Apples and Trees

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Apples and Trees
Gericke Potgieter
Gryphontech
Introduction
The battle was raging for 21 years before the enemy died at my hands. For the first decade I was in captivity, closely watched by those cold eyes. My prison was a cold place, dry and dusty. At times I couldn't breath – it felt like the walls were closing in on me. And I was alone. For many years I sat in this cell, all alone, nothing to hope for, nothing to fight for. But then I caught a glimpse of something beautiful, something mysterious. It shone like a star through a crack in the roof. I started fighting – at first I fought my way out of the prison, this alone took me seven years. And then I fought for my very existence until I learnt the ultimate battle tactic – it was a glorious weapon that delivered me from the evil that haunted me for so long. My battle was against the fear of being alone. A fear that started as an event at the age of 5 and became so ingrained in my being that I accepted it as a fact. At the age of 16 I saw a glimpse of true love and ventured out as a warrior – at first weak and unreliable. But this hope of something so pure and beautiful made me stronger. At the age of 22 I gave my prison a name and destroyed it. Since then I fought the enemy in its every form. I eventually found what I fought for since that first day – I found true love, but only when I uncovered the ageless weapon that opened my eyes – the Power of Truth. The battle for my heart was won. I turned 27 that same year. And then I started to live. This is the third article in the series about relationship. Today we will talk about the purpose of relationships. We already know the parts of relationship and what a relationship does. Today we will look at how a relationship achieves its purpose, and specifically at the influence our parents had in this process: The purpose of relationship is maturity. Maturity is to have control in our choices and balance in our circumstance.

Not like cheese
We often make the mistake to assume that older people are more mature. Although this is sometimes the case, I have had the privilege of meeting teenagers that are more mature than many of the older people I work with. Maturity in people is an odd thing – we often grow to maturity in certain respects whilst remaining immature in others. As the seventh child of eight (yes, this is not a typo) I quickly learnt that the way to survive is to distinguish myself and establish my unique strength. My older brother was the strong one. I got to be the “clever” one. Throughout the years this belief about myself made me into a philosopher and a critic. But I remained caught in this fear of being alone and being weak. Immaturity is always characterized by need and fear. This is quite the opposite of control and balance. I believed that I needed to come across as “intelligent” because I feared being weak. This is no way to be strong, in fact at times it was very hurtful to people I care for. It was only when I admitted that life is much simpler than it seems that I regained control of my choices and balance in my circumstance (the things I can't control). I learnt how to make a choice based on the truth and a the same time I learnt that life is mostly like surfing – we can't fight the waves and the tides, we just need to keep our balance on the board in order to make the best of it.

The child and the lover
Strength is discipline: controlling power with purpose – it is acting with conviction and learning with passion. Beauty is balance: a relaxed knowledge that we are truly valuable to someone else, that we inspire joy (as valuable experiences) in spite of circumstance. Children tend to grow up to love like their parents did (or do). We emulate our parents in their relationship because that is what we are programmed to do. Our fathers teach us how to give our strength whilst our mothers teach us how to give our beauty. What did your parents teach you about love? Sometimes it is a horrific story of guilt and shame that leave us as adults scarred with fear and need. A few times it is a good story that enables us to deal well with our fears and needs. It is quite interesting to see how each of my father's sons differ from each other as my father changed throughout his own life. My older brother learnt strength from a father that couldn't express emotions in words, but rather served
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4 November 2005

© 2005 Gericke Potgieter

Apples and Trees

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without complaint. I learnt strength from a father that shared knowledge and wisdom (he was busy with his PhD at the time). My younger brother learnt strength as patience and hugs – still no words, but this was the time my dad realized his own need for love and support. Beauty is another story – my older brother often hides his beauty, I constantly fight to validate mine and my younger brother sometimes doubts his own. In as much we are a reflection of our parents' relationship. This is happily not where it ends – our fight just begins when we realize this influence and start finding our way towards the truth.

Conclusion
In practice this means that we need to look for that very first picture, that very first event that taught us the lie. When was the first time you learnt that you were not beautiful? Who told you that you are weak? Find that picture and look at it in your mind. Now, use the Power of Truth and Paul's Principle to pull out the roots – does this picture give you freedom? Does it give you peace and joy? Is it useful and constructive? Probably not. Close your eyes, look at the picture or hear the words as clearly as possible – lift your hand and point your finger to the lie and say out loud: “You are a lie and I have no more place in my life for you. I take control of my decisions now, I regain my balance – you are dead!” Then see how the picture turns from lushes colour to a faded gray, growing smaller and smaller until it disappears completely. Let the words drift away on the wind until it becomes complete and total silence. Think of strength and beauty, create a picture of a strong and beautiful you. See this picture grow in full colour and surround sound. See how it grows bigger and more colourful until it surrounds and settles in you. This is your new picture, the strong and beautiful person you always have been. You are now free by the Power of Truth. If the old picture or any of its seedlings crop up, smile and know that it died this day and that the truth rules your heart.

What we give, what we get
Relationships are about giving and receiving. As men we give strength to compliment the strength of those we love. As women we give our beauty in order to compliment the beauty in those we love. If we give strength and beauty, then it follows that this is what we should be receiving. The fact of the matter is however that we get distortions of strength and beauty. Fears and needs distort our perception of what we are giving and receiving. In this lies the true challenge in relationships; this is the crux of maturity. In order to give and have strength and beauty, we need to dispel our needs and fears. Learning how to do this is what enables us to become mature.

Perfect love
We all have a picture in our mind, or maybe a sentence that keeps repeating in our heads. This picture reminds us of our weakness and our fallibility. It reminds us of how ugly we really are and how worthless. These pictures are like weeds. Every time we think about them we water this picture, this lie we believe. The picture grows into colourful flowers and bears fruits as our actions. These actions can only be like the picture – it will always confirm that the weed is alive because the results of a weed can only be more of the same. So we think “See? It must be the truth!”. All it really tells us is that the weed exists, and not that its fruits (our actions and responses) are the truth. The solution is simple, but probably the most difficult thing we are ever to do. This is the core of maturity, the engine that allows us to grow: kill the weed by ripping out the roots and leaving it to die. Perfect love is love that is growing, with all the weeds we believe, how can it do so? This article was difficult to write because of its personal nature. I know that every one of you sometimes still fight with these lies as much as I do. Some of you might still be prisoners of the lies that bind you. It mostly takes daily practice to get rid of the “weeds” and we can never do it alone. If you believe it is time to get rid of these things, contact me and we'll talk it through. If you know somebody that might benefit from this article, feel free to forward it to them. Email: gericke@gryphontech.co.za Web: http://www.gryphontech.co.za/

4 November 2005

© 2005 Gericke Potgieter

http://www.gryphontech.co.za/