Tuesday, June 30, 2020

June 30--End the Resistance

Forgiveness is the act of admitting we are like other people.  --Christina Baldwin

     In case there is still any lingering resistance to forgiveness in your life, after the full month of June on this topic, I am closing the month with this quote by Bill Harris, founder of Centerpointe Research Institute:
... whenever there is suffering or discomfort, there is resistance. There are no exceptions to this rule. All suffering, all discomfort, regardless of the appearance, is the result of resistance to something. Being addicted or attached to things being other than they are is a losing strategy. You will find that when your needs and attachments are changed to preferences, you can let go of your need for control over the uncontrollable. Then, when what is is not what you want it to be, you do not suffer over it. External events and other people do not control your happiness and peace. You will escape suffering only to the degree you are willing and able to let whatever happens be okay. People who live by rules, shoulds, or have-to’s tend to suffer quite often because no matter how hard these people work to protect their rules and see that others follow them, the rules will sometimes be violated. The more rules you have, and the more inflexible these rules are, the more often they will be violated, and the more often you will create suffering for yourself.
     Let's not suffer. Let's forgive and move on to greater good. July's topic is Mindfulness.
     In Peace,

Monday, June 29, 2020

June 29--Injustice

When you forgive somebody--when you are generous, when you withhold judgment, when you love and when you stand up to injustice--you are, in that moment, bringing heaven to earth.  --Rob Bell

     I like the idea of forgiveness being a way to stand up to injustice. Forgiveness of acts of injustice put one in a place of freedom and clarity to be able to make the injustice stop. Hatred and resentment for acts of injustice, with no forgiveness, keep one in an emotionally-charged negative state from which constructive change is impossible.
     I also like Rob Bell, a lot. He is an extraordinarily wise spiritual teacher, a former Methodist minister. He's incredibly knowledgeable about the Bible and very skilled at bringing its wisdom into modern-day context. He does an excellent podcast. Check him out at https://robbell.com/.
     Living heaven on earth,

Sunday, June 28, 2020

June 28--Free Choice

Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart.  --Corrie Ten Boom

     Hmmm.... "temperature of the heart." What an interesting concept. There could be cold, hard resentment. There could be passionate, red-hot hatred. Acts necessitating forgiveness can inspire all sorts of emotions, and yes, myriad temperatures in the heart.
     Forgiveness is a choice, a deliberate "act of the will." Truly there are no other factors involved other than making the free choice to forgive. It's a decision for freedom. The heart will go along with it, for in its infinite wisdom, the heart wants to be at peace, neither frozen nor inflamed.
     Let's be curious about the "temperature" of our hearts.

Saturday, June 27, 2020

June 27--"Flow Motion"

Charity means pardoning what is unpardonable, or it is no virtue at all. Hope means hoping when things are hopeless, or it is no virtue at all. And faith means believing in the incredible, or it is no virtue at all.  --G. K. Chesterton

     Tested under fire... Do we have charity, hope and faith under the most challenging of circumstances? Or do we "throw in the towel" at the first sign of things not going our way?
     I see many things these days that seem unpardonable and hopeless to me. Fortunately, my faith won't let me linger there for long. I watched a video by Rev. Michael Beckwith the other evening wherein he changed the phrase "living in slow motion" to "living in flow motion." He was referring to living in the divine, orderly flow of life, trusting that the Universe always has our backs. That brings freedom, joy and expansion, which may seem incredible, but I believe faith makes it happen.
     We humans are hard-wired for charity, hope and faith as divine emanations of the Infinite Source. It's our heart-felt, heart-connected, DNA-encoded essence tethering us to that from which we came and to which we return. Our heart virtues are powerful. Let's use them to the max.
     Faith, hope and love, and the greatest of these is love,

Friday, June 26, 2020

June 26--Compassion

It is compassion, the most gracious of virtues, which moves the world.

     I'm enjoying a softer, gentler, kinder energy spreading itself throughout our world. It's happening, ever so slowly. The long-time male-dominated energy is giving way to a more balanced female-male energy, and it can't come soon enough. We are witnessing the patriarchy of old white men dying, kicking and screaming. It's ugly and uncomfortable to witness, but oh, so necessary, for compassion to blossom on planet Earth. It is compassion that moves the world. If it weren't for compassion, we'd have destroyed ourselves by now.
     In gentleness,

Thursday, June 25, 2020

June 25--Happening Now

It is not enough to know that love and forgiveness are possible. We have to find ways to bring them to life.  --Jack Kornfield

     This is happening now, wide-spread, both individually and collectively. Many things--the pandemic, racial injustice, political corruption, to name a few--are combining now to force us to find ways to bring love and forgiveness to life. Love is the answer. Clearly war, money, lies and blame are not the answers.
     There is an old proverb that states, "Pray to God but continue to row toward shore." We can have all the prayers and good intentions we want, but we also have to take action and do our part. None of us, individually, is going to save the whole world. But we can each show a little more kindness throughout our days. That brings love to life.
     Yes, we can,

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

June 24--Bravery

Forgiveness is a virtue of the brave. --Indira Gandhi

     Yes, yes, it is. It takes courage to face the past, accept the circumstances, learn the lessons and then let go.
     One interesting phenomenon I see these days is what appears to be an addiction to drama. I think it can be easier and more pleasing to hang onto the self-righteous drama of past events, the familiar emotional charge and the victim role, rather than to do the internal work to forgive and let go. For many folks, a state of drama is way more familiar and comfortable than a state of serenity.
     Where is your life on the drama-serenity scale? Would it be helpful to move more toward the serenity end? Forgiveness is the key.
     Former drama queen,

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

June 23--Nope!

We should be rigorous in judging ourselves and gracious in judging others. 
--John Wesley

     It's unfortunate that this sentiment comes from the founder of a religion (Methodism). I disagree with the entire statement. Judging ourselves and others has no good purpose. Judgment more often than not leads to criticism, not helpful. If we are rigorous in judging ourselves, that rigor will naturally project onto others--it's the way we humans are wired.
     There are many reasons I have personally given up on organized religion. I am so grateful that I don't need religion to have a great relationship with Spirit.
     Loving my spiritual life,

Monday, June 22, 2020

June 22--Learn and Let Go

We need the courage to learn from our past and not live in it.  --Sharon Salzberg

     One of the Promises from the Alcoholics Anonymous program is "We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it." This, to me, is another way of saying the Salzberg idea. We glean what we can from each experience, appreciate the value of it, but we don't need to drag it around forever. Certainly we remember past events, but they don't need to carry an emotional charge when we recollect them.
     Two great teachers in my life have been my mother and older brother, Ken. Initial ventures into understanding the rather insidious effects they had on me generated lots of tears, anger, rage, and strong dislike. As I continued to learn about myself and their influence, I began to calm down and eventually see them as very broken people, for whom I came to feel much compassion. I don't dwell on the negatives any longer--I recognize the patterns within me and make different choices nowadays. Yes, there was a lot of courage involved in the process. And the reward has been great freedom.
     Becoming baggage-free,

Sunday, June 21, 2020

June 21--Pre-Decisions

If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete.  --Buddha

     The daily quotes I am using are from a book produced by National Geographic, thus each day has a magnificent photo along with the quote. Today's photo is a plate full of scrumptious-looking chocolate chip cookies. The subject of food addiction is near and dear to my heart, so I have to question the idea of self-compassion including a batch of cookies. I believe food addiction is a much bigger problem than anyone realizes, eating being virtually the last acceptable "vice," i.e. everyone eats too much sometime. 
     I see that it is easy for folks to focus on others, give, give, give, but more challenging to apply compassion and loving-care to oneself, that is, receive. It takes willpower to consistently practice self-care. I recently watched a video by Bill Harris, founder of Centerpointe Research Institute, in which he discussed willpower. If in every given situation, we have to use willpower to decide, that willpower gets depleted and we tend eventually to make poor decisions. However, we can make "pre-decisions" about certain situations that we commit to following, and then we don't have to use precious willpower. An example of pre-decision is brushing teeth in the morning and before bedtime. We just do it. We don't have to apply willpower to make it happen. On the other hand, if I agree that I'll eat cookies occasionally, then each time a cookie presents itself to me, I have to use willpower to decide whether or not to eat it. I'm guessing many of us have had, at one time or another, a complete collapse of willpower and, for instance, ate the whole box of Thin Mints.
     Where might you make some helpful and self-compassionate pre-decisions? Here are a few of my examples. I swim Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday. I don't eat liver and onions. I don't keep ice cream in the house. I write every day, part of my spiritual practice. I practice the MELT Method every day. The only willpower these items take is to remind myself of my pre-decision. I don't have to agonize over any of them. If it's Sunday, Monday, Wednesday or Friday, I know I'm swimming. Pre-decisions make life flow more smoothly.
     Conserving my willpower,

P.S. Barn quilt #5 completed.

Saturday, June 20, 2020

June 20--Tipping Point

The practice of forgiveness is our most important contribution to the healing of the world.  --Marianne Williamson

     For healing of our world, we need individuals who are intent on healing themselves and being at peace. Forgiveness is a self-healing practice that results in inner peace. It's something all of us can do. While there are useful techniques to support the forgiveness process, I believe it's more a matter of determination than skill. Who doesn't want to live in a state of serenity?
     The Williamson quote is an important reminder that each of us is contributing to the current state of our world. It's too easy to think of ourselves individually as too "small" to have an effect. I believe there's a tipping point wherein change is inevitable, and that tipping point is advanced by individual human consciousness healing. Note the end of slavery as an example.
     Forgiveness enables us to leave the past behind and envision a brighter world that works for everyone. Let's forgive and move ever closer to the tipping point of world peace.
     Moving forward,

Friday, June 19, 2020

June 19--Choose to Forget

To be wronged is nothing, unless you continue to remember it.  --Confucius

     One way that I use to deal with a situation wherein I've been wronged in some way is to remind myself that the action (or inaction) is about the other person, not about me. I strive to not take it personally, knowing that the action would have happened to whomever was present in the situation, myself or any one else. This often helps me to let it go.
     Another reminder I use is that I don't know what the person who wronged me is going through at the moment. There are myriad difficulties in life, and sometimes we just end up being targets due to simple proximity.
     It takes thought control, a lifelong practice, to divert our attention from a wrong and move on. We give the wrong action power when we continue to remember it. Confucius' quote is another way of saying the common phrase, "forgive and forget."

Thursday, June 18, 2020

June 18--Too High a Price

Hanging on to resentment is letting someone you despise live rent-free in your head. --Ann Landers

     I first heard this sentiment from my older brother, Arlie, years ago when I was discussing a troublesome person whom I could not get out of my mind. He said, "You're letting him live there rent-free." Wow, the "cosmic 2X4." Eviction was fairly instantaneous.
     Do you have time in your life to expend mental energy on past events, regrets, resentments or wishes that things had been different? Think, literally, what you could do by redirecting that energy into the present moment! I can easily get sucked into frustrations over our current federal government representatives, but truly, they are the last folks I want living in my head, especially rent-free!
     Progress, both individually and collectively, can seem mind-numbingly slow at times, but it is unstoppable. Let's keep things moving with regular mental evictions.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

June 17--Hearts are Smart

Those who have the largest hearts have the soundest understandings.
  --William Hazlitt

     Our hearts never steer us wrong. We can ignore our heart wisdom, but why? I believe there is something within us that knows. Social or family pressures can steer us in directions that are not the best for us. Those pressures can be hard to resist. "Should" gets mixed in there. It's a lifelong practice to remain true to one's heart despite external influences.
     Sometimes it takes us a while to figure out what the heart is saying. When pressured to make a decision, I find it helpful to say "I don't feel like I have my inner guidance yet." Another suggestion from the 12-Step programs is to ask one's Higher Power to increase a desire if it's the best course of action, or to decrease it if it is not.
     The more we exercise and use our hearts' wisdom, the stronger we become, both individually and in mass consciousness. I again recommend HeartMath: https://experience.heartmath.com/. This organization offers simple tools to use the "brain" that is the heart.
     Loving my heart,

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

June 16--Ease Up

What I cannot love, I overlook.  --Anais Nin 

     I had this realization the other day. Humans are the only creatures who consistently see themselves--mirrors, photographs, portraits, etc. For instance, even though a dog may see itself in a mirror, it thinks there is another dog. It doesn't recognize itself. Seeing ourselves unfortunately gives us humans a vast opportunity for self-criticism. How about we stop that, simply overlook our supposed imperfections?
     I offer the reminder, especially for myself, of the wise suggestion by spiritual teacher, Edwene Gaines. When we are tempted to judge (seeing what we cannot love), simply say, "Isn't that interesting?" and move on, i.e. overlook it.
     Remembering that most situations don't need my opinion,

Monday, June 15, 2020

June 15--Why Wait?

We must be saved by the final form of love, which is forgiveness.
  --Reinhold Niebuhr

     We've heard many times of forgiveness requested and received in death bed scenarios. Why wait until the end to have the peace and love of forgiveness? Do it now.

Sunday, June 14, 2020

June 14--That Word--"Should"

It's not just other people we need to forgive. We also need to forgive ourselves. For all the things we didn't do. For all the things we should have done. You can't get stuck on the regrets of what should have happened.  --Mitch Albom

     The key word here is "should." Any time that word is involved, there is internal conflict between what you want to be/do/have and what you "should" be/do/have. Simply being cognizant of that word in one's speech and internal chatter can be a game-changer. You can't operate on "should" for long without generating plenty of regret.
     I think most of us, looking back, may have done some things differently. It's a useful reminder that we were actually doing our best at the time, even if that doesn't appear to be the case in hindsight. When we know better, we do better. If we are paying attention, wisdom comes with age, including the wisdom of not beating up on ourselves for past omissions or commissions.
    Another helpful reminder is to treat myself as I would my best friend. Criticism does not make for a good friendship, nor does it make for a good relationship with myself. If I can't be my own best friend, there's some internal work to be done, i.e., forgiveness.
     Doing my best, today,

P.S. Barn quilt #4 completed.

Saturday, June 13, 2020

June 13--Open and Teachable

If we learn to open our hearts, anyone, including the people who drive us crazy, can be our teacher.  --Pema Chodron

     Personally, I'm getting a little tired of the theme of forgiveness, but I'm going to forgive that, as it's making me dig deep on this subject, which certainly can't hurt me. It's a teacher!
     Learning to open my heart has been a whole life's journey for me. I attribute my lifelong poor posture to my early years being hunched, both physically and mentally, in protection of my heart. I never felt safe as long as my older brother Ken was around. I didn't recognize all this until yoga teacher training in my mid-50s, where in a month's time, my heart was dramatically freed and my posture improved considerably.
     Who drives me crazy, and what am I learning?

  • Inconsiderate or inattentive drivers remind me to pay attention to my own driving.
  • Those on the opposite end of the political spectrum encourage me to listen and be open-minded.
  • When I witness rudeness to myself or another, it spurs me to extra kindness. 
  • When I am around someone who won't stop talking, it reminds me to stay silent, that every thought I have does not need to be expressed. 
  • Other folks' clutter encourages me to keep my own clutter at bay.
  • Events of any sort not happening fast enough for me promote patience and faith. 

With plenty of heart-opening opportunities still available,

Friday, June 12, 2020

June 12--Labyrinth

The only way out of the labyrinth of suffering is to forgive.  --John Green

     I like the visual of a "labyrinth of suffering." The photograph accompanying the quote is of a hedge maze taller than an adult. It looks puzzling, seemingly goes on forever, one cannot escape. Forgiving shines the light of clarity and manifests the way out of distress, out of the labyrinth.
     Aside from the emotional angst of carrying a grudge, I see the greatest suffering of not forgiving in the loss of potential. Forgiving frees up energy that can be put to much better use than dragging around unnecessary baggage.
     To ponder: where are you wasting energy on grudges or resentments?

Thursday, June 11, 2020

June 11--Beauty Break

We say of some things that they can't be forgiven, or that we will never forgive ourselves. But we do--we do it all the time.  --Alice Munro

     Forgiveness is a necessary process if we want to evolve as humans. Otherwise we experience a "paralysis of the past" and we're stuck, physically, emotionally and spiritually. What a blessing to simply let go and move forward, on a continual basis.
     I'm taking a short break from the forgiveness theme, sort of. There's so much unrest, injustice, corruption and distress in our world, especially in the U.S. I feel powerless in so many ways, for the problems are so enormous. I remind myself of the wisdom of Abraham-Hicks--what we focus on expands. Therefore, I have been focusing on beauty. Beauty brings me peace, and that's what I want to send to our current circumstances.
     I've been doing some gardening, and spending time each day on my backyard swing enjoying my efforts. I've been painting barn quilts (photos on previous posts). I've been delighted by the antics of our angel dog, Barney. I've been appreciating the bits of nature as I encounter them. I have lilies, my favorite flower, from the garden on my desk. I meditate and learn something new each day. I've kept up with my beautiful Melt and yoga students via classes on Zoom. I make it a point to be extra-kind to each person I encounter.
     Last night I discovered a series on Netflix called "Moving Art." These are films showing off our magnificent planet and set to music. No spoken word. The films are mesmerizing, and the beauty is astounding. For me, beauty equals love.
     May we be beautifully at peace,

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

June 10--Everybody?!?!?

It's one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself, to forgive. Forgive everybody. 
--Maya Angelou

     I don't have a problem with the first sentence. I agree 100%--forgiving is a superb gift to oneself.
     Forgive everybody?!?!? Certainly it's a worthy goal. But the first thing that comes to my mind is the planned and intentional political corruption that is rampant in our U.S. government. Forgiving that is tough, because I see again in myself the tendency toward self-righteous anger. I must remember to separate forgiveness from the desire to change things for the better. I can forgive without condoning.
     I would suggest that we also forgive everything. I close with a writing by my dear friend and fellow writer, Jeanne Looper Smith. This is a take on what a human life on Earth really is...

After the Curtain Call

The applause dies down, the flowers are thrown and the house lights are dimmed.
I return to the dressing room, remove my costume, put on some comfy shoes and head out to celebrate with my fellow actors.

We excitedly toast one another with remarks about how the play was flawless. We acknowledge how each of us played our roles with skill, and, so what if we flubbed a line or two in the production, it really didn’t matter.

There was no accusing one another for delivering the lines we did—even to the villains of the piece—no “How could you have said that or done that to me?” We knew we had set up the scenes and played the roles we had agreed to before we ever stepped on the stage—with maybe a bit of improvising thrown in—just to keep us on our toes.

After the lively celebration of our collective successes, I heard myself say, “Hey, let’s do another one.” This time, I’ll play the mother, you play the child, who wants to be my spouse? There’s a delicious role for the best friend—plenty of juicy parts to go around.

Who’s game?


Forgive everybody and everything. 

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

June 9--Open Heart

Everything is just as it needs to be. And if we would forgive, our minds and hearts would open and we could see another possibility.  --Iyanla Vanzant

     HeartMath is an organization that does outstanding scientific work relative to the human heart and promotes heart-based living. The simple techniques are currently available now for free at https://experience.heartmath.com/. I highly recommend a visit there. Not to worry--there's no math involved.
     Grudges and resentments bind up energy in our bodies and keep us stuck. We devote mental energy there that could be directed toward other possibilities. Given the current state of our world, we need to forgive and open up to new solutions as soon as possible. I believe our very survival depends on it.
     I think it was Einstein who said we can't solve problems at the same level of consciousness that created them. As long as we are mired in grudges, resentments and blame, we are in the problem mentality.
     I was reminded recently of the forgiveness process promoted in the 12-step programs. For the person(s) you elect to forgive--pray for them daily for two weeks, that they enjoy all the goodness you wish for yourself. It doesn't matter if you don't mean a bit of it. The prayer changes the one praying, and that's the whole point. Voila! Forgiveness!
     Keeping the energy flowing,

Monday, June 8, 2020

June 8--That Darkness is Valuable

Until we have seen someone's darkness, we don't really know who that person is. Until we have forgiven someone's darkness, we don't really know what love is. 
--Marianne Williamson

     We all have a dark side. Some of us are better at hiding it than others. Some prefer to flaunt it. Some would just as soon go through an entire lifetime never addressing the darkness. It's there, nonetheless.
     I feel that my darkness first had its voice when, in my early 30s, I entered a 12-step program. Steps 4 and 5 are specifically designed to free the darkness. Completing those steps with my sponsor was the first time I ever shared some of those things with another human being. We shared our darkness, and became the best of friends. We know each other quite well, "warts and all." We love each other dearly.
     Forgiving someone's darkness comes fairly easy for this 12-stepper. I think that's in large part because I have experienced such forgiveness in my ongoing 12-step journey. Meetings are a safe place for us to give voice to our darkness, and that sets it free. It's kind of comical--I have known some folks for years, heard their deepest thoughts, feelings and "secrets," and I don't even know their last names or what they do work-wise. I simply love them.
     Let's also throw self-forgiveness into this mix. Until we do acknowledge our darkness, we cannot know ourselves. Until we forgive ourselves for that darkness, we cannot know self-love. Without self-love, love of others is impossible. Yep, it all begins "at home."
     Forgiving and loving,

Sunday, June 7, 2020

June 7--Love and Fear

We can't go back. We can only go forward. --Libba Bray

     Many wise souls have indicated that there are really just two emotions, love and fear. Love moves us forward. Fear attempts to move us backward, away from the unknown of the future, but since we can't go back, fear can never succeed. We need only witness our current political environment wherein fear is being used mercilessly to drive people into the desire for "the good old days," an unreachable fantasy world. So afraid are some people that they believe the myriad lies and continue to suffer in their ignorance. It's both sad and sickening at the same time.
     My 33-year-old son and I were talking recently about how exciting it is to be alive at this chaotic time. I'm nearly twice his age, so we have had different life experiences, but we are both holding fast to the Bray quote above, excited to see what births from the current state wherein the old energy is dying hard, kicking and screaming. By old energy, I'm talking about the patriarchy, racism, inequality, abuse of women, children and the planet, and so on. The old ways aren't working any more, and thank the heavens, we can't go back. I am excited to see the changes brought about by my sons' generation and beyond. That may be in this lifetime; may be in the next.
     Following June's theme of forgiveness, holding a grudge or resentment is an attempt to go back, wishing the circumstances could be changed. Of course, that's impossible. Forgiveness is the path forward. The sooner we forgive, the sooner forward progress begins again.
     Love is the only power,

P.S. Moving forward... barn quilt #3 completed.

Saturday, June 6, 2020

June 6--Some Personal Life History

Forgiving is not forgetting; it's actually remembering--remembering and not using your right to hit back. It's a second chance for a new beginning. And the remembering part is particularly important. Especially if you don't want to repeat what happened.  --Desmond Tutu

     I am a hillbilly from central Pennsylvania. I grew up in the magnificent countryside between State College (Penn State University) and Huntingdon (yes, with a "d," my high school).
     In hindsight, my parents were quite blatantly racist. I was born later in my parents' lives, so that most of my many cousins were much older than me by 10-20 years. Very early in my life, one of my cousins "ran off" and married an African-American man. That was in the late 1950s, and there was absolutely nothing worse that could happen to a family back then. Even as a young child, though I couldn't understand it all, I was appalled at the hatred, nastiness and bitterness that consumed our family for many years after my cousin departed.
     Rarely would a day go by that I didn't hear the "n" word and "q" word. My dad, I expect from some childhood hometown events, hated Catholics. My oldest brother, Arlie, went to West Point, the pinnacle of success and patriotism. My other brother, Ken, worked in the family sawmill business, so unfortunately, I was around him a lot. I've often said Ken was the role model for Archie Bunker. My brothers are 16 and 14 years older than me. This proved to be such that I was almost a separate generation.
     I had friends in high school who dated African-American guys. My dad and I rode to a lot of high school sports events together. If he saw me in the crowd anywhere near an African-American male, there was hell to pay on the ride home. Clearly he was terrified that I might scar the family like my cousin did.
     Here's what happened. My best friend from 7th grade on is Catholic. I love her. I could never understand how being Catholic was a character defect. The African-American guys my friends dated seemed like perfectly OK humans, so I couldn't understand how skin color was a character defect. I went off to college and had gay friends, so I couldn't understand how sexual orientation was a character defect. Do you see the pattern here? Getting to truly know someone in those groups that we are prejudiced against goes a long way toward eliminating the prejudices. It takes away the "us vs. them" mentality.
     Getting back to the Tutu quote... I wanted to remember all this. I chose early on to not repeat the pattern of hatred toward other humans that I was raised with. I surely didn't want my sons to grow up the way I did. I know I'm not perfect at accepting every other human unconditionally, but that is my goal. There's good in the worst of us, and bad in the best of us.
     Let's live and let live,

Friday, June 5, 2020

June 5--To Move Forward

It's simple: When you haven't forgiven those who've hurt you, you turn your back against your future. When you do forgive, you start walking forward. --Tyler Perry

     When you don't forgive, you are clinging to the past, in effect, wishing that it could have been different. This takes a lot of energy. Upon forgiving, all that energy is freed up to move forward into a better, certainly more interesting, life. It's simple, yes, but not necessarily easy.
     Sometimes past hurts are so incredibly painful that we have buried the memory of them. It takes courage to return them to the surface and let them go.
     Whether or not we can see it, every experience has some gift to offer us. A lifetime of abuse by my older brother Ken made me a much stronger person. I've learned a huge amount about myself as a result of dealing with his incessant teasing and verbal abuse. Would I care to repeat all that to obtain these lessons? No. But recognizing the "gifts" has enabled me to forgive and move on. I see so many ways in which Ken was a troubled soul--I just happened to be an easy and convenient target for his nastiness.
     To ponder: Where might you free up some energy by forgiving?
     One step at a time,

Thursday, June 4, 2020

June 4--Daily Practice

Forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a constant attitude. 
--Martin Luther King, Jr. 

     This quote brings up two general thought lines for me.
     When I am in a good space within myself, centered and at peace, very little disturbs me. With very little disturbance, there is very little to forgive. This is my favorite place to live.
     Beloved spiritual mentor Edwene Gaines offers this daily practice. Each night before falling asleep, note if there is anyone or anything from the day that requires your forgiveness. Then hold that person or situation in your heart, blessing and releasing he/she/it. That way resentment doesn't disrupt a good night's sleep.
     Like all of life, forgiveness is a practice, or as Dr. King states, a constant attitude.
     Getting lots of practice,

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

June 3--The Grace of Years

You will come to know things that can only be known with the wisdom of age and the grace of years. Most of those things will have to do with forgiveness.
  --Cheryl Strayed

     Today we celebrate our younger son's 31st birthday. When our sons were still at home, particularly as teenagers, they vehemently disagreed with our chosen parental choices for handling many a situation. Big duh, right? Many times I said, "I know you don't like this, but unfortunately, there are some things you simply won't understand until you are a parent."
     There was a particularly troubling discipline incident when our younger son was about four years old. (No physical harm or abuse involved, I promise.) He never forgot it, and brought it up occasionally as an adult how upset he continued to be about that incident. We listened patiently to his frustrations. Then in his 20s, he dated a woman who had a young daughter. He encountered the same incident with the young child, and (miraculously) knew how to handle it properly. The next time he spoke to me after that, he described the situation and said, "Mom, now I get it." It was a huge release and forgiveness for him.
     As we age and acquire more roles--spouse, parent, employee, employer, leader, etc.--we can't help, by grace, to advance in wisdom. Holding grudges may at first appear to be the best path, but for our own serenity, we must learn to forgive and let go. The roles in life are challenging enough without carrying the burden of grudges and resentments.
     While aging can be an "interesting" experience, I am so grateful for the wisdom that age and grace have brought me. Had I known then what I know now, how different might my young life have been? I wouldn't change a thing, but I surely hope in my next lifetime, I arrive already knowing all that I have learned in this one.
     Getting wiser, one day at a time,

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

June 1 & 2--Never a Better Time

June 1--When you forgive, you love.  --Jon Krakauer
June 2--We can never obtain peace in the outer world until we make peace with ourselves. -- Dalai Lama XIV

     The "Daily Peace" book from which I am drawing these quotes is so divinely on target--I love the synchronicity. April's theme was strength, May's, acceptance, and now the June theme is forgiveness. That's not one of the favorites on my to-do list, but as we look out into our world, there's no better time for forgiveness than now.
     One of my favorite phrases about being human comes from Edwene Gaines, a dearly-loved spiritual mentor. She says, "We've all done stuff we wouldn't want to tell our grandmother about." That pretty well covers it.
     I would change the Krakauer quote above to "When you forgive, you love yourself." It's releasing the angst energy from body, mind and spirit, an act of great self-love. Forgiving doesn't condone a harm, or cause it to be forgotten. It takes away the emotional charge, possibly bringing some meaning to the event, and allowing space for "new and good" to enter one's life. It's making peace with ourselves, which can then extend out from us.
     I've done a LOT of forgiveness work in the past. I highly recommend the processes in the book "Radical Forgiveness" by Colin Tipping. Then there's self-forgiveness, which I find to be a lifelong practice. It's a mandatory one, because I want to be at peace with myself.
     Serenity is priceless,