One of the boxes I was most pleased to find was filled with the books I knew I had to keep at the time I packed them away. Seems I was wrong about 95% of them and those were donated to the local library up here in the foothills of the beautiful Sierra Nevada.
One book, one very special book, I purchased before I ever met my husband. Let's just say I bought it sometime in the 90's. This little book, and it IS little, is titled: Meditations for Women Who Do Too Much by Anne Wilson Schaef and you can find it at Amazon HERE.
I bought the book and looked at it from time to time, but never really on a daily basis. It's written with entries for each day - little meditations or things to think about before you begin your day. This year, just to do something different and maybe useful, I decided to keep it on my bedside table and begin my day by reading the day's entry. It's lead to a few brain blasters or as Oprah calls them, "Aha! moments." I just call them epiphanies.
Take January 27th's entry on Forgiveness. Yeah, that one. We hear so much about the F word, how important it is, why to do it, how to do it, when to do it. There are so many articles and books on the subject but I didn't get it until I read this little excerpt. I don't have the proper permission to actually print what is stated on the page, so I'll paraphrase: Sometimes we get so ashamed of the mistakes we've made in front of another person - a good friend, our significant other, a family member - instead of reflecting on it, we deflect those feelings and find fault with the other person. We begin to pick at all the things they've done wrong in front of us. All the hurt they've "caused" us and the finger pointing begins.
At least that's what I got from the entry.
It made me think of all the times I've found fault with my husband, especially lately. I realized he is the biggest witness of every mistake I've made in the last 12 years. 12 INTIMATE YEARS!!!
There I sat, considering that, meditating on it if you will. Ruminating. Then I got it. The tears came right behind that. They usually do. Epiphanies are like that for me. I get emotional over the time I've lost hanging on to something and at the same time, I'm so grateful to finally understand and be able to let go of that particular bone I've been holding and picking at for so very long.
I realized that I'd been holding HIM accountable for all the time I've wasted not following my own inspirations and dreams. All the time I've wasted doing everything OTHER than the things I could be doing to get me a little closer to my dream life.
I think I needed to have the 6 months away from him to pursue some of those things a bit and see that I actually can do some of them and I might even be pretty good at a few of them. But I wasn't ever going to get the message from that little passage in that tiny book without having had that time and being reconnected with him again.
I realized that I need to tend to my own backyard, keep my stuff in order and follow my heart and dreams while still doing my part to tend to the "us" we've created. I realized that, over and over again, I've placed my dreams in the hand of someone else and thought, "here, these are my dreams, now go make them come true for me." I'm not stupid by any means, but that sure was a stupid thing to do!
So here I am, standing in my own forgiveness of myself. By forgiving myself all my own misgivings, it becomes so much easier to forgive others their shortcomings. Beyond that even. Who am I to forgive another? Who am I to judge them as I stand here in my own muck?
The best forgiveness is self-forgiveness. It frees me up to be loving and accepting of all those I encounter, even if my first encounter with them is when they are making a terrible mistake or being cruel or clumsy. I'm going to do my best to walk in that grace and share it. I think that's the key. Show others the way, so-to-speak. Even that's arrogant. I want to love. That's all. When I die, I want those whose lives I have touched to say, "she was such a loving person, accepting whatever you revealed to her with grace and kindness." Let go of the grudges I hold on myself and forgive them, one at a time.
What grudges are you holding against yourself? How can you forgive yourself and open your heart and mind to more love? I wish this for you, I wish it for all of us.