The Vase

Contributed by Paulo Peixoto—Translated by Gustavo Monteiro—Pathwork Online (Portuguese)

Look at the broken vase as if it were already whole (again)

Joan and Agamemnon had a complicated relationship. Agamemnon was a dedicated, zealous man, with great capacity for giving, but very controlling. He really wished that everybody was very happy, but—with a narrow view of reality—he always thought he knew what was the right way to go, the only way to happiness. When he saw a person going in another direction, he lamented and prayed, asking God for her to see the truth. But when that person was Joan, everything became more difficult, especially when what was at stake was the education of the couple’s daughter: Larissa.

For Agamemnon, Joan was very permissive, allowing Larissa to do whatever she wanted, not teaching her the right way to go.

Joan acknowledged having made many mistakes in her way of educating Larissa, and told Agamemnon that if it were possible to go back in time, she would act quite differently in many ways. And she said this with great sincerity. But she did not agree with what Agamemnon understood to be the best way to educate their daughter. Also, she resented that Agamemnon recurrently blamed her for the rebelliousness of Larissa, which were not few. There was a time when, having heard Joan’s complaint that she could not stand anymore to be blamed for Larissa’s behavior, Agamemnon said, with great certainty: “How can I be guilty if it’s your fault?” It was devastating.

Having more maturity than Agamemnon, Joan realized at a certain point that she was not Agamemnon’s victim, and that if she was going through that, it was because somehow the three of them had built such a situation for themselves, and were there to grow with it. She also recognized that, in many respects, Agamemnon was more developed than her, as in his real capacity for donation—although he usually wanted things his way. There was not a time when you needed Agamemnon that he was not there, willing to help, while Joan was often silent. Yet Joan occasionally protruded into the future, imagining a time when Agamemnon would acknowledge having misjudged her and would apologize. And she drew negative pleasure from such a situation.

But there was a time when Joan’s experience was quite different. Falling into deep sleep, Joan found herself facing Agamemnon. He was immensely sorry, and apologized to her from the heart. Contrary to her expectations, Joan did not draw pleasure from the situation; She felt, in fact, deep compassion. She looked deeply into Agamemnon’s eyes and said, with a mixture of strength and softness, “it’s all right; it’s all right.” The type of communication that took place between them at that time goes far beyond what words can describe.

Upon waking, Joan realized: it was all right at that moment; There was no need to wait for a future, perhaps distant, in which Agamemnon proved sorry. If Joan would forgive him in that future, she could already forgive him now—and so she did. Joan acknowledged that she lacked her own forgiveness for the many mistakes she had made with Agamemnon—errors that she used to hide in a corner of her memory.

And so she took off a stain from her heart, and a burden from her shoulders.

It is true that the resentment returned a few times, and Joan realized that you cannot completely change an emotional state instantly; but the resentment returned with an ever diminishing intensity. Joan was, little by little, releasing Agamemnon from all guilt—a state of freedom that she wanted for herself, thus taking responsibility for her own life, and realizing that Agamemnon was not her antagonist, but, just as herself, a human being on his journey back home.

June 2016

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