begin.

Now, from that space, we review Bob’s lyrics:
If your hand was in mine you couldn’t judge and run from me, point your finger and be done with me, yank my chain, pull a rug from under me, hate me, punch me, hold a gun to me, hurt me, desert me, resent me, forget me, laugh at me, attack me with apathy.

When does our ability to relate to those closest to our heart become so troubled that we cannot or will not hold their hand? How do we become so frustrated, judgmental, or angry toward our relations that the holidays become more of “putting up with” rather than “being with”? Is it acceptable to give up, walk away, withhold, or withdrawal when someone – whom we know more intimately than a passerby on the street – is in pain, doubting themselves, making poor decisions, behaving in a selfish manner, or acting out a grudge that was planted in childhood? Why might we feel intolerant toward our own beloveds such that our tolerance of world affairs becomes a distorted understanding of ‘acceptable’ followed by the excuse that “humans have been this way since the beginning of time”?

If your hand was in mine you couldn’t judge and run from me, point your finger and be done with me, yank my chain, pull a rug from under me, hate me, punch me, hold a gun to me, hurt me, desert me, resent me, forget me, laugh at me, attack me with apathy.

I want to make this concept personal. I want to reach the heart of the soul within the person. Let’s start with the story of “Grandmother’s Table” by The Brother’s Grimm:

———Once there was a feeble old woman whose husband died and left her all alone, so she went to live with her son and his wife and their own little daughter. Every day the old woman’s sight dimmed and her hearing grew worse, and sometimes at dinner her hands trembled so badly the peas rolled off her spoon or the soup ran from her cup. The son and his wife could not help but be annoyed at the way she spilled her meal all over the table. And one day, after she knocked over a glass of milk, they told each other that enough is enough.

They set up a small table for her in the corner next to the broom closet and made the old woman eat her meals there. She sat all alone, looking with tear-filled eyes across the room at the others. Sometimes they spoke to her while they ate, but usually it was to scold her for dropping a bowl or a fork.

One evening just before dinner, the little girl was busy playing on the floor with her building blocks, and her father asked her what she was making.”I’m building a little table for you and mother,” she smiled, “so you can eat by yourselves in the corner someday when I get big.”

Her parents sat staring at her for some time and then suddenly both began to cry. That night they led the old woman back to her place at the big table. From then on she ate with the rest of the family, and her son and his wife never seemed to mind a bit when she spilled something every now and then.———

Join me, again, for a few rounds of a 3-second inhale and 4-second exhale.

Continuing the lyrics of Bob’s song:
You can only feel me, be real with me, dissolve the fear in me, rise on up to a higher energy. You can’t be above me below me when you sit down beside me, hold me, and know me. Take my hand my sister, my brother, my friend, my lover. There are no others here.

I would bet that the majority of us felt the unnecessary pains identified in this writing. We probably also felt the relief that came when the innocence of a child brought the pain to light.

“Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” A teaching translated from Yeshua and documented by Matthew.

I want to invite you into a meditation. As you shift yourself into a comfortable position, begin to get in touch with your breath. Let’s experience a breathwork pattern to activate the energy of your third eye. One full round contains 3 breaths, each beginning with an inhale through the nose. The first exhale will be with a vocalized “h” sound; the second exhale will mimic you blowing out candles; the third exhale will be through the nose. After the first round, I invite you to close your eyes and enter a comfortable meditative state, while repeating the pattern 3 times.

Make quick review of your closest relations. Does someone enter your consciousness whose hand you cannot hold? Will you see someone over the holiday season who causes you to lock down your breath? Is there a place within you that creates your own loss of self-love, self-acceptance, self-understanding, and self-confidence?

SONG (Bob Sima): Metta, from The Movers The Shakers and The Peacemakers

To help us return fully into our bodies and into the room, let us share a grounding breathwork pattern together. It is the exact opposite 3-part exhale pattern we began the meditation with. All 3 inhales through the nose, with the first exhale through the nose, the second blowing out candles, and the third vocalizing an “h” sound. Join me in 3 rounds together.

That mantra can be repeated out loud, whispered under your breath, or spoken silently at any given moment: may you be well; may you be happy; may you be peaceful; may you be loved. How much compassion might we feel for ourselves and for others if we practiced this regularly? How much forgiveness might we feel for ourselves and for others if we recreate the chair and the mirror scene when we feel triggered, challenged, threatened, or even right in the midst of conflict?

Lewis Smedes is quoted saying, “To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that prisoner was you.”

To complete this talk, I want to add another consideration to this concept of Relating to Relations.

At times, we find ourselves withdrawn from our relations, not because of something they did to us or something we did to them. We often avoid holding our beloved’s hand because of something we didn’t do or something they didn’t do. That is where we feel embarrassment, betrayal, and disappointment for or of ourselves and others.

I would like to share a poem titled “The Sin Of Omission” by Margaret Sangster.

———It isn’t the thing you do, dear;
It’s the thing you leave undone,
Which gives you a bit of heartache
At the setting of the sun.

The tender word forgotten,
The letter you did not write,
The flower you might have sent, dear,
Are your haunting ghosts to-night.

The stone you might have lifted
Out of brother’s way,
The bit of heartsome counsel
You were hurried too much to say;

The loving touch of the hand, dear,
The gentle and winsome tone,
That you had no time nor thought for,
With troubles enough of your own.

The little acts of kindness,
So easily out of mind;
Those chances to be angels
Which every one may find

They come in night and silence
Each chill, reproachful wraith
When hope is faint and flagging
And a blight has dropped on faith.

For life is all too short, dear,
And sorrow is all too great;
To suffer our great compassion
That tarries until too late;

And it’s not the thing you do, dear,
It’s the thing you leave undone,
Which gives you the bit of heartache
At the setting of the sun.———

As we move into the holiday season and all the busy-ness that can so easily distract, I gently place a challenge on your heart. Take a moment to recall that list you started of your closest relations. As a silent observer to each relationship, ask yourself if there is anything that you are leaving undone, anything that could leave you – or them – with a bit of heartache. The challenge? Do it.

The greatest joy you can give yourself and those around you is full presence. The present of your presence. Whether it be a smile, a hug, a joke, a card, a wrapped gift, a listening ear, an apology, a tear, a hand held… why let another day go by without fulfilling what your soul is asking you to do without any resistance carried in the history of Relating to Relations?

Maya Angelou said it best, “At the end of the day people won’t remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel.”

Back to Bob’s lyrics:
If your hand was in mine wouldn’t it make you my sister, make you my friend, make you my lover? If your hand was in mine wouldn’t it make everything better? Isn’t it amazing how every hand fits right in the other?

SONG (Bob Sima): How You Made Them Feel, from Thin Little Veil