Have I felt jealousy from another? Have I been jealous of another?
At a recent Universal Medicine event we were asked these questions, and we were given the opportunity to explore the way we have been affected by jealousy and its insidious poison.
I had felt it from others as a child, as a teenager, and throughout my adult life. How do we respond to feeling jealousy? Do we adopt behaviours to protect ourselves from its insidious force, like hiding or fitting in?
A day after this event, my son, who had also attended the event, called me to chat. In the course of our conversation he told me that, as a child, he had felt jealousy from me. I knew he was speaking what was true for him, but I couldn’t feel or see how this looked. I replied that I would take it on board and look deeper.
After our conversation I went for a walk on the beach with my husband. As I stepped onto the beach I felt my body, my feet on the sand, and the rhythm of my pace. I asked within myself how did I do jealousy? I was willing to uncover it no matter how painful it was to feel, and then I continued on my walk, enjoying the beautiful autumn evening, clear and calm after rain.
On the way back along the beach I noticed a beautiful dog racing to catch a ball thrown by its owner. It raced at full stretch with such ease and grace, catching the ball at the precise moment when the ball had reached its highest point. There was such joy and precision and playfulness in the dog with this game.
I thought “Oh to be as joyful as that dog!” And then I instantly saw how I do jealousy. It is a fleeting thought of wanting something (a quality) that someone else (in this case a dog) naturally has.
In the moment of that thought I am diminished and there is no love or appreciation felt towards the dog. Instead there is a careless dismissal of a precious opportunity offered to share in the dog’s glorious play.
What if my thought was simply “What joy the dog is offering to share with me.” Jealousy may not be voiced out loud, there may not be any tantrums or criticism: it can be a fleeting thought that I have allowed in, spoiling a moment. This felt like a powerful realisation.
As a child my son lit up the day, and just like the dog on the beach, he was playful, funny and brilliant at feeling precisely what was going on around him in every moment. When I was feeling sad or lost, he was showing me another way to be, but instead of appreciating and sharing in his lightness of being, I wanted it for myself.
I was sending him a message that I could not enjoy his playful mood because of my own feelings of despair, inadequacy and sadness.
The moment after this awareness on the beach, I looked out across the ocean to the east. The sky was laden with low-lying dark clouds. Beneath them there was a patch of light and two soft pink clouds reflecting the light of the setting sun in the west.
I looked up at the vast sky dome above me. I felt my body expand into the grandness, and I felt complete. It was a magic of God moment reflecting back to me.It seemed to be saying, “Look how those delicate clouds light up the sky. Appreciate the playfulness of the dog, and appreciate what you bring – your delicateness, fragility, tenderness – your qualities are precious too.”
Now I know that there is no better or lesser in the dome of God; that all of us on the planet are equally valued and loved.
It feels glorious to come home to me, to love, knowing that we all have our qualities to bring to the world. What a beautiful way to learn this lesson about jealousy, from a dog that loves to play.
by Bernadette Curtin, Artist, Art tutor, Byron Bay, Australia