Whispers of Forgiveness

For me, the guidance so often comes like the softness of a whisper. Just the thought of it reminds me of the moment in the movie ‘Phenomenon’ when John Travolta’s character pauses and looks up at the trees, swaying gently as though the winds are whispering mystical secrets across the branches and through the leaves. 

Forgiveness is the sentiment, the prayer, the truth coming through this week. I’m not someone to hold a grudge, and I can move forward pretty easily. Letting go, cleaning out, creating change…all seem to go ok for me. And although we have been working through the challenge of parenting three teenagers, I truly couldn’t imagine what forgiveness has had to do with it all. And yet….a minimum of three occasions brought the word into my consciousness, with the first two being on the same day. 

I believe forgiveness to be the act of letting go–of blame, of how we wish it could have been, of what we feel was done to us, of what we wanted but didn’t get. I also believe that the Universe is guiding our every step, and although we have free will, there is a path, a purpose we are here to carry out. 

When I looked up forgive in the thesaurus, it seemed pretty clear: ‘stop blame and grant pardon.’ In this particular situation with our son, I have searched within myself to find what it is I need to let go off, to forgive in order to continue healing and moving forward. There’s nothing I’m upset with him for–he’s not harmed me in any way a parent holds onto. What I did realize when the word first began to speak to me, is how tightly I hold onto that little boy image–sweet, loving, needing his parents, finding his every desire fulfilled within the confines of his family. THAT is a difficult thing to release and move past LONG after our children have already chosen to do so. Yes, I’m ready for this next step of our lives, my husband and I together, however I’m becoming very aware of just how much I’m subconsciously holding onto our children–and what was. This is their time to move on, to ‘cut the cord’ so to speak, and to become fulfilled in who THEY are. 

A bit of AHA! in that awareness, yes, and yet the process has continued on–‘there is more releasing to do, Jackie.’ Somewhere within that word–forgiveness–is enfolded another word–‘surrender.’ In order to truly forgive we have to surrender to the Universal truth that there is purpose in EVERYthing. Even when WE cannot see or feel it. And so the journey goes deeper: another strong truth of being a parent is that when our children are unhappy, when something isn’t going quite right, when there are ‘ripples’ in the smooth surface of their lives–without even recognizing what we are doing, we turn the finger toward ourselves. Guilt, sadness, responsibility begin to bear down hard upon our hearts. 

I could tell you with full honesty that we have done our very best raising these three beautiful souls. And yet, my mind knows there will surely be SOMEthing within them that will feel differently at one point or another in their adult life. As humans, we are so programmed that someone else’s unhappiness is somehow OUR fault. The greatest lesson my son is teaching me is that it’s not my job to make someone ‘ok.’ I can’t take responsibility for his happiness–something that is less visible when they’re little and dependent upon us. But these are young adults in my home now–making their own choices, honoring their own desires. It’s no longer mine to choose their next steps. 

And so this is my choice today: to forgive myself for not being able to ‘fix it.’ To release the negative energy of blaming myself for the unhappiness, chaos and struggles of those around me–especially of my children. I know this sounds simple….and I also know it will require the stamina of my soul to acknowledge its truth on a daily basis. Still, I’m choosing it. Forgive. Let go. Honor what IS rather than what I wish it to be. I’m no superwoman, and yet I can see so clearly how I’ve been trying to be. Forgive ME. Release ME. As my light shines, so then do the lights of those around me. When I forgive and release ME, I forgive and release those around me. 

*Thank you to Joss Burnel for her post Forgiveness vs. healing 

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Undoing ‘Good’

The first line of Mary Oliver’s poem, Wild Geese, playing with my thoughts, my heart, my emotions this morning–and quite suddenly. 

‘YOU DO NOT HAVE TO BE GOOD’

It’s one of my most favorite lines of poetry, seared into my consciousness during an intensive with my beloved teacher Andrew Harvey. I loved it as soon as I heard it–felt something release inside myself, liberated. 

Raw, random, personal thoughts fill the space in this post….followed by a pause, feeling, listening, tuning in. What does that mean: ‘You do not have to be good’ ? 

It seems to be a statement to define the unraveling of who we ‘thought’ we were–who I thought I was. 

Every time it comes around again, it feels as though there is a clear shift occurring in my belief system, very visible, very palpably felt. While I’m not yet ready to share the details of this transition, I’m soothed by Mary Oliver’s statement to us all: You do not have to be good. 

Funny how it is, though isn’t it–‘good’–a goal we can chase all our lives and never quite reach it. 

Because it’s a fallacy, an illusion that we have taken on and decided holds our truth. 

Then just as we release one layer of that illusion, another reveals itself–opening the cracks that lead to healing, surrender….wholeness. 

And so it goes….the spiral, the cycle of this journey. Letting go….of ‘being good.’ 

Instead….just BEing. Allowing. 

Thank you, Mary Oliver for sharing such richness and Universal truth. 

My statement to myself this day: I do not have to be good. 

I have only to be ME. And THAT is enough. 

Love’s Post-A-Day

I think I could write a post a day on all the properties, experiences, lessons, joys, heartbreak, inspiration (you get the idea) of love. She comes to us in so many forms, not the least of which is through the cracks in our hearts. Today’s Lesson: Moving past the frustration, through the heartbreak and into the space of love’s purity. 

So often I hear Rumi’s word in my heart: the crack, the wound is where the light shines through. As I laid on my pillow letting tears flow last night, recognizing for the first time with great clarity a deep heart pain, I nearly smiled with the truth of it. Amidst all of this, there is radiant light beginning to seep into through the jagged edges of heartbreak. I know the words, all too well. I’ve watched my mom go through ‘letting go’ of her five children as we grew into adults. Perhaps with little enough appreciation and definitely void of any understanding of what was really occurring in the deepest space of her heart. We give them birth, feeling even then our heartspace cracking wide open with a love we didn’t know was possible. As our children grow, we revel in our ability to provide their needs, nurture their spirit, honor their individuality. Without even giving a thought to the day when they DON’T need us; when we cease to be the center of their world. When the careful work we have done to let them make choices and be who they are suddenly becomes the impetus to a disengagement from their dependence on us. And truthfully my friends – I would have been the last one to expect this of myself, but I must tell you – it hurts like hell. 

I wasn’t prepared – at all – for the level of heartbreak I’m recognizing in myself. Nope, not me. I’ve done deep pain release, letting it all go in cries that come from the darkest places of our insides. I’m good. Ready to go forward with a happy excitement for the next chapter of our lives. I THOUGHT. I was wrong. NOTHING in me was ready for this–for the realization that I’m holding on so tightly I’m creating conflict. I’ve forgotten that I want to LOVE, unconditionally. The pain became the lead, so quietly, covertly–converting into frustration and the belief that I was doing what was ‘best.’ But what I learned a few years back to do with my husband is just what I need to connect with as a mother: just love. Stop waiting for them to become what I see would be good, better, best for them. Stop wanting them to be what they are not. For gosh sakes, Jackie, stop trying to bend the situation to YOUR will. Love. Love them because YOU want to, not because they’re asking, not because they appreciate it–do it for the greatest reason there is: because YOU want to. Because I want to. 

 

Surrender. Let go. Once again, I find myself sitting deep in the center of these words. Follow the truth I believe in wholeheartedly and let this child go. Surrender their well-being to the Universe, who of course is much more qualified than you. Ugh. Dearest friends, I couldn’t see it. I couldn’t find this truth amongst the hurt overlaid with frustration. But I’m feeling it…and finding more peace as the day goes on and it settles in. 

And yet….I know in the core of my being – this is his path. He is fully held in the arms of grace. I’ve said it so many times, haven’t I? Do you believe it Jackie? Yes, yes, I do. Then LET go. 

And love. Just love. I know this harmony so well. Being able to view the situation with a bit more clarity, to release the frustration, to feel the heartbreak….I can find my way into the power of love. SHE will be our guide, now that I’m getting out of the way.

I’m grateful for the gift of clarity, of seeing this situation from a new perspective and reconnecting to a truth I can emulate: BE love. Love because YOU want to….because your heart longs to. xo 

 

Just as You Are

As part of the fall program Revolution4Evolution, I’ve been taking classes and preparing myself to stand fully behind my beliefs that WE are the change. One of the teachers and the visionary behind the program Malathy Drew assured us that this work would shine a light on the places where we have yet to align our actions–our outer world, with our beliefs–our inner world. I understood it when she said it, and could see how that would be absolutely true.

I now find myself LIVING it. Part of what I’m currently working on is creating a short ‘welcome’ video for my new FB page. Loving words as I do, it seems it would be so simple: just sit down, set aside the nerves and talk from the heart. Oh dear friends, it’s not going ‘according to plan.’ Try as I might, there’s something I struggle to move past in this process and the Universe has her own Divine timing. My mind understands the message: BE AUTHENTIC. YOU ARE PERFECT just as you are. And yet, something deeper within has taken on a very different belief and is now wrestling to maintain its hold.

This space is unexpected and unnerving. There’s a great sense of frustration and again–my MIND understands surrender is necessary. But here’s the odd paradox contained within this inner conflict: there’s also a Divine timing in the act of surrender. Just knowing it, realizing it’s needed–these are not enough. There has to be a very profound shift within the interior of oneself that alchemically begins to RELEASE the toxic beliefs and dialogue contained within the shadows of our being.

Something so simple–proving to be painfully difficult. Even while I realize there is a transforming presence in this space, I continue to feel exhausted, frustrated and at odds with it. So often, we are transformed and connected to the Divine through the simplest of our life’s experiences. What feels so ‘small’ becomes enormous when we are facing the truth of ourselves and letting go of remnants from our past programming.

I’ve attached a photo of another of our beautiful, Divine feline companions. Pete was a rescue and has brought to us the energy of being enough ‘just as you are.’ He has no idea one of his eyes is missing. His life is no less filled with love and serenity. Pete is always willing to purr a sweet whispers of love and has a very peaceful and content presence about him. My heart fills with love….and I am reminded that I am already perfect as I am. Time to let go of expectations for it to ‘look’ a certain way–even those I didn’t realize were deeply rooted in my being.

I thank you for allowing me to share with you, and ask for your love and prayers. Just being in this space of allowing the truth to be stated and feeling the power of these words and this experience is healing. I’m certain my heart is whispering….and for me the work is to see and release the layers blocking my soul from hearing. My spirit is willing…and my intention today is to connect to the inner voice and just allow it to be so. Much love to you all…xoxo

Opening Up and Stepping Out

Fears will bind us.  Love will free us.  We know this, we’ve heard it so often as we travel in our circles of connection.  And somehow its reality eludes us until a space of our own inner fear is awakened.  

I’m struck by this truth on this lovely morning, as I contemplate my own journey.  Just a few years ago I recall not wanting to talk about the energy of pure Love I felt so strongly within–out of fear that people would reject it.  Seems so silly now, doesn’t it?  Who would reject LOVE?  And yet, in my own dialogue lived the belief that it was too ‘fluffy,’ too ‘positive’–TOO much!  Looking back now I realize how fearful I was to allow love to flow freely within and without.

Caroline Myss talks about the ego’s fear of humiliation as the chain that holds us in place.  To step fully into the grace of who we are, to allow our spirit to shine as it so naturally desires to, to enter the sacredness of our souls and be at peace with ourselves–we often have to let go of the fear we’ll be humiliated for it.  We have to let go and just trust the Universe holds us in her arms and is always there to catch us, whatever may come.  And here’s what has proven true for me friends: the fear is so much greater than any humiliation that has come.  For in reality, the humiliation enters from my OWN monkey mind.  I was my soul’s greatest enemy in those moments.  It was my own ego that silenced the voice of my spirit.

And here’s what else is true:  to take the risk, to let go, to choose to BE me no matter what may come–incredibly liberating and deeply gratifying.  There is a sense of openness, connection, purity, grace that occurs.  So much so, that I struggle to find the words to define it.  And so I’ll leave it at this:  there is so much love in my heart–in ALL of our hearts–that to contain it closes us off from the sacred journey we are here to travel. 

For in truth, the humiliation transforms into humility of spirit.  We see the greatness of our spirit, and recognize the folly of our ego.  Only when we understand the dance of these two, only when we can fully acknowledge both the shadow and light of our presence do we move forward into empowerment, and one of the greatest gifts offered to us: authenticity.

This is my heart’s desire.  To live authentically, connecting with all of Life, offering the service of my soul to uplift and honor our planet.  This is the seed I choose to nurture.  And the result will be the beautiful, bountiful blossoms of Divine Love.  This is my truth.  I know it’s so because I’m listening and I hear it echoed…in the whispers of my heart…..

Beneath the Emotion

Continuing on from yesterday’s post…

Allowing the emotional flow to breathe and move through my consciousness, there’s a deep well of truth to be learned about myself and my patterns.  Sometimes I forget to love, and indeed get too busy to let myself FEEL how much and how passionately I love.  Even now, I can feel so fully within myself the pure essence of love, and yet, with it comes a bit of guilt that I didn’t show it more while I had the opportunity.  And this is part of what I’m learning about myself–how much guilt I have, take on, create inside.  Then the guilt becomes part of the wall that is unconsciously being built between me and the energy of loving.  It’s beginning to feel a bit complex, isn’t it?  I understand completely.  Somehow, writing it helps to unwind all the twists, turns and knots created by the chaos of my own mind and unhealthy patterns.

If I keep myself in the space of the guilty feelings, I lose the connection to the love that is already filling the “cracks.”  Instead, it becomes a robotic way of thinking:  “I should have, why didn’t I, wish I….”  A deep pool of emptiness from which there is no rescue. 

I’m not choosing to swim in that water.  By becoming an observer to the way my subconscious self is handling the pain of loss, the cracks in my heart and the grief that follows, I’m realizing where I have blindly just moved around my own heartaches rather than through them.  Not this time.  I’m standing right in the middle of it, opening my arms, my heart and my soul to receive the healing that comes through the light filling my emptiness. 

The next piece I’m realizing is my own propensity to begin caring for others in order to not have to feel the sadness.  If I can just take care of them, make sure THEY are ok and have everything they need….then somehow in my twisted monkey mind, I’LL be ok too.  It’s a vicious cycle, a drug of its own.  My addictive habit I’m realizing, although I thought I had kicked it a few years back when I stopped putting myself in the position of always being busy taking care of what I perceived others needed.  I consciously made the effort to take care of ME.  And this my friends, is how our patterns work.  This is how we move through our journey in that cyclical process.  What we feel we have “mastered,” learned or overcome only comes back into our lives through a different route.  Indeed, we have grown through the same “addiction” in another place, through another lens, but then we return to the same truth of ourselves, with new players, a new stage and fresh, vibrant storylines.  The beauty of the process is that with each return, we go a bit deeper in our healing, our self-awareness, our Divine being.

It’s all part of the journey, all forward motion (as forward as we can be while traveling a spherical path)–or perhaps inward motion is a better term, as we are moving deeper into the space of authenticity, where empowerment lives.  We go even deeper from there, to the castle of our soul.  I know for me, I’ll take whatever route needed to get THERE, for that is where I long to be, in the presence of GRACE, Divine love and in communion with Spirit/God.  If it’s through the cracks and harsh doses of self-awareness that I must go to find this place, in the center of myself, then I’m willing to take every step. 

There’s more to what I’m learning, but this is enough for today.  I’m grateful for this process.  I’m thankful for the opportunity to break, to heal, to love.  I’m honored to be here with each of you, who allow me to share the most precious whispers of my heart….xo

Soul Fragments

“Forgiveness is giving up hope that the past could have been any different.” ~ Oprah

Really just take a moment and let your self fully digest this concept. We’ve all learned about forgiveness, but consider the spiritual alchemy of this statement.  “Giving up hope” – something we are not often inclined to do.  Instead we put an enormous amount of energy into hoping, wishing, attracting.  And yet–full reality is we cannot change the past.  So why “wish” it wouldn’t have happened the way it did?  What you have experienced is already imprinted on your spirit and your life–as part of who you are and where you’ve been.  Even if you would not repeat those same experiences, even if you are different today than you were then–the truth remains they are still a part of what makes you YOU.

Let’s begin with how the events of our life shape us, stretch us, grow us and support us in becoming more fully the living essence of the Divine.  We are meant to have challenges, we are meant to experience the fullness of both joy and pain.  The soul has no labels on what transpires in our lives, it is the human mind that creates such storylines.  We are merely players in a Divine play, we are the characters acting out what is meant to inspire, enlighten, empower and move us in our Earth journey.  The soul understands there is a richness in the life of Earth school.  And the soul doesn’t judge what we encounter along the way.

Here’s what happens when we hold onto something past its time in our lives:  the spirit splits, leaving a piece of YOU in that space of time.  You become fragmented and the ability to bring yourself present is challenging if not impossible.  For if you hold onto something from the past, a similar emotion will be triggered in present time, preventing you from being open to what is available to you NOW as you are filled up with hurt, anger, resentment, frustration.  Your cup is too full.  Your spirit is left in a trail over the years of your life and you remain “broken.”

Forgiveness, my friends.  Just letting go of the hope, the wish, the desire for things to have been different than they were.  If you are on this journey, then somewhere inside of you is a belief in the Divine purpose of our existence–ALL of our existence.  We can’t then opt to say, well, Spirit wanted this wonderful blessing for me, but evil forces brought on that negative experience.  And it is we HUMANS who have given these labels of “good” and “bad.”  But that’s a whole other day’s discussion….

Here’s what’s true:  We grow as fast as we choose to.  Can you choose to forgive?  To let go, to accept your life experiences as part of your necessary journey to embrace the beautiful Divine spirit you are?  It’s a choice.  How ready are you to make it?

Begin with the things you can let go of, taking the time you need to work through this process.  Write down all that you know you’re holding on to still, and then allow yourself to go on and write the things you weren’t aware of; once you begin, it will flow naturally.  And then, start where you can, the places you’re ready to acknowledge as part of your journey.

Don’t forget to include the forgiveness you need to give yourself.  Turn inward and find compassion for who you were then, understanding we are constantly evolving and today you might choose differently.  Find love for yourself as you hold the greatest power there is to love YOU.  Your soul knows it, your heart feels it.  Listen……for if you allow it, you will hear it in the gentlest of whispers……