What's Wrong With Being Angry?
Attunement is not the problem, nor is it a myth. It is an incredible thing, as invaluable between parents and children as it is in adult intimate relationships. But an overreliance on attunement leads to disappointment and depression and division. Attunement should not have to be constant. Disruption, failure, and disagreement are healthy and normal. Learning to transition between connection and separateness without losing faith is a great challenge. In meditation, which has been essential in helping me be more accepting of the entire range of my emotional responses, I have learned to keep bringing the mind back to the central object—the breath, a prayer or a visualization—when I get distracted. But it is considered a sign of maturity in meditation when the distractions are no longer viewed as problems but can instead become objects of meditative interest in themselves. In a similar way, in intimate relationships, it is easy to view rupture as a problem to be eliminated, to see attunement as the only thing that matters: the central object, as it were. To shift one's perspective so that failures become part of the process, so that survival of destruction becomes something to celebrate, is as incredible, in its own way, as attunement. Marriage, like child rearing, is a tricky thing. You can be sailing along, satisfied that all is well, only to trip and fall when washing lettuce for the salad. Attunement is capricious; the insistence on 100 percent understanding leads only to resentment of one's partner. Marriages, like mothers, can be "good enough" while still being miracles worthy of celebration.