Oh, NO! Not the seven iron!

What to Do When Someone Does You Wrong, Part II

Perfect timing! A couple of stellar volunteers crept out of the woods this week to give us a real world example of what to do when someone does you wrong. Let’s bow our heads in sincere thanksgiving to a wandering Tiger who repeatedly lost his way, and publicly sacrificed his honorable reputation to demonstrate how it ultimately ruins your golden game.

While we’re at it, let’s observe a moment of silence for his angry mate, shall we? Her soul certainly could benefit from tightening her grip on a response to wanderlust that’s infinitely more evolutionary than a seven iron.

I won’t recap the nuts and bolts of the Tiger and Elin Woods story or the jokes that erupted in its wake. I won’t even address their insult to our intelligence. Did they really think we’d buy the implausible story that she had to rescue him by breaking the rear window of his SUV when any door—including the undamaged one in the rear—probably would have done the trick?

The real value of this sad little drama is the gift it offers our own lives. It is a story about how to act and react with integrity and character, how to honor ourselves by remembering that we are not Lone Rangers. Whatever we call the eternal spirit that gives us life—“The Traveler,” “The Observer,” “The Divine,” the “I Am,” “Allah,” “God,”—It is always with us, within us.

Wherever we go, the omnipresent God goes with us; whatever we do, the omnipresent God experiences it. When we do anything that we would not want done to us, we fail to honor the Divine within us. We temporarily disturb the order that the Divine has established.

Divine Order seeks balance. The Universe depends upon it. Without it, the very planets would spin out of control. When we create imbalance in our lives, we set the wheels in motion for that imbalance to be automatically corrected and for Divine Order to be reestablished. It happens through the spiritual Law of Attraction or, as some call it, the Law of Reciprocity. Plainly stated: Whatever you do will be done to you.

Avoiding unpleasant or painful situations (and people) requires pure selfishness, but not as traditionally defined. In a reap-what-you-sow world, selfishness is defined as actions that focus driven entirely by what’s in our best interest. Temporary gain is not in our best interest. What best serves our interest is doing whatever we can to assure that the Law of Reciprocity does not deliver unpleasant or painful situations into our experience.

The most selfish thing we can do is to treat others well. Selfish people ask: “How would I want to be treated? Is the action I’m contemplating something that I’d want done to me?” The response is instantaneous, and can be trusted to provide the best guidance. Deciding how to act—and react—doesn’t get any simpler than that.

For example, a selfish Tiger would have asked, “Would I want Elin to sneak around and be intimate with other men while I’m away?” The assorted felines (six, at last count) would have asked, “If I were married, would I want my husband to sneak around and be intimate with other women?” Elin would have asked, “Would I want to be physically accosted if I did something that angered Tiger?” If anyone in this cast of characters was selfish, none of us would even know that there was a fire hydrant near the Woods’ driveway.

We have no control over other people’s actions and are not held accountable for how they treated us, only how we treat them, no matter what they did to us. Consequently, it’s in our selfish best interest to focus our attention solely on our actions and reactions. All we should care about is that when the Great Balancer comes to call, He is swinging Sweetness and Light, not seven irons.

Ever since the late Anglo-Saxon period (c. 900-1100) when the concept of individual penance spread to England from Ireland, humans have believed that it is our job to design and price others’ sins. We must make them pay! A thousand years later, we’re still driving into God’s lane, determined to do a job that God is quite capable of doing.

Just last week, Elin Woods plowed a golf cart-sized hole in her original prenuptial agreement, as penance for Tiger’s infidelity. The prenup reportedly awarded her a lump sum of $20 million if she and Tiger remained married for ten years. Instead, she allegedly demanded that Tiger immediately pay her $20 mil. In exchange, she will remain in the marriage another two years. And she gets an even bigger payday if they later split. As one person commented on the Chicago Sun-Times website:

“Getting paid to stay in a relationship? Where I come from, that’s called “prostitution”. If it’s no longer for love, then it’s not a real marriage, is it? Very sad.”

Yes, this is very sad, but it’s also very instructive. How we respond to situations says more about us than it says about the person we’re judging or punishing.

I’m sure that it was not Elin’s intent to stick a gaudy price tag on her body. But she did, and wherever she goes, people will see her and instantly see it dangling from her golden locks. Another dramatic demonstration that you can’t hurt someone else without hurting yourself. Dignity is priceless–and losing it is something that Elin Woods obviously feels that she can now afford, along with millions of other disposables.

Elin and Tiger are reportedly in intense marriage counseling, with thrice-daily in-home sessions. Frankly, one good chat with Jenny Sanford might have helped Elin respond to infidelity in a more dignified and less karmic manner.

Mrs. Sanford, betrayed wife of South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford, was highly instrumental in building and sustaining her husband’s political career. Despite all that sweat equity and the forfeiture of her own very successful career, she didn’t lunge for her husband’s golf clubs or his bank account after he abandoned her, their four sons, and the entire state of South Carolina to make passionate love to his “soul mate” in Argentina.

First and foremost, Jenny Sanford wanted her errant husband to be a role model for their four sons. By example, she wanted him to teach them what integrity looks like, what being a strong man looks like, and what valuing family looks like.

While Mark Sanford’s behavior was “inexcusable,” she told the New York Daily News, it was not unforgivable:

“Forgiveness opens the door for Mark to begin to work privately, humbly and respectfully toward reconciliation,” she wrote. “However, to achieve true reconciliation will take time, involve repentance, and will not be easy.”

“Mark has stated that his intent and determination is to save our marriage, and to make amends to the people of South Carolina,” she added. “I hope he can make good on those intentions, and for the sake of our boys I leave the door open to it.”

Jenny Sanford is a Thinker. She comprehends that in a reap-and-sow world, we are punished by our sins, not for them. Ultimately, the price we make others pay will cost us in the future—something the soul currently known as Elin Woods will eventually learn.

If she’s really fortunate, she also will learn the difference between power and force. And she will understand, as the powerful Jenny Sanford understands, that when we ask that our trespasses be forgiven in the same way that we forgive those who trespass against us, God and the Law of Attraction/Reciprocity answer our prayer with exact precision.