“Be true to your own self, love your self absolutely. Do not pretend that you love others as yourself. Unless you have realized them as one with yourself, you cannot love them. Don’t pretend to be what you are not, don’t refuse to be what you are. Your love of others is the result of self-knowledge, not its cause. Without self-realization, no virtue is genuine. When you know beyond all doubting that the same life flows through all that is and you are that life you will love all naturally and spontaneously.”

– Nisargadatta Maharaj

A friend sent me this video and whew, lots of feelings came up. The transcript is this:

Dealing with Toxic Family Members by Russell Brand: I suppose what you’re asking, those of you who are talking about toxicity within your family, is the idea that you don’t get on and feel trapped by your circumstance and somehow your family become emblems of that feeling of being trapped. My deepest belief system, is that all relationships are a manifestation of some latent or potentially inhered aspect of yourself, not to say there isn’t such a thing as a bad father or a difficult mother, more that what is it that it provoked in you for a relationship. If I see myself as a sort of hapless victim of other people’s whims and wills then what am I going to do about the world? What am I going to do about my life? Whereas if I take responsibility for my own personal relationships, then the possibility of freedom continually exists. I say, rewrite your life, editorialize yourself, become who you believe yourself to be. If you’re in a difficult family or relationship, you must extract yourself. It isn’t me saying this, it’s Elkhart Tolle, “You must extract yourself.”

The instagram clip is edited from one of Russell’s YouTube videos. It’s about 5 minutes long and says a bit more, which I was glad to find.

So what does this have to do with the price of tea in China? Everything, of course. I’ve been mostly silent on here lately because I’ve been hurt and grieving. I have very difficult relationships with my family. My family of origin is very dysfunctional. So, I have very strong boundaries, most of the time. But, when I need something, because it is normal and natural to have needs you cannot always fulfill on your own, I sometimes make mistakes and ask for help from people who will ultimately hurt me. That is what happened. And anytime that happens, it changes my perspective for a little while to a very bad place.

I used to pretend that I was always fine. When I was a christian, I would pray so much that all these feelings would be replaced by the peace of the spirit, that my deep hurts from my family of origin would be healed by god. Spiritual bypassing at its finest. I had a youth group leader tell me once that it was OKAY (literally used the word OKAY!) that my dad abandoned me because I had a Heavenly Father who would never abandon me. As a heartbroken and desperately lonely child I took that and ran with it. And I held on to that idea, that god would “fix” these things for far, far too long. And now, I can clearly see when other people use the evidence of their “relationship with Jesus” to pass the blame of our difficult relationship to me. I don’t accept that. Relationships are two way, not one way, and I choose not to go that way any more.

I also don’t pretend when I’m not fine anymore. I recognize how uncomfortable that makes people. But, I can’t be my truest self if I don’t acknowledge all parts of me. I can’t love myself if I’m pretending about something that is hurt or broken. If I can’t love me, then I can’t love you or anyone else, either. Because if I can’t love myself through the hurt in me, how can I have full compassion for the hurts in you? I have come so far with this and I still have a lot to unpack, but I think I’m getting close to the bottom of it all.

You know why “crazy isn’t part time”? Because it starts before you are born. It started before your parents even, and your grandparents. You can trace it backward, it has a lineage. But you know how to end it? You unpack it all, like your great grandmother’s ancient set of bone china. You look at all the cracked and broken pieces. You figure out what is missing. You appreciate what good is there. Then, you let it go. You reparent yourself, with therapy and mentors, and building a family or tribe or community, and you learn to love yourself. Through love, you can heal your own craziness. It’s ok if it takes time. It’s ok if you have to stop, or slow down, or take a step back. There are so many things we inherit that we can’t help receiving. But, we don’t have to pass them on. We can take responsibility for our healing. Your only job is to be you and you are only here to Be.

Love life, as I love you,

and all our cracked and mismatched and broken pieces,

and as we are just two drops in the same ocean,