“To be wronged is nothing unless you continue to remember it.”Confucius
I didn’t know which direction I would go with my writing this morning. I revisited an article in the New York Times that MB sent to me last year. I wasn’t sure I had sufficiently processed and opined about: “The Unexamined Brutality of the Male Libido,” by Stephen Marche. Reading it a year after the climax of #metoo made me sad how much, in spite of many remarkable women winning in bodies of government throughout the country, we are fairly unchanged. In part, I chalk progress being undercut by Trump 11th hour GOP pep rally to the mid-term election. He trumpeted Kavanaugh as a God and victim and squashed women once again. Let me honest, I only work because it’s patriotic. I for one would love to be barefoot and pregnant and submissive to a husband. Oh, yes, it’s what I long for! But then what would happen when more than half of the workforce is removed from the economy, sitting home and spitting out children. Let’s face it. Women get shit done. In their absence, we are stuck with the likes of Donald and all his misogynistic douchebags. So that’s a little heavy for this Saturday morning. My acrimonious tone tells me to sit on that article, the #metoo movement, and let it simmer.
My first this morning, real thought, you know the one when you are talking to yourself? That thought was about choices, specifically the one that I make that sets the tone I set for my day. While I was making my coffee, the thought of some hangers-on from this week came to the forefront of my thoughts and I said, “Karen, dear, you are the only one who can let them go?”
I sat down to write, opened my browser, and there in my momentum dashboard was the Confucious quote: “To be wronged is nothing unless you continue to remember it.” I felt wrong and started to write about gender inequality, but when I reread the quote I was back in the Sierra Nevada Mountains in 2004. Our shaman led us through an exercise that required us to examine our hangers-on, and then to release them. We found a stick in the woods, made it a medicine stick, embellished it with yarn and paint, and then in that anointing and spooling we released the anger we harbored toward others. Two people: Two men were the subject of my medicine stick. We walked to the top of the creek that afternoon, someone beat a drum, we waded through the water, and we let our medicine sticks go. And, according to our shaman, the water would take our hurt and anger away, and return forgiveness.
My medicine stick was stuck in the creek. Guess I was still hanging on. Before we left that weekend, my stick was gone. Mentally, I appreciated the exercise. Physically, I loved the symbolism. Emotionally, I knew I had to keep working it, but that eventually would come. And years later it would. Those two names surfaced and there were no more scars. It did take time. Another decade, to be truthful.
This morning, I realized why I had to keep working it. The fallacy of forgiveness is that when we seek it, that action alone is equal to redemption. I don’t want to outright dismiss forgiveness from our sins and transgressions as unimportant, but I’m kind of leaning that way. What matters is us. What matters is us doing the work, understanding the offense, amending our behavior appropriately, and here it is, wait for it: Forgiving ourselves.
Yes, the fog has cleared. It’s gorgeous outside. Downright balmy at 38 degrees with sunny skies. Clarity is in the air. It is palpable.
Face it, we are human. We are brilliant beings, but we fuck up. We are as generous as we are selfish. And when we really hurt someone, that action is the result of some offense that we have yet to forgive ourselves for. I am recalling it play out, in the perennial arguments with both husbands, the second one telling me I was projecting. Only now in his absence can I acknowledge he was right.
Yes, I loved him. But, I knew I couldn’t fix him. And I married him, just like I did his predecessor. And I hated myself for it. I hated myself for both actions. Today I know, I have no one to blame but myself. Regardless of addictions, etc. It takes two. And I was one of a couple couples. Now, I need to make my own medicine stick and float my ass down the river and forgive myself.
My last thought of this morning has to do with my most important choice this morning: Returning to yoga. This year brought disruption to my yoga practice, from healing from a surgery to a career change. I’ve been writing about barbed wire and foggy moments, and while the weather may mirror my mood, feeling stuck is my fault alone. Yoga provides me a clean sweep. When I was in savasana this morning, I imagined me with a broom sweeping all the hangers-on right off the porch. The dust would dissipate and disappear. A clean porch would help me write. As it did just now. I started this blog about 7 a.m. and I’m finishing it after my morning practice at Essencia. I reconnected with my breath and my body through movement. I reconnected with my spirit through purposeful meditation. I reconnected with my friends through physical touch and laughter. And I spent my savasana acknowledging my wrongs, forgiving myself, and sweeping them away. A clean front porch is a beautiful thing. Happy Saturday!