“In every person who comes near you look for what is good and strong; honor that; try to imitate it, and your faults will drop off like dead leaves when their time comes.”
~ John Rushkin (1819-1900)
Many people have shared with me their excitement about a wilderness retreat for the joy and appreciation of nature, peace, balance. But sometimes a retreat is necessary for working through emotional pain, especially when that pain is internal.
I was asked recently about my take on honesty and forgiveness. The occasion was a betrayal one person was trying to work through, but the group conversation evolved quickly into more universal themes. I was struck by how the wonderful points shared as people spoke heavily stressed healing on many levels, and I’m passing it on!
First, let’s be real—when negative things happen, we need time to work through them. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s a process, and that’s fine—even good. Take time to heal.
At the same time, though, as long as we hold on to our anger and withhold forgiveness, we are clinging to the pain. What may seem as directed at someone else is actually hurting ourselves. Again…OK for a time, as long as we recognize what’s going on. If we don’t see that, though, we can set up a chronic condition.
Forgiveness of others is also a prerequisite for something crucial for healing—forgiving ourselves. Whenever we cling to pain, it’s always for reasons of ego (no natural instinct would make us do that). What part did we play in the exchange? Or are we beating ourselves up for poor choices or perception? Outer anger covers and disguises this inner festering, even from ourselves. This again can set up a chronic condition.
Here’s where honesty enters the picture in a major way. To heal, we really have to take the focus off others and put it on ourselves. That’s the only way to watch what is truly happening, and then we can start to heal the things in ourselves that need it—not cure other people from their transgressions. Let go. Stop clinging to needless pain. Grow beyond it. Forgive, and learn what you needed to learn from this interaction, even if the lesson was painful. Recognize that this new knowledge and wisdom is a keeper—it applies to all new situations, so you truly have gained from this experience. Make it a positive application.
People make mistakes. Yes, even stupid ones they had no business making. But we’ve all done things in retrospect that weren’t the best moves. Understand people are dealing with their own issues and growth, however well or poorly, and that this is their process. Focus on your own growth and process, and bless others in their journey. Love and forgive. You don’t have to repeat poor choices, of course—but forgive, and love them for who they are. As best you can at first, even if that’s not much. The effort counts.
This is the key to being “right-sized.” We are each not the center of the universe, but one person among many, part of a group. When we can see our part in interactions, we can start to see our role in daily life. We are part of a group—many groups, actually. Each member has a role to play; each member is responsible for his or her own progress. But if we place ourselves above this, we have lost the reality of our place in the group, and we’ve taken on a greater role than what we truly serve. We are different, not better. An architect building a home might indeed have the creative inspiration and direction that spawned the project, but the owners’ needs shaped that vision, and the tradesmen on the job are the ones who know how to make abstract ideas work in the field. ALL these voices are necessary for a successful project. All are part of this team—none better than the others. And what a relief! You don’t have to run the universe today. Pressure’s off.
This vision, though, of knowing yourself and your growth and process, of knowing your place as one of the many on your various teams in life, your important place at that, just as the others are important, is really a lynch pin for healing and for a healthy life. It is truly who you are, in gratitude for all those around you as well. It’s a vision of harmony and well-being, one model each day, if we only see it for what it is. Forgive others. Love them. And forgive and love yourself. They, and you, are just that special. When we let go of pain, we begin to live in love—daily, constant, universal love.
At the end of the day, say thank you. Even on the crappiest day, it was not all bad. Be grateful. If you have trouble with this, make a list–yes, I get the irony of listing what you are having trouble articulating. Start with A–Apples? Alice? Anesthesia? Alaska? Animals? Anagrams? Then B. Then C, D, E, F, etc. But end the day grateful and thankful, even if you need to work a bit to get there. Your mind will start to quiet, your nerves will slowly unwind, your muscles will begin to relax (didn’t know you were that tense until you started relaxing), and you will sleep better–and be better prepared for the following day.
In time, day by day, you’ll find yourself progressing. Then do the same for the beginning of your day—wake up grateful and glad to start the day. It will happen.
Emotions are reflections of the quality of our thoughts. That’s a hard thing to see at first, and it takes changing our perceptions and assumptions. But as such, they are meters indicating where we are on our journey. Appreciate and heed them, but know the way out is not external, but the quality of internal thoughts. With better feelings will then come better conditions, not vice versa.
That’s among the reasons I advocate wilderness experiences. That clear, calm space, without agenda, allows our projections to start to drop away, leaving the heart of the matter for us to address effectively. It’s to get to the heart.
By the way, feel free to visit the “Healing for Healers” discussion forum and posting questions. All are welcome.
Are you interested in hearing more about Wilderness Hikes as projects evolve in the future? Let me know here, so I have a list of those interested ready to go, by clicking here (and page all the way down to click “Sign Up” at the bottom):
Join the “Wilderness Hike” list.
If you’d like to hear about my “Getting Unstuck” book as it gets closer to release, let me know by clicking here (and you’re welcome to do *both,* of course–page all the way down to click “Sign Up” at the bottom):
Join the “Getting Unstuck” list.
October 2012 is a series of daily posts about “A Wilderness Hike,” taking readers through the healing of wilderness experience and glimpses of my work at Kwan Yin Healing and of my book, “Getting Unstuck.”
You can read the series from the start via the links here:
Oct. 1: A Wilderness Hike
Oct. 2: The Sixth Hour
Oct. 3: Snowy Mountain
Oct. 4: Letting Go of Baggage–the Wilderness Way
Oct. 5: “Bear” the Thought
Oct. 6: Mountain. Buddha. Impermanence.
Oct. 7: The Rewards of Rain
Oct. 8: Finding the Keys
Oct. 9: “I’d love to, but times are bad.”
Oct. 10: Attracting the Law of Attraction
Oct. 11: We are not our thoughts
Oct. 12: Honesty, Forgiveness, Healing
Oct. 13: Getting Unstuck: Feeling Overwhelmed
Oct. 14: Money is remarkably easy to come by, if that’s all you want.
Oct. 15: To be Time Rich, Learn to Be
Oct. 16: Changing Thoughts for Changing Work
Oct. 17: Finding and Sharing your Gifts
Oct. 18: Do you want to be the boss? Be sure you want to run the show.
Oct. 19: Finding jobs within jobs
Oct. 20: Bright Mountain Dream
Oct. 21: Escape the Wilderness of Addictions
Oct. 22: The Importance of Spiritual Direction
Oct. 23: In Search of Enlightenment
Oct. 24: Relationship Thoughts from the Wilderness
Oct. 25: We learn in realtionships
Oct. 26: Chrysalis
Oct. 27: Self-Healing, part 1
Oct. 28: Self-Healing, part 2: Time for a new perspective
Oct. 29: Dix Mountain
Oct. 30: The Mist-Filled Path
Oct. 31: From Wilderness to Wondrousness