Since my last post I've continued to do a lot of thinking about forgiveness. I thought I was making significant progress towards forgiving, but then I started thinking that maybe I wasn't because, well, I was still thinking about it wasn't I? Then, I read a blog post that had me look at this from a different perspective: (http://barkingunicorn.wordpress.com/2009/08/03/amber-olson-good-to-know/)
So, instead of looking to forgive a past wrong, which requires you to first blame, you acknowledge the event and then release it. Ohhhh, man! Can it really be that simple? Yes, actually, it can.
I don't like playing the 'blame game.' It annoys me to no end and I find it very petty and immature. At the same time, I find that I just as easily get caught up in the inclination to want someone to blame. It's so ingrained into our psyche! Until I read the above mentioned blog, I had completely forgotten one of my favorite sayings: 'Acknowledge and move on!' I had acknowledged, but I had not moved on. I was well into the blame game; being angry and blaming each and every person who had any potential for responsibility in the matter, myself included.
As adults we have a tendency to dwell on things. We continually mull them over and cling to them as if our lives depend on it. Guess what? Our lives DON'T depend on it. In fact, I think we often hold ourselves back when we dwell and cling to past hurts and injustices -- the death of a loved one, hurtful things said or done by others toward us, injustice in the world, criminals who go unpushined, etc. Even so, releasing these past hurts is easier said than done.
So, I've been contemplating my own inability to forgive for over a month now. The problem I have discovered about forgiveness goes sort of like this:
First, you try to forgive, but then anger flares up and petulantly says "Fuck That! Why do I have to forgive? Why do I need to be the bigger person? They don't deserve my forgiveness. How do you forgive someone who has done the unforgivable, anyway?" (Setting aside for another day the deeper philosophy of everyone deserving forgiveness and what that means when you consider that we are all one.)
So, you take the next step - if I feel the person is not worthy of being forgiven, then my problem is no longer about forgiving someone else. OK, so then, what, it must be about forgiving myself? Because that's where forgiveness starts, right? Everything starts with yourself. OK, fine, I'm down with that - if I'm playing the blame game, then I have blamed myself to some degree. So, I'll start there. OK, um, I'll forgive myself. *Thinking deeply on how to do that.* But, again, here comes anger: "What the -? FUCK THAT! I didn't do anything wrong. Forgive myself for WHAT?! This isn't my fault!" Hmmm, back to the blame game, aren't we? If I am not to blame? Then why do I feel somehow responsible? Clearly, this isn't working.
Well, shit then. If forgiveness isn't the way and blame doesn't help, then what can be done to resolve the situation? How do we let it go? Anger certainly isn't helping. It only keeps the pain and hurt around like some sort of badge of self-righteousness. What's left to end the suffering?
Release. What else can there be? Release it. Let it go. It does not serve you well to hold on to it.
It's so amazing in it's simplicity:
Acknowledge and move on.
What happened has happened. It cannot be undone. It cannot be fixed. Why dwell? It is what it is. It cannot be changed. But it can be released. And you can change your relationship to it. So that's what I've decided to do. I can't seem to find a way to "forgive," so I'm just gonna bypass that altogether, release it and let it go. I've acknowledged, now is my time to move on.
As I am writing this, @Eckhart_Tolle says via Twitter: "Wherever you are, be there totally. If you find your here and now intolerable and it makes you unhappy, you have three options: remove yourself from the situation, change it, or accept it totally."
So there it is, yeah? I can't change it. I won't accept it. So I remove myself from the situation the only way I can: by releasing it. I'm ready to let it go. I'm glad to have finally found the way to do so.
To all those who have Tweeted, blogged or commented somewhere in cyberspace in such a way as to help me finally find peace with this, I send you much love and heartfelt thanks. By being you and expressing yourself in a way that can be found and heard by others is a wonderful gift. I hope that I, too, can do the same for others.
Oh, and anger wants it to be known that it doesn't agree with "forgiveness" or "releasing" and it stands by it's earlier assessment of "Fuck That!" But what can you do? That's how anger is and that's how anger will always be . . . acknowledge and move on.