I hate the word forgiveness. It makes my stomach hurt. To give, or ask forgiveness translates in my heart to “I am bigger or less than someone else.” When I say I am sorry to someone, my heart really means it. I am not asking for a person to deem me worthy again, I am just saying I messed and it is usually because I forgot. I have forgotten to remember that if someone hurts me, or I hurt them, its because a given situation has tapped a place in my heart, where I have been wounded. Deeply. It triggers that fight or flight reaction and for me. Usually its flight. Its flight from what is truly there so I have hidden it deep in my heart. In my mind, hurtful actions require understanding. So when I read one of last week’s Daily Dharma headlines from online Tricycle, with “The Power of Forgiveness,” it immediately pissed me off. Yes of course , I was acutely aware that I was smack in the middle of processing one of the most tender places of my heart…friendships, “Yes, yes,” I thought, of course if we don’t “forgive we will hold hatred in our hearts forever.” Thats why the world is in this crazy political and environmental state! I get it. But then I read the whole article, and then I read it again and again and again and again.
Without forgiveness, we’re forced to carry the sufferings of the past. As Jack Cornfield says, “forgiveness is giving up all hope of a better past.” In that sense, forgiveness is not really about someone’s harmful behavior; its about our own relationship with or past. When we begin the work of forgiveness, it a primary practice for ourselves. ~Gina Sharpe
The giving up all hope of a better past part, is giving me a headache…. I feel like I have been on the cusp of grasping its meaning but can’t quite get there. I have gone beyond a silly neighborly indiscretion and move to the “my heart chakra blocked thing” place. Have I been holding on to the past? Have I been defining forgiveness incorrectly all these years? Has understanding a situation just a bad coverup for once again not seeing what part of my self is truly showing up?
I’ve been trying to lay it all out these past few days. Be completely honest about biggest wounds. ok so here they are:
~relationship with my mother
~ relationship with parents
~my marriage, R.,
First three, I honestly think are done. A tedious and somewhat nauseous amount of years, I worked through the family pieces. Yes, it was at a turtle’s pace due to attachments and all, but the letting go has brought me so many gifts whose pieces keep me on track. As my mother’s mind fades away and my Dad’s heart slows and body disappears, I am at peace. Then there is friendship. Recent events have allowed me to see how stubborn ego with expectations is at the root of my troubles in this department. It takes some boo wooing before I feel ridiculous and move on from that moment I felt so betrayed with a bag of embarrassment that then slowly floats away. But R., that is a tricky one. Sharpe goes onto write that “Forgiveness releases us from the power of fear and allows us to see kindly with a wise heart.” Hmmm…fear? Never really thought about fear and forgiveness going hand and hand. But if my response to being wounded is flight or fight, isn’t that just fear? I guess this is true. I am fearful, so immediately the walls go up so I can fight. Make solid. Harden. Or I run. Take flight back to my covers, where I slowly bury the hurt. Dismiss the wound. Clearly this must not be working for me if my heart chakra is blocked. As Pema Chodron would say, start where you are…Its never too late. So today, I will begin to lean in, to this thing called forgiveness. I will begin to view it not in hate but in of practice. A way of going deeper into what I have covered up so well. I way in which l will try and allow space for facing what is buried.
Day 6, 100 day challenge.