The Heart of the Matter

Forgiveness. It’s a word that’s been on my mind for a couple of weeks now. I’d been contemplating whether or not I should write about it, and then Sunday morning, India Arie’s cover of the song “Heart of the Matter” rolled through on Pandora, and then her song “Wings of Forgiveness” came on. So yeah, the question in my mind was pretty much answered for me. And of course, with today being the observance of Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, it seemed even more apropos.

Boxing

I’ve never considered myself to be a very forgiving person. In fact, traditionally, I’ve been the complete opposite, the grudge-holder, who contemplated all of the ways I could make you pay for hurting me, betraying me, no matter what the offense might be. I grew up around people who didn’t necessarily believe in the idea of letting things slide, of letting bygones be bygones. Because if you did, you were somehow weak, a pushover. And you know what all of that negative energy beget? A home filled with resentment. Pent-up anger. Anguish. Anxiety. All of the things that can lead to depression. I realized that it also hurt ME. If the other person was smart, they weren’t even thinking about me and my animosity towards them. I was only damaging my OWN soul.

Arm Wrestling

I’ve been dealt with some hurtful situations over the last year. Situations in which I would have had every right to lash out and act crazy. Initially, that was my first inclination. I wanted to do everything in my power to make those persons pay for what they had done to me, how they had made me feel. I sometimes even fantasized about how it would all go down. But for some reason, I made a different decision. I determined that it essentially wasn’t worth my energy. Yeah, I’d feel good in the moment, but that’s all it would be. Just a moment. Once it was done, my psyche would be wrought with the memories of my malicious impulsiveness. So, I did nothing. I meditated and prayed on it, and decided to just forgive.

Pancake Smiley

Let me tell you – that was quite literally the best decision I  could have made. Now, instead of being consumed with rage, I could focus on more important aspects of the situation’s aftermath – like healing from it. Anytime I had any thoughts on potentially going back on my decision to forgive, I just thought about how it would affect me. After a while, it stopped being in the forefront of my mind, and I’m pretty certain that I pushed my healing curve ahead tremendously. Yes, anger can be justified, but it’s also a choice. We can always choose to keep our minds and spirits there, and as a result, become breeding grounds for negativity. Or, we can choose forgiveness, and learn to be the person who moves on. Not because we’re weak, no. But BECAUSE we’re strong, and we love ourselves more.

The Present IS a Present

Today I saw a quote that was attributed to the Dalai Lama on Facebook. It was his thoughts on what surprised him most about humanity, and he said, “Man. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices his money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then he dies having never really lived”. I saw it first thing this morning, and it definitely resonated with me. I, like many young people of my generation, am so focused on the future and future goals, that I fail to take a breath and look back at how far I’ve come, and appreciate where I am now.

The-Dalai-Lama-Image

The thought took me through the rest of the workday, and on my way home, I had a good “life” conversation with one of my best friends. She had recently gone through some major life changes, and shared with me how happy she was to finally feel like everything was falling into place, how she was feeling settled. She felt like she had been doing too much planning planning planning, always running, never resting. And finally, FINALLY, she was starting to learn the beauty of living in the now.

Catcher in the Rye

What’s funny about that conversation is that it’s seemingly a constant theme amongst my friends and I, like we’re all having these mini epiphanies all over the place. After spending so much time worried about the future and being stressed about all we haven’t accomplished, we are finally understanding the value in enjoying what we have today. I created my vision board for the year last weekend (as promised in my previous post), and the activity proved to be time-consuming, but extremely cathartic in so many ways. While its focus was on my goals for the year, getting them all down in one place has appeared to free up the mental space for me to bask in what’s directly in front of me. My focus and goals are still there and always present of course, but now, they don’t consume me with constant stress and despair.

Open Road

What truly is the point of working tirelessly if you’re never taking the time to enjoy the fruits of your labor? I would hate for people to remember me solely as a “hard worker”, as “ambitious” and “forward-looking”, but speak nothing to my love of life, my dedication to improving the world, my love of the beauty that surrounds us. Take a moment this weekend to just reflect on all of the wonderful-ness in your life, and appreciate where you are, right now. Enjoy this moment…you can worry about tomorrow, well, tomorrow.

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