Hmmm I hear you say! Another blog? 2 in 2 days? Bear with me!
As I said in my blog yesterday I have been feeling out of sorts for a few weeks now. Not ill exactly but not well. Aches and pains, headaches, generally out of sorts. And miserable, I have been miserable. So yesterday I had this moment of realisation where I realised I was feeling lonely. Like I always do, I wrote it out, published it and sat back expecting to feel better, now that I had got it out there.
But for once, the magic of putting words on paper didn’t work. I still felt miserable, still had a headache. I was perplexed and a bit cross. I felt wrong. In a bit of a tantrum I threw my hands up in the air and abandoned the rest of my day. I gave in. I made tea, a hot water bottle and a blanket and settled on the sofa with the dogs to feel sorry for myself for a bit longer.
I decided to watch a film and on the first page of suggestions for me I saw The Shack.
I read this book last year and really enjoyed it but had not sought out the film as I was expecting it to be too “religious”. But I decided to give it a go.
About a third of the way in I was tearful. By two thirds of the way in I was sobbing and by the end of the film I had had such a powerful insight it felt as though the earth had shifted on its axis. Such a seismic event must have rocked the world I thought. But outside my window children were being collected from school, mothers stood gossiping in the road, my neighbour was walking his dogs. Everything was normal.
Except it wasn’t. I experienced such a shift in consciousness that I don’t think that I will ever be the same.
You see I have spent much of my life angry. Resentful. Much of this anger is centred around my father. I have written about my father before in these pages. He left home when I was 16 and my sister was 12. He left us and my mum feeling broken and bruised, and we have all, individually continued feeling that way all our lives. It has affected our relationships with each other and with other people. For me it left a core of sadness that I don’t feel I have ever addressed. That is not to say that I have not had happiness in my life, I have had lots. But deep inside I am never surprised when bad things happen, or I feel fed up. It’s become the norm. I loved my father deeply, but there were times when I hated him too.
Just a year ago I discovered the 3 principles. I am not going to go into detail here (if you do want to know more, let me know!) but it is the spiritual belief that I have searched for all my life and underpins my new working life as a coach. I touched on it briefly yesterday. It has changed my life already and I have had a series of “popcorn” moments, some noisier than others, where my perception and beliefs have been altered, always for the better. All the way through this momentous past year I have had moments of such peace, such beautiful feelings that I thought I had put past resentment well behind me.
Back to the film. I don’t want to share the whole plot, but it is about a man, a son and a father, who experiences such pain and grief that he is lost. He has no faith. In himself, in love, in anything. He cannot see a way out of his deep misery. But he is given a chance and he learns to forgive.
Forgiveness. That was my insight. The power of forgiveness. It took my breath away.
I had NEVER forgiven my father. Recent events brought him to mind and I considered it, but still I said “I’m not ready to forgive him”.
Yesterday afternoon in a moment I forgave him. Does not mean that I will forget, and yes, I am still a bit mad at him for what he threw away. But I do forgive him. I am not sure that the decisions he made truly made him happy, but that is not relevant. In the same moment I also forgave a lot of other people. My ex-husband who chose a bottle and violence over his wife and child. Other people who have “hurt” me over the years, every perceived insult and injury that I have experienced. I forgive.
Resentment is like armour. We build it around ourselves to shield us from harm. But the problem with armour is that it keeps EVERYTHING out. In the very act of protecting ourselves we harm ourselves. To be truly happy I believe that we need to remove our armour and open ourselves to what is out there. To do that I think the most important thing is to forgive ourselves too.
Alongside the resentment and anger I have carried with me is guilt. Could I have been a better daughter, mother, lover, wife, friend, sister? Possibly. But like everyone I did the best I could with the tools I had available at the time. I did my best. I tried. I forgive myself. There is the real power of forgiveness. And love.
When I woke up this morning I felt different. I feel well. No aches and pains. I slept really well. I have energy. The world has not changed, but I have. There is new confidence, I feel able to look forward and make plans. I have not been able to do that for a while. I am sure that there will be setbacks and doubts, but also more insights to come. I look forward to them.
Horrible things happen in the world. But as Syd Banks said:
Embrace every experience. It is all part of being human. But forgive. And love. Love life, love each other.
And here is a clip from the film.
“You are not stuck because you can’t, you are stuck because you won’t”