Letting Go with Guy Finley

We have learned that when it comes to waking up together in our relationships, we are all in training, and that our attempts to be patient and kind with those we love will inevitably go through the natural growing pains of “trial and error.” You could almost say that getting “knocked down” is how we learn to give up parts of us that “lead with their chin!”

Not only are we going to find ourselves set back on our heels when we run into some of the unseen limitations in our partner, but this will happen even more so…when we encounter similar blockages in ourselves. But we can learn to see these unwanted moments for what they have always been in reality: “on the job” training. The more evident becomes this truth – that our relationships are the way love works to “exercise” us – the more we are inwardly strengthened by our discoveries, and gradually empowered to love one another more perfectly.

As just one example, if we know that our partner is “in training,” then we are a lot less likely to blame them for falling down on the job of caring for us. So not only are we able to forgive our partner for failing to meet our expectations, but at the same time, we’re also empowered to forgive ourselves whenever we see ourselves come up short, having missed some intended mark.

Such moments – of realizing that neither we, nor our partner are as we’ve imagined ourselves to be – are shocking, at best. But let’s be perfectly clear: love can no more be discouraged by what it serves to reveal in us…than can the sun be shamed into not shining!

This last idea can’t be stated strongly enough: when it comes to our wish – and work – to learn how to love unconditionally, all forms of discouragement are a lie; they are a misbegotten creation of an unconscious level of self whose intent – as expressed by the disheartened way it wants us to feel – is to make us believe that meeting these limitations in ourselves is the same as the end of love’s possibilities. Use the following example to prove to yourself why this, and any such form of discouragement is utter nonsense!

Can you remember the first time you ever tried to run a mile, or to work out with a set of weights heavier than what you may have used before? Let me refresh your memory, as needed.

The moment you pressed your body to go beyond its present level of conditioning, it started “screaming” at you; a “sound” we all know in one way or another: lungs gasping for air, heart pounding out of our chest, weary arms aching with fatigue. But why would we deliberately take our body up to and through such a threshold, especially one that brings this kind of suffering, as it always seems to do?

It’s by design: we understand there’s only one way to make ourselves physically stronger: we must pay the “price” for each new level of endurance and strength that we would make our own. That’s the whole purpose of working to train our body: to rise above whatever its present limitation, in order to realize the next higher level of our potential at that point in time. And then, to do it all over again, should that be our wish.

And so it is …when it comes to the “exercise” of waking up together.

Nothing in the universe can stop us from letting go and loving our partner unconditionally, because the higher love we seek has “gone before us” to prepare the way. But what love has prepared for us doesn’t mean that we don’t have to prepare to receive its power to perfect us, and our relationships.

We have work to do.

And right now is always the right time to get started.

Clearly, some experiences are far more impactful than others. The truth is that most moments in our life simply flow right by us, unnoticed; almost as if we’re sitting by a great river, and only made aware of its seamless waters when something being carried along by them catches our eye.

The following short story recounts one such experience that did more than catch my eye; it helped change the way I now look at every relationship in my life, including how I see myself. In other words, although this event itself has long disappeared “downstream,” merging its substance into the distant past, to this day its lesson remains a fixture in my perception of friends and family alike, a kind of North Star in the constellation of my consciousness.

As you’ll see, especially if you’ll embrace the power of the timeless principle that it helps illustrate, the loving patience and deep kindness you’ll need to succeed with the interior work of “waking up together” will soon be shining into and through your heart, mind, and soul. Here’s the true story.

It all started very innocently: I had run out to the local market to pick up just a quick handful of items; my decision that I didn’t need a cart turned out to be a mistake, so that my hands and arms were full as I approached the area where one pays for their groceries. But as I drew closer to the front area of the store where a number of cashiers are ordinarily waiting to check people out, it was evident that whoever was supposed to be managing customer service …must have momentarily checked out himself! There were only three cashiers with what looked like over twenty people divided into three long checkout lines…and most with carts chock-full of groceries.

So, I did what I imagine most of us do in situations like that: as I walked forward, I took an instant survey of the length of each of the three lines, estimating the number of items in the carts of those shoppers standing there, and then walked straight to the line that I felt sure would get me out of the store with the least amount of waiting time. Oh boy, was I wrong!

All too soon it became evident that out of the three lines I could have picked, my choice proved itself the slowest of all. And, sure enough, it wasn’t too long before everyone else in line with me noticed this as well. That’s when it started.

Two carts ahead of me, a middle-aged man began to grumble under his breath; the words were unintelligible, but the meaning was clear. He wasn’t happy with the speed at which the shoppers ahead of him were being checked out and bagged. Apparently, his negativity was contagious.

A moment later, the lady directly behind him – and just in front of me voiced, out loud, what I imagine most everyone in that line – including me, at the moment – was feeling:

“Come on!” she said. “What gives here…I mean really? Could this line go any slower than it is?” And then, as often happens with any mob behavior, the negativity of one person seems to give a license to everyone else, and another person in line chimed in:

“I know; can you believe it…I will never shop at this store again!”

As I stood there, feeling this current of negative energy coursing through several of the people in line, something made me turn my attention to the cashier. She was showing the strain of standing there – likely for several hours now – having to silently suffer the brunt of the dark remarks being cast upon her skill as a cashier.

The interesting thing is that the crowd’s evident displeasure with her did not help her to speed up the work she was doing; instead it did just the opposite. As her stress mounted, so did the number of mistakes she made, requiring her to call for a supervisor to clear the cash register. You can just imagine how that went over with the people who already wanted to “stone” her.

At any rate, by the time I reached my turn to check out, I could sense her trembling from head to toe. And even though the store was ice cold, tiny beads of sweat were starting to form on her brow. So, as my turn came, and we stood there face-to-face, it was evident that other than a cursory meeting of our eyes – to acknowledge one another – she had no interest, whatsoever, in looking at me. Who could blame her? No doubt, all she had seen in the eyes of the people checking out ahead of me was some form of hostility toward her. So, as I stood there, I called up the lightest tone I could and, with a little laugh underpinning my voice, I said, “Some days are quite the adventure, aren’t they!”

Almost immediately she lifted her eyes and met mine. Visibly relieved to see that I was friend, and not foe, she took a bit of a deep breath and did her best to smile back at me. I took it as permission to finish the thought behind my opening remark.

“Never mind them,” I said to her, still in that moment of our relationship, “seems everybody is in a bit of a rush these days, and sometimes impatience can get the best of us.”

She was still looking at me, trying to drink in something of the soothing energy I was hoping to convey. “Anyway,” I continued, “I’m not in any real hurry, so take your time.”

Then came the lesson…a special kind “gift” I never could have imagined in a thousand years. My hope here is that by sharing it with you, you might be enriched too…and then go on to share a measure of it with all those you love.

She smiled a real smile at me, and said: “Thank you so much for your patience. I’m doing the best I can, but I’m a new cashier at this store and . . . I’m still in training.”

I laughed, and said: “Well, aren’t we all!”

She got it, instantly, and in that moment of our shared understanding, two complete strangers became new friends. Not only that, but I as I walked out of the store, grocery bag in hand, I uttered a silent thanks to the stars above me. Something remarkable had happened: unlike the unhappy shoppers standing there, regretting their “misfortune” for having to wait in that long line…I left there full of gratitude for the whole experience.

When it comes to loving one another, waking up together, not only are we all still learning its innumerable possibilities – going through with each other what we must in order to become more loving toward one another – but, this kind of higher love has no end to the lessons it has to teach us.

In other words: when it comes to love we are all, and always will be…in training!

This means we are going to make mistakes with how we treat one another; we’re going to come up “short” when it comes time to being forgiving and kind. Falling down “on the job” is part of learning curve it takes to turn our intention to be patient with one another into the new power it takes to do so.

Love has a way of cutting through the dross of our human nature. But when – misunderstanding the action of love – we try to coerce someone into being what we want, those efforts that we think are going to fix them actually “dull” us. We couldn’t possibly be further away from love than in the moment we are trying to change another human being.

YouTube Preview Image


We don’t perfect love; but, if we’re willing – if we will choose to practice love in any of the twelve ways we are about to look at – then, in exchange, it will help to perfect the love between our partner and us. In exchange for this special kind of labor that love asks us to undertake, it gives us, at once, two immeasurable gifts in return:

First, comes the gift of being shown the self-limiting parts of us that are keeping us from realizing the unconditional love we wish to share with our partner.

For our willingness to embrace these healing revelations – without resisting their appearance – comes love’s second, and greatest gift, as follows: in that same light by which love shows us where we now love imperfectly, not only do we see the possibility of transcending that limited level of self, but we are also empowered – in that same moment – to give it up…if we so choose. And choose is the operative word here.

Higher love, the kind of unconditional patience and tenderness that heals old wounds, that helps us to be compassionate, kind, encouraging, and forbearing of our partner’s limitations, is a choice we must make not just every day, but in every moment with everyone we know. It’s a practice we must choose or we will lose its priceless gift.

Following are twelve important lessons that may seem to be quite different, but through all of them runs a single golden thread: Each one is a secret invitation to practice love. All of them suggest a completely new way to look at unwanted moments with your partner by laying down “your side” of that problem long enough to see not just the “other” side, but that no one side of any suffering between you tells the whole story.

Taken all together they point to the possibility that we are all on an endless journey, being perfectly guided by love to realize a perfect partnership…not just with the one we love, but with Love itself that wants only to perfect us.

1. The real problem we have with others is what we don’t yet see and understand about ourselves.

2. Our relationships help reveal what’s concealed in us that needs to be healed.

3. If our wish is to discover a new and higher kind of love – the only one that can empower us to transcend our differences with our partner –then we must begin to see our old excuses for finding fault with him or her as…faulty!

4. Seeing ourselves as we are allows us to see what our partner is looking at, at the same time!

5. It’s not by ignoring the differences between our partner and us that we get past how they “rub” us wrong; but rather by learning to use them – as does the jeweler his polishing wheel – to help perfect both of us, not only as lovers and friends, but also as individuals.

6. When it comes to being partners with the one we love…any time we fight, each of us is responsible for whatever may be happening to both of us.

7. Opposing forces are powerless to change their own patterns; they can only repeat themselves.

8. Despite any appearance to the contrary, it’s not our partner, nor is it we who strike the first blow in any dispute: It’s pain that picks the fight.

9. The pain in any moment of conflict is neither just our own, nor is it just our partner’s; it exists as it does because – one way or another – we’re (in it) together; which means…that pain is ours.

10. We are in each other’s life to help each other learn how to love one another…perfectly.

11. Our negative reactions have no awareness of themselves at all, which means that not only are they blind, but they are also incapable of loving anything.

12. If we will do our part, love will do the rest…but we must choose to put it to the test. With love, all things are possible.