I have to say

    The Four Agreements

by Don Miguel Ruiz have much of value for me on my spiritual path. I particularly find benefit in the admonition: Don’t take anything personally. Taking things personally has been a huge issue for me.

Case in point: The Chairs

I imagine if my brother or my sister or my Mom were to read these words (The chairs) they would react as I do now, with a sensation of “uh oh” in the pit of my stomach.

What ever possessed any of us three toddlers to try poking a kitchen fork into the vinyl cushions of the kitchen chairs, I cannot recall or even guess. Memory has been blurred by the upset that followed.

I have always maintained my innocence. I didn’t do it. My sis was so little she can’t remember any of it.

We all three got laid bare-ass on the bed and spanked with a leather belt in turn. The wailing was intense. Pop said he wasn’t stopping until someone admitted guilt.

No one admitted guilt.

I was welts from ankles to waist and the blows kept coming, new on top of old.

I begged him to admit it. He said nothing.

It was bad. We had to stay home from school next day, the welts couldn’t all be hidden.

It felt like I was on fire. Meanwhile my father hit us and hit us and hit us.

Finally I said, “Okay okay! I didn’t do it but I’ll admit it if you’ll stop!”

Whew! And just that quickly it was over.

My brother never admitted he did it. Everybody assumes it was me.

Seriously, we’re in our sixties and he’s still letting me take the blame. The Chairs! Ugh.

Was it personal to me? No. He was just protecting himself. But I wonder about the adult.

We grew up and I became rigorously honest; and my bro? He became a liar. Famously so.

And, I took it personally. ‘You shit, I thought, you let us get beaten almost bloody so you could “pretend” you were innocent!” Some big brother!

None of which was really about me. It was all “by, for and about” him.

He never set out to hurt me.

Through experience I have determined resentment has a bitter after taste.

I think I’ll pass.

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