This is the longest spate I’ve not posted on my blog. It’s so funny, the reason I usually stop writing is not lack of ideas or things to say, but too much to say. It becomes overwhelming and I don’t know where to start. Much has happened already this year, some I have shared and some I don’t, well, know where to start… Some seems almost moot now. I sent my kids to camp: baseball, theater and technology (yes, technology). We were all pretty busy, so no vacations were planned although we did go on a few day trips: Coney Island, the Ripley’s Museum and Madame Tussaud’s.
But the crux of my summer boils down into better understanding three primary themes: Forgiveness, Authenticity and Faith.
Ok, before you roll your eyes or think I’ve become a holy-roller in the last two months, bear with me for a few more paragraphs…
I’ve been thinking a lot about the idea of forgiveness lately. Maybe it’s because I had a birthday recently, certainly it’s current and persisting life events that have all combined into a contemplative mind-soup that occasionally gets stirred and sometimes will boil over.
Who are all the beneficiaries of an act of forgiveness? It’s not just about the person we forgive, in fact it has very little to do with them–they can get something certainly but perhaps they forgot we were upset… They’ve been fine all this time. When I forgive, I immediately benefit from that act. I am no longer dogged by the anger, resentment, fear, jealousy or hurt that was plaguing me. Then there is the halo of forgiveness–the people and situations that are benefited by the act like gatherings that can now widen, circles that can expand and ties that are no longer strained because of associations. Those are the “a-ha” moments of forgiveness; the “I never knew this was hurting you too” moments that happen after the fact. Nuanced, subtle, but just as powerful.
I was talking to someone very dear to me not too long ago, and they said something like “honesty doesn’t have to be brutal.” To me, this points to what being authentic is about. The truth just “is.” It is fact. It cannot be disputed. But what is authentic to me, may not be authentic to you–it is not fact, therefore it can carry the tenor of the personality or intention behind it. It can, however be true and that is what can make it honest.
HONESTY = MY VERSION OF THE FACTS
Being honest and then being true are very different for me, but they comprise my experience of authenticity. Anyone is capable of taking their ‘brutal honestly,’ as my friend said and decide not to censor their word vomit by saying “what they really feel” and conflate facts with what they think, often times without regard for others or the world around them.
TRUTH = THE FACTS
Regardless of how well one believes they live-up to this standard, one of the operating principles of the US Department of Justice is “Truth and Justice for all.” It’s not “honesty and justice” or “veracity and justice” — these things are open to the interpretation of the person delivering… The truth is absolute. I can be honest and just plain wrong. Truth is when I can separate in my head feelings from facts, so real truth isn’t “brutal” or unkind. In fact, truth is quite the opposite. It’s impartial, even-handed and neutral, sifting through facts, ideas or events without judgement or blame.
AUTHENTICITY = HONESTY + TRUTH
Authenticity is aligning the appraisals happening in my head to my core values and aspirations: things like I want to be kind, have compassion, I don’t believe in coincidence, I know things happen for a reason, I know innately we are all good people, even when we make mistakes, nothing is unforgivable. Sometimes these things are conflicting. Usually they balance.
Hopefully you’re not totally freaked about this section and you know I’m not about to go on about fire and brimstone. Having established this foundation I feel confident surfacing my final principle, Faith. It grounds all the others.
Faith allows me to believe I can forgive and will not be burned; it allows me to believe I am worthy of forgiveness; it gives me latitude to accept that there may be multiple versions or interpretations of situations and ideas and neither have to be wrong. Faith let’s me understand I am a work in progress (some moments more so than others), and I will never be “done.” Sometimes faith tells me to accept someone else’s perception of my actions, abilities or even my physical attributes because I don’t yet see them and I need to trust someone else can. This is usually very hard in the beginning; and ironically it is usually harder to trust someone sees me in a positive light than in a negative one. But like anything, it takes practice.
So all in all, I guess it was a busy, if not quiet summer on the writing front. I have more to say, but this will do for now. I hope you enjoyed some time with loved ones (including yourself), and I’m so happy to be writing once again.