These were the words of my 23 year old stepdaughter at lunch last week:

“It’s not like it is in the movies!”

She was talking about love.

She continued, “I thought…you meet someone, you move in together and get a dog and everything would be great. But I did all those things and it’s hard.”

I’ve known Allie since she was two and a half. She’s seen her parents’ challenges. She saw the relationship between her dad and me, which ended 14 years later in divorce. She’s had the teenage version of boyfriends and the typical escapades of a young adult, all including the standard heartbreak.

So of course she has disillusionment about what a realistic (and successful) long-term relationship looks like!

Oh, sweet pea. I wrapped her up in my arms, equally celebrating this developmental milestone and sad for the angst it was causing her.

The purpose in sharing this isn’t to make a point about love.

It’s about the ways we all have disillusion and disappointment, the ways we feel wronged and misled.

The conversation with Allie has stuck with me and made me more aware of my own disillusionment. Specifically,the things I know to be true (or untrue) that I hold onto anyway.

Life is so hard. That isn’t fair. This shouldn’t have happened.

Statements like these are an indicator light that I’m stuck. I’m in a story. I’m resisting the fact of reality, what’s actually happening. (Which is a second indicator light that I probably haven’t been taking great care of myself.)

As you know, this spiritual path (or whatever you want to call your philosophy/approach/practice) IS hard!

It’s often against the current, sometimes rebellious and always courageous.

So if hard things are just a part of life and we’re inevitably going to face disappointments, how do we stay free and at peace? Or as the new agers might say, in flow?

The answer under the answer that keeps coming to me is:
Don’t be in resistance.

What does resistance look like?
We resist what’s happening: I wish this was {some other way}.
We resist life: Why is this happening? It’s not right!
We resist our feelings: I’m fine.
We resist our needs, wants and dreams: More I’m fine. I don’t need anything.

Sound familiar? (It does to me!)

Some questions I’ve found helpful in working with this aspect of myself:
Can I be with this?
Can I let this be?

Can I be with this without contracting, without making it more than it actually is?
Can I let this be what it is without making it wrong, without making it about me?

These are not easy questions — especially when you’re 23.

Thankfully, just by being witnessed, getting to tell her story and hearing herself say things she didn’t know she knew, Allie came to the best insight I could have hoped for her.

“I just need to let him be who he is and be who I am. And I’m figuring out how to be in a relationship and still take care of myself.”

I told her that might be a long lesson 😉

Many of you are parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles — if you have a story or a comment, please share.

With love,

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