No one can cut me out of their heart. I love you and I am simply working on accepting people as they are. This way, everything can settle in and flow. My interference is my resistance- I am letting go.

Six years ago- almost to the day- I sat on the floor of my friend, Meredith’s, Manhattan apartment surrounded by a dozen other women. It was my friend, Macha’s, birthday and she wanted to spend it leading a guided meditation with her friends (and a few strangers). After the meditation, we did a free-writing exercise where the term “compassionate distance” popped into my head. I shared it with the other women and explained it this way: “It’s like a form of Buddha’s non-attachment,” I said. “It’s the ability to love someone without investment in their behaviour. It’s letting someone be themselves and to walk their own path with little, if any, interference on my part.”

A beautiful concept, it’s one that I have had great difficulty in putting into practice. I have loads of compassion and empathy, but distance is another matter. I get attached, I get invested, I think I know what’s best- I suffer. This has been shown to me time and again. We do what we do until we don’t…

But recently there have been three situations where I would normally be so invested and involved. Normally, I would give advice, do research, follow up, obsess- all under the guise of caring, because I do care. This time though, following the flow of Spirit and keeping my intention purely to allow, I was able to step back, support, listen and love.

I recognize that I take my role of caretaker very seriously. I hold a belief deep within me that if I’m not helping the people in my life then I am not doing my job. The problem is only this: the role is not who I am and the only way to remember who I am is to give the role to Spirit. In Spirit’s hands I can care about my friends and family without agenda or investment- I can let go of suffering.

I have friends, three in particular, who are in a lot of pain right now. One is grieving an incredible loss, another is facing her fears of loving again and the other is navigating separation from a narcissistic spouse. Danielle has strong opinions about these situations at times, but through prayer and forgiveness I am learning to shut the fuck up and listen. I am learning that I don’t know what’s best. And as I ease into this new awareness, I love my friends even more. Without my opinions taking up so much room, I have more space to love them freely.

Compassionate distance, as it turns out, is not distance at all- it is a breaking down of walls and a coming together. A Course in Miracles tells us to remind ourselves: “I don’t know what anything is for.” I don’t know, but God does. Herein lies my freedom.

May I step back and let You lead the way.

May I be gentle with myself and others.

May I love myself and others as we are.

May I let go of expectation and fall back onto Love.

May I remember Peace is within me.

May I feel that Peace now.

Amen.

<3

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