When Rose was but a toddler, someone introduced me to a parenting style called Love and Logic. Love and Logic basically teaches you as a parent to allow your child to make whatever mistakes they will make and to lovingly let them learn the consequences of their mistakes on their own, without getting angry or attempting to fix it for them.
I thought it was a brilliant idea. I think it was the first time I was able to relax a little bit about how I parented my children. It was then that I realized that they have to live their own lives and all that I can do is love them through it and teach them to bounce back.
I have tried to use the techniques consistently. Sometimes I am successful at applying them, sometimes I am not. I forgive myself, either way.
There are times in my A Course in Miracles group on Sunday afternoons that one of us will bring up the topic of other religions. Most of us have backgrounds in Catholicism, Southern Baptist, Buddhism, Judaism, or some other mainstream religion.
We feel that perhaps we've "grown out" of our religious beliefs and tend to lean more towards a spiritual nature than organized religion.
The topic still comes up and much of the time it is frustration at the blind faith that "those other people" have in following the rules or believing what they're told.
Don't we all do that? In every spirituality or religion, don't we all think that we are the ones who have the right answers?
This is when I have to gently remind myself and the other students that we were all there too. We were all believers of an organized religion or belief at one time. Yes, that belief may be different or seem much more enlightened now but even now, we still carry the same strength of conviction that "those other people" have about their own beliefs.
We are all the same.
And we all have our own path that we have to live....making our own choices and mistakes along the way and learning from the consequences.
I wonder if perhaps all of us are on the same path but at different growth points along the way.
I feel much the same way about my life and my relationships.
I see so many people who believe we're supposed to be a certain way, act a certain way, respond a certain way... but not a single one of us has the same experience.
Even if you or I did the exact same thing, both of us would experience it differently. Perception is very powerful that way.
I was thinking again about the movie I saw on Friday night. All through the movie, the poor girl was trying to learn the "rules". The confusing part was that there were always exceptions to the rules.
We all have life that we have to live. We all have mistakes and fucking growth opportunities (A.F.G.O.) that we have to make and consequences that we have to learn from. We all have experiences that we must experience. We all have beliefs that will be challenged, changed, clung to and let go of.
Who are we to judge what another human being experiences in his/her life?
Who are we to think we have the right answer? What they "should" do?
One of the girls in my study group says that we need to stop "shoulding" ourselves. "Should" is a bad word. Who defines "should" anyway?
What are our "right answers" based on anyway but our own stuff! Our own experiences, filters, perceptions, histories... your "right answer" may be the absolute "wrong answer" for me.
My path, my experience, my mistakes, my consequences are MINE. Sometimes the awareness of them stinks and sometimes I am incredibly happy that this life is something I've made for myself.
And I, like my children, am uncovering knowledge and growing all the time.
Sometimes I like to think of God as a Love and Logic parent.
Allowing us to make what we think are "mistakes" and lovingly letting us learn from the consequences that follow.
Without getting angry or attempting to fix it for us.
Loving us through it and watching all along with a big grin on his face.