Relationships are the places where our spiritual understanding connects with everyday life. They can be very complicated, even for happy people. Healing a relationship is, in a literal sense, a work of love. It is also a 180 degree turn-around, a complete re-assessment of where love is flowing from, what it depends upon, and who controls it in a relationship. That is what happened to my long-lost father and me. To me, this is a story of a miracle.
Since I was a baby I grew up without my father, and my whole life I was told that he never accepted me as his own child. I saw him once, at my grandfather’s funeral. I was in my early 20s – young and cocky – and brushed off his attempt at a conversation. It was “I am fine, you see. Did not miss you before, won’t miss you after” sort of thing. After that I did not give my father much thought for the next 25 years. I was busy graduating college, moving to another country, working, creating a family, homeschooling my daughter. I thought I was fine. How little did I know!
My entire life was affected by the invisible pain of being abandoned by a man who was supposed to protect and cherish me, a feeling of being unwanted, unwelcomed, without a right to exist. I was abandoning myself and what’s important to me in my personal relationships, so another person wouldn’t walk out on me. I had no sense of who were my people – I’d go with whoever accepted me. I was very rebellious with authority to prove that I was OK without it. I was not fine, and yet I kept the pattern going simply because I was blind to it.
The change came through a phrase, a red-line motif of Eric Butterworth’s book “The Concentric Perspective”. By that time I immersed myself in Unity teaching, and was delighted to discover the Christ consciousness not next to me, not around me, but in me. The understanding of my wholeness started to dawn on me already, as did the understanding of everybody else’s innate wholeness. But six simple words turned my whole reality around, irreversibly.
“What is in it FROM me?”
As most everybody, I was asking this question from another end – what’s in anything FOR me? How much love can I get? How much satisfaction do I get? How much fun? Peace? Friendship? Even when I was doing something for others or for God, at the end I was looking to get something out of it for me. My life was going from the outside in. Yes, it was trauma, and yes, that’s how society operates; yet it goes straight against the flow of life, of Divine Love, of God in us.
As Unity principle reminds us, there is only God, and God is present everywhere. So He is present in entirety of me. I am He, I am God formed into this body-mind. I am God expressing, living, experiencing, changing the world as me. God flows from within, through me, into the world. It is an outward direction. Every moment God is flowing out as my smile, or my action, or my thought into the world. Every moment something is unfolding FROM me, from God as me. I am the point where the whole Universe is taking this unique form and beaming out with all its power, peace, joy and love.
When this question settled in my soul, I saw nothing but the ocean of love in me, gushing to the outside to care and to nourish everything. I saw how I constantly made a choice to live either “for me” or “FROM me” in every small action. I could write, cook, drive, work, pray either expressing God who was never lacking and gives-gives-gives, or expressing my wounded conditioned ego that always wanted to get-get-get. And I kept repeating my six words in every interaction, in every circumstance “What is in it FROM me?”
Last winter, after years of not wanting any contact with my father, after being angry about betrayal and being afraid of more rejection, I looked inside and to my utter surprise I saw that I had no bad feelings at all. I was not angry, not afraid, not even judging. I really wanted him to know that. What was there FROM me? There was acceptance of life, curiosity about a person, and lots of compassion. It felt as if an enormous iceberg of negativity and caution had melted in me. Nothing stopped me from reaching out anymore.
And so I booked a plane ticket and arrange a meeting. Two weeks later we sat face-to-face, little awkward at first, talking, laughing, surprising each other. We looked alike. We had similar gestures. He asked if I am angry with him, and he was so relieved to hear that I was not in the slightest. He asked a hundred questions. I was noticing every small detail about him, how he talked, what he told in his stories. It was indescribable to realize where I came from, to recognize parts of myself in him. But the real miracle happened after I returned back home: I missed him. To my really big surprise, I felt a wonderful, warm, human love – that is what girls feel towards their Dads, I suppose?
We spoke on the phone. I heard the words I never dreamt to hear in my life: “I loved you since the moment you were born”, “My girl, I’ll do anything for you”. Something big healed in me. And I know that something big healed in him too.
We saw each other once more, two weeks before he passed away.
I am so grateful to be given an opportunity to connect with my father. We had a very short time together, less than 6 months. But life is not measured in time; life is measured in the closeness we experience. And by this measure, we had a full life together.
Love flows from within me, affected only by me welcoming and allowing it. Relationships always become complicated when I look for what’s in them for me. They become really simple when I ask what’s in them FROM me.
Love is a constant flow of God from within you into the world, to every person, even the one you could never forgive. All it needs is a turn-around of understanding that no one ever can take away your sense of being loved, and of your power to choose to express God in any moment.
And where God is, all is well. Indeed.
-- Elena Castro