Oct 25, 2008

Thank you for your comments

I'd like to thank everyone for their thoughtful responses to my post on forgiveness. I think I shall remove that particular word from my vocabulary. I do not think it is necessary.

I think we all agreed that people do "not nice" things and they vary greatly in their level of harm. We all are thoughtless, rude, and unpleasant at times and most of the time these actions require only a "Dude, that was uncool" and an honest apology; the relationship continues.

Then there are actions that are beyond the pale; reprehensible even. In those cases we remove those people from our lives.

We all agreed that hanging on to anger is self-defeating and that we are responsible for our own actions and our own feelings.

I think perhaps we all had a particular person or situation in mind when spoke about this, I know I did. I needed to know that I am not alone in my thinking and feeling. I honestly don't feel guilty about putting some people out of my life, sad perhaps that it was necessary, but finally, not guilty.

Oct 23, 2008

Forgiveness

"Forgiveness is typically defined as the process of ceasing to feel resentment, indignation or anger for a perceived offense, difference or mistake, and ceasing to demand punishment or restitution" (Wikipedia).

I don't get forgiveness. I understand what it is to forgive a monetary debt - you no longer owe the money, but forgiveness in any other sense, I don't get.

Someone does a shitty thing, depending on the level of shittiness, you either shrug your shoulders and say "Oh, well" or you walk away and say "I do not want to have anything to do with such a person".

If the process is defined as ceasing to feel resentment, indignation or anger, then this has nothing to do with the person who offended and everything to do with the person who was offended.

If I act in a negative way and hurt someone, and regret it wholeheartedly, then I have to come to terms with myself. Analyze the whys and wherefores of my actions and make a conscious decision never to act that way again. Should I apologize? Of course. If there is a material way to to mitigate the results of my action, certainly that should be done. But do I need the person I hurt to say "I forgive you". No, I don't. They are responsible for their feelings and I am responsible for mine.

If they want to continue to feel hurt, that is their prerogative. They are not responsible for my actions, I am.

And conversely, if someone has hurt or wronged me in some way, I have to deal with how I feel towards them; they have no control over how I feel. It is up to me to deal with my negative feelings towards them. My actions are my responsibility; my feelings are my responsibility. Carrying around negative feelings is truly burdensome, but only I can relieve myself of that burden, no one else can.

Do I say to the person who hurt me "It's okay, I forgive you"? Well, you know what, it is NOT okay. It is not okay to harm someone, and 3 words do not change the situation.

What's done is done. If it was some silly thing, well, stuff happens, I don't know about you, but personally, the last time I looked there were no wings on my back or a halo over my head. I like to think I have never hurt someone on purpose, but I'm sure I have done or said things that caused others pain. And if I was sorry, I hoped I apologized. If I felt bad, I hope I learned a lesson and never repeated that action again.

So before this gets any more convoluted and I really start repeating myself - what is forgiveness?

Have I ever been hurt or wronged? Yes, majorly. How I feel about it, and how I feel towards that person, is my responsibility to deal with. It is their responsibility to deal with how they feel about what they did.

It is up to me to let go of the anger because long-held anger is so damaging. Only I can stop myself from being angry. I am responsible for my soul, and the person who acted badly is responsible for theirs.

So perhaps then we can only forgive ourselves.

Oct 15, 2008

Music is Magic

People say “Stop and smell the roses”; I say “Stop and listen to the music” but don’t really stop because if there is music then there is movement, there is dance.

Music is everywhere, all the time. You just have to listen. Okay, there is the obvious music – leaves rustling, birds, squirrels chattering; and the sound of the wind. Some of you may hear the music of traffic – different cars make different sounds, even the rhythm of a line of cars going over a speed bump. The cacophony of honking horns, some with high notes, some with low added to the revving of motors – the varoom, varoom and the bleat, bleat – can you feel the beat?

And the magic? I’m always playing music in my head – it’s not imaginary music, it’s real – I hear it, and dance to it. Did you ever watch people walking on a busy street – they are all walking in different rhythms, and don’t you add the melody to the beat – in your head? If you are part of that crowd, don’t you pick up the rhythm and walk along to it: sharing the music, sharing the rhythm. There’s magic in that. In that moment in time you, and all those other people, are communicating, sending, back and forth, calling out to each other, call and response. It’s magic.

I love the music of the city. There’s a church nearby whose bells toll each hour; the Mr. Frosty truck that comes by each afternoon, the sound right this minute of a car going by outside the house – first a low swoosh that crescendos and fades; loud trucks, soft cars; some take longer to fade, and I sway to the swoosh.

People remind me of songs – That song and that person will forever be connected in my mind. Some times it’s their song I hear. The song that is THEM; that is their heart beat, their life force dancing through their body and brain.

We are music. The first sounds we hear are music – the beating of our mother’s heart; of our own. The low notes – we hear them first. Warm, dark, comforting. Rhythm – babies love the rhythm – rock them and they are soothed; swing them gently back and forth; our earliest memories, our first memories, are musical – rhythm and melody. The beat of the heart, the melody of the movement of the fluid we float in...our first memories. We share these memories, tho different rhythms and different melodies, and sing out to each other – hear me, hear my music.

Listen - the world is never silent, nor are we. Clear your mind and then listen – can you hear your song? Can you hear mine?