Last week I was driving to the post office with my partner Mike (husband), for which I’ve been with for almost 10 years. We don’t have postal delivery at the ranch, so consistent trips to the post office are common. In a typical fashion I waited in the car while he ran out to check for mail.
When he returned I notice there were a number of “cards” he had received. My mind went into auto search to answer the question, “Why is he getting cards sent to him?” And almost simultaneously the answer surfaced in my awareness. His birthday! “Oh shit!,” I thought, “I FORGOT HIS BIRTHDAY!!!” Days have now past!!!
Flash back to 7 years prior, when I was living with him in Los Angeles. I was working on an inspiring project, so inspiring that it consumed my attention and I forgot Mike’s birthday. It wasn’t until the end of that day that I remembered. There was no time to plan for dinner reservations, flowers or cake for that matter. He was disappointed, agitated and upset. I profusely apologize. I was wrecked with guilt, what kind of boyfriend forgets his partner’s birthday? Here was the person I professed to love so much but didn’t take the time or make enough effort to acknowledge his “special” day by remembering.
“The ego seeks to “resolve” its problems, not at their source, but where they were not made. And thus it seeks to guarantee there will be no solution” – A Course in Miracles
The following week came quicker than my next breath, or so it seemed. The day for which we decided we’d celebrate his birthday had arrived. I discovered this when I returned home from work and found him waiting for me. Understandably, he was expecting we’d go out to eat or I’d arrive with a belated cake in hand. But no, no flowers, no cake and no reservations had been made. I forgot AGAIN!!!
This turned into an even worse sense of guilt. I fucked up twice! He was hurt and I was upset at myself. We were at the effect of our own making.
The learning lesson, and fix wasn’t about remembering or trying to rectify a “problem.” It was about recognizing that the pain and suffering we were experiencing was rooted in misguided thinking, interpreting and misplaced meaning. It was a set of expectations and “special” roles that blinded us to the Reality that neither of us could be subject to betrayal.
ACIM Lesson 2 –“ I have given everything I see all the meaning that it has for me.”
Flash forward to the parking lot at the post office last week. With the mental recognition I had forgotten his birthday I immediately apologized, for which his response was “I did too.” Yes, he forgot his own birthday! He only remembered when the birthday cards arrived. In that moment we both LAUGHED!!! If only for that moment, we simultaneously recognized the joy of being unburdened by a timeline. We giggled at the silliness of ever using something like remembering birthdays or anniversaries as a measurement of one another’s love. The past ideas, meaning and expectations of one another, with regards to special dates and ritual, was seen as irrelevant to the primary purpose of BEING together.
“Relationships based on truth, which means a relationship that is FREE of dependency and demands, is a relationship centered upon celebration. It’s a mutual coming together for no other reason that being together.” – Adyashanti
For both of us, the thought of birthday was simply out of awareness. No one was guilty, it happens. And as forgiveness teaches, all things are in perfect order and in collaboration with the Will of whatever is happening, regardless of appearance and judgements against it. No one is defined by actions, molds or expectations but rather the underlying and formless presence of love inherent in what we are. Why make a problem where there is none?
This experience was truly a miracle, from one way of seeing the relationship to another. The miracle is a shift in perspective, from seeing each other as special, with expectations and needs, to the reality of ordinary and the unbound freedom that comes when we’re allowed to just BE…it is a perceptual change from fear to love.
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