March 8, 2011

Forgiveness & Rock and Roll.

“I’ll find strength in pain, and I will change my ways, and I’ll know my name as it’s called again….I need to know how to live my life as its meant to be.” ~ Mumford and Sons

At the end of my last post I asked for help in finding the answer to the following question: What is one thing that only a human being can do, that we should be grateful for the ability to do? I came across this question while reading The Book of Awakening by Mark Nepo. The book is a day book of meditations intent on helping one’s journey in faith. Of course the first chapter poses this question. It is based on the Buddhist doctrine that asks us to be grateful of how lucky we are to find ourselves in human form on Earth. Instead of skipping Day 1 like I would normally have done when presented with a question I couldn’t answer, I asked everyone I knew for help. I couldn’t seem to find an answer that sat right with me, until today. Forgiveness is a trait exclusive to humans, that I am definitely grateful for. Now that I have my answer, I am to sit and meditate tomorrow morning, and think of how grateful I am that we have the power to forgive, and the throughout my day it’s suggested that I perform the action of forgiveness knowing that our species should be grateful for said action.

The reason forgiveness resonates inside me is because my entire journey is loosely based on my ability, and the ability of my friends and family to have mercy on past actions, and continue to move forward. Here’s the thing though, I don’t think I have actually forgiven myself for anything, and although I like to think I have forgiven others for some of the things that have happened to me, the more I think about it, I haven’t. It’s easy to say that you have moved on, but without really forgiving it’s impossible to actually do so.

How do you forgive yourself for the poor choices you have made, and the way you have hurt the people you love? Is it even possible to see past the things I lost out on? Little things like sweet sixteen parties, and prom may seem insignificant to some, but when I think of all the rights of passage I never saw, it doesn’t take long for sadness to become anger. Maybe it’s not such a good idea for me to put too much thought into the different roads redemption may lead me. I didn’t realize it until now, but there are quite a few instances that have no closure. For example, one thing that pops out for me right away when I think of all of the unfinished chapters I have lying open, is a string of abusive relationships I was in. The most important person who needs forgiveness there is me. It’s a lot easier for me to let the men involved off the hook than it is for me to let myself be free. For all of the terrible things that were done to me, the worst part about it all is that I let it happen. Apparently I am still mad at myself for that.

I need to let myself off the hook here. I absolutely have to stop blaming myself for the choices other people have made, and the negative effect those decisions have had on my life. Just thinking that makes breathing a little easier. Maybe the reason I am having such a hard time moving forward is because I am carrying so much of the past around with me. Tomorrow morning when I wake up, I am going to do my meditation, and I am going to make an effort all day long, to let go and forgive. I have a feeling it will be a long day, but one I desperately need.

I want to pause here in my story to tell you about a new App I have been using for the last few days. A fellow twitter buddy of mine had mentioned an App called Gratitude Stream which I especially like because not only can you add what you’re grateful for impulsively, you can also read what other people are grateful for from all around the globe, and it truly is amazing. I doubt you will be able to use this app without smiling. The same developers put out an App called Live Happy, and since I downloaded it I have not put it down. it’s AWESOME!!! It’s like your own personal tour guide to happiness.

After two days of camping out in what I call my hole, I definitely climbed out midday today. As I said before it is personalized. One of its suggestions for me was to journal about past experiences that made me happy, and not just to write but to travel back and experience the emotion in every way tangible. I read this and skipped over it because one of the other tips (to outline where I want my career to be in the future)seemed like it would be much easier, and I was feeling low so no genuine memories came to mind quickly.

Fast forward to driving in the car this afternoon. As usual I had the music on fairly loud, and my kids and I were totally rocking out. At first I was “pretending”, because as I said before I have been feeling pretty crappy in the head the past few days. For no other reason than trying not to disappoint my son was I mouthing the words and bopping my head. As the first few notes to The Black Eyed Peas cover from Dirty Dancing started to play, of course my oldest daughter (10) asked if I would turn it up, and I heard her singing over the music still. I quickly jumped on iTunes (I waited for a red light) and downloaded the actual song so that I could give her a quick history lesson, as I often do. I explained the movie to her briefly, and with promises to allow her to watch it ending our conversation, I heard the beginning do..dododododo of the song. My music reflexes kicking in, I immediately started swaying and bopping, and before I knew it I had goosebumps on my arms and I was belting out the lyrics, shaking my head, and switching my hips while my kids giggled and laughed and watched. In my head I was remembering how much I used to love that movie, and how I had forgotten just how much I loved the music. I replayed the endless afternoons I pretended to be Jennifer Grey in front of the mirror because of course I knew all of the choreography. That’s when I started to remember the advice within the Live Happy App, so I completely surrendered my thoughts of the present moment and felt the music course through my body. I was amazed that it was a literal feeling, a sensation. I quickly rode the high the memory brought with it, and before I knew it I was overwhelmed with happiness and joy. So much so that for lack of anymore output I began to cry. Not a sad cry, a really happy one, which of course left my kids confused, and probably frightened, I was definitely a sight to watch, what with my arms flailing, body gyrating, and my voice cracking from the tears and laughter as I sang. Anyway when I got to my parents of course I had to download the other songs I liked from the movie, and the whole way home looked very much like the way there, minus the tears. I guess what I am getting at are a few things. The most obvious one being that Music can definitely be an affective form of therapy, whether you are making it or listening to it. The other thing is that I really had no faith in this trying to remember happy times will make you happy bit. It seemed like cheating kind of while at the same time not being a genuine emotion since you are to think of past happiness. Boy was I wrong, you couldn’t get more present moment than I was in the car today.

If anything I guess I learned to put a little bit of faith into something new and foreign to me. Sort of like the saying don’t knock it till you try it…I will without a doubt be journaling my past happy times, and I will put effort into traveling back there when I do it, because although it was in the past, it creates an entirely new memory. Maybe not one as animated as today in the car with my kids, but another memory nonetheless and a happy one at that. If you think about it, it’s a great cycle to create, but I assume the Doctor who had her hand in the App’s creation probably knew that already 🙂

Peace and Love,


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