Journal Entry #21
I have been teaching and practicing the Art of Forgiveness for years now. An art, you say? Well, yes. It is an inward expression of one’s soul and it looks and feels different for each who experience it. So, yes, indeed an art.
For me, in the past, the Art of Forgiveness happens through letter writing. Sometimes, I write to the person whom I feel has wronged me. Sometimes, I write to the situation itself. Through years of experience and self-work I have discovered a formula that works for me…EVERY TIME. Some of you who have retreated with me, or have done workshops with me will be familiar with this process – know how painful it can be, and also how forgiveness is a beautiful gift we give ourselves. Although it is a process, and each letter both looks and feels different, the journey to forgiveness always includes four features. I remember them as RAGS:
R – recognize the players, situation and the story in detail
A -acknowledge what you are responsible for within the relationship and/or situation
G – gratitude for the lessons brought forth by the situation and/or relationship
S – surrender. I release you. I release me.
It is a formula that is simple, and once I start writing the letter from my heart and from a place of healing, it follows this natural progression, every time. And I can feel the shift into lightness almost immediately…and experience relief. Sometimes I burn the letters, sometimes I shred or bury them. Only once did I put one in the mail. But that is another story.
Often I start writing, only to realize that who and what I thought needed to be forgiven and let go of, wasn’t actually the root cause. The process of writing can take on a life of its own and reveal layers and depths that I wouldn’t have otherwise discovered.
Perhaps because I am open to forgiveness, I have this feeling of urgency that comes over me when it is time. All the thoughts in my head are neutral, objective and I KNOW that I am ready and on the threshold of meeting forgiveness. Healing has no regard for human comfort. When it is time, it is time.
At 1:11am this morning, I awoke and I knew it was time. So, I dumped it all on the page and finished writing at 2:22am. I was ready. Then, when I was ready to seal it up and destroy it…I mean, really let it go, I realized that I was able to share the vulnerability of this process with the world. That sharing this process with you is an appropriate way to let this go. This is my letter to the bugs.
I have unwillingly hosted you for the last 5 months. And NOW, it is time to go. I am tired, weary and ready to move on with my life.
You have been annoying, painful, and disruptive to my life.
You have caused ulcers, that once healed will leave scars as proof of your existence.
You have caused my family, friends and loved ones stress and worry.
You have made my body physically unhealthy and unable to work. Unable to serve the precious clients that I love. Preventing me from doing a job that I LOVE.
You have scared my husband. And my children. And my nieces.
You have prevented me from volunteering and helping others.
You have interrupted our lives, plans, events and commitments.
You have stripped me of my independence.
You have caused financial stress.
You have placed me in uncomfortable situations, with uncomfortable feelings and made me really stop and think about the inner workings of my mind and emotions. You have made me work.
You have prompted guilt, a feeling that I HATE to experience. You have made me realize that your infestation was in part, my fault too. I neglected to check in and see that the state of my operating system was short circuiting. And that makes me mad too. Guilty and mad.
You are a microscopic, a teeny-weeny, filthy creature that destroys lives. You didn’t, can’t and won’t destroy mine. And you are no longer welcome here in my body.
But, before you go, I would like to say Thank You.
Thank you for giving me an opportunity to slow down and listen to my body again. To trust its needs, signals and warning signs. To know what it wants and needs. I was running at such a fast pace living life large, that I didn’t realize how little attention I was giving my body…how little of care I was giving myself. I am not 20 years old anymore and even though my brain thinks that I am, I have adjustments to make in this 40 year old “meat suit” so that it serves me for the rest of my days.
Thank you for showing me how many people love me and support our family.
Thank you for giving me a “break” from work, when I didn’t realize that I needed one.
Thank you for teaching my husband and children resiliency and responsibility.
Thank you for showing me the value of a village, and that humanity is beautiful. Thank you for showing me the value of paying-it-forward, and the depth of generosity within our community.
Thank you for reminding me that one event, one plan, one commitment does not make a life or a day. Rather, that life is a quick succession of moments that make it precious. And as much as the ‘blips’ matter to my growth, they also don’t matter in the grand scheme of life. This experience does not define me.
Thank you for teaching me about prioritizing needs and wants. That rainy days happen to everyone and its important to prepare for them.
Thank you for teaching me that it is okay to depend on others, to ask for help when needed and to be okay doing it. Thank you for humbling me.
Thank you for teaching me that I am worthy to receive goodness and love. Thank you for the opportunity to grow and learn more about myself, life and the world through this experience. Thank you for giving me practice at receiving, for breaking me in and making me more comfortable with the exchange.
Thank you for providing an opportunity to deepen my compassion, to have a grander understanding of un-wellness, to know suffering and struggle and to know determination and strength in a new way.
Thank you for reminding me how valuable our children are. How they model our actions and behaviours…and how they too are just trying to figure out this fast-paced, crazy world too. That even though they are growing and becoming independent, they too, still need a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on and to know that we always have their back, no matter what…just like we do. Thank you for reminding me that every day, no matter what I am someone’s example of wife, woman, and mother.
Thank you for deepening my relationship with my husband. For allowing him to shine, to show his capabilities and his strengths. For helping us to communicate better and coordinate more clearly. Thank you for giving him the opportunity to be the man that has a voice, takes control and gets things done. For giving us the opportunity to show each other in new ways, how much we love each other. Thank you for teaching me that I have a partner. That “control” is overrated, and that we each are integral parts of the whole of us. Thank you for showing me how much he loves me. And reminding me how much I love him.
Thank you for moving me into a place of acceptance and awareness so that moving forward I KNOW and trust that we will co-exist within my body in a way that will be mutually beneficial for each of us with you in dormancy. That I won’t have to destroy you to be healthy and you don’t have to destroy me to exist. We will just be….an unconventional relationship that will work for both us.
You are a microscopic, teeny-weeny, filthy creature that has changed my life.
For. The. Better.
So, I say thank you for the lessons. I will have scars to mark the growing pains, and I am okay with that. Everyone needs a good conversation starter anyway.
It is time.
Your job here is done and my work is not. I forgive you for hurting me and altering my life.
I forgive me for hurting myself and being the perfect host for you through my own neglect.
I willingly release you.
I willingly release me.
I release you.
I release me.