Archives for posts with tag: Forgiveness

My life, since I came back from Cuba, has been all about the dream deferred. I haven’t minded taking care of my mother, and taking care of, once and for all, my terrible upbringing — the epiphany is entirely quotidian but earthshaking.

As an ACOA once described it to me, it is pausing at the door of the hospital room and realizing, in one tsunami of emotion, that they had never taken care of you and now you must break the chain of karma alone. Then there was what I call the vortex of mayhem, managing two storage spaces, five or six dwellings, three of them (including the $8000-a-month-room in the big house, and the $2000 a month one) infested, moving the Aged Parent six times in two years, from shithole to shithole, the voice in the burning bush which told me last year I was “working out of the wrong energy” and that the “answer is in your house” — but it has been a job. I resent having the goalposts moved, just as I was fixing to start to sell my book. I resent, terribly, the financial and health implosions, and have noted that being the victim target of terrible helpless insane peoples’ cruelty is humiliating. Don Miguel’s second agreement, and all the forgiveness work I’ve been doing, speaks to this.

What I have forgotten is what the job coach started to talk to me about just before the shit hit the fan. First, that nobody would hire me as long as the Aged Parent was not in a nursing home. (Having to move her to five different ones and two “rehabs” did not solve this problem.) Second, a 10 year plan. I find myself with artifacts of that straight talk of so long ago — a plus size work wardrobe for a woman of a certain age, budget wise, confected to convey readiness to work, [false] able-bodiedness and up-to-date skills. This itself is as big a mountain to move as was a suitable work wardrobe in 1969, when there was no such thing.

The 10 year plan was then and is now, I have realized, over the last month, about New York City. I wasn’t wrong to choose it then, and I am not wrong to choose it now. Ariele and Amelie’s posts about finally getting studio space in Brooklyn crystallized it for me, as did the dawning realization that Macondo is all about being too far away from God, and Forty-second Street, with the A-bomb, Camp Ped and [redacted from private blog]. I came here because the nursing homes were one-quarter the price of the ones in D.C. and I had to plan for a life that including my mother’s living for another 10 years. My recent visit to Phoenix, which, while it is literally 107 degrees in the shade, overwhelmed me with the happiness and agency and purposive well-kept optimistic and artistic public spaces, entirely lacking here in Macondo. And don’t blame it on the Indians or the Chicanos. They got them, and their genocided ghosts, in Phoenix too. I blame it on the Hispano Inquisition penitente karma, the caudillismo. Macondo. First in the nation in prison rapes. First with the A-bomb.

Sore-eye poppies at ground zero, Trinity Site, White Sands, NM

The fireflies in Gramercy Park. I just remembered that, and realized it is still completely within my grasp.

I want it. I have never gone without anything I wanted.

Laura Foster Nicholson ribbon.

I’ve been on this regime since October 2010. In Buddhist or cognitive therapy terms, it is thought-switching. Two gigantic miracles have taken place, not explicitly the ones I was asserting, but ones which substantially changed my life for the better.

Lately, in what can only be described as decathexis, an almost photographic recall of my entire life has passed before my eyes, including some very bad days. I seem to have been dreaming about that last night.

And I woke up this morning sad but certain that it is part of the answer to my prayer, of release from all the obstacles of bitterness so my forgiveness work can continue. I’ve been working on it for 15 years, and had an epiphany, regarding my worst enemy, Nemesis, the other day. Seeing him, rather than not seeing him, is the forgiveness work.

One of the great liberating ideas in forgiveness work is that you don’t have to like, or hang out with, or step up for more injury, from the people you have forgiven. I think that’s Forgiveness 202. Forgiveness 301, is, they cannot injure you. Forgiveness 401 is this, which I am still struggling with.

Forgiveness is important. My one criterion in all the spiritual trudging I’ve done in the last 25 years is what’s in this for me? I’m not here to be good, it’s way too late for that. I’m not here to be respectable, because respectable kills. After several years of asking that question, Emmet Fox answered: If your prayers are not being answered, search your consciousness and see if there is not someone whom you have yet to forgive.
— Fox, “The Lord’s Prayer”, Power Through Constructive Thinking

Fox’s little essay on Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us may be his greatest work. Very much in the Fox tradition of a.) you don’t need clean hands to ask to borrow the soap and b.) either God means what he says, or he doesn’t: ie., forgiveness is the vestibule of heaven. You can’t chose. Sometimes I think atheists are the people for whom resentment is form-conferring. I’m willing to die so I can be angry at Nemesis.

My two other great experiential spiritual insights in this long jornada, were basically Hindu, I think. Although I’m also a big old Jew, on account of the pine coffin in the ground within 24 hours thing. Dayenu. And a Baptist. When nothing else can move me, a little touch of The Swan Silvertones’ Saviour Pass Me Not or Hezekiah Walker’s Faithful Is Our God can turn this stone into a human being again.

My Hindu insights took place in the early 1990s. They were, as bad as what this person has done to me is — it was a rip-off by a trusted mentor —  it has not harmed the real me, as far away as that real me is. It has to do with this passage from the Bhagavad Gita:

I say to thee weapons reach not the Life;
Flame burns it not, waters cannot o’erwhelm,
Nor dry winds wither it. Impenetrable,
Unentered, unassailed, unharmed, untouched,
Immortal, all-arriving, stable, sure,
Invisible, ineffable, by word
And thought uncompassed, ever all itself,
Thus is the Soul declared! How wilt thou, then,—
Knowing it so,—grieve when thou shouldst not grieve?

— Edwin Arnold, Song Celestial

The other was a deep sense that this is all a dream, in the sense that the material world is only conformed to my vision. It’s a sad insight, in a way, but the prize is a glimpse of the eternal goodness — chi, if you like — that everything is made of, and the world of spirits who love us and are here, just beyond my mortal power to see them. If they forgive me, and I forgive them, we can get to a very good place.

Krishna takes the reins of Arjuna’s war chariot, Bhagavad Gita.

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