"Guilt is often an attempt to keep us attached to love."
When these words came out of my counselor's mouth, they hit me right in the heart. She'd been attempting to say the same thing in a more intellectual manner, and while my brain and mind grasped what she was saying, I couldn't find the way to distill what she'd said into words that I could process back.
Yet, as soon as she re-framed guilt this way, my heart recognized a truth that made sense. It was like every cell in my body reacted and the tears started to flow.
I've spent a good part of twenty years with guilt as a constant companion, right from the birth of my son. I felt it, I could intellectualize it, I could talk about it, but I couldn't quite figure out a way to let it go. I couldn't quite heal it and take it's power away.
What my counselor offered me this morning was another way. She reflected back ten years of knowing me and my journey to show me something that I was too close to see. She shed light on the dark and the light of me to embrace the truth of who I am.
For twenty years I have loved my son. For twenty years I haven't wanted to be a mother. For forty seven years I have been an imperfect human being and for the past ten plus years I have tried to live from a Higher Perspective, a spiritual knowing that I am a perfect Soul. I've lived this tug of war inside myself, always trying to make one side win and punishing myself when it did.
The very act of making choices that seemed (or what I judged to be) "bad" violated the "good" Self/Soul that spiritually I've strived for and known myself to be. Straddling between the two halves of myself, the very imperfect human and the unconditionally loving and aware Soul, have driven me almost mad at times. It's no wonder that people have psychotic breaks. It's very hard to live in balance between the two...to walk in reality with the awareness of Spirit and the Divine. Yet, I digress.
Guilt became my means of holding on, of making myself pay, over and over, for making choices that I deemed "bad". So when my counselor framed it as a way to stay attached to love, it felt like a 180 degree shift. It was a hard concept to wrap my head around, and at the same time it caused my heart to ache. Twenty years of causing myself pain when I could have seen it as staying attached to love was a heavy price to pay.
I never realized that I could hold two opposing truths at the same time.
I didn't realize that I could love my son and not want to be with him. That I could love him and not want to be a mother. So much self-vitriol spewed for the sake of either/or. So much self-inflicted pain when both truths could be held lovingly.
To look at guilt as a gift is a way to take the barbs out of the torturous claws of the mind. When I visualized myself at either end of that tug of war rope, pulling and struggling to win, I realized that I could simply drop the rope, that neither could win and both truths of who I am could be right. Both truths could be held.without struggle.
I don't know if I'll ever not have guilt as a presence in my life. This Soul of mine has chosen a path that, good or bad, is a challenging one to walk. So to be able to see guilt through this new lens, one of being attached to love, is a way for my Higher Self to love my human self with compassion and love.
I no longer need to punish myself for the choices I've made. Those choices weren't "bad". They were just choices that felt right in that moment. And despite the voices of my past that told me I was "bad", that continue in my own mind to judge me as "bad", I'm not "bad" either. I need to stop telling myself that I am. I am human and doing the best that I can.
I can stay attached to my love for my son without inflicting self-punishment because I chose to separate from him, and stand in the truth of who I am, in balance, and with love.
P.S. I really wish I could articulate more for you how this concept works, how it was described to me that made sense. I can't and it's frustrating. It's fleeting in my mind but my heart retains it's truth. I needed to write out the experience so that I could hold on to the transformative power it had on me today.