Yesterday morning, I paid an early visit to the local YMCA for a workout, and time in the sauna. As I entered the sauna, two elderly women came in after me, who were probably in their late seventies.
One said to the other: “Did you know I lost my sister recently?”
The other: “Oh no, I did not know that. Was she sick?”
She went on to describe her sister Anne’s all too common travails of acquiring a staph infection after having a bad fall. The infection spread rather rapidly, and brought her life to a premature end. Her sister was ninety years old.
While Anne was on her deathbed, she asked to see her sister, who was sitting with me in the sauna now. The woman in the sauna said:
“Do you know what Anne shared with me right before she died? She said to me:
‘Do you remember when we were teenagers, the time we went to the Harvard Theatre with two boys, and it turned out that we didn’t like them at all? We went to the bathroom, and decided to leave them there without telling them.'”
She went on to say:
“Anne was fully aware and present when she died, and this was the last memory she shared with me.”
I began to loosely process this. What would make a 90 year old woman want to share that very specific memory with her sister? Why did she share this, and not some other memory about her children, maybe, or perhaps some family experience they had together? Why this memory? And why was I hearing it right now?
Later that day, it began to percolate more as I thought about the subject of loyalty. An experience in my life made me begin to question whether people had loyalty anymore, and if so, what did that look like? I began to feel upset by this thought, and perhaps the times where I was very loyal to people, but they did not return the favor. My mind began it’s tally, wracking up the imbalances. I have a bunch of planets in Libra in my astrology chart so I am good at keeping track of these small injustices. (Although I don’t really feel it is in my higher nature to do so.) Nonetheless the idea of loyalty was upsetting me, even though I was the one who walked away from an experience that wasn’t serving me!
It all began to make sense as I reflected on this more, and what this woman was sharing in the sauna.
Loyalty comes from a root word that really means faithfulness. But, it begs the question, to who or what are you being faithful to? And why?
Here were these two women, at least 65 years ago, who walked away from a situation that didn’t serve them. The woman on her deathbed did not sound like she was confessing her sins, but rather she was saying something completely different. She was reminiscing, and instead she was saying: “Remember how we did that? How we simply walked away? How we were bold, and strong, and independent? Remember how fun that was?”
These two young guys from the theatre, could have thought these women were being disloyal. But in another very real sense, the women were being loyal to something entirely different: themselves.
And I think this is the point. I am thankful I was in that sauna to hear this message: it is okay to simply get up and walk away from something that is no longer supporting you. It does not mean you are bad, or wrong, or uncaring. It does not mean you should walk around your whole life with a giant Scarlet letter “D” for disloyal on your chest. I think, many times what it DOES mean, is that you are being loyal to yourself.
On a very cosmic level, we attract that which we are, and the qualities which we embody. If I went back far enough to analyze the situation I walked away from, I had moments where my gut was saying: “No, do not go any further with this situation.” And I didn’t listen. By not listening to my gut, I began the pattern of disloyalty. Not disloyalty to others, but to myself. There would have been no other choice but to eventually walk away, unless I really wanted to really betray my own trust. And so, I sent out this vibe of disloyalty, like a ripple across the cosmos. And here it was, being reflected back to me, very deeply.
Yet, when I did finally walk away, my energy opened back up and I began to experience flow in my reality again, in much bigger ways than I had expected. This is because when we are loyal to ourselves we fall back into alignment with what our higher self knows it needs. When we are loyal to ourselves, we create non-resistance for what brings us life to flow back in. We step back into the flow of life, and of love and being loved. When we are disloyal to ourselves, we put up a wall. We say: “I do not deserve to experience better than this. I need to suffer through this.”
Believe it or not, I used to be way worse about walking away from situations that no longer supported me. I remember staying in an emotionally abusive relationship for five years out of what I had thought was a sense of “loyalty.” I remember multiple jobs which I hated, that I stayed in for months or years beyond what I knew and felt was right. Now, I can almost perceive in the moment if something feels off. This took a lot of practice. But still, sometimes it takes a couple weeks for me to walk away, like this most recent experience.
I guess, what I really want to do here, is pass this permission slip along to you, if you are anything like me. If you are really suffering through something, stop! You can be like these cool old ladies, and walk away, giggling as you go! You don’t have to force yourself to like something that you don’t anymore. You are allowed to have opinions, preferences, tastes. You are allowed to exist in this reality you are creating. Give yourself permission to take up space!
I am not saying to do it all in one fell swoop, like I have done on occasion. I am not even going to tell you to do this without seriously thinking it over. But, what I will tell you is this: every time I have loved myself more deeply, through listening to my true self, and have left behind old thoughts, situations, relationships that no longer supported me, I have been fully supported. The universe cannot help but reflect back to you, what you are putting out there, remember! By choosing you, you are choosing love, and not fear. And by embodying love, you receive all that much more of it.
It does take courage, I know! It does take faith, I know! But from someone who has walked through the fire multiple times, I am here to tell you, I made it to the other side.
I once had a friend say to me: “You are very lucky and protected by the Universe. You have been in some terrible situations and nothing bad came of it. Not all of us have that kind of luck. There is something very special about you.”
Hogwash, I tell you! Complete hogwash! We ALL are protected by the Universe. We ALL are unconditionally loved. But, we DO have to choose it, and we DO have to receive it.
If you want your external reality to be faithful to you, be faithful to yourself. Embody this, in every cell of your being. And watch how your reality shifts. One by one, you can leave the guys you don’t like at the theatre, and become friends with yourself again.
Loyalty, I was reminded again, is an internal state of being.