I spent a lot of time in nature today. I laid down on large rocks, I walked on trails in the woods, and I breathed deeply in the air of the day. Nature is close by our home and we spend a great deal of time there. Taking the beauty in through all of our senses is a deep, healing experience. And, it helps always to remind me of the freedom that I have to contemplate life and circumstances from a variety of perspectives.
I am grateful for knowing that I have a choice. Many persons, including many in my life, do not know or understand that they have a choice in their perspective on the world. Whether they see themselves as a victim, as flawed or defective, as better than or more evolved than others, as only being their life circumstances and nothing else, they cannot see beyond these…
I receive daily emails from a woman who has been a spiritual seeker and leader for years now. She has followed and studied under don Miguel Ruiz, writer of the Four Agreements. Whatever the subject of the daily reminder, I find it relevant and always timely with what is happening in my world. One of this week’s reminders was no exception. She wrote about having a life’s purpose, and how it is that we know what our purpose is. She invited readers to think about one word that they would choose to best describe their overall purpose in life, and in the world.
I thought about it for quite some time. At first, I thought of words that are often in my daily lessons: Forgiveness. Love. Inspiration. Yet, the one that came to me, that makes the most sense, is Peace. Peace is my Purpose.
From my perspective, if I do not start from a peaceful center, the rest of what I will encounter and experience makes no difference. I will either be judging it, resenting it, avoiding it, embracing it, depending on where my mood scale is. If I am in fear, then I will most definitely choose judgment and being a victim more consistently. Even though I encounter feelings of fear frequently on most days, I know that I always have another choice: I always have the choice to come back to a Peaceful center within myself.
Choosing Peace is not always easy. I have been experiencing some interesting, drastic changes in some of my relationships, particularly with members of my family. Changes to the structure more than anything. And, I have at times, felt very dramatic, upset, depressed, tearful and discouraged about them. I even have embraced being the Victim to the “circumstances” around me that are “out of my control.” However, in the last few months, I have consciously and deliberately chosen to get off the Drama Rollercoaster, and instead, embrace Peace that is always with me.
We all have the ability to choose it, but we just forget. The more gentle and forgiving that we can be with ourselves, about our not remembering, the more loving that is. I am not perfect, and I no longer strive for perfection (most of the time anyway!). However, if I focus on what makes me feel really good, then I choose differently than when I want chaos or discouragement.
When I begin with a purpose of Peace, everything else falls into place. My day is more fulfilling and joyful, my surroundings are pleasing no matter what is happening, and I am willing to accept the world around me just as it is, without expectation and room for disappointment or judgment. When I begin with Peace, everything is a gift.
A gift that I want to consciously keep giving myself, every day.
There are many areas of my life where I continue to learn more deeply about what really matters, about what is truly important to me. Each day, I expand my learning and before long, I look back and realize that looking back is not necessary. Forgiveness continues to be something that I gain more understanding about, and with which I am gifted continuously with opportunities to test my mad skills. Forgiving others has come to mean for me not just a concept, but an active state of being in which I learn deeply about myself and others. It is about what I do, and more importantly, what I don’t do. It brings healing and peace in a way like nothing else I have ever known. Over the last several years, I have written about forgiveness multiple times, and each writing brings with it a new level of understanding and simplicity.
Forgiveness can best be defined as release and acceptance, such as letting go of judgment of others. At first glance, it seems as if that could be difficult, or a lot of work to achieve. In actuality, forgiveness, I believe, is quite simple. We just have to bring our willingness for forgiveness in order to allow it to happen. I know it might sound strange, to say something that seems so distant from our understanding and capability, to be simple. Yet, it is. I can think of dozens of reasons each and every day, for why I cannot forgive a person or myself, for a transgression. Yet, the fact remains, I will not forgive that person or myself. I am always capable of doing so. I just don’t want to.
Simply put, from my perspective, forgiveness encompasses two things. Firstly, I forgive you for not being who I think you are, or want you to be. I always have expectations of others and situations, in terms of how I want them to think, feel, behave, or turn out. ALWAYS. There are moments when my expectations are less prominent, but I even have expectations about how long it will take me to get home from a trip, whether or not I will find my desired items at a grocery store, or whether or not a friend or family member will call me back. Groceries or commutes might not seem worthy of forgiveness, yet it might be the case. Understanding can come from a space of forgiving people and situations for not being what I expect them to be. I can release life and outside circumstances from my grip, and I can stop taking the world so damned personally. I can just allow people, places, and situations to simply be as they are.
Secondly, I get to forgive myself for having any expectations of others. I get to keep forgiving myself for judging others, getting disappointed, or wanting things my own way. Let’s face it: I am an Ego. I am well aware of my being more than that also, and my Oneness with everyone and everything. However, my Ego always wants to be recognized, listened to, and acknowledged. So, by forgiving myself, I get to constantly remind myself that I am much more than my Ego would have me believe. And, in that forgiveness of myself, I get to grow in my love of myself. While forgiveness of others is a challenge for me, forgiving myself has bigger challenges. I am always willing to find myself guilty of one thing or another, and punish or ridicule myself. By showing myself deep forgiveness, I am allowing love to flow through rather than fear, conflict, and darkness.
I get practice every day in strengthening this muscle. I do much better on some days than others. Yet, it is the ever present awareness, the catching myself in the moment, that brings the deepest riches and the greatest truth. It is my reminder that I am always capable of choosing something different, if what I am choosing doesn’t feel good. Forgiveness, when given to me, and given to others, brings deep peace, and a freedom like I have never known.
My life is a constant exercise in learning. I grow, I get scared, I wait, and I grow again. All lessons become opportunities for growth. On a daily basis, I make a choice between Love or Fear; Forgiveness or Guilt; Peace or Conflict. This column will be some of my deepest lessons, most profound realizations, and most loving connections with others. I burgeon self-development through hugging, writing, reading, and talking with others. Join me for the ride of your Life. ♥