right relations

by eringoodman on August 20, 2009

in living + learning

There are several ideologies that have helped to guide me over the course of my lifetime.


As a child my beliefs were shaped by the teachings of Jesus and the Ten Commandments. As a young adult, I left the church of my youth and found solace in the teachings of Yoga and the Yamas and Niyamas and in the Eightfold Path of Buddhism. When John and I married and began to make plans for our family, we found a spiritual home in a Unitarian Universalist community, with its open doors and Guiding Principles that resonated deeply in our hearts.


But the greatest influence on what I believe about myself and about humanity comes from the guidance I received from my loving and supportive parents who, despite their sadness and pain over my decision to leave the church they call home, have supported me in my many spiritual explorations.


It is thanks in large part to my parents and their unconditional love for my sister and me – a love that I challenged mightily in my early teen years and again in my early adulthood years – that I am comfortable sifting through all the many paths that are available in this world and choosing, based on what I feel in my heart, what works for me.


One powerful personal guidance principle that I follow, influenced by all that I have listed above, is that of being in right relations. This is something I’ve never stopped to define, just sort of felt, but for me it is about being in alignment with and feeling good about Self and relationships with others.


When I am feeling “off” and uncomfortable, once I’ve addressed physical causes like hunger or fatigue, my discomfort is often due to being out of alignment or not in right relations with someone close to me.


Sometimes it’s a lack of attention to the relationship and a feeling of distance or disconnection. Sometimes it’s something that one of us has done or said.


As I shared here last week, I recently entered into a place of being far from right relations with someone I have considered a close friend for several years.


I met with my friend this past weekend.


I have decided not to share any details about our meeting, which for me was a powerful and sacred experience, other than to say that we talked and listened and cried and hugged and at times even laughed, ever so tentatively.


What my friend did was wrong and he really hurt me. Neither of us are “over” what happened. We are not sweeping it under the rug and pretending it didn’t happen. We still have much work to do individually and collectively.


But we have taken a big step towards returning to right relations. And I am very grateful.


My beautiful friend, Jen Lashua, of Love & Tea Co., shared this photo and these words with me last week and, with her permission, I share them with you.



I can’t stop thinking of how amazing the lotus flower is…

growing out of the dark mirky thick mud,

emerges an amazing creation of nature 
with all her beauty…

*** *** *** ***


 Namaste friends and happy weekend to you! 


(And Happy 39th Anniversary Mom & Dad! I love you both very much!)




{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

kate August 21, 2009 at 8:41 am

Oh Erin, you are so wise. I love how you recognize your spirituality as a journey full of many places, spaces, and people. It takes an incredible amount of courage and humility to face, head on, friends who have been extremely hurtful. To do the work of mending your heart and thoughts, it was a huge step to take…thanks for sharing such vulnerability and, more than that, grace, with us.


rae August 21, 2009 at 8:45 am


I am having a giveaway and would love to have you contribute a note about your summer.




Denise August 21, 2009 at 9:05 am

I could not agree anymore. I am very much a person who does not like conflict. And, I can easily sense it between people especially if it is between me and another person. I could not easily “sweep” your situation under a rug either. Time will heal that wound. xoxo


Zanna August 21, 2009 at 4:51 pm

I saw your bravery in confronting and meeting with the friend who hurt you. I see it even more in your decision to heal the relationship rather than just discard it. How wise of you to see that effort is worthwhile for the good of your spirit.


Kimberly August 21, 2009 at 6:27 pm

Wow, it’s really great to feel like you’ve reached a point where you can at least sit down with someone who hurt you and speak honestly with them. It’s true that it doesn’t make it not hurt, but it does open the heart up and prepare the way for forgiveness.

Bless those who hurt you.

It’s a great gift to be able to speak of someone who has injured us with blessing, and to know that the way has been cleared.

Very happy for you that you have found the doorway to entering into peace about this.


genny August 21, 2009 at 6:59 pm

Good for you Erin. You are a good teacher.



Jenny August 21, 2009 at 7:04 pm

gosh you put things in words so beautifully and eloquently. What a great story. I could just sit around a fireside on my belly, head cupped in hands listening to you tell story’s. ;)


Kelli August 24, 2009 at 9:12 pm

Yes… and that is letting go in the best way. Not forgetting, but turning it over. What a lesson for us all. The the previous commenter is right. It was a brave thing to do. It’s so much easier to hold a grudge, but so unhealthy for our body and soul.


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