Sweet Forgiveness

Recently I came across a quote which prompted thoughts about what we accomplish as we get past the ‘stuff’ of childhood we drag into our adult life:

“My mother didn’t touch me, but you can’t give what you didn’t get. ~ Maria Shriver

Why has it taken me most of my life to understand parents as fallible human beings rather than the perfect archetypal models my Inner Child yearns for? Don’t I already understand that a lack of forgiveness only hurts me in the end? Of course I do. Now.

It was pivotal when I comprehended forgiveness as a two-way street. I thought absolving another was an offering, my own noble gesture to another. It seemed a thankless task, then, when crushed expectations boomeranged that gift back into my own lap. It took me years to discover the root of forgiveness arising organically from a combination of spiritual desire, cerebral understanding, and a heart longing to be free from the burdens of recurring disappointment and perpetual sadness.

I was not a happy child, though I pretended to be upbeat to fit in. If I could garner recognition and acceptance from others, that elusive prop of ego known as I must exist. In fact for years I felt as though I only lived for others, as if the mirror in another’s eyes would reflect my precious heart back to me. Then I could begin to love myself enough to justify my life, such as it was.

I always felt like an impostor well into my forties, if not fifties. Cynical about all things including happiness, you couldn’t have told me anything different. Like most human beings, I needed to learn the hardest lessons myself, experiencing enough adversity that the messages finally stuck. As I acknowledged my own suffering, it became easier to empathize with all living things following a similar directive to survive and thrive.

Finally what arises quite naturally these days is the desire that all beings discover clarity of heart, encouraging a dissolution of anger and acrimony. We all possess history that we either learn from or are unable, for whatever reason, to rise above. Perpetuating a state of antipathy and confusion cripples us emotionally, poisoning others we might least wish to harm. Forgiveness is key to unlocking many liberties, not the least of which is the freedom to express more fully that which our inner nature has ever intended.

6 comments on “Sweet Forgiveness”

  1. If there were more than 100 in 100 I should be agreeing to that percentage too.

  2. Dear Bela,

    What resonated for me was this line of yours, and I quote, ” In fact for years I felt as though I only lived for others, as if the mirror in another’s eyes would reflect my precious heart back to me.” As I think of this, I am left wondering about what was the exact moment in my life, when this belief became the dominant one and subsumed my carefree and transparent ways of showing up to the world? Though I am unable to recollect the stage , or any triggering situation, I can recall the myriad occasions when I suppressed that authentic ” Me” behind that mask. Was the trigger the unrealistic expectations that my parents and others around me held about me? I remain unsure…..

    The masks that I put on were from my endeavour to be admired, to show up as someone better than I who I was, that pathetic need of mine to look good. Now when I think back, I am left wondering if all that effort to put on that grease paint to become someone who I was not, really serve. I remain unsure……

    Today I hold the awareness that I continue to be inauthentic in certain situations and while dealing with certain people. Is there a perspective of self preservation here? Is my instinct telling me of some danger? I yet remain unsure……

    So do I have a way forward? Surprisingly yes as I now know that my climb upwards on the authenticity slope is on a mountain with no top. It is the journey itself which remains a positive phenomenon for me.

    As always, loved the post Bela. Thank you for sharing.

    Namaste!

    Shakti

    • Shakti, I’ve heard the concerns you express in other comments you have made, and know this to be an ongoing journey to authenticity, as you describe it. Or enlightenment, as it can also be termed. In fact just the other night I came to bed smiling from ear to ear. My husband looked up from his reading, caught the infectious smile, and asked what I was thinking. I told him what had occurred to me is that the pile of work on his desk I had to get through in order for him to change his business form (from a sole proprietor to a corporation) was only a blip on the radar, though I had been stressing about it for weeks. Seemingly insurmountable in scope, I had been the one interfacing with our accountant and lawyer and insurance agent, trying to get all his ‘ducks in a row’ while he went off to work as a contractor, bidding jobs and executing them. “This is not my profession!” I kept wailing, exhausted by it all. “I don’t like going back to where I started!” (as a young professional office manager.) “At this time in my life, I need to be exploring what I’m going to do for the rest of my life!” (Oh, the drama! Oh, all the unnecessary dramatics of my life, up to this point!) “I need to be creative!”

      Okay. Fast forward to the evening mentioned. What unfolded before my tired, bulging eyes is this: this is simply the nature of life. There will be adversity of whatever nature until the day we drop dead. No matter if it’s a stack of paperwork or a seeming retreat from the world spent in a cave somewhere (where the concerns would then be survival of a different sort), THIS IS THE NATURE OF LIFE! And my choice is always my attitude; my perception of it, my welcoming it or negation of it! Curtains will not part to reveal total serenity for the duration of life; I won’t be ‘getting past it,’ or arriving at some destination, save exit from this physical plane of existence. (And then who knows what awaits?) Growth demands constant contrast, and I can embrace it or fight like hell. The fighting metaphor suddenly causes me to imagine a cartoon of myself, covered in cuts and bruises I have only inflicted upon myself! There is no adversary but my own mind and imagination! (Which, maintained long enough, is sure to elicit a ‘like attracts like’ physical outpicturing of ‘other;’ an ‘outer’ adversary.)

      So my point is, whether it’s a journey to authenticity or a journey through a jungle of paperwork, my work now is to accept it all as part of the bargain and miracle of being in a body on this magnificent and splendid earth. I don’t need to know all the whys and wherefores (the ‘unsure-ities’ you speak of), but I assume this learning has an ultimate purpose, and I’d best welcome it so as to enjoy as much of it as I can. I don’t want to exit this life exhausted and miserable, tired of living. I want to be radiant and smiling and ready for the next grand adventure!

      As always, Shakti, very much appreciate your extremely thoughtful and focused commentaries. I always look forward to hearing from you!

      Namaste and Aloha!
      Bela


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