Almost everyone has a bully. It may be an employer, a spouse, child, sibling or parent, anyone who pushes you to do more and work harder, who yells or gripes, filling your day with grief. I have had one my whole life. When I was young it was my sister, who, tough girl that she was (a Navy jet pilot, in fact), once put her fist through a wall in an attempt to punch my face. She’s no longer alive, but in recent years that same bullying vibration has come to me in the form of a neighbor.

This woman has battled everyone in the neighborhood. Her most intense warfare, though, has surrounded a well she and I share with two other families. She refuses to pay her well bills, has shut off other members’ water, and once even tried to steal the well by reissuing it in her name. She threatens lawsuits constantly. Shortly after I moved here, her belligerence would defeat me to a point where I could barely get out of bed on mornings when I knew I had to deal with her.

But in the past year, her power over me has dwindled. Best of all, I am grateful to my neighbor for helping me realize that all experience is Divine love. Here’s how this monumental transformation took place:

I adjusted my attitude.

Whenever the bully appeared in my life, I would immediately call on the Divine to help me not engage with her, to be patient and non-reactive. As soon as I could, I would step away and do a spiritual exercise in order to rise above the situation. My exercise consists mainly of reading uplifting material in order to shift my attitude into a higher state. But I also find that taking a walk in nature works well. Over the years, whenever I received an email from my neighbor or from her attorney and felt upset, I stopped and adjusted my attitude. Often, after a walk, I would get a glimpse of how the experience is a Divine teaching.

During the course of this experience I saw the beauty of the metaphor in it. It is a fight over a well—over the source—and I saw that the source of all is within me already. I need not fight for it, since it is here, now. All of creation is love, including her hostile energy. Everything—everyone—is part of this great Ocean of Love and Mercy. Nothing here can harm me or kill me, since I am eternal.

I became grateful for the bully.

The bully vibration is karma—it is here to show us our weak areas, the things that pull our attention away from our Divine walk. Once I understood this viewpoint, everything changed, the karma loosened and that was the beginning of the end for this shadowistic vibration.

My neighbor has given greatly to me. I used to be afraid to hire an attorney because of the cost. But our neighborhood association has done just that in order to answer her attorney, and today I’m no poorer. She has come at me with anger, and I have learned over time to not engage or run from that vibration, but instead to stand steady before it, knowing that I am safe. My neighbor will always be the way she is. It is her nature. I do not have to try to change her. I can let her be who she is and go on with my life.

Most of all, she has helped me detach from the house I live in. When this great teaching with her began, I relied on my home to feel safe and secure. Through her help I have detached from my home and learned to find safety in my own Divine self.

I saw the bully as myself.

Most importantly, I began to see that the bully vibration is part of me. My neighbor reflects a lower, fearful version of myself. That part is belligerent, pushy and, at the same time, a victim—with all that cruel energy usually directed toward myself. I used to wake every day to its fearful voice in my head, as it urged me to work harder and push more, so that I could feel safe. But through time, whenever the bully voice has come up in me, I have released it to the Divine and concentrated on the great love available in any moment.

The kinder I am to myself, every day, the less footing the bully has in my life. Today that voice in me is rare, and oddly, while I used to encounter my neighbor often as I set out for walks or as she sent fierce emails to me, now I rarely meet up with her. As that cruel voice has diminished in me, so it has in my outer world. In the past, I have had bullies disappear completely from my life, as soon as I saw their value and disengaged from them. In fact, six months after I accomplished this with my sister, when we were in our mid-twenties, she died. It was very sad, but in the long run, profoundly empowering.

Our neighborhood association is taking our bully to court in order to collect on her unpaid bills. When we made the decision, that old weight came over me once again. I took a walk and chanted my mantra, continually releasing the situation to the Divine rather than letting my mind scramble with fear. After about 30 minutes, I was again free of the weight, and now I am ready to stand up in court.

I know that I need not run, engage, or try to block out any vibration, because all is the Divine’s love—whether it be sour or sweet, angry or kind. All I need to do is call on the Divine and stand tall within it, knowing that nothing can harm me. I am immortal, as I swim in the great Ocean of Love that is helping me discover my own true Divinity. All is One.

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