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)

ENDINGS……LESSONS…..NEW BEGINNINGS!

December 30, 2012 in Uncategorized

As we bid farewell to 2012 and enter a new year, just about everyone is scurrying around frantically to get his or her resolutions named, noted, and perhaps shared.

Oh, so much busy-ness! It almost makes me dizzy.

No one ever bucks tradition, preferring, of course to do what is tried and true, what is safe. What is acceptable?

Newspapers, magazines, blogs, radio shows and social site comments are all focused on The New Year Resolutions.

There is nothing wrong with that. Absolutely nothing. I’m just saying. Get out of the blooming box! However you can, crawl out of the box. You must!!

It’s for your sake. Not mine. It’s time to have the courage to face and overcome inner obstacles.

I am sitting here on this beautiful sunny December afternoon, and I realize how many people are crippled by fear. Shame. Un-worthiness and disquiet.

This will not speak to everyone, but for the folks, with whom this resonates, listen up!

If you are desperately wanting to be in a relationship – get a relationship! You might have to begin with you but that’s all right! In fact it’s more than all right. It’s the only place to begin.

If you want out of a relationship – get the heck out, if it’s not serving you or the other person. Relationships begin and they end.

Stop being a wuss! Enough already. Walk away.

Don’t stay for the children. The children know it’s jacked up. They are also unhappy.

Don’t stay because of finances. Get some backbone and be ok with starting over. It’s not easy. It’s possible.

Are the material possessions and status more important than your peace of mind? Only you can answer that. But it requires honesty!

You’ve lost all your friends, because you’re now penniless. Jump for joy!

If they were your friends when you had money, they will be your friends when you are broke. Friendship is not predicated on what you have. It’s about who you are. If they’ve stayed away. Perhaps it’s time to say good riddance.

Feeling insecure because you’ve made several attempts at the perfect job or the next business, and they’ve all failed? Time for rejoicing.

Failure is not for the faint of heart. Failure is for the ones, who will fall down, get bruised, get up, and start again. And again. And again.

As long as you’re not dead – you CAN begin again. Ask any person who is enjoying success. They’ll tell you about their miss-steps and learnings.

Ever notice how when you’re “successful” you’re more attractive?

Heaven help you if you’ve lost your house to foreclosure, or a divorce. You’re avoided like the plague. Your best friend might suddenly be more possessive of their husband while in your presence.

You’ll get some sympathy if you’ve lost everything in a hurricane, a fire, a tornado or other “Acts of God.”

Makes me wonder if God is selective about the Acts, or are they random? That’s a whole other discussion.

Are your creditors calling and demanding payment? But you don’t have the money? Heck, if the United States can’t get its fiscal house in order, cut yourself some slack. Being in debt is not the end of the world! Who isn’t in debt?

They’ll have to wait. They can wait. They will wait, and they can make your life hell – if you let them.

Folks, I’m not saying it’s easy. In fact, it’s down right hard. Life has challenges.

Shift Happens all the time.

Make your intentions for 2013 be about honesty. Be honest to yourself.
Let go of the shame. Let go of the feelings of un-deservedness. Learn from the failures (there’s really no such thing as failure).

Choose to be phenomenal, despite the odds. Choose to be magnificent, you are. Choose to be relevant. You’re here. Choose to grow from your mistakes. You have. Choose to welcome your misfortunes. They’ve made who you are….. becoming. You are the light. Shine brightly in 2013.

There, doesn’t that feel like you’ve shed some very heavy weight. Lighten the burden. This is your beginning. You are perfect, AND there’s work to be done.

This is not about resolutions. It’s about Shift.

It’s Happening!

HOW PRECIOUS ARE YOU?

October 30, 2012 in Uncategorized

One of the things I do a few times every week is to spend time with a very delightful young man.

Owen is 6 years old, and he has the most beautiful and arresting smile. His nature is kind. He is boisterous, outspoken, inquisitive, jovial and very much a boy. I take much delight in being in his presence.

His parents leave for work at 6 a.m., and so it is my responsibility to awaken him – although he is always awake by the time I arrive at his house. I must also add that he is NEVER in a bad mood!!

I fix him breakfast and take him to school.

Our mornings invariably consist of coloring, playing with some of his wondrous and amazing toys, listening to music, dancing, reading – he and I, coloring, and always talking about whatever happens to be on our minds at the time.

This is a relationship that is very special to me, and I treasure it (the relationship) and he (the young man).

On this particular day on our trip to school, we were coming up with random letters, and I would create words, sometimes a complete sentence, based on the letters. One such letter was a P.

Not for Pauline. Not for Petulant. Not for Powerful. Not for Practice, but I chose Precious. He wanted to know what that meant. I replied, special, rare, beautiful, a jewel – like you. He beamed his special smile.

He might have forgotten the conversation by the time we arrived at his classroom. It was, after all, show and tell day, and he was pretty jazzed about sharing the poster of Tim Lincecum, the starting pitcher for the San Francisco Giants.

Owen is a die-hard Giants fan, and they have just won the World Series.

When I got home, his smile was still with me, and I started thinking about what is precious to me. I consulted my trusty mini Oxford Dictionary, and this is their definition:
Of great value. Beloved. Affectedly refined. Valuable. Treasured. Prized. Priceless. Rare.

I relished the thought of having injected those thoughts, ideas in the mind of one so young, on a gray autumn day in Sacramento. He might forget the conversation, but it certainly stirred something in me. The look of joy and pure delight was worth savoring!

My mind wondered to something much bigger than this conversation, and it occurred to me that people everywhere must feel strongly that they are precious. That life itself is mostly precious.

In the unfoldment of our lives – our precious lives – we are so much more than our possessions. No matter how precious those possessions may be! We are more than our degrees. We are more than our zip codes. We are more than our bank accounts and our investments.
The busy-ness of our daily lives distracts us from what’s important.

Right now we are caught up in the energy of the upcoming elections. The candidates. The personalities. The issues. The lies. The truths. The half-truths. The innuendos. The blaming. The disrespect. We are so intent on pontificating and wishing to seem informed, important, relevant, that the precious parts of our selves can go unnoticed. Unacknowledged. The outer war seem to have taken the place of inner peace.

The complexities of our modern world demand much of us. And we, in turn, give much.

All things in our world hold some degree of relevance. Of importance.

How do we measure that relevance?

If today were your very last day on earth, would it matter who won the election?

Would it matter if YOU won or lost in whatever game you are involved in?

How would you categorize your PRECIOUS life?

Are you content in the choices you make?

In the words you use?

In the connections you make?

You are always at choice, and there is power behind your choices. The respect and reverence you bring to your daily activities can enhance the quality of your life, which is inherently precious! Reflect on your unique preciousness every day. And remember words can be magic.