I used to think that if I did one more thing, took one more step, made one more resolution toward a new goal I would eventually arrive there. Radicality, instead, has become my new approach. It is true that we take one step at a time, that the law of graduality means we will develop in spirit much as we develop physically—slowly, but if we hope to touch the sunrise by deciding to make micro changes in our life, it will not happen. In the darkest mid-night we could decide to light a match or we could choose the eventual promised dawn, and the sunrise that dispels the night.
If you are suffering the effects of not being able to forgive yourself, you will get nowhere by deciding to forgive yourself again. Instead, like Angie start resetting your life. For the moment, let’s not worry about the issue of your self-forgiveness. Instead let us take a step back and start from the beginning. Reset to factory mode is the quickest and easiest way to return a computer to normal, cleaning it of viruses and temporary files so that it can run at optimal performance.
We can also “reset” our life.
A very easy way to start is to simply breathe. Take a few deep breaths. You may not realize how shallow your breathing has become as you carry around your secret shame. Breathing brings you home, while shame causes you to disengage from yourself. What do you feel as you breathe? Breathe in. Breathe out. Focus on just breathing for about eight minutes.
What do you hear in the room around you?
What are the thoughts that you are thinking? Take some time to begin to be aware of them. Are they life-giving thoughts? Are they harsh? Are they fearful?
Turning within, what do you hear within yourself? What do you see? What do you taste?
In coordination with your breathing, say this simple reminder to yourself that only this moment is yours: I am here. I am now. That is all. I am here. I am now. That is all.
Do you perceive any shift in your awareness of yourself? What are you feeling? Whatever you feel is alright. Some people feel a great inner peace. Others experience an inner agitation or anxiety. The agitation and anxiety are probably closer to the truth of what is most deeply going on within most people.
I often tell people I work with about the time I was helping to upgrade a building before moving our apostolic department. We were pulling up carpets, scraping up glue, stripping and waxing floors, moving furniture. After a while I wasn’t sleeping at night at all. I moved to the living room one evening and started doing the simple breathing exercise outlined above. Within seconds my feet started to “scream.” I looked down and there were open blisters on the soles of my feet. I soaked them in epsom salts and soon my insomnia passed.
I tell this story because it is a simple way of explaining what emotionally/spiritually happens to us. We are in pain–even spiritual or emotional pain–all the time, but we often aren’t even aware of it. It is when we stop and do an exercise that helps us become present to the here-and-now that we suddenly touch what is here-and-now. Then we say OUCH!
The pain you are living with as a result of not being able to forgive yourself hurts. You may be able to keep going, put on a smile, take care of others, but inside you hurt.
To reset your life, you first need to begin by coming home to yourself. The easiest way to do that is to breathe.