Peace, Balance, and a Tomato Blessing
Last night as the sun was setting, I stood in what is now the ruins of our veggie garden – it was put to bed for the season last week – and mused. The tomato, bean, squash, and nasturtium plants that my husband didn’t completely level are trying very hard to make a comeback. They won’t really, but they’re trying. Hence, we have a few baby squash peeking, and a lot of green tomatoes on the ground hanging on to plants that were pushed over.
There, in the middle of the chaos, was one perfectly red, perfectly round, perfectly ripe Cherokee tomato. Treasure!
I put the tomato in my pocket and went back to musing. This past year has been a challenging one. Happenings all over the place. None of which we have control over: my poor husband’s sickness – which he seems to be completely over now (yay!); the ensuing medical bills; the sudden death of my beautiful Daisy Sage on July 7, and struggles with family, friends, and work.
Then, the making of a big personal decision.
My husband and I set out to identify the toxic people in our lives: those who consistently cause us pain. Some of them have been doing this for years; some, decades.
The cynics, and those who bring excessive criticism and demands to the table. The pretentious, the hypocrites, the dishonest. Those who wish to manipulate. The greedy. The arrogant. People with rigid and inflexible personalities. Those who do not understand or practice loyalty or love. People who exaggerate for their own benefit. Those who do not honor animals, or the earth.
Todd and I no longer have patience for these people, and we finally decided to prune them from our lives. Yes, like a pruning of our garden. The garden of our lives together, which needed a cleaning and yearns to grow.
But we both worried that doing this with family members – the biggest offenders in our lives – would be very hard.
Came to find out it wasn’t.
Instead, it was a tremendous relief to say, ‘You’ve hurt me enough, I need to end our connection’. Or, ‘I won’t be your whipping boy/girl anymore – you’re going to have to find a new game.’ Even, ‘I can’t put my finger on this, but whenever we’re together, I feel depleted afterward. I think we should stop spending time together.’
It was easier to say and do than we thought.
It was easier to say and do than we thought.
My wonderful husband has had some bad people enter his life, and he talks about them sometimes. It’s a catharsis, and I allow it, even though sometimes it drains my energy.
Intensely angry ex-spouses with a thirst for revenge that will never be quenched; angry, unstable children who speak endlessly of their rights but never of their responsibilities; angry family members who willingly hurt and embarrass us, angry co-workers who ignore our boundaries.
It’s an angry world out there, and the time came for us to disengage from these people. But before we went ahead and brought these abusive relationships to an end, we made an important pact between us and the earth.
Karma is a powerful force, my loves. By dispensing with these people, we knew we were going to hurt, offend, and anger them further. You never want to hurt someone willingly, if you can help it. But if you must, it is important – critical – that you make some sort of amends for the pain you cause them.
So what does a good disciple do? She turns to the one thing that is at the beating heart of everything good: compassion.
Through our decision to disconnect from the toxic ones, we made a choice of compassion for ourselves.
Next, we have to extend that compassion outward. The way to do this, we believe, is to live and give good Karma everywhere, but especially to those people from whom we have decided to separate. They need our blessings in a big way.
Think about it. Because of their unyielding rage, demands, lovelessness, and manipulation, they have lost their connection with us. And we, no doubt, are not the only ones who have identified their toxicity, and who want them to go away. But most people don’t have the mindfulness to do this, and so they suffer in silence. Hard feelings grow. Squabbles break out. A lot of quiet suffering goes on. Unkind words said behind backs. No compassion. Sad, sad times.
And so the people we have recently ruled out of our lives have been getting a lot of good Karma sent their way, courtesy of us. Here is the treatise I drew up for us:
We must live good, honorable lives.
We must take responsibility for all our actions – past and present.
We must continue to cultivate the loving atmosphere in our home. It feeds our spirits and our marriage every day.
We must forgive these people completely – for the pain they have given us, and for the pain they will try to continue to give us.
We must admit the mistakes we made during our time with these people, forgive ourselves for those mistakes, and move forward in love.
When we make mistakes that harm others, we must take immediate steps to correct them.
We must do no harm to the ones whom we have rejected, but we must not let them freely hurt us anymore either.
We must spend some time every day sending good Karma to the people we have eliminated from our lives.
We must continue to send love to everyone, with the lion’s share going to those people from whom we have disconnected. Just because.
We must be gentle with the earth.
I took that perfect tomato out of my pocket and looked at it again. An unexpected gift. Something spotless, sublime, a blessing that rose up from a pile of ruins. A blessing where it was least expected, least deserved.
I said a prayer of thanksgiving, let fly a tidal wave of good karma to those with whom I no longer share my life, and planned my tomato lunch for the next day.