QUESTION: I started my spiritual journey because of the biggest trauma in my life (my wife left and betrayed me with a work colleague). It took me four years to get over it, and I am fortunate that I had the time to look into my stuff and do some cleaning. Abdi, how can I best help someone to benefit from what I have learned through all my pain? My partner has an interest in developing her spiritual nature, but she considers herself a procrastinator, so when it comes to the actual work she loses momentum quickly. She is looking for the quick fix. How can I best help her out of this problem?

ANSWER: We can not benefit/help/control anyone, unless they are seeking help. As painful as it is to watch a loved one suffer, attempting to “help” them is the surest way to get in the way of intimacy. We have to deal with our own pain and terror around helplessness. That is where the work is, not in trying to circumvent the journey of someone else. You say yourself, how the brutality of the betrayal of your marriage forced you to look within. Why not have the same hope for your partner? Getting in the business of healer/teacher/parent with our partner will never have a happy present or ending. The function of relationship is to foster vulnerability. What you are attempting is 180 degrees opposite that, even though it looks noble on the outside. Keep the focus on yourself and take responsibility for your reactions in the relationship. That is plenty of work right there. Keep your nose free of your partner’s business.