Monday, October 31, 2016

Forgiveness-A Recipe






Last week I was struggling with rage.
I don't like rage.  It makes me uncomfortable.
But it is usually a sign that I need to forgive something.

I'm committed to forgiveness.
I know that I am already forgiven.
That there is nothing I could do that would be truly unforgivable.
And if that is true for me, then that is true for everyone else.
#special #notspecial

Many of the things that I've needed to forgive
are obvious trauma
Some have been outright violence-perpetrated on me by someone else.
Those things are real...not to be minimized.

As I've walked this path though
I've realized that
 a lot of the things that I've need to forgive
were things that I did to myself.

I am learning to sit with my definitions
of a woman
of a mother
of 'good enough'
and understand that I've unwittingly been abusing myself
with those definitions
for my entire life.

So what is my recipe for forgiveness?  
This one is finicky....you can't skip any steps.
It's only got three....and they seem easy.
But each step needs proper attention.
If you add in embellishments...you also have to be careful.
Sometimes embellishments distract you from the next step.
To get it done..you have to go all the way to the end.
No backsies.


Recipe for Forgiveness:
1.  Name the Pain
2.  Define the Hurt
3.  Let it Die








Say what?
To forgive something...means I have to let something die.
(I got this from the brilliant Brene Brown.  Read Rising Strong.  It will explain.)
For something to die, it has to be fully alive.
(This part I think I got from myself but probably not.  I just don't remember the reference)

Step 1:  Name the Pain

So my recipe for forgiveness starts will a healthy dose of allowing myself to feel.
I'm an excellent avoider.
When there is something that I don't want to look at
I will find new and creative ways to avoid it
I may even create an entire story
where I rationalize that the thing I need to forgive
the thing that I need to STOP
is actually needed and useful.
Or at least it might be one day.
So I will pack it away in the closet.
Like winter boots.
To bring out potentially in time of crisis.
When the sheer fact that I allow that thing to take up space in my life

ensures that I will feel the rage and be hurt by it again.


Step 2:  Define the Hurt

I have to go through the details-
look them full in the face.
Call the idea into being-
like Frankenstein's monster.
Give the thing life and depth and definition.
I have to be willing to admit to it.
Own it.
Understand that it was real and had an impact.
Understand that it has harmed me
and fixed me into a position
or allowed me to be different in some core way
by it's very existence.

I have to let go of all the things that I have told myself about it that allow me to pretend it wasn't as bad as it could have been.
All the diminishing words have to be removed.
It was hard.
It was scary.
It DID hurt.
Man did it hurt.

Usually, that is the hardest part.
The running away from the thing or myself is easy and ingrained.
To take a stand is hard.
To take a stand with yourself is the hardest.
And it requires that you sit with all the feelings.
Most especially the ones that hurt.

Step 3:  Let it Die

After the thing that needs forgiveness is fully formed.
Not hiding in the shadows anymore.
After I've named it, let it walk around in the light for a while,
hell...even loved it.
Or admitted to the love that I have harbored for it
Then it is time to let it die.

Sounds violent.
Of course it seems violent...
that's why I've avoided it all along.
The finality and responsibility of mattering to myself
and of being enough
is terrifying.
Death is a hard boundary. 
It's very different than just putting something away
in case you need it again.
This is no storage pile of tools that you don't use often.
This is a ridding yourself of the THING.

So what has to die?
Sometimes it's the idea of what could have been.
Often...it's the hope that the past could have been different.
It's the person I was then or my idea of the person who hurt me.
It's the death of my naivete or the final throws of 
trying to make those winter boots 
look like spring sandals.
The death of whatever it is that's holding me back
is the only way to move forward to something new.
I can't hold on to both that me and this me.
When I'm looking back there...at that spot in the river
then I am NOT here in the now.


Usually (for me)
when the end is here
I've come to the acceptance of all that awful
and also...all I enabled myself to be BECAUSE of that trauma
and the end of my rope doesn't feel like a place to fall from
but instead a place to fly.
The end of my bargaining power
or the cage that is holding me back.
When it's time to forgive
I can usually let the end breathe its last breath.
So that something new can live.

And if I can't....then I go back to see what I did wrong in the recipe.
It works if I follow it.





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