Saturday, September 7, 2013

Forgiveness Part One - Let it begin with me.

I’ve spent the past 26 years on a Forgiveness mission.  I’ve gotten pretty good at it too. I’m not saying I’m an expert because sometimes it takes me a long time to realize I need to put forth the effort, AND do the work. I don’t fool myself anymore into thinking it’s not work. It’s hard work; sometimes more difficult than others, it just depends on the impact of the damage done and how I perceive it affects my life.  A belief I’ve acquired which takes some of the sting out of   wrongs committed, is the understanding that life is a school and sometimes the best lessons are learned through those Forgiveness opportunities. 

 Honestly though, every now and then I think I rather like splashing in the mud puddle of thoughts of creative revenge, karma, and little self-pity... for awhile.  I figure I must get some payoff from it.  Or maybe it’s just part of the way I learn my lessons...  rehashing and searing into my brain cells, why I don’t want to go there again. On that path, with that particular person or institution.  After awhile, I am alerted to the suffocating fog of poisonous anger overtaking my life and I miss the way the light feels on my skin and in my heart.  Blindly groping my way out of it,  sometimes I feel hopelessly lost and forget how to even begin to forgive.   Many times I’ve had to ask God to help me with it because I just can’t get there on my own.  My pitiful, yet heartfelt prayer would go something like this.  “God, please show me what you see in this person/situation, because I don’t always see things like you do and I am not seeing anything redeeming in this individual right now.  I would rather get out my voodoo doll and use up an inventory of sewing pins.”  It’s honest and I believe my communication with my Creator needs to be that, even if it's raw and real.  I am still human and need Him to transform the impure to a purer vision.   We may hide who we are from others, but, there are no secrets from Him... He knows my heart.  That plea occasionally got repeated for a long time before freedom set in. I’ve just learned through the years, how incredibly important Forgiveness is to any kind of fulfilling life.   Bryant McGill professes, “There is no Love without Forgiveness and there is no Forgiveness without Love.” I want Love to be at the center of my life. 

Forgiveness, for me, is the golden key.  I can't afford the luxury of resentments and any unfinished Forgiveness business just blocks the gifts of the spirit I have come to treasure.  Years ago, before I learned the power of Forgiveness, I adorned myself with resentments and masked the pain of their weight with a few addictions, for a time... Especially the ones that broke my hurt into a million pieces, or threatened the basic needs in life of safety, food, shelter.... healthcare. But, I did learn about personal choices, and I don’t do that anymore.  Once you enter the kingdom of heaven on earth, it’s hard to go back and live in a self-imposed hell. The sooner I got rid of that negativity, the better.  

I thought I had the Forgiveness skill mastered.  Furthermore, there was nothing currently swimming around out there waiting to sink its gigantic teeth in and suck the life out of my joy. 

A few weeks ago, I took part in a 21 day meditation challenge designed to transform relationships.  I’m not a newbie to meditation; Guided, Mindfulness, and Kundalini, even dabbling in a little Transcendental in my younger years. Way back then, any excuse to leave my body was a way of life and welcome!   Each day during this challenge I anticipated the day’s meditation and lesson plan- sailed right through each one, and savored the peace it brought.  Then, along came Day 14 or so.  The topic....Forgiveness.  I thought rather cockily... “I got this down.”  In the midst of the meditation, I felt unwarranted tears streaming down my cheeks, and saw my own face within, sad, and pinched. It shocked me. What was up with this?  Then came the journal writing part. The first question, I wrote:

I have forgiven many people through the years.  My parents, husbands, employers, friends, institutions, family members, even God.   I know how important it is to not only my serenity, but also my health and well-being. I am confused why the meditation impacted me so profoundly with tears, sadness, and sense of unfinished business. I think my slate is clean.   

Well, well, well.... Apparently not.  My body and reaction was telling me otherwise.

The next question in the journal led with this thought provoker.  “If the person you need to forgive is YOURSELF, consider writing yourself a letter from the perspective of your true (Higher)  Self, offering compassion and Forgiveness.  Holy cow!  Forgive myself?   I knew how to Forgive others, but me? I sat cross-legged on my mat and again, the tears flowed. Had I hung onto that voodoo doll and been using the pins on me?  I pulled out a notebook and pen and wrote with abandon, feeling disembodied from my thoughts and hand.   I wrote this list:

  1. I need to forgive myself for speaking and judging myself so harshly. 
  2. I need to forgive myself for having unattainable expectations, ones I would never ask of someone else.  
  3. I need to forgive myself for allowing others to treat me with unwarranted disrespect and going back for more. 
  4. I need to forgive myself for the incredibly poor choices that have peppered my life from time to time.  
  5. I need to forgive myself for failing to speak up for what I believe in.  
  6. I need to forgive myself for thinking that perfection was an attainable and an admirable goal.   
  7. I need to forgive myself for forgetting where I came from, and what my task is while I am alive.
  8. I need to forgive myself for treating the grandmother of three of the most beautiful little spirits on the planet, with such loathing and disregard.  
  9. I need to forgive myself for believing my needs and desires weren’t as important as everyone elses.
  10. I need to forgive myself for not forgiving myself.... 

Part Two, over the weekend---  Write a letter from my True Self, the Holy DNA I came into this world with, accessible at anytime.  The One who sees all as it truly is, doesn’t judge,  loves unconditionally. The Teacher.  The Lover. The Father/Mother, The Source of All.  

God, I ask for wisdom to write my letter IN YOUR WORDS extending Your compassion and understanding, and ultimately Forgiveness....for myself.  The same Forgiveness I know I must extend to others, I now recognize I need to give me.