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Posts Tagged ‘forgiveness’

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You’re not 100% on point every day.

You’ll stammer, you’ll stumble.

Sometimes, you’ll even fall.

So what?

So long as you keep trying every day, both to improve yourself and to mindfully forgive yourself for backsliding, you’ll do all right.

In fact, you’ll do fantastic.

Just keep traveling the road you’re on, resting when you need, and retracing your steps if that time comes.

You’ll get where you need to be.

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Today, I practiced more at keeping up the discipline of a relaxed and aware mindset. I was feeling a downturn again, and was struggling with things that were keeping me from even starting what I’d planned to have completed first thing in the morning. I kept reminding myself to not think like someone who’s overwhelmed, but like someone who is mindful of the limitations of the day and staying on pace to overcome them.

I had help in this by a story I heard last night.

The Shopkeeper

In feudal Japan, life wasn’t so good to a simple shopkeeper. He struggled to make ends meet, a struggle made harder by taxes, bandits, or even samurai taking some or all of what he and his customers needed to get through the month. The life of a peasant wasn’t worth much, and the life of a shopkeeper wasn’t any different.

Finally, this shopkeeper decided he didn’t want to be such easy prey, particularly for the bandits. So he began training with a master in the martial arts. Without neglecting his shop, he dedicated the remainder of his time to becoming a worthy, and then the finest student of this master. Eventually, he had learned all his master could teach him, leaving only life to test his skill.

His test came when he was walking home with his wife, and they were beset by bandits. Soon they were surrounded, being pushed around and berated for being so helpless and worthless. His wife then cried out, “Stop thinking like a shopkeeper before they kill us both!”

This snapped him out of it. His decades-long training to cower for his life was replaced by his years-long training to protect lives. Soon the bandits lay on the ground, and he walked his wife to their peaceful home.

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It’s time to give a bit of a status update for my Lent resolution of giving up “Separation”, or the idea that the experiences I have of other people can be completely “separate” from my own life as a human being.

Today, there was a bit of a traffic snarl in trying to leave work. I had to take a detour, and on the way home, there were more “snarls”, which reminded me what an obstructed time it was in the morning to start with. It was just a day of jams and being in each others’ way. Inevitably, there were drivers who were trying to weave in, jut out, and otherwise “beat” the traffic game, as though it were a competition.

I had a curious experience in all of this. Moreso than normal, I had a deep appreciation for the frustration these dangerous drivers were feeling that “drove” them to drive so unsafely. I felt myself wishing them all the best, and lending my lovingkindness to prevent them from experiencing any accidents or injuries as a result of the difficult time they were having. I recognized that we are all sharing one road, and the accident that impacts one/two vehicles, impacts us all.

I realize it can be considered a fairly “mundane” epiphany, but then again, my focus is squarely on the everyday experiences we have as regular human beings. One of the most everyday of the everyday is the dangerous tedium of the commute, and it was in this everyday experience I felt a unity with the others sharing my road.

I figure, you might have some relative idea of what this might mean to your own life, so I wanted to share. Truly, all my best to you, for we are sharing one road, and I wish for it to be smooth for us all.

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I want to take just a moment to mention “those people”.

You know whom I mean.

They just don’t seem to be able to learn, do they?

And yet, aren’t they also walking their own path through this human existence? Aren’t they facing their own challenges, struggling with their own ways of overcoming that gnawing feeling inside that something isn’t quite right? Don’t they share our same potential for realizing the essential nature of humanity as simply beautiful expressions of earthly experience?

In my perspective, this makes “those people” vital members of “our family”, who are just as essential to the growth of this planet as I. There are ways I wish they’d walk their paths differently, but I must accept they feel the same way about me. In fact, I often feel the same way about me. I don’t feel qualified to judge, only to practice patient forgiveness with what frustrates me about them… and then also with myself for my own frustrations.

All I can do is love them through their struggles, and support them in their moments of pure growth. That’s what family is for.

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I just wanted to write down a few words about what I mean when I say “Love Heals”. We don’t have a shared language about what Love means. Everybody has experienced this word differently, and therefore it represents different thoughts, different feelings, different expectations. So I want to share how I’ve come to experience Love.

Love is a Shared Resonance. We may not always vibrate on the same level, and our wavelengths may not be fully entrained to one another. Still, when we hold that person, thing or idea in our heart, we feel our heart opening a space of connection. There is a portion within us that shares their happiness and pangs — not at cost to our own, but in harmony with our experiences.

Of course, this means that in order to fully experience this resonance, we have to have that connection within our hearts to ourselves. I mean, we can hardly enjoy a balanced resonance with someone if we won’t resonate balance within ourselves. We need to be able to treasure our strengths and forgive our perceived weaknesses, embracing our full resonance as human beings.

Only by becoming equal partners with our full self can we prepare to be equal partners with anybody or anything through Love. That’s tougher to do if we identify ourselves as “wounded souls”. Wounds stay within us when we haven’t made peace with them, and allowed ourselves the space to work through what significance they hold in our lives. As we treasure our whole selves in love, we prepare ourselves to really look and see what place these wounds hold within us. By making peace with the ways they have impacted or even served us in the past, we can hold acceptance in the present and open up to replacing those wounds with better ways to fill those spaces in the future. We can stop keeping dead experiences alive inside us, feeding them with our pain. We can put them to rest, replacing them with better ways to experience life.

We don’t have to like what we see inside ourselves, but we do have to love ourselves through the process. It doesn’t matter what we’ve done or experienced, not in terms of Who We Are. What matters is the strength we are building to own Who We Are, and love that essential nature we are striving to embody. It’s this patient, patient practice of learning to see and love our whole selves that helps us heal our wounds.

Our love and patience can help others heal their wounds as well, but they really have to be the ones to do it. We can help offer our resonance to support them in their journey, even if just by holding love for them within our hearts when nothing else is appropriate. We can’t do it for them though, just like nobody else can live our lives for us. That’s both the challenge and the power of being human.

I hope that helps show a little more of what I mean when I say all we truly need is Love. It’s a shorthand for, “All challenges we face can be surmounted only if we rally our Love, and courageously wield it as the active force of change in our world.” Sometimes, just practicing a patient, loving acceptance of What Is can be all that’s needed to kickstart changes toward Better Ways to Be.

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Sticks and stones break bones 
While words shape our minds, our souls
Only love is real

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There’s been someone I interact with on a mildly regular basis, and we get along fairly well as a rule.  In the past while though, he’s started to develop this bad habit in dealing with me that has started to get under my skin.  I’ve been doing pretty well in not taking it TOO personally, since I know it’s not just me he does this with.  I haven’t been succeeding completely, though.

Today, I caught myself thinking and feeling the same type of thoughts and feelings that are implied in the way he’d been behaving.  I didn’t act on them or verbalize them, thankfully.  But I had them.  And this made me stop to think further.

I’ve read that we tend to attract or observe in our lives the sorts of things that are reflected within us.  And if that’s true, it would probably vary whether it started “outside” or “inside” ourselves… and it probably wouldn’t matter.  If “THEY started it!” isn’t exactly the best defense for one’s own bad behavior, then it doesn’t sound like a great excuse for one’s own bad thoughts or feelings.  Not when they are left untreated, and therefore become habitual.

So I decided to try to treat myself for symptoms of judgmentalism with regards to this subject.  (Being human, that’s something I keep revisiting, so I try to take each flavor of it as I’m ready.)  I decided to take a breath, take a step back, and put what had annoyed me into perspective.  I’m helping my Commander Brain recognize that it’s not in control of how this other person treats me, and that this one recent habit is still very minor in light of our overall positive interactions.  I’m also reminding us that this thing that triggered our judgmentalism is truly no big deal, and extremely fixable with some patience and effort on the part of Analytical Brain and Problem-Solving Subconscious.

Writing about this is helping, as well.  My Commander Brain still sort of resists being called out like this, but we’re both recognizing this is describing a process in effort to give a decent example for others who are going through something similar.  As Commander Brain recognizes that absolute perfection isn’t expected of it, it becomes more open to accepting where it falls short, so that it may embrace the steps toward becoming stronger and more sure-footed.

Thank you for joining me in this step on my journey.  If I hadn’t committed to coming and writing each day I’m able, I likely wouldn’t have tried to come up with something to write about.   Without sitting down to communicate this thing I’m working on, resolving it would have been much harder.

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