Sunday, January 17, 2010

Filled Up

This past week I attended a Forgiveness Ceremony at the church we've been going to. Unsure of what to expect I tried to set low expectations and open my mind up for anything. Even though I myself am a touchy-feely person I'm still not used to all the open symbolism and upfront honesty that comes with UUism.

I wish I could have taken everyone I know with me. We all carry the burdens of not forgiving - be it of ourselves or others - and it was amazing to sit with a group of people and meditate only on letting go.

Prior to going I spent some time thinking through what act of forgiveness I'd like focus on - who I have in my life that I am carrying a grudge or anger towards. Surprisingly I found myself struggling to identify someone.

I think that is because I have been working hard lately at recognizing the acts of graciousness in my life. I am at a place where I feel like each step I made is one surrounded by people I love (or like immensely) and their hands help me each step. I told one of my friends this the other day when I was thanking her for her recent help:

It seems that right now each step I take on my path of life is preceded by someone who lays down the next stone for me to walk on. Some would say this is a Heavenly Father. Some would say it's karma. Honestly, I'm not sure. At this point all I know is that it's some very real people who help make my life easier.

And when I'm faced with that it's harder to find places of anger and resentment because my mind is so aware of how wonderful my life is thanks to the people in it.

In the end I spent my time focusing on myself. Forgiving myself for past mistakes and bad behaviors. For not being where "I should" be in life. It was nice to take that time to heal myself. To forgive, or at least start forgiving, myself.

It's always hardest for me to be grateful for myself. To recognize my own value, and hard work, and strength. So perhaps that is my next challenge. To recognize the work I am doing, not just others, to make my path walkable.

For those who read this, our program for the ceremony included the following quote. I do believe we could all use and do a little more forgiveness, and a lot more gratitude, to find our lives more peaceful:

"I don't know the motives or circumstances that cause another's behavior. I do know that when I hold onto resentment and blame I occupy my spirit with bitterness. Today I will find a more nuturing way to fill myself up."


Michelle said...

I love this post.

Definately food for thought, and I posted the quote on the wall in my office. Thanks for making my day just a bit brighter. :)

Heath said...

I somehow stumbled on your blog today, and I've really enjoyed it.

Forgiveness is such a hard thing...It is something I struggle with. I know I am imperfect so I do my best to be understanding of other's imperfections, but the problem I find is when people repeatedly offend me. Recently I have been fighting with someone dear to me...and while I realize my anger/frustration was only hurting myself it was hard for me to find the balance between remaining friends, while maintaining some distance so I didn't get hurt again. I think I finally realized that he just doesn't have the same definition of "friend" as I do, and I need to stop trying to make our relationship something it isn't. ...and then forgive myself for all I've done wrong in the situation.

What tips did you learn at the retreat that you can pass on to me?