Photo by Ymani Simmons
I continue to search for my own honest answers about myself, and work to change the things I can as they become visible to me. I arrived on this planet under the Native American astrological sign of the Salmon (known as Leo to others), and have an intimate experience of seeking the courage and strength needed to leap into the current that is my life.
I recall accepting full responsibility for making all of the choices that positioned me in joyously fulfilling situations. I was not as willing to claim an awareness of choosing the challenging ones.
Clinging to a mindset of desperation, loneliness, and a general feeling of being out of control, it seemed like the world, and everything in it, was against me. Nothing seemed simple. Struggle, hardship, pain, disappointment, and despair were my reality. Something outside of myself seemed to be writing my dramatic script, and was creating endless obstacles that kept me swirling in chaos. I was convinced I was a victim of life’s cruelty. It was not the truth.
As we experience these bumps in the road of life, we often embrace the emotion that accompanies the event, becoming that emotion. What we don’t recognize is our ability to define the truth of the event, and, therefore, feed our higher purpose.
It is up to us to identify what and who we choose to be, every moment of every day. I remember when I decided to take an honest look at my life. Was I truly showing up and being seen as my potential? Was I seeing the potential in myself, or had I settled for the mask that appeared with the old patterns and belief systems from my original imprinting?
The answers resided in the old saying, “When you point a finger of blame at someone else, there are three fingers pointing back at you.” It always gets back to us. We are the only ones that we can truly change in any way. We may influence the opinion, choice, or response of another, but the ultimate decision to make a personal change is up to the individual.
My decisions will influence others by the choice of my words or actions, and I must accept responsibility for that influence. But it remains the responsibility of others to make their own choices when responding.
A stone thrown into a still pond is responsible for the splash. It is also responsible for the ripples that occur because of that action. So, the way we behave – the stone – becomes part of the reality of others. The effect of that behavior – the ripples – collide with the shoreline of those with whom we are in relationship. That collision creates an opportunity for a response, or a reaction, and we remain accountable for our action that influenced it.
It is important to accept responsibility in all life situations. We are surrounded by relationships, it’s what life is. As we dance this dance with others we are well served to gain proficiency in our challenge to respond instead of react in moments of conflict.
As human actors in this universal play, we define what our roles are. We are one part of the whole. We each hold a unique piece of this colossal puzzle; each voice is needed to ensure complete harmony. Now that I live with this understanding, I acknowledge my responsibility for maintaining my conscious awareness. To do so, I must constantly pay attention to my role in all relationships. I must determine to respond in a good way with a heart that holds no grudges, an ego that isn’t vindictive, and a soul that sees the fallibility and vulnerability of the individual aspects of humanity. We are all learning. Life is a ‘work in progress’.
I remember bumping into the walls of my life maze, only able to visualize the view my selfish perspective allowed me to see. I was doomed – cursed, to be sure. My prophecy was being self-fulfilled in every moment, and I remained totally clueless about the process.
When I first stepped onto the healing portion of my road, the challenges appeared endless, dark, and ominous. I felt a sense of loneliness and isolation. I persevered and continued my dedication to healing these slivers of my past that promised to stunt my spiritual evolution, and stifle my capabilities. I faced the power of the current rushing toward me and persisted on my destined journey, always swimming upstream. Continued recognition of old patterns and working practically to create change within was my only way to shift from who I had grown to believe I was, into the woman I longed to uncover and release.
Now, I no longer need to know why, about anything. Whatever reason I gave myself to bury and repress fear is of very little consequence. This moment, right now, is all that I have. The events that caused me pain are my past, my graveyard. They cannot feed me the nourishment my soul requires for its evolution, and I must leave them behind to move towards the feast that now feeds my life.
It is my belief that everyone comes from a dysfunctional family. There are varying degrees of intensity, but we are all surrounded by the learned patterns and behaviors of our personal environments. We experience the combined strengths and weaknesses of our ancestral pool and meet opportunities to choose the healthiest attributes to cultivate. When we are aware, we are able to access these handed-down contributions by building on legacies, strengths, and weaknesses. The negative behaviors learned in childhood do not need to accompany us any longer. It is a choice, whether we are cognizant of that choice, or not.
Willingness to Identify harmful patterns is the first step in this process. Learning how to have forgiveness is the second. As I delved deeper and deeper into my childhood memories I could clearly see the patterns I was repeating. I learned how I had become a mass of knots and stress.
None of those memories lead to major trauma in any way. They simply illustrated the affect that ripples had upon the shorelines of my life. I looked around one day and realized I had been blaming others for all of my problems, unfulfilled relationships, and numerous, chaotic life patterns. Although the memories were paramount in the formation of harmful attributes, I had no concept of choosing a different path for myself. My experience was precisely what I remembered, but the events were no longer happening in my present. I discovered how to make wise choices about where to place my feet next on my path. I could make a different choice. I was not a victim.
When I recognized that relationships in my life were comprised of individuals who were responding in the best way they knew how, it became easier to develop understanding and forgiveness for their choices. They were only repeating patterns they had been taught, and were allowing themselves to still be affected by their own unhealed wounds. I began to embrace forgiveness for them. I gave them my favor, my acceptance – and everything began to shift in my daily life.
Once in a place of forgiveness you notice your walls of self-inflicted imprisonment disappear, and you see they were only an illusion anyway. Now you stand in a place of calm understanding and are able to realize compassion. Life takes on new meaning, a new perspective.
Isn’t it easier to understand the outlook of another when we can imagine their reality, their experience, their pain? Isn’t it easier to forgive someone when we recognize their limitations, confusion, and mountains of emotional wounds left untreated?
When we pardon someone for a mistake, or a wrongdoing, we are listening to the truth of our heart and forgiveness reigns supreme. When we pardon ourselves, we are giving permission to step more directly in line with compassion, and love.
Now, I am able to view myself as an awake and aware human being. I observe my appearance in life by the truthful costumes and masks I wear on my stage.
I have learned to view all relationships as potential for great wisdom. It is up to me to pay attention, and listen, to the knowledge that avails itself to me. I stand at another crossroads, and await another choice. The same is true for you.
If we are all connected and we each carry a spark of Divine Creation within, then you and I are a reflection of one another. You are another one of me, and I am another one of you. I believe it’s the Mayans who say, “You are another myself.”
Am I showing up focused and centered within myself? Am I showing up as my true self? Am I ready to listen with no predetermined agenda, or am I still cloaked in my old aggression? Am I embracing the light I carry within? Am I in a place of forgiveness for my old choices?
If you say something unkind to me and I feel hurt, it is my responsibility to own any truth hidden in your statement and, to focus on understanding why I felt hurt. Why you wanted to be unkind is a question that becomes yours to investigate, or not. Look closely at what objects dwell along your shoreline, and at the stone or the ripples created.
How we show up in the world is directly related to how well we are able to listen, observe, and then respond to ourselves and others. Once we are able to fully recognize and discern our true Self, we own the ability to heal those aspects that allow us to participate in the drama of the macrocosm. By accepting our responsibility and accountability for our seat in the Sacred Circle, we set a powerful example as we walk. As we move forward within the spotlight of our own illumination, we reclaim glimpses of our peaceful origin. We remember a peaceful state of being and continue to inch towards that source as we quest for inner peace.
There are as many paths to the top of the mountain as there are individuals who seek the journey. They are all valid, they are all sacred. We are one human family living with many relations. Our walk must reflect the sacred path that we follow as we ascend our mountain of life, and prepare ourselves for further evolution.
Forgiveness is a life-changing stepping stone on that path.