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Start with Forgiveness

Updated: Jul 24, 2020

Hello and welcome to this glorious Friday, June 5, 2020! Today is a rare and precious day that will never come again. I can’t think of a better day to forgive.

Some of you know that I paint rocks. I’ve never really considered myself much of an artist, but I’ve heard from influential people in my life--Brene’ Brown comes to mind--that creativity is vital in living a meaningful life. Not that I’m any good at it, but I enjoy painting. As an act humility – to remind myself that I’m human and that I do my best – I started decorating our ornamental garden with the rocks I paint. I even gifted a few of them to my family.

A few days ago, I was out watering and appreciating this rare and precious life and I noticed that three of my rocks went missing. A few thoughts came to mind. The first thought was that of impermanence – everything is temporary. Many of the rocks I paint are mandalas. They are no-where near the complexity or quality of the sand mandalas that Buddhist monks create, but mandalas nonetheless. I thought about how the monks must feel to let go of such a beautiful piece of art shortly after finishing. I was working on letting go.

Though the rock-taker didn’t even take some of my better creations, a sad yet kind of angry thought came to mind, “That wasn’t very nice. Why would someone steal these from me?” (Before my mindfulness practice, this would have been my first thought.) Here, I chuckled as visions from my past came to mind. How many things did I take that didn’t belong to me? Oh my, that’s right. Oops. Karma. It was here that forgiveness came to mind.

I’ve learned much about forgiveness in my recovery. In one of my programs, there is a suggestion that we make a list of all our resentments. That was easy. It states in our literature that “Resentment in the “number-one” offender.” This means that harboring resentments while in recovery is responsible for more relapses than any other cause. Resentments are poison! When I first heard this, it scared me. It still does! I don’t want to relapse! But in this step, we don’t just list our resentments, we explore them deeply by looking at our side – how did we contribute to the turmoil?