We have all heard it before: “Forgiveness is the key to happiness.”
In Luke 23:34 we find the words, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
A Course Miracle also invests a great amount of time discussing the importance of forgiveness with statements like, “Forgiveness paints a picture of a world where suffering is over, loss becomes impossible and anger makes no sense. Attack is gone, and madness has an end,” in lesson 249.
Life can be challenging some times. Our bodies can feel dense and our minds quickly become filled with limiting thoughts. Then we add in the never-ending political campaigns and 24/7 ‘news’ being blasted at us, and soon the sensations of being attacked roll through. Like a cold front on a late summer’s day, these conditions are just right for a storm.
For me, there are situations in which ‘right’ is very clear – offering assistance to a wayward animal, lending a helping hand to those feeling overwhelmed, or taking a stance with a bully. However, there many more times when the concept of ‘right’ is very ambiguous. The idea that three lefts do make a right comes to mind here. The most direct route might be to take a right, but if you miss that turn, often times three lefts will also get you where you want to go; it just takes a little longer.
In my teens and early twenties, I seemed to have perfected the art of three-lefts.
I wielded harsh words, acted out, and explored with substances in an effort to numb my experiences. These choices led to some scary incidences and kept my guardian angels on high alert. Anyone that tried to steer me in the right direction was indiscriminately ripped to shreds in the blink of an eye. I would disconnect with these earthly advisers and dive right back into self-sabotage mode.
Today, I still struggle with situations where I have experienced the ‘wrong’ way to navigate life’s challenging moments. I want to spare others by sharing the wisdom gleaned from my ‘wrong’ ways – but, just like me, they are focused on their own right way. A wise man once told me that, “the smartest person is the one that can learn from another’s mistakes.” We can choose to fight for our right or we can decide to support those that are ‘wrong’.
Each time we impose our right on others, it has a weight.
I am working to become aware of my own arguing, defensiveness or feelings of defiant behavior. When the awareness rises I try to pause, breathe and ask myself: Is this right worth the weight? What is the impact of me imposing my right? Is this a safety concern or a chance support the ‘other’ while they find their own right?
As I make my way through the joyful role of parenting, I find that I am trying to share the same things with my daughter that my family tried with me. It takes great effort from me to listen to her words without the taste of disdain and regret from own youth. I will admit that this is exhausting some days. The amazing thing is that she seems to be much more open to the wise man’s ways than I was at her age.
Our rights add up and the weight compounds. Often, by the time we reach forty-something, we find that the burden of this load is more than we can bear. Forgiveness for ourselves and others is a powerful tool. Some of the forgiven rights may be like a grain of sand while others offer such a relief that the body finds a renewed spring in the step.
When my words and actions follow my heart, the right is worth weight for me. Lending a hand to someone is well worth the weight of a arriving at home a few minutes later. Offering a hug, cup of tea and time to chat with a dear friend in a time of need is worth the weight of getting up an hour earlier to finish the tasks that were put on hold. Being kind lightens the load of all the other bullshit in this world.
However, when I feel judgement rise up, notice my hand on the hip, or observe my finger wagging – the weight will be a burden that I do not wish to carry. For me, these are physical indicators that I am imposing my right. Verbally there may be cues like “because I said so” or “it is not up for debate, just do it”. Emotionally I can feel anger percolating in my gut. The practice of awareness is just that…practice. If I can bring focus to these areas, the weight of my right will shift.
How do you discern between ‘my way or the highway?’
When is it appropriate to speak up or walk away? I can’t answer these questions for you. Only you know what is right for you. I encourage you to be brave enough to lean into the possibilities of exploring the load you are carrying? What is the weight of your right for others?
I leave you with this question – Is this right worth the weight?
And when you are ready to try forgiveness, this affirmation may be helpful: I forgive you. I release you. I set you free. Not for you, but for me. This has passed and I am present.
Reiki and hypnosis are great tools to help sort through the weight of right. Are you ready to dig in? Schedule your appointment now. Evening hours are available Tuesday and Thursday.