Saturday, August 27, 2011

As you recognize your wholeness and worth, dysfunctional situations will evaporate like bad dreams exposed to the morning sun. - Alan Cohen

Many years ago I learned the power contained in the not so simple act of making amends to others for wrongs I had committed.  I was terrified the first time I stepped forward, looked another human being in the eye, and told them I was so sorry for the pain I had caused them. It wasn’t a pleasant experience to witness (or hear) the repercussions of my acts reflected back to me in their face, tears, voice, and body language.  Yet, somehow, the result of those humble confessions was the carving of a clear path for something mystical to slip in and build a bridge between two human hearts.  Through the years, having experienced this process many times, (I try to catch it early on these days when I hurt someone or am dishonorable) the result of this act has always been the same.  A peace that is indescribable and a conscience that is generally  squeaky clean. 
But, what do you do when someone has caused YOU harm and suffering?   How do you move beyond the episodic pain of the mistreatment, unconsciously revisited in your dreams, quiet times, or triggered by everyday events?  The wise ones tell us forgiveness is the answer.... our only escape.  What if you have forgiven, and still cannot forget?  What then?  This was a puzzle to me.  I had done all of those things, looked for my part in the great drama, prayed for peace and blessings for the other, and let go. Still the “acts” of mistreatment continued to wax and wane; sporadically images of neglect, dishonor, selfishness, and emotional abuse kept rising to the surface.  Granted, others did keep those injustices fueled by often revisiting them with me.  I know that was their loving way   of reminding me should I ever forget just how bad it was.  Its intent was to keep minimization away.... a coping mechanism we humans (ie: me)  seem to use for protection.    But, this kind of “never forget”  therapy also managed to keep the negativity alive. Additionally, it blocked any good memories that arose. And, there were a few hiding out behind the pain.   Worst of all, it kept others at a distance.   Everything I was taught and knew to be the antidote for resentment and anger was not working.  I needed to bring in some big guns to fight this battle, because I couldn’t even understand why the war was still raging within.    
I took things to a higher level and slept with the question under my pillow.  Dear God...  What do I need to do to be free from this self-torture and live in love again? I know it is not Your intention that I should continue rewinding this outdated movie playing in my head. Show me what I need to do.  Night after night the crumpled paper under my pillow produced few results. Months went by. I didn't give up my faith that something, somehow, someday, would be revealed, hopefully soon.  Honestly, I was beginning to see the ugly parts of the past like a passenger in the backseat of a vehicle riding away from the wreckage of a tornado.  It looked distant, but felt unfinished, like there was still a big mess that needed to at least be cleaned up; even if I didn't want to live there anymore. 

 A few weeks ago, I had a dream.  In it, I stood across from and looked directly into the sad, seeking, face of this loving, compassionate, worthwhile, woman.  Her eyes locked mine seeking answers. I told her I was sorry for not listening to her intuitions.  I was sorry for setting all her needs aside. I was sorry for not protecting her from others devaluation and harm. I apologized to her for believing she wasn’t worthy of better.   Most of all I was sorry for treating her time, aspirations and dreams as though they weren’t important. It was about time... Finally...  I made a heartfelt amend.... to myself.  I heard The Voice say to me, “Well, done.  It is almost finished.... Now.... forgive yourself.”
The air is clean and fresh.  There's space now for light to enter and cast a faint glow on the bits that were good-  that which was love. That  illumination is allowing me to now see, all connections are by design and purposeful.  No timeline in our lives, however dysfunctional, is without it’s own particular (sometimes peculiar) blessings. I am also reminded that the law of attraction tells me, I draw into my life, not necessarily what I want, but what I am.  I suppose I can see that now because I am looking at the big picture through the eyes of a strong, healthy woman who recognizes her value. A woman who now knows, you cannot dispense what you don't think you deserve or can give yourself.    

Making my amend, to the appropriate soul (mine), has given me the vision to edit the reel to reel, cutting out the horror flick and creating a human interest story about the only thing which is everlasting, love.  There was some of that there too. 

Touched by An Angel by Maya Angelou
We, unaccustomed to courage
exiles from delight
live coiled in shells of loneliness
until love leaves its high holy temple
and comes into our sight
to liberate us into life.
Love arrives
and in its train come ecstasies
old memories of pleasure
ancient histories of pain.
Yet if we are bold,
love strikes away the chains of fear
from our souls.
We are weaned from our timidity
In the flush of love's light
we dare be brave
And suddenly we see
that love costs all we are
and will ever be.
Yet it is only love
which sets us free.