Things in Erin’s Head
I get really excited when I’m hit with newsletter inspiration. Topics pop into my mind fairly regularly. Sometimes I jot them down, sometimes I let them pass, and sometimes, like today, I get struck with an idea that sets me on fire like a bolt of lightening hitting a drought-dry shrub. This morning, at 5:30am, as #NotMyCat climbed on my chest for the first morning wake up call, I turned my attention to my feet to see what may or may not be chattering at me.
Quick back story if you’re behind on the newsletter – I had a PRP treatment on my right foot three weeks ago that didn’t go quite as planned (and smelled like maple syrup), and the latest development is that my left foot – AKA the “GOOD” foot – got angry because I was hobbling on it inappropriately. As a result I now have a healthy dose of self-diagnosed tendinitis, that is continuing to challenge my mobility. So today it’s “feet up, butt down” kind of day for Erin.
Over the past three weeks, I had two different people, on different days (who did not talk about me betwixt themselves), channel the same message for me regarding the foot pain and seemingly snail-paced recovery.
“It’s about forgiveness. You need to forgive yourself.”
The throbbing “good foot” caused me to reconsidered this message. My first thought as I sat down to do today’s Morning Pages was, “Let’s think of all the bad things you’ve done in your life that you feel really shitty and guilty about.”
Yeah, that’s not the best way to start the day.
So I decided to approach it from a place of curiosity. Issuing myself a blanket statement of, “I forgive you,” felt kind of like when someone just says, “I’m sorry,” and you are compelled to challenge them with, “Sorry for WHAT?”
Because what any of us really want out of an apology is to be SEEN, HEARD, and UNDERSTOOD. The acknowledgement that the wrong-doer has an inkling of compassion for what it must have felt like to be you in that moment. That is the beginning of a good apology (the subsequent change in behavior… now THAT is the proof in the apology pudding).
So I wondered, what does it FEEL LIKE to forgive yourself? I found it to be a pretty big indicator of my self-forgiveness practice when this question completely stumped me. But I kept going. Is it a softening? Jell-O came to mind and made me giggle. Is it a release? A weight lifted? Is the habit of guilt so powerful that it holds your feet mafia-style in blocks of cement, and you just need to use the chisel of forgiveness to chip away at it, bit by bit? A process? A learned skill?
I went a little deeper – what does it feel like BEFORE you forgive yourself? Are you feeling angry, sad, guilty, shameful? Where do we feel it in our bodies? Our stomach? Chest? Throat? Because if we can’t identify how it feels to hold the ick, how do we know when the ick is gone? Or do we just…. know…
I use tapping techniques pretty regularly, but don’t know that I’ve truly sat with it in the forgiveness space quite long enough for the chisel to make a dent in those blocks of mental cement. I’ve told myself a LOT lately, “I did the best with the knowledge I had.” Hindsight can be a blessing and a curse (If you’ve read my book, you’ll know I communicated specific learned lessons in sections called “In Hindsight” that proved to be both healing for me and tools for my readers). I reminded myself this morning of the ho’oponopono method of forgiveness which translates to “make things right” or “move back into balance.” The four lines of the prayer / song / poem are:
Please forgive me.
I love you.
I don’t have many answers here today. Just thoughts, tools, and awareness. Where are you on your forgiveness journey? What helps you release the hold on guilt, shame, and grudges? What sets you free? Is it love?
Because it’s all about love…
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