My aim in all things is to leave peacefully. Relationships, situations, this body, the universe. By leaving peacefully, I of course mean peacefully for me. I cannot control how others feel about my departure. In order to leave peacefully I have to either complete all my assignments (i.e. magic thoughts) or realise I need do nothing1.
Toward the end of each relationship/forgiveness lesson2, I often find (by searching my mind for whatever I least want to say) a set of words that come clearly to me. It is very clear which words must be said, and nothing can be added. The set of words, when said, will set me free, because I will be at peace no matter how they are received. I am unattached to outcomes.
The parting words can be taken as a goodbye, or as an invitation to greater depth; as an attack or a celebration.
The words are always this statement (translated into a form specific to the recipient, in the context of that relationship):
I am complete with you - able to leave peacefully. I leave this signpost to indicate the direction in which I have gone. The choice for when or whether to follow it, is yours.
I have obverved this pattern in words by others who are completing their relationships/forgiveness lessons. The style may be different, but the attitude is unmistakable.
I call them ‘parting words’ because if they were the last words I ever said to that person, I’d be okay with that.
In response to a long time internet friend trying to get me to apologise to someone:
I’ve come to a decision that I don’t like, but I think it’s right.
I don’t want to have conversations that include blame, coercion or evaluation, and certainly not about this subject, with anyone.
If you are willing, I will help you to learn how to talk to me without these things. In fact, that is my greatest hope for our friendship.
If not, then I don’t want you to talk to me. I feel, unfathomably sad about this. Deep grief will probably come later.
Please take some time to think about this.
I will always love you, nomatter what you do or say.
Context: 5 years ago, an old flame got into a monogamous relationship and wouldn’t meet up with me in person. I was totally devastated. Since then I avoid dating monogamous people. We fell out over it and hadn’t spoken for 5 years.
If you don’t wish to hear from me, please ignore this email.
I still think about you sometimes, and I would like to stop thinking about you. When I think about someone it is generally because I have unfinished business with them, things left unsaid. I was not able to communicate these things before (and my last email to you communicated very badly). I have some new skills now that make it possible. I do not need or expect anything from you; I just need to tell you these things for my own peace. I hope you understand:
- Our friendship was very important to me. You are still very important to me even if we aren’t friends anymore.
- I do not consider ‘internet only’ friendships real friendships - to me, for it to be real, there must be at least the possibility to meet in person.
- When we were seeing each other, we both agreed that no matter who came along in the future, we would always have room for each other (it may seem a silly agreement now, but that’s what we said). It’s clear you haven’t kept to that agreement, but that’s okay. That agreement was the only commitment we made to each other. So I guess you must have ‘broken up’ with me (in your mind, your commitment to me ceased to matter) at some point, but didn’t tell me. Perhaps you didn’t tell me because you were no longer committed to me (even as a friend); perhaps you forgot our agreement; perhaps you didn’t want to have that conversation with me, especially while getting closer to Victor; perhaps I was a guilty secret you didn’t want to think about; or maybe it was an agreement you never took seriously in the first place, and it was really just me.
- Regardless of the reason, I did not realise that commitment was over for you, until you told me you wouldn’t meet me in person.
- I of course will probably keep that agreement (in a way, without thought or effort) for the rest of my life. You will always be welcome in my home. Because I love you (platonically/compassionately). If you were to show up on my doorstep someday, I would be so delighted, and would welcome you with open arms (this is a metaphor, hugs are optional); I would exclaim “Sofi!”, my eyes wide, “I’m so happy to see you! please come in.”
- In case this isn’t obvious: this is not about sex, kissing, hugging, holding hands or any other form of physical intimacy. I don’t really care about that stuff. Nor am I seeking a romantic relationship with you.
- You were an important part of my journey, and I will always be grateful for the part you played in my life. Thank you, Sofi.
- I have learned a lot from this situation in particular, precisely because you were so important to me. And so I’m very grateful to you for that (including getting into a monogamous relationship with Victor, abandoning your commitment to me and not telling me directly) as well. Thank you, Sofi.
I wish you a good, happy and long life. Be well my old friend.
To my great surprise, she wrote back and was very happy to hear from me. We have since rebuilt our friendship and we are now in a way closer than when we were seeing each other.
On Instructions, I went to a very small and short Quaker meeting. Afterwards this guy, P., who has a reputation for talking a lot, wanted to talk to me (having heard interesting things about me I guess).
I went straight for reporting the truth about him. “Oh yeah, I’ve heard all about you. You talk a lot.” and he suprisingly quickly joined me in telling something vulnerable, that he feels inadequate and he talks to make himself more valuable. I gave him a little guidance on how to deal with that. but he just kept wanting to talk (and not with any meaning). I found words that stopped him.
I find him quite difficult to deal with.
I gave him my card because Instructions.
I got an email from him:
It was good to interact with you at the little gathering on Sunday morning. I enjoyed our exchanges.
Would like to hear more from you especially as I’m working at listening a little more!
This was my answer:
When your sense of inadequacy has been corrected, you may feel less driven to speak.
If you want my help in correcting your sense of inadequacy and other mistakes:
- Do the reading (which at the very least should include The Disappearance of the Universe and Radical Honesty).
- Read all my blog posts (or at least the affirming ones).
Then, in an email to me:
- Say that you’ve read The Disappearance of the Universe, Radical Honesty and all 14 of my affirming blog posts.
- Tell me you want to hear the truth.
- State that you agree to my boundaries.
- Tell me your ‘favourite’ forms of unkindness/disrespect (i.e. the ones you notice yourself doing most often).
My time and attention is very precious; do not waste it by indulging your fantasy of being a teacher.
I hope not to hear from you again.
As soon I knew I was going to say “I hope not to hear from you again”, I found myself shaking with fear; there was even a story running in my mind about him coming to my house and murdering me for saying these things.
However, there’s no doubt in my mind that it was exactly the right thing to say.
Someone I had met through Quakers and we recognised each other as on a similar path. She visited me on two occasions. In accordance with guidance, and what felt right for both of us, I gave her several books, including a brand new second-edition of A Course in Miracles that I’d aquired by ‘mistake’.
I feel a sense of completion after your visit(s). Like, if we never spoke again, that would be okay.
I have, for now, completed my work with you. You have everything you need to go on alone. This is a good thing.
I’m also glad to have met your husband and your delightful children.
I am very satisfied.
If/when you wish to continue learning with me, I am unlikely to conform to your standards of spirituality or virtue. I am not a Christian. You may find yourself shocked by things I say. I may challenge you in ways that are not comfortable. Whatever you don’t want to hear or don’t want to think, I will discover it and bring it to the surface (like with the word ‘penis’).
If you want to be better prepared, this list will help.
Think of this as a graduation. When you finish school, you have the option of further education at a university, where the lessons are more demanding but also more rewarding. But it can be a difficult transition as you go from being one of the biggest kids in your school, to being a first-year undergrad student. Not everyone goes to university, and many drop out (I did, as it happens), and some go later as mature students. All of this is okay.
Trust in Jesus to guide us home, always.
A dear friend I’d met at Autscape many years ago, and many times since then. I had given her an open invitation to visit me but it never happened.
Recently, I realised that I have been misusing my home by inviting into it, people to whom I have not yet shown my full self. Now I treat my home as a sanctuary of appropriate deference, where I never need to hide any aspect of myself.
When this friend contacted me with a life update, I told her about this, and that I therefore needed to uninvite her.
She was very upset and sent me an email full of blame for her hurt feelings, and accusations of abuse. I considered many possible responses, but they all felt defensive. Eventually I accepted that I would be unable to reply with any specificity.
Let me know if/when you are ready to take full responsibility for how you feel. Until then, I have nothing more to say to you.
Love (as always),
A 30 year Course student who found me in a search for “ACIM Telegram”. He seemed quite lovely. He reacted to the way I communicate.
There is nothing wrong with the way I communicate. It is your communication that is faulty. You only don’t realise it because your error is almost universally shared.
An internet friendship born out of /r/kindORvulnerable/ from which I learned a lot. She tended to lash out when confronted, and wasn’t willing/able to do the reading. As I finished forgiving, these words came:
I have identified the words of devastation I don’t want to say:
- I don’t want to hear about your day.
- I don’t want to be your friend.
- I don’t want to know how you feel.
- I don’t want to help you.
- I don’t want to teach you.
- I don’t want you in my life.
With these words, I leave in peace.
These words destroy specialness. They do not attack, but they kill special love.
One day, every word out of my mouth will be this way.
So far I have written up 7 of the 15 examples in my notes.