A glimpse into the conscious expansion; Journal reflections & prompts for YOU!
The Art Of ForgivenessRead Now
I have a confession to make, I have done and said some horrible things in this lifetime.
I have lived through horrible things done to me, and horrible things said to me too. Things I would never wish on my worst enemy, things that broke my heart, my body, my spirit and everything I thought I was and could become.
I've been kicked around and then some.
I have acted less than perfect more than I would care to admit.
I have wanted to give up, I have been lost to the point of not seeing a point to all of this here. I have had many a swim in the depths of despair, embarrassment, shame, shock, confusion, horror, and desperation... I am sure I have caused these emotions in others too, and so the cycle goes around until you notice it's a cycle.
Until I worked on opening my mind and eyes to the reality of what is and what isn't necessary. What is in the past and what is NOW.
Until I was ready to let go of what has happened, or "should" happen and redirect the mind to operate on the conscious level of what CAN happen.
What can happen FOR me, not what can happen TO me.
This takes constant attention to awareness on every level of every minute of every day. This takes courage to allow myself to feel the horrible, and very uncomfortable feelings, by letting them move through and working on releasing them actively on a moment to moment basis.
Instead of being fearful or feeling ashamed of where I am, or what mistakes I may have made, or what people may or may not think of me... I had to decide to commit to change everything I was, not let my past dictate my present or haunt my future. I actively decided committing to feeling joy, peace, and love no matter WHAT the situation may be is to make room for new ways of speaking, thinking, acting, and being.
Even if this means I stumble and forget along the way. I remind myself, it's OK. I have been through a lot, and I have come so far from then to now. It's OK, to feel overwhelmed, to fall apart, to feel fear, to feel ashamed, insecure, down, alone, sad, lonely, misunderstood, angry, happy, silly, crazy, peaceful and everything in between. Instead of being frustrated with my intense emotional makeup, I decided to celebrate and train it with enthusiasm as the amazing super power of a gift it is. I learn how to let it be instead of frantically trying to control, fit in, and be what others want of me.
Letting go of what you know to be pain, and mechanisms of coping with this pain is a process and practice.
Let me tell you some ways how, with an example of my real life:
My son and I had a confrontation, and anger got the best of me, I made my sweet child feel bad and cry, and as it always goes with the cycle of untapped anger, this leads to awfully overwhelming feelings of self loathing, and good old "Mum guilt". I raised my voice, I was hard on him, I demanded answers he couldn't give, and I listed all the things I was afraid of. I then announced I was going to calm down, and would be back to eat dinner in about 20 minutes.
Then it hit me. I was afraid. I was afraid I was failing him, myself, our dog, society, the world, and ultimately the universe (obviously I was over reacting). Everything my own child-self was afraid of was spilling out before me out of no where. What did I want? How do I come back from this raging storm of turmoil I had just created for us and our home? How even dare I!?
I took some deep breaths, I cried, I wanted to run away but I hugged myself crying, and just sat in my mess of discomfort and shame and cried. I let it go for a little while, until I felt my body take a sigh of relief. Crying helps. Crying is good. Crying gets out those pent up emotions and past traumas. Cry as much as you ever need. It will stop.
Do NOT hold in crying, or it will explode in anger later.
I asked if I could talk to my son after some time. He said yes. The dialogue went like this...
"I'm so sorry, you don't deserve to be treated that way ever. I was feeling afraid and alone, without someone to help me. There is no excuse for me to act out in anger, ever. I can feel anger without the reaction. I want to help you, and I love you, please let me know how I can help you feel loved."
He responded with, "I forgive you. Look, we are all having a nice dinner, I don't even know what you're talking about? It didn't happen. I love YOU!"
I sat there blinking, thinking how profoundly wise this statement was for me. I was all about forgiveness, forgiving everything that happened to me so I could move on. I didn't realize I hadn't fully forgiven myself. I had hung onto these fears, and what I was led to believe were shortcomings of who I am. Yet, I am loved even though. All the life challenges that I was led to believe were embarrassing, or shameful I've been through because they are all lessons for me to learn skills. They create ways for me to excel in maintaining a peaceful, loving state of mind. They are a part of me, of what I have overcome, and I am incredibly proud of where I have come from, as it has made me who I am today. I LOVE who I am today! I want my son to love who he is EVERY DAY!
I thanked him very much for his love and quick forgiveness, and felt safe and secure in our bond. We moved forward quickly, and I reflected on this...
I could have stayed stuck in that state of guilt, shame, over thinking through all the ways I should have handled the situation differently, carrying on the story of the past. Instead, I was forgiven, and loved, understood, and reassured. All of these were gifts of compassion my son gave me, and they freed me of myself.
The moral of the story? Forgiveness is an artistic practice, you create the environment you wish to be a part of within your own mind first, when you think about yourself, and then when you think about others. Mistakes, are inevitable, stumbling, and clumsiness is inescapable, struggles are imminent. We are ALL making mistakes, stumbling, and struggling along here to the best of our conscious abilities at any given time. The art is to apply ways to make the journey easier when conflict arises... Here is how:
1. BREATHE! If you can snap out words, you can suck in AIR, just do it and hold it there for a bit. While you're there choose a catch phrase and repeat it in your head. When you're about to go AWOL on yourself, you need to dial it back quickly to avoid any one even needing to forgive in the first place... My catch phrase is "There is no reason to snap ever." I adopted it. You can too. Say it as many times as you need, and breathe as long as you need. It takes 20 minutes- 48 hours for your brain to reclaim chemical balance after erupting, so let that motivate you to stay calm.
2. BENEFIT OF DOUBT, there is always a solution; OK, say you ignored step 1, and you are now in the future looking back on what you wish you had not said or done, or wishing someone else had not said or done something to you... KNOW, everyone is doing the best they can. Repeat this phrase in your mind or out loud. Remind yourself, whatever happened is NOT a personal attack. Even if it is a personal attack, remind yourself, you are a zen master and loving being! You can take time and space to reflect on your own thoughts and feelings in the comfort of your own mind without saying any words out loud. QUICKLY proceed to step 3...
3. ASK A QUESTION If you are in a position to communicate peacefully, go for it by asking a question to clarify how the person or yourself is feeling, or what they meant by what was just said or done. If you feel too rattled, or don't have the time... Step 4...
4. MOVE YOUR BODY, TILL TALK TIME; move your body and make a time to talk. A specific time to talk. Again, it takes 20 minutes to 48 hours for an activated mind to stabilize. Giving a vague time i.e "Later/soon/another time/ some time/ one day/ etc," can increase anxieties for both parties. Remember we always want solution, so we can feel happy and peaceful in our beings. If the situation has an unwilling party, proceed to step 5...
5. FORGIVE IMMEDIATELY; Even if they don't say sorry, even if they don't talk to you, even if you're still hurt/ mad/ sad/ etc. Make it your goal to FORGIVE. This is a feeling, a message you tell yourself. This is loving YOURSELF. This is NOT excusing behaviour.
You incorporate "benefit of doubt", with some worthiness of yourself, some compassion for the human journey, and make it your absolute goal to find inner peace and joy as fast as possible. Take extra caring love of yourself. Free yourself from ruminating thoughts, anger, and resentments, past traumatic memories don't belong where you are now.
"Forgiveness doesn't excuse their behaviour. Forgiveness prevents their behaviour from destroying your heart"
There are always better ways to handle any given situation. We all have weak moments. Weak moments are not the place to stay, you move forward to knowing, what CAN happen next is what matters most, and you're the one who can make it happen!
All the love, and telepathic hugs,
- Sarah Helten