In my last article, I wrote about the 30-day Forgiveness Challenge, created by the Rev. Desmond Tutu and his daughter, Mpho, in which I was participating, and how enlightening the process was for me personally.
Truth be told, my practice stalled in the middle of the Challenge.Â There were a number of factors that contributed to the disruption of this process, mostly having to do with becoming “full” in all areas of my life and putting it on the back-burner as a “non-essential”.Â This inevitably led to a feeling of disappointment in myself for not sticking with it and I found I was having to forgive myself for my lack of discipline!
I have just finally completed the Challenge.
What I learned from the second half of this process is just how difficult it can be to even recognize that you might have something to forgive. We live in a culture where enormous importance is placed on being right, knowing everything and staying on top – being the best.Â Our modern day culture encourages the placement of blame outside of ourselves, and teaches non-responsibility for our actions – it is always the fault of someone else.
Having grown up in the United Kingdom, at one time known for it’s Empire, the atlas I used in school had both political and physical geographies.Â I remember the political section as being predominantly pink, page after page – the pink denoting those nations, countries or continents even under British rule, colonies of the Empire.Â Much has changed since then, thankfully!Â And yet there is still a lingering sense of pride that can, at times, interfere with forward movement, growth and change for the country and its people.
Now I find myself living in the U.S., generally seen as the leader of the free world, where it seems tension is mounting on a daily basis.Â How long can that position at the top be held?
When so much focus is channeled into being right, staying on top and having the answers for everything, we are each essentially turning away from and denying that very human part of ourselves that is flawed, makes mistakes, can learn and grow and needs to both forgive and be forgiven.Â This applies to each unique individual and also to the collective human race.
In the healing world, I have seen this in clients and healers alike – people who are doing “all the right things” – eating well, exercising, meditating, being aware of their physical and spiritual connection, taking supplements for hormonal and emotional balance – and yet feeling frustrated with themselves, invalidated and less than adequate if they fall ill, sustain an injury or have an emotional outburst.Â Or perhaps punishing themselves if they succumb to temptation and indulge in something that is contrary to their health regime – missing a day of exercise, eating something sugary and sweet, having a glass of wine too many…..
Staying on top or in control requires enormous effort, something that many people (or corporations, governments, countries even) will attempt to sustain regardless of the cost to themselves or those around them, and there is always a cost.
Falling from grace, making mistakes, seeking forgiveness, forgiving others are all essential components in each individuals growth and development.
There is tremendous freedom in allowing yourself to ride the ups and downs, cresting and tumbling, being that wonderful, imperfect, yet forgivable human being that you are.Â But it does require that you look closely at yourself and your actions on a daily basis – then take a deep breath and forgive yourself and all others around you for any and all transgressions, conscious or not.
Enjoy the ride!