As I look back at 2011, I really want to embrace the lessons of the year and just sort of forgive myself for how things unfolded. It was a hard one. The reason it was hard has a lot to do with my shortcomings and lack of awareness. But the great thing is, whenever we are willing, we are able to grow in awareness by facing the people and situations that are in front of us as with as much present moment awareness as possible.
The thing about awareness is, it is the bright light of heaven shone on something previously dark and scary. No monster that you are willing to look in the eye can even continue to exist. That is how powerful our minds are.
I am dating again and it’s going okay this time. When I look back over the past couple of years of dating, I see improvement in some areas where there were a lot of mistakes. I’m still making them, I just recognize things as mistakes a lot more quickly so I make fewer. It’s progress, I’ll take it.
There is a guy I was seeing for several weeks and we’ve had a bit of an unfortunate misunderstanding. I think he feels justifiably righteous and I feel like it’s good to be human, full of flaws, learning from mistakes, being honest, communicating with sincerity. I think he is on the fence about forgiving me for something I said in an e-mail. It’s okay if he takes his time to decide. But it got me to thinking about how many moments invite us to judge one another and how on the other side of those situations lies the real gift, the opportunity to extend forgiveness and compassion to a fellow human being. How can we not forgive each other for not being perfect? We all know that none of us is, but when we choose not to forgive, we are suggesting otherwise.
To forgive doesn’t mean you have to agree with the person’s actions, but you do not mistake the actions for the person themselves. Nobody does things out of a true desire to hurt others, I’m nearly convinced of it. People are motivated by two things, the desire for happiness and the avoidance of suffering. It’s just the things we do to achieve those ends is different for each of us and sometimes when we are seeking happiness or avoiding suffering we interfere with others’ happiness seeking and suffering avoidance. That’s when misunderstandings happen. But when we back up and see that people are not motivated by a desire to do anything to any of us, that they are simply motivated by the same things that drive us all, it’s a little easier to forgive.
When I think about it, the thing we are always dealing with is the illusion of separation. We seek to reconcile with God because of a failure to recognize our oneness with the Divine and we forgive or not forgive our fellow humans for the same thing, for thinking we are separate when we are not. For failing to recognize each other as ourselves and God. It’s the basis for all misunderstanding and sin.
Ourselves, God, and each other. A trinity. A beautiful mystery.
2011 was hard. I declare 2012 the year of forgiveness and gratitude.