As we all turn introspective and reflect back on 2017, I’m lingering on a single word that holds more weight than I can bare…
There were times this year when forgiveness felt like a dirty word. Packed with implications of pain, loss and emptiness, it felt like forgiveness meant I would be condoning whatever it was that happened, and opening myself up to more of it. It felt like if I said it all was okay, it would still not be, and I’d be even more empty. After all, how do you give away something when I’ve got nothing more to give?
Forgiveness has been a concept to be avoided adamantly, until I felt damn ready. I felt like Forgiveness was something I needed to create in myself, package up nicely, then deliver like a Christmas gift with good tidings to all those that had wronged me. (How do you deliver a gift box to God/Jesus/Universe, by the way?) The problem, was that there were no goods to be delivered. I couldn’t find the right elements inside myself, or the energy, or as my mother would say, “Chutzpah.” So, there I sat, with my bruises and achy breaky heart- just me and a box full of pain.
The “reckoning day” never came and the box continued to get heavier.
As it turns out there’s never a convenient time for loss, heartbreak or other forms of major life turbulence…or the clean up afterwards. I never did magically wake up jumping into the sunshine shouting “I forgive you Universe! It’s just my Saturn Return, right? Everything is great, now go on with your bad self, I know you’ve got my back!” Happy dance, happy dance, happy dance.
Side note: I’ve researched endless “alternative” explanations and remedies for my “issues” this year and it turns out I’m experiencing my Saturn Return early. Google it, it’ll blow your mind.
I’m coming to understand forgiveness is a choice, and it’s one made only by the strong and brave. It’s far less about being “the bigger person” than I thought. As it turns out, it’s not just another offering to the endless pit of despair that is your pain source- it’s not an offering at all really. It’s more about cutting the ties with the source of pain altogether than offering up anything, box or no box. When you forgive a person, or situation that hurt you, you are free to move on and shift focus to other things. But in oder to forgive, pride has to take a backseat- I’ve struggled with that, but the road humbles me.
I’ve experienced how forgiveness pierces the lining of my inner stubbornness and punctures the exterior armor that wants everyone to think I’m tough as nails and “couldn’t care less about (blank) anymore.” I attached myself to my pain this year, unable to release it…until now.
One of my all time favorite quotes (Liz Gilbert, of course) goes like this: “Maybe my life hasn’t been so chaotic, it’s just the world that is and the only real trap is getting attached to any of it. Ruin is a gift. Ruin is the road to transformation.”
Okay, I hear you Liz. Don’t get attached to anything, or anyone…even my pain-packed past. I’ve walked the ruins this year- literally and figuratively. And now, I’m walking the road to transformation, which I am actively deciding will be the theme of 2018.
Traveling solo has created a vast space for me to heal and reflect. It’s yet another reason I believe we should all take a solo trip in our lifetimes. Roaming around new places solo can help you exist in a near meditative state, completely present. It’s just you and whatever beautiful place lies in front of you. In Explorer Mode, I can’t help but become introspective, reflective, and focused on what matters most: love, laughter, gratitude. People I meet on the road act as my teachers, and for once in my life, I’ve become an eager student.
Here’s something I’ve learned to be true across all cultures: the door to gratitude is barricaded by another that says “forgiveness.” Apparently, you can’t get to one without the other. The happiest people on Earth are not without misfortune- just look at that woman in Panama I wrote about this week. They just have a different outlook, and have forgiven their pain sources, and themselves for imperfection.
Forgiveness of self, others and even the Universes as a whole, feels like the biggest release of my life. It’s not just the flight to the other side of the world that has the healing power, it’s the learning and the sharing. The world has become my classroom, and I show up eagerly, sit in the front row taking notes.
So, all that being said (evolved Heather here)…I am going to forgive 2017 for being such a turbulent a-hole of a year. We all have our moments, 2017, it’s okay. Now, let’s politely hand (not drop!) the mic to 2018 and see what she’s got in store.
I’m ready to explore all that lies ahead, and excited to continue taking you along with me for the ride.
Happy (early) New Year everyone! Sending you all the hugs from Costa Rica.