When I met my husband, I was well read in the virtues of new age spirituality and quick to run my mouth off about it. Alas, the walk didn’t match the talk. I’d done little to actually integrate anything I’d learned.
In my defense, reading had brought me to a point of understanding my beliefs about the afterlife and not left me with much in the way of how to live the one I was still in. It was like knowing my ABC’s but not yet how to read. Or maybe I just wasn’t ready to see that part in the books. Having recently come out of a failed marriage, personal progress was less of a concern than survival. If your energies are tied up in an emotional battleground, whether with yourself or another, stagnation is a typical byproduct. Even though I was out of that situation and in something healthier, I was still finding my footing, regaining my confidence.
Sean, my now husband, found all of my spiritual mumbo-jumbo to be just that. He wasn’t interested, having chosen Christianity of his own accord in high school, and practicing with friends for a few years. There was skepticism about religion as “big business” and blind obedience to socially ancient political agendas. I saw that willingness to question established dogma as a crack in the foundation that I could weasel into.
I used my newness with him to push my perspective, dropping books in his lap left and right. Out of kindness and respect for me and our still novel relationship, he kinda read some of them.
It should come as no surprise that he found them to be absolute bullshit. He wasn’t looking for anything. They weren’t calling to him like beacons in the night, the way they had to me. He’d come with his own vision for spirituality, but I’m an infamous know-it-all, relentless to a fault, so I kept pushing. Cue the annoying girl at the party, forcing drinks down everyone’s throats, “making” them have a good time. You know my type, you’ve met a few of me before, probably nursed hangovers because of the me’s in the world.
I’m going to fast forward six years, because it was all more of the same, but with a slow and subtle decline in pushiness. Three children later, a lack of time had robbed me of my ability to care very much about other people’s life choices, a brilliant and much-needed thievery.
The afterlife part was concreted for me, it was nothing I needed to hash out and didn't receive much attention anymore, being of little bearing on my todays and tomorrows. The reading continued, but with emphasis on how to live in a fulfilling manner while owning my own shit. Self-help books instead of Sylvia Brown books riddled with countless trips to psychics, trying to wrangle information from them that could dismiss me of personal responsibility for the outcome of my life. I never did end up with those two sets of twins promised by the chain-smoking, botched plastic surgery faced Gerry.
But that husband of mine, I still couldn’t get him to agree with me, dammit, in spite of all my reading aloud from Earth-shattering books (poor Sean). There were fights, lots of them. He was slightly broken down. He didn’t really subscribe to his previous beliefs, but he wasn’t buying in to mine either. Full disclosure- he’s stubborn, and I’m pushy. This can be difficult, on an array of fronts. (I will not ever try to buy him clothes again.)
And then I just gave up.
I decided to quietly believe my shit and leave him alone. In fact, I decided to do that with everyone (except in my book club on spirituality, cuz that was a proper venue).
I don’t know if his beacon was calling to him or if me shutting up made space for him to see it, but something incredible happened. He started to believe. All by himself.
He didn’t read any of my books. He bought his own, decidedly more pragmatic in nature, but at their core, the same damn business. They weren’t about the afterlife. That’s of zero interest to him. Nothing too “woo woo,” but all in the same vein as my core beliefs: You are but the product of your thoughts and because of that, you have control over your responses and can manifest greatness and abundance or their opposites (in a teeny tiny nutshell). He even started eating healthy and waking up early. Gasp. Wtf. It’s 5:30 am and Sean is currently downstairs meditating, doing yoga, and gratitude journaling, while drinking Bulletproof coffee. Seriously, wtf.
I’m not pulling any “told you so’s.” I’m just giddy about it, in awe of the coalition that has arisen from this coming together, the strength that we possess as a unit, now rooted in personal power and responsibility. I respect that he’s come at it from a completely different angle than me, for his own purposes, to fulfill his own desires, and answer his own questions. I’m growing leaps and bounds through our mutual points of view of varying origins, through enlightening, empowering dialogues, and cohesive desires.
But, I needed to give him the space to get there. There being wherever he needed to be. I shouldn't have had expectations, or projected my "right." Constant chirping didn’t sway him. The ideology may have cracked the door a little, or slightly opened his mind to unconventional credos, but ultimately, this seems to be where he was always meant to land, with or without me.
Having witnessed this process within my own marriage, friend and family relationships, and studying the art of allowing people to just do them, something that doesn’t come naturally for me (I know I’m such a weirdo… the why’s of that are a whole other blog), I’m slowly learning that everyone gets wherever they need to be eventually, whether in this life or the next, emphasis on slowlyyyyy- it’s that difficult for me to de-invest from other people’s lives. I’ll never stop sharing information because you can lead a horse to water… it’s the make them drink part that I’m working on.
In life and at parties, no more pouring drinks down anyone’s throats. Just some clinking of glasses over the beauty of our differences.
It feels good, not shouldering the weight of other’s choices, a self-imposed burden I was never meant to bear.