How we define who we are is often generated by our past experiences. In hospice we often encourage people to share their stories, their “life review”. Humans love stories, oral tradition has been alive since the experience of conversation. Storytellers are found in all cultures, people who would express the experience of their culture. The Bible is full of stories, allegories, to teach us, to help us better understand the human condition, our place and our connection with Spirit.
So often when people who are dying tell me their stories, these are most often the stories of LOVE, moments in their lives that made their life meaningful, deep. The true essence of who they are and will forever be. The focus on LOVE is essential to finding PEACE in our hearts. FORGIVENESS is a path to PEACE.
So, throughout my day, I find sometimes I tell myself stories that are not based in LOVE. I tell myself stories of being wronged, past hurts, unforgiveable slights, painful moments. When I do this, I give power back to those moments, I infuse them with my energy, draining myself. If I focus on stories of LOVE, moments that brought me JOY, I am fed, my soul is full.
Personally, the little voice in my head often likes to conjure up the trials and tribulations that I have endured. The little voice in my head gravitates towards the past that causes me to relive the pain. I now tell the little voice, if you were a friend, a physical friend, I would not want to spend time with you as you my little friend are a downer. This sometimes quiets that little voice. A mute button would also be helpful.
We all have moments of challenges, painful memories, that’s life. Here is where the stories we tell ourselves are so important. Moving through and beyond painful things is essential for our own well-being. The past cannot be changed, only how we relate to it can. Giving energy to a situation that already hurt us, rekindling the fire of pain is pointless. It changes nothing and sucks the JOY from our day. Here is where FORGIVENESS arrives, it is something to practice, like the scales in piano lessons, it gives us a foundation to write a new song, a new and lovely melody that fills us with GRATITUDE. It is a gift to ourselves, it is worth unwrapping. FORGIVENESS is not forgetting, it is releasing the energy that we associate with the story, it is saying, yes this happened, but I no longer focus on it, I no longer feed its effect on me, I release it from my heart to make room for things that enrich my HEART and SOUL. FORGIVENESS is a form of self-care, self-love. Yes, we are worthy, and loveable. When we LOVE ourselves, and care for ourselves, the world responds in kind. Truly FORGIVENESS is the path to PEACE.
Some live a lifetime of regret and only in their last days do they forgive themselves for living. Recognizing how imperfect life can be on some days is a positive reminder of how good life is on many, how fortunate to have potable water, to have food and shelter, to be mostly free from the violence of others and to have free choice.
Thank you for reminding us that being your own best friend is a truly powerful trait to have and embrace.