Tuesday, January 26, 2016

how to forgive




There is a moment in yoga practice, after the working, stretching and twisting where you find yourself lying flat on your back in corpse pose.  Your breathing slows, your body melts and if you're lucky, your teacher plays some incredibly penetrating but soothing music.

This is a moment of death.  And quite literally, the yogis believe that as we lie down we let all things die that no longer serve us.  And, when we rise from this pose, we are born clarified and bright, ready to serve the world.

This morning an old man sat next to me on a bench.  I couldn't ignore him because he just kept talking.  So, I turned to face him and invest in a conversation with a stranger.  Somehow, my life as Scabs came into view.  He spoke about the many marriages and relationship he's seen struggle and about one woman he knows, who has decided to stay with her husband but can't seem to forgive him.How many of us are staying and struggling to forgive?  How many of us are leaving and struggling to forgive?  And, how many of us can not forgive ourselves?

Tonight, a friend told me that she wants to punch herself in the face.  She doesn't feel she deserves her own forgiveness.

The craziness of not forgiving anyone, especially not forgiving myself was the fuel to my regression. Swimming neck-deep in the darkest pool only sent me into blacker, thicker waters.Spring 2012 I sat on another bench but on this bench I sat next to my 12-step sponsor.  My most terrifying step was writing a big-fat-crappy-brutally-honest list of all the mistakes I'd ever made.  12-step uses nicer words like: write a personal inventory of all your wrongs.  On that bench, I told my sponsor everything on that list.

The whole process took months, but I did it.  I studied the steps.  I confessed all the hurts and injustices I'd placed on others and harbored in myself.  I searched for ways to say I'm sorry and make restitution.  And from all this, I discovered the excitement and freedom of keeping my side of the street clean.

I love the daily act of bending my knees, talking to my maker each night and saying:Father, I'm sorry for blah blah blah.  Forgive me and please teach me to be better tomorrow.

The only way I know how to forgive others (even the most awful and unfair of crimes), is to let my own bygones be bygones.

To my friend that wants to punch herself in the face and anyone else struggling to forgive I'd like to tell you this:

We live in an incredibly human world.  The fiery planet Mars is high in the sky right now, some say this causes turmoil and havoc on earth.  If you are feeling this turmoil I suggest that you practice your own corpse pose.  Every night as you go to sleep let all things die that don't serve you.  Practice forgiving yourself.  And in the morning, when you rise, let yourself feel bright and strong.  Own this brightness, because it's from this place I believe, forgiveness is grown.

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