It’s ironic that last week Philip wrote a post about forgiveness, because this week I am the one who has had to apologize. I’ll spare you the gory details, but suffice it to say that in my concern for things right under my nose, I lacked the foresight to see how my actions would affect people I love. I created a version of Hurricane Lisa without even realizing it.
Maybe you have done this at one point or another.
(For your sake, I hope not.)
But on the other hand, we are human. We do screw up from time to time. And interestingly, it provides me with a fertile ground from which to stop and consider myself, my actions, and my impact.
I didn’t say it was fun. Or painless. Or even all that desirable. In fact, it kind of sucks. But yet, it happens.
How do we frame a situation like this in our own heads in a way that we don’t fall down the vortex of self-recrimination and nasty self-talk? I mean, did you know I was the worst person that ever lived? Because that is what my head has been telling me. And I’m selfish, horrible, inconsiderate and probably diabolical if I let this talk go on long enough.
But what is the truth of the situation?
I am basically a nice person. I try to do the right thing. Sometimes I hit the ball out of the park, sometimes I spin around in circles with the bat and never make contact. I end up dizzy and disoriented and slightly queasy.
So that’s me today.
It’s not always easy to think clearly when I’m queasy, but I decided that a sincere apology was the first order of business. Admittedly, there was a bit more self-flagellation and a horsehair shirt involved. But I’m taking that off now. Horrible thing.
Maybe it’s possible that through the process of my deeper consideration, an attempt to set things right and a more measured step as I move forward, I own my path. Perhaps something inside me has the opportunity to transform. This is a more fruitful line of thought than the one that accompanied that scratchy shirt of punishment I was wearing earlier.
I often write about my love and admiration for Julia Cameron. She writes in her book The Artist’s Way that, “treating yourself like a precious object will make you strong.” I love that so much. It has inspired me countless times to be tender with my spirit, gentle with my body, nurturing with my mind. From that line of reasoning, it doesn’t make sense to beat myself up. Once I’ve stepped up to the plate and made a sincere effort at amends, I can take a deep breath and allow the residue of that negative, sticky emotion to wash off my back.
(If you’re wondering why all the baseball analogies in this post, I’m right there with you — I must be channeling my dad).
Get thee behind me, voices in my head.
I’m done with you.
Self-forgiveness is my project this weekend. So I bought some roses in my favorite color and put them in a pretty vase on the table in my sanctuary. Yes. I’m worth those roses. I painted a watercolored hibiscus flower and cooked up some of my favorite stuffed mushrooms.
This moment is for turning over a new leaf and breathing deep. The past is for learning, and I am learning so much. Extending some much-needed grace to myself, my feet can once again find the path of sanctuary.
With love and gratitude,