“Forgiveness comes from acceptance. When we can accept all that occurs into our hearts then the fullness of true forgiveness can be felt.”
By Grace there has been
a fierce love of life,
love of love,
love of truth,
planted in the heart
as a tiny tender seed.
That seed grows
in the soil of mess and muck,
where unmet and unseen
feelings of life live.
Where the hardship and sorrow,
fear and loneliness,
doubt and confusion,
lack of self love
and self acceptance
Yet that hardy seed still grows.
Not in spite of, but because of.
It finds its roots, its stem, its leaves
in amongst depression and grief,
hopelessness and despair,
and it used them as fuel
for a it’s tender blossoming
fruit and flower.
That seed grows into a mighty oak.
And that oak knows the true meaning
of unconditional love and acceptance.
That oak knows its Self.
Its fruition may have been hard won,
fought in the mud and messiness of life.
But in that messiness
was found to be true harmony.
It was found to be all.
It was found to be Self.
It was found to be HOME.
“Unconditional acceptance heals all sense of wrongness and shame.”
Before you judge and condemn another no matter how bad or wrong you feel they may be, take a moment to see where they are coming from. Take a moment to listen, to feel. Take a moment to listen and feel where you are coming from too – no matter how justified your anger might feel in the moment… just take a moment, take a breath.
We all have the capability to act in ways that are hurtful and harmful. We all have the capability to act out of fear, misguidance and misunderstanding. We all have the capability to lash out and act out when we’re feeling threatened or scared, unheard or unloved.
I don’t believe that human beings are fundamentally bad. Each and every one of us is striving, however imperfectly for love, is striving for acceptance, is striving for happiness, is striving for peace, is striving for inclusivity and oneness. We are striving for the same thing, all of us.
We may go about it in f****d up ways. We may go about it in ways that to the outside world don’t match up to ideas of what that search should like. We may go about it in ways that actually bring about the opposite reaction and consequence from our actions… but nonetheless I believe every person comes from a place of this fundamental search for love and acceptance.
This love may be distorted and contorted so much so that it now only resembles hate, but please take a moment to really consider this – are we all not deserving of a chance, a chance to be loved even though we may not yet know how to love in return?
I know this is hard to hear. But your judgement does nothing to solve the problems of this world. Your judgement does nothing to help. Your judgement brings just more divisiveness, your judgement brings less love not more love to the table.
Judgment and hate breeds more of the same, but with love there is room for it all. With love there is a chance for a flower to bloom in the wake of destruction. Unconditional love breeds redemptive love.
Just to be clear, I’m not sitting here judging your judgement. And I’m not sitting here saying you should sit silently by while others do harm. I’m sitting here saying that while I may even strongly agree with what you’re pointing to… I encourage you to maybe try a different way, a way that encourages, a way that has compassion and understanding for the other. A way that leaves room for people to mess up and make mistakes, yes even big ones, but leaves a chance to grow, and change, and learn. A way that leaves a path back home, to love, to self, to acceptance.
We can have room for both in hearts – the not putting up with, or turning a blind eye to cruel, harmful and unjust behaviour AND the compassion, love and understanding for that person who is acting in those ways.
There will always be differences in experience, there will always be those that act in ways you can’t condone, ways you can’t abide by, but before we write them off as a person because of their actions, can we seek to understand why first? Can we give them, and ourselves a chance at love and acceptance first?
Because this is how I believe change truly happens, with love not with hate. With compassion not judgement. With connection not exclusion. With understanding not assumptions. With acceptance not rejection.
A video excerpt from the June 14th Sunday Zoom Group.
The questions that were asked were:
Are you always good with what life asks from you?
Do you still like the change or development?
Details of the Sunday Zoom Groups and other events can be found on the ‘events’ page.
The YouTube link to this video: https://youtu.be/tg6saIOIzTo
Transcript of Excerpt
I’m always sort of advocating and saying how important I feel acceptance is in life. That acceptance of what is. But what does that look like practically speaking, when life is sometimes asking something of you, as it invariably does. Asks you to drop something that’s not working anymore. Or step up to something that quite clearly your life is moving in that direction. And then you get things like resistance coming in and you get the mind kind of analyzing and going, “should I do this? Should I do that?” But this is the way life is moving and so that question sort of sparked this feeling of you know, it’s very well and good saying you should accept whatever is coming up in your life. But does that mean that you don’t have resistance? That you don’t have doubt? That you don’t have a sense of, “I don’t want this.” Does it mean I have those things?
You know, people assume that awakening means you don’t. You don’t deal with these issues anymore, you don’t question life. You just have this deep acceptance. And yes, while that is very true, it doesn’t mean on a practical relative surface level, that you don’t come up against those things. That I don’t come up against those things, I do. I do struggle with life sometimes where I see the inevitability of something, and yet there’s something still in me that is like, “boy, this feels uncomfortable.” Or, “I didn’t imagine this for myself.” And then there’s a sense of maybe grief that comes up, or sense of resistance or struggle with that. Now, it’s all held in this bigger space of acceptance. Even the resistance, even the doubt, even the railing against life. Is still all held in that love, in that acceptance, in that compassion for life. But yeah, do I still struggle with these things? Of course.
Sometimes life is asking something of you that feels too much. That feels like the small human brain can’t comprehend where this step leads to the next step to leads to the next step. And all it can see is this doesn’t make sense. In all this it feels… it’s not just about the mind, it’s about the body, is the body ready?
So yeah, I very much do. And I think people assume that if they’re… and this is why I’m bringing this up, because they assume that if they’re going through a struggle, that they’re the only ones that possibly could be going through that. And if they’re going through that struggle or they’re going through that resistance or whatever it is, that they’re going through, that makes them “unenlightened”, that makes them, “not conscious” and not doing the work and all of these sort of ideas and these projections that if I’m experiencing this, it means… it could even go as far as to say it means I’m a lost cause. I’ve had people come to me and say “I’m a lost cause because I experienced this” and, and I say “No, see that there’s a bigger acceptance in this picture. See that there’s a bigger place of compassion and acceptance and love that has room for even all of this stuff, this very sort of human experiences. To not assume that you’ve somehow got to wipe the slate clean in order to recognize your own nature. All of this stuff happens within that.”
As for the second part of the question, Do I still like change or development? Like?! Oi!
Again, it’s both. Do I like it? Sometimes it’s not comfortable. So no, in those moments sometimes I really don’t. But there’s a bigger picture. And this is where I say both, and because there’s always a bigger picture. Yes, there’s acceptance and there’s acknowledgement of those individual fluctuations in life, let’s call them. Change is inevitable. You can’t escape change. Does it stop with awakening? No, not at all. I used to think it would actually. I had this grand vision that, you know, awakening would be like, “that’s it, we’re done.” And I actually found the opposite.
Change and growth are inevitable and actually the brakes come off because the strategy to avoid that change, it dissolves, it disintegrates, it doesn’t hold up. But it doesn’t mean I’m always totally on board with it. On a deeper level, absolutely. But on the surface level, does frustration come up? Yeah. Because life asks of us sometimes things which feel impossible. Asks us to let go of something which feels very dear to us. Our sense of who we are. Our image of ourselves. The sense that we’re in control. Many things, there’s many things.
So even if those things are coming up in you, or any number of other things are coming up in you, it’s okay. Can you even accept that? Can you fold even those things into that level of acceptance and that recognition of life being as life is. To not have expectations of life is a really difficult one. To be in life, with life, in communion with life rather than having ideas of what life should or shouldn’t be.
We’re not in control of what life calls of us. Even this idea of you can avoid something. Life has sort of got an inevitability about it. It’s in the mail. Even if we think we’re successfully shoving something under the carpet there’s an inevitability about it. That at some point life will cycle background and ask that of us. To see that. To integrate that. To accept that.
“May your dis-ease be lessened as you come to see that life holds you in her arms tenderly.”
“If something comes along in your experience don’t try to resist, fix, or get rid of it. Instead just see it as passing content in awareness (you). Release the tendrils of identification, let whatever is BE, stay rooted in your heart not your head. Questions will cease to need answering as the heart is a place of acceptance and inclusion of all that arises.”
‘Peace chaser’ is what I sometimes refer to the phenomena of someone seeking for the outward to always be peaceful so that THEY can then feel like a peaceful and spiritual person (I was one of those trust me….big time…). Spoiler alert: It’s a trap, it’s a red herring, it’s the opposite of freedom, of liberation. It’s a gilded cage of maintaining and trying to keep hold of peace as a ‘thing’. It’s mood making rather than a sign of true spiritual awakening. True peace is not a ‘thing’ to be maintained, it’s not a persona to adopt or a lifestyle to achieve.
It’s a natural misunderstanding, that yearning for peace and looking for it as an experience. It’s not wrong – the intention is good, the search for lasting peace and happiness. It’s where someone’s had a taste that that peace (non-suffering) is possible and so there’s a perfectly natural sense of “I want that, that’s what I’m after – peace”. But unfortunately it’s trying to put the cart before the horse and create what the mind THINKS is peace in the environment rather than ACTUAL abiding peace in the heart.
It’s looking at peace as a prescription to fulfil, not peace as a description of life when lived in and as your nature.
Because peace isn’t quietness and literal silence, peace isn’t calmness and non-action, peace isn’t about not rocking the boat ever again. Peace is not true abiding peace unless it’s there even in the midst of a heated fight, or even when there’s disturbances and constant change. Can you be at peace WITH these moments and what is being fully experienced? Can you be at peace even when the entirety of your life seems messy and complicated and falling apart at the seams? Can you discover the kind of peace that is not dependant on anything in life looking a certain way? Can you discover the kind of peace that doesn’t come and go? (Don’t get me wrong, if temporary peace is all that is available it’s not to turn our noses up at that either… it just will ultimately be unsatisfactory and transient)
True peace isn’t something you can attain and maintain. True peace is a description of something you ARE when you recognise your nature and you recognise the nature of life. It’s a description of the discovery of acceptance and love for WHAT IS – yes ALL. OF. IT. (even if it’s only on a bigger picture level with non-acceptance and resistance showing up in your experience too).
“What? So should I ditch the meditation/practice/technique that makes me feel more peaceful?”
No, not at all – Meditation or spending time quietly, silently, looking inwardly, practicing non-attachment, helps us to see our nature; Awareness that knows all of this, awareness that experiences the mind and all phenomenal content – thoughts, feelings, physical sensations, ‘outside world’ – all of it. Meditation etc. parts or clears the clouds enough so we can see the sky (ourselves – awareness/consciousness/divine nature/god). This feels peaceful not because we’ve gotten rid of the content but because we aren’t grabbing on to said content – we see that we are PRIOR to that content, aware of that content, and we accept that it IS coming and going as this is its nature and we see that WE (awareness) are the only stable constant. We are then able to enjoy (love) this content again because we’re not trapped in the grasping and wanting it to be different than it is – than its nature is.
So peace is a natural byproduct of what happens when there is a deep deep deep surrender and genuine love and acceptance of life in all its forms. Peace is the fragrance of life lived in alignment with the nature of life. Peace is the flavour when we (ego-mind) are not at war with life. Peace is the love and celebration of life – yes even the celebration (acceptance) of the yucky difficult stuff – awareness makes no distinctions! Peace is NOT just a peaceful experience.
So if you’re going to chase something… don’t just chase peaceful experiences… use that opportunity to discover who is the one that experiences this all.
A Deeper Kind of Love – Video excerpt from the Living Your Full Expression webinar with Imogen and Leonor on 22nd February 2020.
“Coming to terms with and accepting all expressions of your self is not to underestimated…”
“Can you accept even your non-acceptance in this moment?”
“Grokking the Truth of our nature is vital for the dawning of freedom from affliction and suffering. But without love and acceptance it won’t be heard in the heart, just in the mind of knowledge and concepts. Let your heart open fully to your experience; where your heart goes your mind will follow.”
I invite you into the fire of life
where the light burns so brightly
on all that is.
The uncomfortable and unfathomable
truth and rawness of this moment
is inescapable and unyielding
leaving no choice but to surrender.
The fire burns bright tonight
and with this
the ground shifts beneath your feet.
The stability that felt hard won
is gone in an instant
taking with it
all sense of knowing
all sense of certainty.
Your heart burns bright
with all possibilities
All that is
all that was
all that can be
held in the infinite fiery embrace
of this moment.
Resistance is futile here
for there is space for it all.
Yes even resistance itself.
The heart surrenders
the fever breaks
and with it
a sense of awe and wonder
that even this
can be included
in your story
Awakening is like having a constantly breaking open heart that you never need put the pieces back together. It’s the acceptance and the self love to stay broken open and to see the immense beauty and power of that – to stay in the ‘only don’t know’ without the need to gather it all up into knowing again.
To meet others we first have to be willing to meet ourselves. To meet ourselves doesn’t just mean to meet the bits we like or are proud of and ignoring those aspects that we wish weren’t there. To meet ourselves means to meet it all, embrace it all, learn to love and accept it all. How can we expect to be met and to meet others if we’re not even willing to go there ourselves.
It not an easy journey, learning to meet all parts of ourselves but the process lightens the load and brings peace and freedom into the heart. We’re then no longer in a cage of avoidance and denial, we’re no longer afraid of what lurks in our shadows because we bring light to it all, we bring love to it all. We bring space so there’s room for it all.
For some the idea of bringing all of ourselves, even our shameful dirty hidden parts out into the light of awareness all at once will feel like too much of a task, too big, too soon. Maybe thoughts will come like “It’s too overwhelming. I don’t know where to start. I don’t even know where to look.” But it doesn’t have to be a big one shot deal, it can be softly, softly, slowly, slowly approach. It doesn’t even have to be a big digging expedition, just start to soften this very moment, lean a little bit more into something that’s arising for you, find the low hanging fruit. Sit with the discomfort as if it were a friend in need, sit with it for a little longer. Bring a tender arm of embrace to your anger or your loneliness, your self hatred or your unmet needs, your sadness, your shame. If it all feels like too much too soon, just find a crack, find a moment where your gentle loving awareness can shine some light and some love on a dark corner. Is there something in you that you previously rejected that you can meet with acceptance instead?
There is nothing in life that is unworthy of love, unworthy of acceptance despite what the mind might say. So the greatest gift we can each give this world right now is meeting ourselves fully so that we may meet others fully in turn. This is how we can heal both individually and collectively. When we allow space for it all, we can move from a place of love and understanding. Instead of feeling unheard, unseen and in turn not hearing and seeing others, can we move from a place of not trying to fix but from a place of real hearing and non-judgment? From here we’re able to offer comfort and even a helping hand that is needed, and not some misguided fix or judgement that we deem applicable before we’ve really taken the time to listen.
This holiday season, give yourself and others the gift of loving presence and the freedom the be exactly as you/they are: love without the binds of judgement – acceptance.
“Love is one of the sweetest expressions of life, its fragrance is one of openness and acceptance.”
Q: Can you tell me how to get rid of attachment and aversion?
It’s not about eliminating (getting rid of) anything but seeing that it’s all arising in you – consciousness. This is awakening. Experiential focus or identity is shifted from the foreground (phenomena) to the background (consciousness). When this is recognised to be true in your experience the need for elimination of ANYTHING disappears. All is accepted as an arising in you, and this is true freedom. From this, peace is found and suffering is eliminated. Suffering is the lack of acceptance of WHAT IS.
Let me give an example to illustrate why this recognition is actually the most fundamental recognition of awakening.
Just as the clouds appear and disappear in the sky, phenomena (thoughts, feelings, sensations, etc.) are appearing and disappearing in you. Is the sky any less the sky just because it has clouds, or a storm in it? No. Are you any less YOU if there’s something arising in you? No.
We become either attached or averse because we mistake the phenomena for ourselves. We believe we are good or bad, right or wrong if we have certain experiences (phenomena) showing up and so we try to keep or get rid of these things. Consciousness makes no distinction, consciousness is ALL that shows up, ALL THAT IS. No separate piles of good consciousness to keep and bad consciousness to get rid of, no separation at all – just a continuous flow and play of life appearing as different forms and experiences.
It’s only the limited human ego (mind) that judges and says what should or shouldn’t be. If you can see through this and understand experientially (not just intellectually) that this is the futile continuous hamster wheel of the mind, you’ll come to the end of needing life to be anything but WHAT IT IS. You’ll see that the peace, freedom and stability that you seek is in fact right here when the seeking is dropped. When the hands of life let go of the grasping for what ISN’T and accept what IS.
Keep quiet, let all judgements cease, and what you are left with is what is. If this can be accepted into your heart, then you are free, then even if attachment or aversion show up… they will be seen as yet another phenomena arising in YOU, consciousness YOU. And the beauty of it is… you need nothing to be what you ARE.
“Crack open the shell of certainty and let the beating heart of life blossom.”
- Letting go of a specific image of safety and security is so tricky. But life calls this of us again and again when we get too comfortable putting our stability and sense of security into objects and ideas that in their fundamental nature can’t provide that for us except temporarily.Can you find your home, your safety, your energy and the warm embrace of love in something far more stable… your SELF?It’s to deepen and sink fully into that recognition and then all the other phenomena can and does come and go without the ‘need’ for you to depend on the ephemeral for any derived sense of stability and peace. Find that which is unchanging in your experience and it will lead you home to an unshakable okay-ness and acceptance of all that Grace presents you with on your path of life. True freedom.
“Unconditional acceptance heals all sense of wrongness and shame.”
One of the biggest helps for me to move beyond my conditioned responses and traumas and to heal and integrate them has been learning how to cope with strong and intense emotions – which for the record I was pretty fantastic at avoiding for most of my life!
I would say that when all the strategies for avoiding no longer worked the only way to turn was through and into them. It was a case of let go or be dragged but turning into them was definitely the last thing I would have originally thought would be of help, go figure ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
For me this was learning to hold emotions and energetic arisings like you would a small child in a loving embrace, to pull them closer and say, “It’s okay you can be here. I don’t need you to change or be gone, you don’t need to be fixed or healed. You can be just as you are for as long as you need. You are also free to leave if and when you’re ready to as well.”
It was Adyashanti that first introduced me to this idea of embracing not running away from difficult experiences. To lovingly hold what is arising tenderly closer than close in my heart with the deepest compassion and patience, to let whatever is showing itself to just BE. And in this way whatever is coming up in the moment gets to be fully heard and met, not cut short or rushed but just patiently allowed for as long as needed. There’s no waiting or willing anything to be gone, just the full acceptance that if it’s there, then it needs to be there. To unconditionally allow, accept and embrace with compassion and tenderness.
And so in this I have learnt to not run, to not avoid, to not change or reject, or try to morph, transmute or even heal anything. But to just innocently and patiently accept and love anything that can and does show up in the field of experience.
This was and is one of the most powerful tools in my tool box of life, allowing me to come to a place of deep peace and okay-ness with whatever shows up. I’ve also noticed over time this has spontaneously become a big part of how I meet others too, it’s seeped in not as ‘something I do’ but as a by-product of meeting myself this way continuously. The work started with me.
I know there’ll be those of you well versed in non-dual teachings that will ask “yes, but WHO does the work?” So let’s not be coy and beat around the bush…. yes there’s no ‘I’ to ‘do’ the work but you can be damn sure that nonetheless the work sure does show up to be done! And for me it was almost as if that work could only really truly begin in earnest once the false ownership of ‘I’ was let go of and the inevitable flow of life came rushing in.
I don’t have any method of teaching or techniques to hand out, but if I were asked what was most helpful to me where the rubber meets the road in terms of the practical embodiment of life; the act of tenderly embracing whatever showed up was the most pivotal turning point of my experience. Whether you take that as a prescription or a description… I leave that to you to discover.
Do not shrink into smallness
Let yourself roar and feel fully into your inherent power.
Your power is found in the courage to be you,
to fully present ALL of you.
To cease with the judgements and accept all of your wholly divine messy humanness as your own.
To not second guess and hide yourself for fear of shame and judgement from others.
To let them see you, really see you in all your glory, in all your power.
Power is not an ‘evil’ blunt instrument that gets indiscriminately wielded around.
Power has many faces.
Power is found in full on vulnerability and openness
Power is found in the soft tenderness of heart
Power is found in the depths of sadness and heartbreak
Power is found in all the bits of yourself you can’t yet met
Power is found when living on the knife edge of exploration
Power is found saying no in order that you follow your yeses
In love and acceptance, there power resides.
So don’t be afraid to stand in your power.
Don’t be afraid to turn up to your life in a completely unapologetic way.
Own your power, don’t shy away from it.
When we experience a strong emotion or felt response to life there is a call to be present, a call to sink into it. It’s not the moment to run away and avoid. It’s not the moment to reject and try with all your might to change the course of life. Life is giving you a gift, an opening, the natural call to Self, the great unknowing by which all becomes known, accepted and loved. Don’t be afraid, the call into the unknown is the call home, the call to the ground of your Being, it’s the natural call of freedom and peace. In this moment attention is your true power, your place of healing. The only doing is the seeing, is the accepting. Tender loving attention embracing the aliveness of life.
Many of us have experienced trauma and hurt from abusive, harmful or dysfunctional relationships of all descriptions and types in our lives. I bow at your courage to try and move beyond it and heal. Equally if you’re not quite there in your journey that’s okay, I honor that too. I feel conversations about this topic are so vital so that we can explore these sorts of things together, both individually and in a broader sense within our communities and society at large. This is where I think healing happens, through open dialogue and exploration and I believe a lot of healing needs to happen overall as the world seems to have a lot of traumatised people who in turn perpetuate and carry on this cycle. Shutting the conversation down isn’t the answer, opening it up is, even though it opens up those wounds. Those wounds need to be seen and given some TLC to be healed so that the cycle can finally come to an end.
But it doesn’t mean it’s an easy topic to talk on, the courage and vulnerability it takes to even go into this subject from any angle (and as reader or writer) is not to be underestimated. We each have our own unique path through the hurt and healing that life shows us and I just want to encourage each of you to listen to yourself as far as what to take or leave in my words. I only aim to speak from my own perspective and experience here, which I’ll try to keep as broad as possible, but it doesn’t mean this is (or should be) YOUR experience. Honor your own journey and path.
Where To Start
I’ve had first hand experience of being in relationships where there’s a harmful or dysfunctional dynamic, the damaging effects of this had a deep effect, effects I’m still healing from. That healing has gone through many cycles and in some ways I was reluctant to put this out into the public domain because while this is certainly a part of my past, it’s not necessarily where I am today. Nevertheless, it does provide some context to my journey and possible a different perspective for yours…
So how did I broadly go about healing from this type of dynamic?
Well firstly recognition was key for me. Seeing it. That Ah-ha moment came quite late on for me after an off-hand joke someone made about abusive dynamics and suddenly it was like someone had turned a light on and the room that I was standing in lit up completely. Up until that point I had been so ‘in it’ that while I knew there were some major issues, I had tended to blame myself as the relationship itself offered no validation to what I was feeling. So this was the first thing for me, acknowledging and see that it was a dynamic, both an external and internal (conditioned super-ego) dynamic that had come about through that person’s wounds and their own conditioning.
[I just want to interject here and say I believe we all have wounds and conditioning that we can quite easily lay down on another, it’s for each of us to break and heal from this cycle. So in this way, I don’t blame this person now, although at the time of this Ah-ha I very much did. I actually believe that’s was a healthy thing for me at the time: “It’s you not me,” as this was part of the problem, them always blaming the other and never taking any responsibility.]
Initially it was impossible to get the kind of closure, validation and accountability I sought, and that I felt I deserved from them. I had to actually walk away, unhook and focus on myself and my own healing in the broader sense. So sometimes the most closure, and therefore the peace is in the realisation and acceptance that you can’t get closure, and then in time this becomes all the closure you need.
How I came to this is I asked myself is who is this need for closure and resolution really hurting, them or me? The answer was ME and ultimately what I wanted was not to hurt anymore. I had tried going down the route of reasoning, explaining how I felt and trying to ‘fix’ them, showing them their wrongness of their actions & ways many times, but the first real step of healing for me was disconnecting. Physically disconnecting but also very importantly, mentally and emotionally.
I was perpetuating the hurt within myself by having my attention on them and their wrongs rather than my emotions, feelings and thought patterns in their own right. The only thing in this equation that I really could and should be focusing on was ME.
Focusing on how to stand in my truth and not give into the conditioning that I had taken on in life that was so destructive. For me it really meant learning to not be afraid of my emotions or the physical sensations and thoughts that came with them. Learning to life fully, even if it meant falling flat on my face. Learning to stand in my own emotions, not suck them up in favour of someone else’s needs.
This mean also learning to give space to the parts of me that I hated, ignored or felt shouldn’t be there, even embrace them like I would a small child – this was a big part of that, learning to be tender and forgiving of myself. This helped me to learn that whatever reared its head, that was okay, I was a big enough space to let it pass through me. In this way I found acceptance and love of myself and all that I had gone through in life. I stopped making any affliction or troublesome thoughts and emotions that I was going through wrong, even the meta feeling of wrongness. I had to learn to love myself and recognise that I was important, deserved to be seen and loveable, even though I wasn’t ‘perfect’ and I made mistakes. This wasn’t a quick or easy processes by any means.
The Road of Forgiveness
Later down the road forgiveness was also necessary for me to fully be free and ultimately be at peace. And for that I need to come to a deeper level of understanding, which is partly what that ‘Being Human‘ piece was talking to, that we ALL have deep and dark areas of ourselves, we are ALL capable of deep and destructive hurt whether it’s on purpose or not. That goes for hurt of ourselves AND others as the way I see it our hurt to others is often (but not always) a reflection of our own inner world and vice versa.
Damaged people (can) cause damage to others. So from the tender shoots of this recognition I believe forgiveness and ultimate healing can come about. As difficult to accept as this might be, I feel every person is doing their very very very cutting edge best in any given moment. And sometimes that best is just not good enough, but it’s still their best. Their actions may be coming from their own deep wounds and trauma, leading to the inability to act from anywhere else. To leave room for this possibility is to leave room for that possibility in ourselves too.
You might be thinking, “Well for some it comes out of a conscious ‘choice’ to act in a harmful way,” but even in this I feel we always have to eventually go deeper. What made them feel that they needed to act in this abhorrent way? Defensiveness, fear, lack of love, low self-esteem so that hurting another made them feel bigger, better? The list goes on and on. For me these dynamics seem to come from a deep seated sense of lack, lack of love, lack of security, lack of control and if you’ve been badly conditioned and taught to look to fill and fix this sense of lack in destructive ways… well we see what happens all over the place.
I want to be VERY clear. I am NOT talking about letting someone off the hook and saying “Oh they were hurt or damaged, that means I have to forgive them and excuse them.” I’m also NOT saying that you have to be physically or emotionally in relation to them. NO!! I’m saying that it is possible to hold the seeming paradoxes inside of you – The acknowledgement and self validation that “Yes what happened happened and it was destructive and horrible.” But ALSO that we are all human and we all make mistakes and act in ways that are less than. This understanding helped me to realise those final hooks of hurt and move into a new era of healing.
We all have to have accountability to ourselves and others but also forgiveness. We need to be able to acknowledge wrongdoing but also move on – in others and also ourselves. Without both of these aspects healing is difficult.
Like I said in that ‘Being Human’ article, we all have a darkness and a light inside of us. It’s part of the lived experience of being human. No one is exempt. Those who show most compassions to others often have accepted this in themselves. When we hide from our darkness we put it in shadow, we make it unconscious. When it’s unconscious it pops up in the most unexpected and often violent ways, like a hole in a cracked bucket. You plug the hole but then the water bursted and breaks through the cracks anyway.
At least if we can see our darkness, we’re aware of it, awake to it, then we can know it’s shape, it’s boundaries, we can work with it, not against it – we can accept it. Which is why I encourage others to see this in themselves, to not be blind, afraid or ashamed of these darker aspects of our human experience.
Root Out Any Conditioning
I do also have one practical thing that was of help to me and may be of help to you, but always measure any advice (mine absolutely included) against what feels right for you – stand in YOUR TRUTH, listen to yourself.
So my ‘advice’ as it were: Root out any implanted conditioning or views that this person or persons has laid on you. Those doubts, those fears, those uncertainties of who you are or what is right or wrong. Root them out, question if they’re true. Question if they’re your actual views or something that you’ve taken on without question, taken on as an assumption of Truth. Was it their projection and their own wounds being laid on you, or were they pointing out something in you that is actually true and that you feel yourself? Being able to tell the difference and throw out those untruths can be very healing and I believe totally necessary.
I still on occasion have that little voice of the super-ego that was actually just their conditioning implanted in me, telling me I am this or that, I should behave and do this or that in x,y or z way. Without identifying and rooting those out you can find yourself still stuck in a cycle of self abuse, even though the ‘abuser’ is long gone.
Healing is possible, but it’s YOUR healing, not theirs. Take care of yourself, learn to love yourself, learn to accept yourself.
This is part of your story, it’s part of what makes you you right here, right now. You can’t cut it out, but you don’t need to wear it like a badge of honour for the rest of your life either. Can you forgive and accept yourself for falling for it, for letting yourself be in that situation? Can you grow and move beyond it, free from it but still grateful for the lessons it taught you?
I know this is a difficult and painful processes. I’ve been through it intimately and am still learning and growing from it. Today I find myself with gratitude to all my life lessons. Would I like to go through them again? Hell no! But I also see that they made me into who I am, warts and all. They made me seek freedom and peace, they helped me to find true happiness, they brought me to a clarity that wasn’t there before.
Like I said earlier, please do only take what feels true to you. I offer no advice here, just a perspective on part of my journey and how it unfolded. None of this is easy, it’s messy, there are no right answers.
In my travels it’s become very clear to me that to talk about acceptance is to talk about love, and to talk about love is to talk about acceptance. They are one and the same. They are the key to peace and freedom. They are the key to the recognition of your own nature. They are the key to everything. And they are happening right now, right under your nose – whether you recognize it or not.
When you fall in love with another person you accept that person, you accept their differences, you accept who they are. Similarly when you love an aspect of yourself, you accept that aspect of yourself. Equally, when you hate an aspect of yourself you are attempting the futile rejection of that part of yourself. In this way love and acceptance are seen as synonymous.