Forgiveness Is a Four-Letter Word
This one is going to be hard.
I can’t talk to you without looking at me, I want to point a finger out at you, but when I glance down at my hand, I see three fingers gazing back at me. They have names, and they wear my kids’ faces.
Sometimes I wish the mirror I stare into would break, so I could see what I feel.
I should begin again…
Sometimes it’s hard to like the people we love. Strangers, we can keep at a distance. But care creates proximity. The closer you get, it seems, the angrier I become.
People who hurt are hurting. I know this is true and not just because my emotionally honest son, Liam, always reminds me, but because I can feel it in my body. It’s never my children I’m yelling at—it’s me. The adult me screams because I never got the chance to be heard.
There’s a price for knowledge. Ask Adam and Eve in the Garden, Neo from The Matrix, or Socrates from ancient Greece. Every choice carries a cost. And lately, it feels like all my debts are coming due.
Something’s still not right. I should be better at this, but I’m not. I know better, so why can’t I do better?
I’m sorry for all the times I’m not the parent my kids need, the husband my wife needs, the friend my friends need, the list goes on.
I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I could say it a thousand times, and it’ll never be enough. The words can’t teach, and the thought doesn’t count.
Of course, I’m not alone, but I still feel that way. Trauma, like, beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. How can I tell you everything will be okay when I don’t believe it for myself? Who cares for the caregiver? Who provides for the provider? Even though I’m a parent, I still have needs.
I’ve got some real work to do.
The negative emotion we feel is the result of falling out of alignment with the Source within. God is always present, and it’s, and it’s us that gets lost. Like The Dude from The Big Lebowski, Source abides.
The pain comes from losing the connection. And when the cord is severed, we go searching. Some look in the flesh, some in the bottle—anything to just keep from feeling.
But this, my friends, unfortunately, is the practice—FEELING IT!
What hero crosses the threshold unscathed? Living has a price. Knowledge has a cost. Caring hurts. Loving can be losing.
But this is IT, what IT’s all about: laughing, crying, rejoicing, suffering. This is LIFE. What a gift! It’s what Rumi writes in The Guest House: “Every morning a new arrival. The dark thought, the shame, the malice, meet them at the door laughing and invite them in. Be grateful for whoever comes because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.”
Ram Das talks a lot about relationships being our yoga, our teachers. This idea really resonates. It’s easy, after all, to be holy in a church or temple. Our challenge is to live it in the world. What we do on our mats is the practice for the lives we are going to live out beyond them.
This is where I struggle the most—practicing what I preach—living all that I’ve learned. Dropping into meditation isn’t the challenge—the hard part is applying it when my kids are screaming, and I’m not sleeping, and I’m stressed at work, and, well, you get the point.
The failure is in the translation.
It’s not the kind of thing one ever really gets good at, thank God.
There’s always contrast. We can’t keep getting mad at the world for not seeing things through our eyes. Perception democratizes consciousness, and everyone gets a vote. There’s no cave to run to, no ideology pure enough to escape it, no leader to save us.
We’re the heroes we’ve been waiting for. and the work begins at home. We must forgive ourselves for being human. Forgive ourselves for our failures. Forgive others for theirs.
So, as we go in search of a great warrior, we must remember the Yodic wisdom that “war doesn’t make one great,” and Mr. Miyagi, who said, “The man with no forgiveness in heart, life worse punishment than death.”
I want to live. I want to love. I want to live in love. To do it, to be it, I must forgive. Without condition, independent of the outcome, unbound from expectation.
Spread the word. Share the love.
Heart 2 Heart
Either seated or standing, face your partner. Make eye contact. Smile. Each person places their left hand on their own heart and their right hand on top of the hand over the heart of the other. Breathe in and out. Smile. Say something you love about one another.
Lizard on a Rock
One person gets into the child’s pose (the bigger person). This person is the rock. The lizard sits down gently on the rock’s lower back and slowly reclines into a heart opener. Breathe in and out and feel the spine-to-spine connection.
Stand in a circle with your tribe. Join hands and feel the support of one another. The challenge is to keep a balloon afloat in the air without releasing hands and breaking the circle. To increase the challenge, try multiple balloons at the same time or give it a go from seated positions. Work together to make sure everyone gets a chance.
By Ryan Allen & Meghan Nelson