Big doin’s around here. At least in my head. I’m back to working on forgiveness. And this time it is a little closer to home. This person is someone who is still in my life and is likely to be for a good, long time. And, while I knew somewhere deep in my ugly innards that I hadn’t forgiven her, I didn’t honestly think about it much, or acknowledge that this might be a problem. But I’ve bumped up against it hard lately and it is causing a swirling ball of heartburn in my gut.
https://kariodriscollwriter.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/working.png 199 200 kariodriscollwriter_fan60j https://kariodriscollwriter.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/web-logo-Kari.png kariodriscollwriter_fan60j2011-07-19 17:21:002020-08-02 18:06:51Excavation and Forgiveness
What I know about myself is that when emotions cause me physical pain it is time to go to work. So I pondered as I ran on the treadmill the other day. What is it that I am so angry about? Why does it matter again so much right now in my life? And as I flitted around the edges, testing the water with a toe now and then, I had to admit that this is a big pool.
And, since Lake Mead (and Hoover Dam) weren’t built in a day, I decided that flitting around the edges is good for now as long as I remain receptive to the messages that come my way. Didn’t take long. As I was flipping through old magazines looking for articles to preserve before recycling the rest, the first page I came to sported an essay called “Lighten your load: Cleaning out your attic – and your mind.” The very first paragraph references the Buddhist practice of nekkhamma, letting go of “ideas to which we may have been clinging for years, things that cause us stress.”* I don’t even remember reading this article when I first bought the magazine.
Later in the same issue there is an article about blaming and judgment. It’s fairly lengthy, but since I was in “open-mind mode,” I decided I’d better settle in and at least skim the entire thing. About halfway through, something jumped out. “…it’s good to ask what I am afraid of being or becoming or what I am not tolerating in myself….It’s also good to notice the speed with which blame happens. It’s as if I have to get rid of something so fast that I don’t even have time to look at it.”**
I am quick to judge this particular person, all the while silently accusing her of being too critical of others.
But what I’m beginning to realize is that my biggest problem is with my expectations of her and how she always falls short. I’m setting her up (at least in my mind) to fail. Because I get some sort of perverse pleasure in knowing that she is repeating the pattern of not being who I want her to be. Even though there is a part of me that desperately wants her to rise to the occasion.
When I’m being brutally honest with myself, I have to admit that even if she could, by some miracle, read my mind, assess my goals for her, and achieve them, it wouldn’t be enough. I would mark it as a fluke, or raise the stakes next time, or just be pissed off that she hadn’t done that years before now, if she was capable of it.
*This article can be found in the Winter 2010 issue of Tricycle Magazine and was written by Allan Lokos
**Same issue of Tricycle Magazine. The article is The Seventh Zen Precept: Not Elevating Oneself and Blaming Others, written by Nancy Baker
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very wise words
I have chills. As I began reading your post, I immediately thought about an article that I had read just this morning that I needed to remember for you but I couldn't remember what, exactly, it was and where it appeared. And then I kept on reading your post and IT WAS THE SAME ARTICLE! From the Winter Tricycle.
How weird and wonderful is that? The article really resonated with me as well — I can't stop thinking about it, actually.
Holy wow. This was like reading my own thoughts lately. It's like you crawled into my head.
I struggle with this every.single.day. And how you put it is perfect – it's me. Not her. It's me.
I can't even tell you what your post means to me right now.
Thank you for so openly sharing what all of us have to deal with throughout our lives. Forgiveness is sometimes so hard and your realization that the problem is yourself is such a blessing. Part of that blessing I hope is that because you are your own problem, you, too, need forgiveness. I think we all need to be a little more gracious to ourselves when we begin to explore those dark places that trip us up.
Thank you for your help.
Double wow. Double, because I went back and read it again. It struck me about half way through the first time that I could have written those words – about myself! Even when I went back to read your words again, they were echoing in my head . . . forgiveness needs to begin within. I can't thank you enough for your post. It will be with me for awhile.
Almost always that's the case: the problem lies within. Can't tell you how much that both pisses me off, and reassures me. Great insights here.
Oh my goodness how perfect was it that I read this post today. I'm dealing with a family member and I have come to decide that she will never change even though my expectations want her too, she is who she is and has always been and I should never have expected any less. I'm letting it go. Thank you for this little word of advice. I'm moving on.
"I am quick to judge this particular person, all the while silently accusing her of being too critical of others."
Incredible self-awareness. I hate when that happens! LOL.