What do you do when it is broken? What do you do when a relationship took an unexpected turn? When there was an argument, a disconnect of sorts.
What do you do?
Throw it away?
In the American culture, people throw things away when they are broken. When the blender doesn’t work, you throw it out and you buy a new one.
Not all cultures are operating that way. In fact, Japanese even have a word and a tradition around mending broken things – you may have heard of it. They acknowledge that when you mend something, it is no longer the same as before, and now it is even more beautiful.
When I moved to the USA, my mother “warned” me, that in the US you can only buy very low quality kitchen and household appliances and that there is no place to get them or shoes fixed. That the American people throw everything that doesn’t work away and that therefore everything is so cheap and it does in fact break very easily. Well, it turned out she was right. Although, my kitchen appliances were the least of my concerns, what I found to be much more painful, is the approach to throwing people away when they don’t seem to work.
I like to think of each person being as vast and complex universe, all to themselves; most of the territory being unchartered. When there is a relationship, two universes touch, collide, explode or merge. Some of these phenomenon find more enjoyable then others; I don’t like it so much when they collide or explode, I find the merging and touching much more enjoyable.
What ever the case may be, the truth of the matter is that when there is a disconnect, no one has a clear understanding of what just happened. The multitudes of triggers, long buried pain, new pain, misunderstandings and different ways of perceiving things, make each and every event shared by two people two completely different occurrences. And we assume that how we see it and what we felt and what we experienced is “the” truth. When really, we can only ever perceive the “truth” as it shows up within our own universe. Seldom if ever, was it the same in the other person’s universe.
So then what do we do? We can either throw our hands up in the air and start assuming a stance of judgment about the other person. He is this or she is that. Not only that, but ALWAYS!! And the more that goes on, the bigger the disconnect gets. The further away the two universes drift. Worse yet when there are proverbial doors slammed in each other’s faces. When hurtful things are said. When accusations are made. Each uttering accelerates the speed at which the other universe is drifting away.
It takes so much courage to stop this process. And even more courage, to not start it. But lets say it started, an hour ago, a week ago, a decade ago – can you stop it? Are you willing to say that you are clueless about what happened over there, in this other universe, where they speak a language you don’t even understand?
Can you let the other person know that you would like to know and understand what happened over there? Or are you to scared, that what you will find out will be so utterly confusing to your self-image, or the image you hold onto about the other person? Maybe you are so confused about your own emotions on a good day, that when it gets mixed up with someone else’s perception and experience on a bad day, it just becomes this massively overwhelming, unsolvable mess that you cannot afford having. On top of everything else life is throwing your way.
So, the choice to dismiss someone else, judge them and insist on the disconnect is very understandable. Indeed, it takes a lot of time and care to bridge a disconnect. And who has extra time or care to give away?
I cannot think of anything more confusing or bamboozling then two universes colliding. Nothing makes sense. Nothing anyone sais or feels makes any sense. If it made sense, there would not have been a disconnect in the first place. If we understood, there would be no disconnect. The disconnect is the absence of understanding one another. If we understood, and were kind and gentle and patient enough, we would have been led into the murky tundra of the other person’s pain. If we asked the humble questions we might be given the honor to see the true pain that may have little or nothing to do with us, or what we said or did. And we could slowly start to weave a new picture, one that includes the other person’s reality, into a tapestry of understanding. And we might learn a few things about ourselves and about the other person. We would not be able to remain the same. Which is scary.
How do you deal with disconnect?
I can’t stand it when people write the other person off, stamp a little judgment on that package and sprinkle a dash of disapproval over it. Or hold this condescending, better knowing attitude over them and slam the door in their face.
My all time favorite pet peeve is again the so called “spiritual” or “evolved” or “aware” people, who have their highly evolved version of how they justify disconnect, such as: “this is such a toxic person – I am detoxifying my life – look at how advanced I am”, or “My intuition is telling me ‘no’ (basically to shut the door) – look at me how evolved I am, I trust my intuition”, or yet another one is “oh, I feel sorry for them, that this is the best story they can tell themselves – luckily, my story is so much better”.
It takes a whole lot to be willing to choose connection and to repair when connection is injured. It requires the willingness to let someone else’s universe be real while ours is real at the same time, although totally different. It can get a little trippy and not everyone is in for the ride.
How do you generate repair when there was rupture? I would love to hear from you.