We’re on one of our familiar walks along the river, when my husband, Jim, mentions, “I’m thinking of signing up for the Pilates Comprehensive Training.” The comment seems casual, almost off-hand.
The sun shines through the golden leaves and glints off the water. The squawk of a blue heron breaks through the warm air of Indian summer. Our black dog, Zoe, dashes off after a squirrel.
I stop abruptly to stare at him. “You’re thinking about doing what?!?” I exclaim.
Ever since he retired, Jim has focused more and more of his time and attention on Pilates. He’s even begun teaching a Pilates class. This training, though, seems over the top.
“It’s essential for my future as a Pilates instructor,” Jim explains. His tone of voice creeps into defensive as we start walking again. “They’re offering the course here in Pennsylvania. I won’t have to travel to Tucson to take it, the way everyone has in the past. That’ll save a lot in travel expenses and time.”
His justifications don’t swing it for me, but, unable to voice my objections, I have no reply. How can I tell him what I really feel?
Jim trusts that I’ll support him. For 30 years we’ve counted on each other to provide steadfast encouragement when it comes to pursuing our dreams. Our relationship rests solidly on this foundation. This time, though, feels different to me.
I resent the enormous amount of time and energy that this training will demand – endless hours of classes, observation and practice teaching. I’m concerned about the cost, which seems exorbitant. What’s really bothering me, though, I dare not mention to him.
I married a Ph.D. chemist, a director in a major pharmaceutical firm. I could be proud of that. I was comfortable with it – but a Pilates teacher?!?!?! It’s just not serious. It’s not impressive. It’s not prestigious.
I’m ashamed to admit it, but there it is. I don’t respect what my husband is doing. I know I should, but I can’t bring myself to accept what gives him joy.
As we walk together in silence, the objections chase each other around in my head. At the same time, though, I know he belongs here. I’ve seen the enthusiasm he shares at his students’ progress, his pride and satisfaction at the difference he’s making in their lives.
Deep in my heart of hearts, I want to support him. I really do. No matter how hard I try, though, I just can’t let go of that judgment.
We arrive back at the car. My throat chokes as I grudgingly murmur, “Well, if you think you have to….” I’m not happy. Sensing my disapproval, he’s unhappy, too. The air chills as clouds cover the sun.
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For weeks following this discussion inner conflict tears me up. My annoyance pains me every time it wells up. My heart breaks from the stress and negativity that’s growing between us. I know I should support him. I want to support him. I just can’t bring myself to do it. And then my Inner Wisdom shows me the way.
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I’m walking along the same river path when I finally turn to my Inner Wisdom for help. Most of the leaves have fallen, but the sun still glistens on the flowing water. The crisp air feels invigorating. Zoe, my only companion, dashes off after a squirrel.
Suddenly, the larger picture opens up before me. The absurdity of the situation cracks me up.
Here I am, offering my clients the Path of Joy. “Do what gives you joy,” I say. “It’s more important than the money. It’s more important than the approval of those around you. It’s the most important thing there is!”
And here I find myself in complete opposition to exactly what gives my husband –the person I love most in the world – joy!
The question comes clearly, “How can you expect people to be drawn to you and to your message, if you can’t open your heart to embrace what gives your husband joy!?!?!?”
Instantly the resistance, the opposition, and the upset disappear and I am flooded with blessed relief.
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Since that moment I’ve known the joy of being happy about what makes Jim happy, of finding satisfaction in his successes and pride in his achievements. I know the well-being of finding myself back in integrity with what I believe! I savor the return of harmony in our relationship.
Our living room has become an occasional Pilates studio as I go through the exercises under his guidance. I love the convenience and flexibility of having my own in-house Pilates teacher.
And Jim’s a great teacher. You can take it from me. I know a good Pilates teacher when I see one. After all, I’m the one who introduced him to Pilates all those many years ago…
What you can do to love what you hate
First, notice how much worse you feel when you allow something to really upset you. Make a commitment to yourself to stop suffering this way.
Then check in with your Inner Wisdom to discover what it wants you to know so you can once again enjoy a state of calm well-being.
Give yourself some space and time when you know you will not be interrupted. Relax deeply. Then ask your Inner Wisdom for help. You might try one of these questions:
Or just ask whatever feels right to you. Then wait patiently for any awareness that comes to you.
Do not try to answer this question on your own!!!
Remain open to any word or phrase or image that comes to you spontaneously. If you have questions or concerns about whatever you receive, express them openly. Enter into a dialog with your Inner Wisdom until you reach resolution and peace.
Your Inner Wisdom comes directly from your Divine Nature, an infinite source of compassion and unconditional love for yourself and for others. It is eager to help you. All you need to do is show up with an open heart and a willingness to learn. The more you practice turning to your Inner Wisdom for guidance and support, the more easily you’ll receive the gifts that await you!