"The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn." -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Posts tagged ‘forgiveness’

The Two Wolves Within

An old Grandfather said to his grandson, who came to him with anger at a friend who had done him an injustice…

“Let me tell you a story. I too, at times, have felt great hate for those who have taken so much, with no sorrow for what they do. But hate wears you down, and does not hurt your enemy. It’s like taking poison and wishing your enemy would die.”

“I have struggled with these feelings many times. It is as if there are two wolves inside me; one is good and does no harm. He lives in harmony with all around him and does not take offense when no offense was intended. He will only fight when it is right to do so, and in the right way.

Jeffrey Dwaine Buckalew, Jr12.22.82 - 04.23.00art by Johanna Pieterman

Jeffrey Dwaine Buckalew, Jr
12.22.82 – 04.23.00
art by Johanna Pieterman

But…the other wolf… ah! The littlest thing will send him into a fit of temper. He fights everyone, all of the time, for no reason. He cannot think because his anger and hate are so great. It is helpless anger, for his anger will change nothing.”

“Sometimes it is hard to live with these two wolves inside me, for both of them try to dominate my spirit.”

The boy looked intently into his Grandfather’s eyes and asked, “Which one wins, Grandfather?”

The Grandfather smiled and quietly said, “The one I feed.”

— — A Native American tale told many times around the Sacred Fire

Celebrating the Gift of My Birthday – A Tribute to Waking Up

With 48 autumns, winters, springs and summers behind me, today I begin the journey of my 49th year of life on this earth. My birthday wish for others is usually shared as “Enjoy an incredible day celebrating YOU!” so today, as I make a wish for myself, it is the perfect day to explore what it feels like to enjoy an incredible day celebrating me.

Lisa's 49th BirthdayCelebrating me means that I am required to acknowledge my own gifts … things that I am or that I bring to the world that are worthy of celebration. One way to do this is to reflect on how much I have grown. To look back one week, one month, one year, ten years ago … and see and acknowledge all of the positive steps forward I have made.

I feel that the biggest gift of my life, a gift that continues to bestow blessings on me every day, has been that of my awakening. There was a point several years back where I began listening to the small, still voice inside me whispering “Wake up, Lisa!”

I wish sometimes that waking up happened all at once … apparently it does happen overnight for some, but for me, waking up has been happening continuously over the past several years. When I think back and count them, they total nearly seven. Seven years of day-by-day increasing awareness. What does increasing awareness mean?

Back in the early stages it meant that I was re-awakening to me. I began hearing the whisper of my own spirit, re-connecting to my passions, my purpose and the essence of my Self as a woman. Then a bit later the perspective widened to include the awareness of what’s happening in the world. There’s a saying “When the cat is away, the mice will play.” and I woke up to see a rodent-dominated world that my sleeping self could not see. I was too numb.

What numbed me?  Pain, grief, guilt, fear …. all assisting in keeping me asleep. Asleep I am easy to be led. When preoccupied with my internal pain and my attempts to numb it I became like a sheep. As a sheep I was easily herded to follow along with the rest of the flock.

I started dreaming of flocks of sheep. White sheep, black sheep and silver sheep. In my dreams the black and silver sheep were lifting their heads up out of the flock or standing up on hind feet to get a different perspective on where they were being led. The silver sheep wandered back and forth between the white sheep and the black sheep not saying much at all. The black sheep would call out to the other sheep, “Wake up! Don’t go that way, go this way!” but the white sheep would continue on following the path they were told to choose … right to the slaughterhouse.

The grazing areas the sheep were led to were certainly green, the chemical companies saw to that. The White and Black Sheepsheep became excited seeing the vibrant color and anticipated how great it would be to gobble it all up. The first few bites were juicy and delicious, but the pasture, although lush and green, somehow lacked the nutrients the sheep needed to feel satisfied inside. Although they watched their bodies grow fat, they were far from healthy and felt slow, sluggish and still ravenously hungry. They yearned for green pasture that would not only be pleasing to the eye, but that would also satisfy the hunger.

As I started noticing what was going on in the world I began to see how a entire populations of people are being herded like sheep through one lush green pasture after another not even realizing that they are ultimately being led to the slaughterhouse.

I recently read a quote that said, “The truth will set you free, but first, it will piss you off.” As I awakened to the truth of what was happening while I slept I became angry and I quickly disassociated myself with my life as a white sheep. I identified deeply with the black sheep, rejecting my former white sheep self completely. I raged against the machine of manipulation that had kept me asleep for so long. I refused to follow along blindly any further.

Once the anger passed, I quickly realized that separating myself from the flock called attention to me in a way that was not conducive to continued life among the flock. I realized that if I became a “management problem” I would be culled. Problem solved.

I also realized that while my life as a white sheep was primarily spent in a hypnotic state of following along, there were a lot of wonderful things about that life that I was not ready to walk away from. This was when the silver sheep started speaking.

Like my inner voice, the silver sheep whispers softly which requires me to be in a space of quiet peace so that I may hear the words. Her words were few and were delivered simply as “Love. Courage. Essence.” Reflecting on the silver sheep and the words she shared, I began to notice that her fleece was not silver at all but was made up of individual black and white strands that twined around each other so tightly that it gave the appearance of being made up of a single strands of shimmering silver. In her fleece she displayed the perfectly balanced blend of black and white – the gray, or in my view, the silver space in between.

This was when I began to understand that life was not meant to be about choosing sides but was meant to be lived in honor of both the black and the white. This is also when I began to see the numbers 1+1=3. I did not understand it at first as I know that mathematically 1+1=2 but the silver sheep kept showing me examples of how two things, two people, two events coming together in collaboration create a third thing that could not have been created without the initial two things AND that the third thing appears as greater than the sum of the contributing parts.

Most recently the silver sheep has been whispering “Love. Accept. Forgive.” And then “Start with you. Begin now. I love you.” “Start with you” means that I am meant to love, accept and forgive myself first. “Begin now” means that at any moment of any day if I discover that I am not acting in a loving, accepting and forgiving way toward myself I can choose to begin again. The great thing about this is although the choice is made to begin again, I am not starting at the beginning each time, but I am continuing to build on prior investments in learning how to honor myself.

“I love you.” To me, I love you represents my higher self or my spiritual self reminding my physical self of what I came here to do and who I came here to be. It reminds me that the journey is and always has been primarily about Love. It carries with it, “I believe in you” and “I support you” which when combined with 1+1=3 translates to me to mean I believe in us, I support us, I love us.

I have been blessed with being an aware participant in my own magical awakening, understanding that when I allow both the dark and light parts of myself, as well as both the physical and spiritual parts of myself I am actively collaborating in the creation of something that is so much more than the sum of the parts. Integrating one part into another can be an intense and emotional experience, but with the right tools to assist with the integration, Wooooo Hoooooo!!! I am so totally enjoying the ride!

I have always found it so much easier to celebrate the gifts of others than to celebrate myself and my own gifts. I feel this may be due to how we are conditioned to not feel too good about ourselves so that our ego remains in check. When we do get “too full of ourselves” there’s always someone out there waiting to bring us back down a notch or two.

The trick is, or more accurately, the gift in that is we get to choose what to celebrate regardless of what anyone else may think or feel. Each and every day brings the gifts of a birth-day where, if we wish to, we can choose to be re-born into the true Essence of our Self. On this day, my 49th birthday, I choose to celebrate the Love, Courage, Essence, Acceptance and Forgiveness that are alive and thriving inside of me and I honor the Love, Courage, Essence, Acceptance and Forgiveness that are alive and thriving inside of you.

Happy Re-Birth day to ME, to YOU and to US! Woooo Hoooo!!! Enjoying the ride!

The Heart of the Matter

The Heart of the Matter

The Heart of the Matter

“…been trying to get down to the heart of the matter, everything changes and my thoughts they get scattered but I think it’s about … forgiveness … forgiveness … even if you don’t love me any more …” ~ Don Henley

The Heart of the Matter is a 3D project that was inspired by some of the gifts I have received on my personal journey of growing and evolving. I find that the most effective medicine for the times when I am feeling an ‘inner unrest’ that requires time for reflection to ‘sort it all out’ is to take that time out in nature. Being in nature takes many forms such as tending the garden or walking on the beach however, one of my favorite places to sit and be quiet with me is under a large, old maple tree in the woods near my home.

I often seek the solace of nature when I am experiencing emotional turmoil. It can feel overwhelming to experience the many things I cannot control about my life and my relationships. Sitting still and allowing the peaceful perfection of the natural world to act as my safety net I find that I am able to ground myself and allow that peace to resonate within me. Sitting quietly under the maple tree assists me to let go of the extraneous things that distract me and to go deeper into truth to get to the heart of whatever is currently bothering me … to get to the Heart of the Matter.

Here there are no ringing phones, no knocks on the door, no emails to read or write … no external chatter. My inner ‘to-do’ list is put away for a while. Here I am able to let go of the world and its demands and I create the space to allow my sometimes seemingly incessant inner chatter to be quiet.

The Heart of the MatterA tree in the forest has no option for moving on to greener pastures when the going gets tough. It must grow where it is planted. There are many things we can learn from this growing while standing still. The development of this project revealed several insights which led to the evolution from “March 2011 Tree” into “The Heart of the Matter”.  One set of insights came in listening to Don Henley sing.

I reflected on forgiveness for a while asking to know what it really means to forgive. Forgiveness on the deepest level would mean that my emotional response when thinking about something that brings me a sense of pain would instead bring a sense of peace. Forgiveness would mean that I would truly understand … to know like I know like I know … no matter how painful something may have felt in the past, the pain can be healed and the wound can disappear. This has already happened with some of my formerly painful emotional responses. My body no longer acts in fear. I am at peace. I am now simply required to expand that feeling into other painful situations.

There are still some ways in which I have not truly forgiven. Here in this place of resisting forgiveness there is a connectedness to being right. Does forgiveness mean that I was wrong? Does forgiveness mean that my pain was not real? Does forgiveness mean that the other was right in what they did or said? Does forgiveness require letting go of justice?

Early one morning as I sat processing and reflecting on some of these questions around forgiveness my son Josh played a song from his phone that he said I just had to hear. The song asked … well, I will quote the lyrics here…
_____________________
What Would You Say by Trailer Choir
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l0Qhgvn1gak&feature=share

what if the moment came and
you knew your life was down to minutes
lighter’s flame was all you had to see
and you found a pen and torn up piece of paper
and a note was all you could leave

13 men felt trapped in a mine in West Virginia,
only one made it out alive
but their love lives on in the words
I can not wait to see you on the other side

what would you say(x2)
(CHORUS)
in the lines on a page from the life that you made
could you write it with no regrets
would you know in yourself you gave somebody else
all the love that you had inside
right down to your last breath

would you tell your momma thank you for the way you love me
daddy don’t cry everything’s gonna be ok
would you tell your little boy that
you’ll be watching him from up in heaven,
you’ll never miss one game

what would you say(x2)
(CHORUS)
in the lines on a page from the life that you made
could you write it with no regrets
would you know in yourself you gave somebody else
all the love that you had inside
right down to your last breath

what would you say

(CHORUS)
in the lines on a page from the life that you made
could you write it with no regrets
would you know in yourself you gave somebody else
all the love that you had inside
right down to your last breath

what if the moment came and
you knew your life was down to minutes
_____________________

The first few lines of the song brought tears to my eyes and before long I was sobbing as wave after wave of emotion swept over me. I felt the purest of truths hit me deep in my chest and spread with a peaceful warmth throughout my body. Here in this unexpected emotional journey I touched the Heart of the Matter.

What if the moment came and I knew my life was down to minutes?

What would I say?

Love, Accept, Forgive - Begin with you - Start Now

Love, Accept, Forgive – Begin with you – Start Now

What would YOU say?

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