This is the tenth in a series of 12 posts, in support of my manual: 12 Steps to Personal Transformation. It follows: Surrender. Patience, Yoga on and off the Mat, Stop, Community, Self-Care, Self-Love, Desires/Dreams and Acceptance.
It begins with me. And it always starts with forgiving myself first. The truth is that there is very little about forgiveness that I wanted to wrap my brain around for a long time. On some level, I must have enjoyed imbibing the poison and reliving all of the paralyzing behavior that produced my sometimes homocidal tendencies and vengeful thinking. I believed my self-righteous anger to be energizing and empowering; and after all, there was everything that had been done to me, so much, too much wrong for forgiveness to ever ever ever be offered up.
So I paced back and forth and back and forth and back and forth,repetition necessary for emphasis; like some wild, caught animal in a really cramped cage, I was trapped in my head with my past. The present was really small; the future non-existent. It was just me and my myopic sense of self, inexorably yoked. And to make matters worse, I hated it.
Yet live that way I did; believing that based upon my experiences I had no choice, or I had to show my children the right way to take care of themselves, or, and this one still bugs me, maybe my vengeful indignation would create a change in behavior, remorse, redemptive action; double yoked! Well and truly trapped.
I didn’t work on moving toward forgiveness, the concept, the opening of the heart, in time, well and truly worked it’s magic on me. The freedom wrought by forgiveness wrapped itself like a warm and comforting invitation to serenity around my brain and into my heart and on some level was warmly embraced by my soul. So much so that one day I found myself, nodding my head in agreement with a Pema Chodron quote: “My experience with forgiveness is that it sort of comes spontaneously at a certain point and to try to force it, it’s not really forgiveness. It’s Buddhist philosophy or some kind of spiritual jargon that you’re trying to live up to but you’re just using it against yourself as a reason why you’re not okay.”
So true, after a long time in the metaphorical rainstorm of acceptance, where a hell of a lot was washed off, pounded out, rinsed through and ultimately made clean, I emerged, whole, ineffably changed and able to forgive. You see, I wanted to really live, to feel and bear witness to the me that was meant to emerge out of all of the experiences of my life. In arriving, broken open into the sunlight of a new and potentially empowering life, I felt ready to live, and completely capable of moving myself forward in gracious affirmation as myself: Transformed and compassionate.
It’s not perfect, but it’s freeing, graceful and full of the kind of redemptive, empathetic love that I have come to so closely identify with my most authentic self. It works when I work it. And I really love this kind of diligent patient unearthing, as it engages me fully with my Kula, intimately in communion; beautiful, wondrous and shimmeringly purposeful, poised with awesome strength and great enthusiasm for the next invitation to action. And the next, and the next, and the next…..Such is the wonder of a life well forgiven.