Forgive Yourself

I recently joined some yogi friends at a trendy all-vegan, organic restaurant. After enjoying delectable appetizers and a few glasses of wine, someone suggested we do a clearing activity. (Hey, what do you expect from a bunch of yogis after wine?) The yogi leading our exercise asked, “What have you not forgiven yourself for?” He added the caveat to only share that with which we felt comfortable (i.e., “don’t share shit that is too deep”). I thought, “can’t we start with an easier question . . .say what is your favorite color? . . .dog or cat person?”

The authenticity of my dinning mates created a sense of safety which encouraged me to share something beyond, “I need to forgive myself for using the last of the toilet paper at work and not telling anyone.” Themes which emerged from our conversation included forgiving oneself for . . . negatively comparing oneself to others, not meeting cultural standards of success, putting one’s self-care first . . . As the sharing continued, I felt more endured to this lovely group of individuals. Hence, my toilet paper response seemed, forgive the pun, crappy. Hence, I took a deep breath and summoned my courage. “I need to forgive myself for feeling guilty about setting boundaries with people who are suffering.” I went on to explain that I have a history of swimming out to drowning folks with life jackets and holding them above treacherous waters. The feeling of saving others feels good. However, in the past, I lost sight that treading water contributed to sheer exhaustion.

Now I’m learning to set healthy boundaries, so I don’t drown in my quest to exercise compassion towards others. I used to think this process was selfish and mean. However, I now know this process is incredibly caring. I cannot help anyone if I’m lying lifeless on the bottom of the ocean.

What do you need to forgive yourself for today my splendidly imperfect friend?

Imperfectly,

Amelia

 

Neosporin™ for the Soul

After finishing a challenging, powerful yoga class, I left the comfort of a heated room and stepped into a crisp SoCal, starry night. I looked to the heavens and marveled at Orion and Jupiter. Then, a wave of emotion reared up and washed over with the power of a freight train. A familiar knot formed in my throat and warm tears streamed down my cheeks. I thought of my ex-husband who introduced me to yoga almost 10 years prior. I laughed when I remembered the goofy looks he gave me during the contemplative, resting pose of shavasana. Once our yoga instructor caught him, and I burst out in laughter (which obviously was not appropriate during shavasana either)! I recalled how he would have dinner waiting for me the evenings he decided not to join me for yoga. Then, I remembered the other things – the painful aspects of the relationship which broke my heart and cast me to into a raging sea of pain. I cried as I drove home, feeling angry that I let myself get so upset. I held a keen awareness that my thoughts formed from a primal, emotional space versus the filtered and evolved home of my prefrontal cortex. I called my dear friend Steve.

Me:  Hi it’s me . . . (sniffle, sniffle, snotty nose blow).

Steve: What’s wrong?

Me: Me.

Steve: We’ll were all f’d up messes.

Me: I know, but I’m feeling particularly f’d up tonight.

Steve:  Why?

Me: I thought of my ex and how we used to practice yoga together. I thought of the good times and the bad times. Then, I started crying. Then, I started feeling angry with myself for crying given we separated almost two years ago. My life is really wonderful. Why did I get hit by this wave?

Steve: Because you’re still healing. You sustained a pretty deep emotional wound.

Me: Well, can’t I heal faster? Isn’t there Neosporin™ for the soul or something?

Steve: No, not that I’m aware of.

Me: Ugh.

Steve: Have you considered being compassionate towards yourself and recognizing the “humanness” of your emotions tonight?

Me: Um . . . I guess that would be more adaptive than my current approach.

Steve: Yep. Goodnight Amelia.

I crawled into bed along with my splendidly imperfect dog. (He only gets to sleep in my bed when I’m sad or sick.) Then, I awoke to my heart pounding with a force that I feared would push through the wall of my chest. I had a vivid nightmare and felt certain my psyche was processing the pain I suppressed in an effort to find sleep at a decent hour. I called my sweet, sister and recounted the story I told Steve, along with the subsequent nightmare.

Me: I am struggling with forgiving my ex.

SS: I get why that would be challenging, but I think you would feel relieved if you could.

Me: I really do want good things for him and to be a forgiving person. I know he did the best he could in our relationship. He brought some wonderful gifts into my life, and I want to unhook myself from this anger. I’m really trying. Saying I forgive him and the actual letting go of the hurt are not currently aligning. Ugh!

SS: What about writing him a letter thanking him for the yoga and other gifts he brought to your life and wishing good things to him?

Me: I think that is a good idea. A concrete step of forgiving.

SS: I love you! You’re amazing and perfect just as you are.

Me: I love you too. Thank you for loving me just as I am.

I wrote a brief note with the aforementioned content, addressed, signed, and sent it. I felt better, lighter and a sense of knowing I applied a dab of Neosporin™ to the wound.

We all have emotional wounds which can get irritated or ripped open when we least expect it. Which ones need attending to? Where might you benefit from an emotionally-healing dab of Neosporin™? What might that look like – grieving, forgiving, laughing, crying? All the above? Whatever your wounds may be, know I’m sending you love and a healing dab of Neosporin™.

Imperfectly,

Amelia

Yes, he IS laying on my pillow.

Yes, he IS laying on my pillow.