06 May The War with My Parents: CASE CLOSED
One of the things I find fascinating about Transformation is that it not only alters my experience in the current moment, it also moves backward in time. In other words, life is not only sweet and easy right now, my experience of my personal history is sweet and easy, too.
I’m not sure how that happened. Except that over the years I have invested in learning a perspective through Ariel and Shya Kane’s seminars called Instantaneous Transformation. I’ve listened to the Kanes’ podcasts and read their books, too. I did (and do) all these things because I enjoy them, not with the expectation that someday I would suddenly see my parents in a different light.
For example, I didn’t try to like my parents more or work to appreciate my childhood. Yet, despite the fact that my mother has never attended a seminar and my father died over twenty years ago, my relationship with my parents underwent a fundamental shift – without planning it or without knowing or understanding why, my relationship with them transformed.
Before I attended seminars with the Kanes, I had a firm belief that my parents were unkind and rigid. I remembered every perceived slight and every punishment and I created a mental checklist of my parents’ transgressions against me. As the years went on, I built a solid case against them. I was the main witness for the prosecution, and I testified in my mind often. I was also judge and jury and I always found them guilty as charged.
When I built that case against them, I ignored any evidence that was not consistent with my position. But after immersing myself in a transformational perspective, the idea that they were unkind and rigid melted and the need to be right that they were wrong drifted away. And when it did, a long-forgotten memory surfaced. A lovely memory of parental love and kindness:
When I was a teenager, I studied the cello and, if I do say so myself, I was excellent. But what I really wanted to do was play guitar. My mother had a classical guitar that she never used so I took it to my bedroom and practiced with it. Soon, I learned to play songs by listening to them on the radio. Then I bought myself a few books to learn chords and before I knew it, became quite good. But now this classical guitar wasn’t enough. I wanted an electric one.
Around about this time, I was struggling with geometry in school. Although I was generally a very good student, this class was proving to be difficult. So my parents made me a deal. If I got a 90 or better on the final exam for geometry, then they would buy me an electric guitar. I was thrilled with the agreement and I worked my butt off. I was confident and certain that I would do well on the test and the guitar of my dreams would soon be mine!
Two months later I took that test and soon after, got my results – a disappointing 85. I couldn’t believe it – I got 5 points less than I needed. I was devastated. But my parents were impressed with my efforts and much to my amazement told me that they were still taking me to get my beloved electric guitar.
The very next weekend, I went to the music store with my father and I was so excited. To this day, I still remember how the place smelled. None of us knew at the time that I would go on to play in bands, do some recordings, have a song I wrote published, and meet amazing people through that guitar. And while those are great things, what I remember most now is the love and kindness that my parents showed me that day. And it wasn’t the only time they showed their love and kindness. It’s just the time I’m writing about now. But thanks to Instantaneous Transformation, these lovely memories are available to me.
While I still pick up the guitar on occasion, nowadays I’m a practicing attorney and have been so for over thirty years. Most of the legal work I’ve done has been in the field of litigation and I’ve had decades of training and experience in looking at who’s right, who’s wrong, who’s to blame, and who’s guilty. Like any good litigator, I present evidence to the court that supports my position and when appropriate, I object to any evidence that hurts my case.
I’m so glad my juvenile position that my parents were unkind has dissolved. The evidence of their love was there all along but originally it was inconvenient for the case I’d been building. As long as I advocated for that childish point of view, I literally had blinders on that kept me from seeing all the ways they expressed their love.
Through my investment in transformation, I’m happy to report I’ve closed the case against my parents and everyone has won as a result, especially me.
Eric Ruben is a native New Yorker who, in addition to having been a professional actor and performer, has been a practicing attorney for over 30 years. He’s been admitted to practice Law in New York, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania. You can find him on the web at www.EricRubenlaw.com and on Twitter at @EricRubenLaw.