A few confessions. I have wondered about the meaning of life and why we’re here for as long as I can remember. I also have always believed in magic. Growing up on a creek, I saw the magic in tadpoles turning into frogs. I still feel magic in a darkroom as a white piece of paper awakens to an image from just a few seconds of light and some chemicals. And then there’s the awareness of one minute not knowing someone and the next, meeting someone that is forever a part of your soul.
Curiosity and wonder live in me every day. Rarely is there a day when I don’t walk in the woods behind my house and give thanks for my feeling of Narnia.
And I’m also so aware of the layers of life, responsibilities and mistakes that can serve to dampen that curiosity and darken our wonder. Childhood optimism can seem naive when confronted with life’s examples of betrayal, disillusionment and loss. We all have our pain, and our long list of personal mistakes.
How can we believe that our internal container of joy also has the power to hold the most painful wounds — allowing us to stay open and creative versus closed in and tight, protecting our internal fortress?
One word – Forgiveness. Forgiveness of judging ourselves for not being perfect; Forgiveness for judging others for not being what we wanted them to be; Forgiveness while breathing in the knowing that no matter how bad or how hurtful, we were all doing the best we could at the time. Wow, that’s hard. There’s so many “but…but…but’s that spring to mind.
Yet it is the weight that comes from all that judgment that keeps us down, holds us back and saps the energy of possibility. And we are the only ones who lose.
What if instead of holding judgment, we forgave? And we asked ourselves, how could we use our experience to grow and learn? What if we tried forgiving with the smallest of steps? For a few minutes, breathe in forgiveness. Let go of the victim and the anger. Allow the love. Notice what shifts. Write it down.
Viktor Frankl in his book Man’s Search for Meaning shared his experience of noticing that some people in the most horrific of times in Nazi concentration camps never lost their light. They forgave. They owned their internal power to choose how they showed up.
I am not saying we become passive to tyrants or stuck in unwanted situations. I am saying that we have a choice to never lose our light. It is still here, no matter how dim. And by practicing forgiving ourselves daily and forgiving all that didn’t go as we hoped or planned, we can reclaim our power, wonder and internal magic. And perhaps, just perhaps, that is why we are here.