Tainted Love: Forgiving Ignorance

_There is no love without forgiveness, and there is no forgiveness without love. _ (1).png

We can only love as much as our current level of consciousness allows.

When we say that we love someone with all our hearts, the limited nature of that love is dependent on the level of consciousness we hold at the time.

Love can be so easily tainted by fear, which by its very nature is often so insidious that we don’t even know it is there, so insidious that we believe it IS US. One of the biggest fears of all being the fear that someone else will withdraw their love and our own unworthiness will definitively be proven to us beyond any reasonable doubt.

I know that I do not love with absolute unconditional purity, that is a high goal that I know I might never reach. But I open myself with a willingness to love with more of my authentic heart every day. When I look back on my life, I can’t even count the number of times that I have hurt others while just trying to love them with the whole of my being. This knowledge is still a sick slime in my belly and something that I am still working on forgiving myself for, that I am still working on releasing and healing.

I hurt them by depending upon them for love, by burdening them with the full responsibility of my own mental/emotional well-being, by asking for something that only I could give myself.

I hurt them through unconscious words that rocketed from my mind and through my mouth before my conscience had its say.

I hurt people I loved, by staying silent and still, by diverting my eyes from their need of fear, or embarrassment.

I hurt them by speaking for them and by making assumptions about what was in their hearts and by failing to speak the truth written on my own heart.

I hurt people by loving them without boundaries, by taking on responsibility for their wellness that was not mine to take.

I hurt them through my own ignorance of what it means to love for Love’s sake, from a continued experience of wholeness and oneness, without attachment to reciprocity or outcomes.

I think we all do this, and every time we become aware of someone else’s ignorance of love and failures to fully love us, it is a Precious Gift. These experiences of well-intentioned but tainted love are how we begin to examine our own lives and behaviors and become determined to not repeat those mistakes again. It is the unconscious mimicking of ignorant patterns of behavior the perpetuates cycles of limited love.

"True forgiveness is when you can say, ‘Thank you for that experience.’" ~ Oprah Winfrey

It is time to forgive.

To forgive without the cloying aftertaste of tolerance, pity, and obligatory resignation and without getting sucked into the initial cycles of blame and self-righteousness. Rather, let’s forgive in the spirit of compassion and gratitude with the knowledge that we also have caused suffering while simply trying to love as best we could.

Let’s forgive ourselves, our parents, our guardians and family members, our friends and our enemies, our teachers and our students. Let’s forgive the human collective, for to forgive one is to forgive all. That is what makes forgiveness so powerful.

This is not the same as excusing the behaviors but is rather a commitment to living in the present and learning from the past. Forgiveness frees us from the weight of blame and self-pity and empowers us to step out of the shackles of victimhood and make decisions on what way of life is best for us. Forgiveness allows us to put an end to the cycle, instead of continuing to punish ourselves daily because a past version of ourselves or someone else didn’t know how to limitlessly love.

Every day we wake up new.

"Forgiveness says you are given another chance to make a new beginning." ~ Desmond Tutu

I am not the same woman I was yesterday, not even close. I am not the same person who caused all that pain in others. My mother, father, and step-parents are not the same people they were. The lovers who left and the friends who turned their backs are not the same people they were when they hurt me. We are not the same people and most of the suffering we experienced was caused by ignorance, by this separation from Love that we were not even aware of!

This is not to say that there is no such thing as malicious action, but I do believe that true maliciousness is rare and even that, at its core, is the result of a severe separation from love.

We all need to do what we feel is right. If this is not the right time for you to forgive, then it is not time. However, I would just remember that forgiveness of more of a healing balm for your own soul than it is a backdoor of absolution for the other person (or for your past self).

If it is our goal to love more fully and to open ourselves to the experience of all that Love is, we need to release that weight of blame and resentment, anger and fear. Forgiveness is a beautiful way to let go of that weight.

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

May you be aware that pure, limitless Love is with you always!

Love,

Ana

How To Walk Away, without leaving your past behind.

This is the time of year when we make a lot of promises and vows to ourselves that we do not (or cannot) keep. We have an entire lifetime of past mistakes made out of ignorance or when we simply forget the fullness of love that we truly are. We create suffering and pain for ourselves and then learn and grow and create new desires from that pain. We hold on to beliefs and old fears and emotions that no longer serve us, but how do we let go of the weight and walk away from our past suffering, without leaving behind the facets of ourselves that made us who we are today?

How to WAlk Away.png

We are many faceted beings and our “Self” has many parts. We are in a constant state of evolution, with new facets of ourselves constantly being created with every new desire and every lesson learned.  We harbor past selves, future selves, the parts of our current self that feel connected to love and the parts that feel separate and lonely.

When a part of us begins to believe that we are the creator of our own reality, it is easy for that facet to want to just break free and continue the journey towards enlightenment without all the other, heavy, shadowed parts of us. We want to create instant manifestation, we want instant change and we want nothing more than to cut away all the parts of us that are holding us back. We are told to just let go of our past, to put down the heavy weight and walk unencumbered into the sunrise.

Honestly, I am guilty of wanting instant change and faster growth, but lately this notion has felt bittersweet to me. The idea is appealing, and I feel like I “should” want to be free of my past, but at the same time it feels like a betrayal and I wonder if there is another way. A way that all of me, all the parts, all the facets could walk into the sunrise together as one whole being.

I know one thing for sure…

Whenever I discover a “should” in my life, there is always a new perspective nearby.

So right now, I am tuning in, listening and writing down what comes up, in an attempt to shift and clarify my perspective on letting go of the past, just a little bit. I want to fine tune this notion of letting go just enough that I can clear away the “should”.

I also know that to find a new perspective, I need to ask some new questions. So my questions are…

What if all the past versions of myself were all worthy of love?

This includes all the shadowed facets, all the “selves” that I feel ashamed of, afraid of, guilty and blameful about.  What if these past selves are just trapped in darkness and shackled by ignorance? What if there were a way to free all these facets and become one, bright, weightless whole?

This is where I believe that self-forgiveness comes in. I believe that…

“Self-forgiveness is a tool we can use to counteract the blame that arises within us when we begin to truly believe that reality does not happen to us, but rather that we are responsible for creating it.”

It is the tool that we can use to set our whole self free of the heavy weight of past mistakes and part beliefs and to prevent mistakes made in the future from adding to that weight as time passes by.

When a child makes a mistake in ignorance, is it right or just to hold that mistake against them forever? Of course not! What would harboring all that blame accomplish? Nothing, it would simply be a weight in our hearts, holding us back and limiting our growth.

All the heartbreak and pain and suffering I allowed myself to endure, all the people I hurt, all the mistakes I made, were made in ignorance or in forgetfulness or because my beliefs were based in fear and not in love.

There is no need to blame myself for the pain of my past and there is no need to blame other people (because no one can create MY reality). Blame, shame, hatred, and loneliness are all based in fear and are what create the darkness and weight of my past. Holding onto these perceptions of the past is what weighs me down and holds me back. Every facet of myself is equally worthy of love and light and I believe that this is equally true for you!

Forgiving ourselves for the reality that we created in the past and for the mistakes we will make in the future is how we release the weight without cutting away our past selves.

I want to think about loving and healing my past and bringing it with me as evidence of the lessons I have learned and as documentation of my journey towards becoming more myself.

There are many times, in meditation, where I have gone back and held my past selves as they screamed and cried, just giving them love and repeating to them softly “I love you, I accept you, I forgive you, you are not wrong!” and I may have to do that many more times before they are able to stand up off the floor and accept that love.

But I am willing to do that work, because I do not want to leave behind all the beautiful past versions of myself, I just want to set them free and give them love and forgive them. I also realized, that I can ask other people for forgiveness (and I have) and I can ask the universe, or god(dess) or source for forgiveness (and I have), but that does not change the fact that I still need to forgive myself before I can move on with the freedom I desire.

I hope that this perspective gave you something to think about or at least inspired you to revisit your self-love and self-forgiveness practice. I hope that, if you have never tried self-forgiveness, that you are able to find ways of practicing that work for you and feel right and powerful to you.

For me, when I feel an old weight from the past trying to limit my present, I sit with the feelings as they come up with acceptance and love and forgiveness. Then, when I have the time, I meditate and visualize the past version of myself that most represents that old weight that came up most recently and I have an interaction during which I extend my acceptance and forgiveness and ask for that in return. I have found this to be a very humbling exercise and it tends to make me realize the extent to which I have been harboring resentment towards myself as well as irrational levels of pain caused by old beliefs I didn’t know I had.

I am sure that there are many, many other ways to practice self-forgiveness and I would love to hear about your practices in the comments below.

 

Sending my love to you as always,

 

Ana