Self Love and Forgiveness – A Resolution!

January 31, 2014 in Article

Self Love and Forgiveness–A Resolution!

Well, it is, after all, the beginning of another year. A time when it seems appropriate and fitting (for some folks) to begin something new. I know it’s not the eve of the new year, but it is the beginning of the very first day of the best of your life. So, how’s that resolution you made going? Or has it…gone? It is the last day of January. You still have a few hours to recapture what you resolved, or maybe you’ve changed your mind.

Another chance. Another bright, new shiny “thing.” Is there always another…? Or is this all there is?

I was having a conversation with a colleague, and the question of resolutions came up. Is there a right and a wrong way to delve into your resolve? Who is the decider? Why are you interested in change? What changes do you want to experience? In which areas of your life? The perfect body (oh, the societal obsession with our bodies). Too fat, too thin, hair too curly, too straight…How about gratitude for the workings of the body you do have? Maybe your job or career is not fulfilling; your home is not the ideal; your kids are not behaving or performing the way you’d like them to; your spouse or significant other is not exciting, and you want adventure.So much discontent. If you’re single, perhaps it’s a relationship you seek… Forget Prince Charming. He does not exist, AND he’s NOT COMING. Get over it! Barbie has been taken. Besides, she’s also aging, and desperately hanging on to her youth! What a quandary! Maybe you just want to fall in love.  Being in love is a good thing. Simply loving is even better.

How about beginning with the single most important person in your world – YOU.

In digging deeper, it became obvious to both of us that what seem to be needed is a huge heaping of self love, and that begins with forgiveness. All around there’s the evidence of the pain, the hurt, the agony, the anger, the stress. So I asked my colleague, what does “Self-love mean to you?” Here’s what I got: “strength, patience, confidence, vulnerability, beauty, support, sisterhood, discipline, rituals.”

“And forgiveness,” I asked? “Open mind, open heart, softness, humour, graciousness, awareness, growth, mirroring each other, blossoming, being witness to their dance.”

Wow! Those are some powerful words, which conjure up some intense introspection. For many people, forgiving others is liberation from anger and grievance that leads to a richer and happier life. There is an even deeper peace to be found through what might be the hardest act of all – self-forgiveness. A friend forgives another friend for gossiping about her. A husband/wife forgives him/her for lying about an intimate relationship with another man/woman. A parent forgives someone for murdering their child.

*Immaculee Ilibagiza’s family were murdered during the Rwandan Holocaust. Years later when she confronted the man responsible for the murder of her entire family, she said “I forgive you.” When she was asked “how could you do that?” she replied: “Forgiveness is all I have to offer.” The human capacity to forgive even the deepest wrongs is, indeed, awe-inspiring. So too, is our capacity to inflict pain, and the flip side of that is simply to love.

Philosophers, religious leaders and others have known for thousand of years, one of the basic tenets of humanity is to love others as we love ourselves. Which naturally leads to forgiving ourselves as we forgive others.

Forgiveness is not about condoning bad behavior.  It’s not about pretending that something bad happened. It’s definitely not forgetting.

There are no simple answers. I believe forgiveness is an individual and very personal process. Forgiveness is about letting go of negative thoughts, bitterness, resentments. It’s about acknowledging the inner pain, and freeing ourselves in a way that allows us to heal, carry on and move forward.

Forgiveness is not easy. It is necessary for our peace of mind. It is not a quick-fix effort, nor is it for someone else. It takes work. That work is for you. It is for your survival – no, your thrival! As the year progresses, may we resolve to be mindful of how we treat ourselves. When we are mindful of me/we, we will be mindful of how we treat others.

Here’s to a Healthy, Healed and Happy Audacious New You!

I  welcome your comments.

 

* (“Left to Tell – Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust” by Immaculee Ilibagiza with Steve Erwin – a Hay House publication)

Are you willing to be disturbed?

November 30, 2012 in Uncategorized

What are you willing to die for?

Perhaps the more important question is What are you willing to live for?

I realize that some of the most profound questions come out of a place of sadness, or perhaps stillness. The answers are another thing.

It is a gloomy day. This end of November in Northern California. My mood is equally gloomy. I could pretend I am happy, uplifted and in a positive mind frame, or I could simply feel what I’m feeling – sad. Yes, sad. Totally without apology I admit I am sad.

My choice is to get totally immersed in the sadness. It will not be forever. I have been gloomy before, and it did not last forever. Of that, I am 100% sure.

Some might say, as a life coach I “should” not allow this side of me to be visible. I say bah ham bug to that. Perhaps, we spend so much time in “shoulding” on ourselves and each other; pretending we are other than we are, that we never know when we are experiencing something real. As a thinking feeling, enlivened and evolved being, I have shifting moods and perspectives. I am basking in my humanity! And yes, my sadness.

So whilst basking in this mood of, I receive a call from Blood Source. As a life long blood donor, I’m often called for a “life-saving blood donation.” Those four words shifted my reality. I have never given any thought to who gets my blood. It’s a habit I’ve engaged in for a number of years without too much thought. I asked myself “why do you give blood?” The only answer I came up with is “because I can.”

That simple, self-less act can, and does make a difference to someone other than me.

For a moment I am not quite so gloomy. I was not thinking about me.

As my mind meanders from one thought to the next, I wonder what am I willing to notice in my world. Put another way, what do I stand for?

Coming from a gloomy space – whoa – that’s a kick-ass question! My answer, were I in a more uplifted mood might be different. Today, however, I stand for being real. I stand for being intimate with the discomfort of sadness. I stand for love, and respect for all beings. I stand for forgiveness. I stand for being present to NOW.

It is easy to distance ourselves from grief and pain. Mine or someone else’s. The more we run and try to hide, the more traction the pain gets. The pain becomes lodged in our bodies, our consciousness. It is better, I believe to be fully enveloped in pain, and as the time is right, release. Of course, if the consciousness is out to lunch, the pain will remain until some unsuspecting time when, like a rabid dog, it nips quite viciously at you.

This blog is not about instructions to be rid of pain.

It’s about acknowledging and being PRESENT!

If I step out on a limb, I’d say the whole world is in pain. We might not, on one level have any interest in saving the world, or being aware of the worlds’ pain. We might start by noticing our own feelings. Our own pain. And then we might wonder how other people are feeling. Maybe, just maybe, in the midst of our wondering, we might connect through thoughts. Through words. Through behavior. Through intuition..

We all need the companionship. The conversations. The caring, The open-hearted love to soothe our pain.

In the end, love is what we need for shift to happen.