“Therefore, dark past, I’m about to do it. I’m about to forgive you. For everything.” ~ Mary Oliver
The plan for my first post on this site, was that it be positive. Hearts, rainbows, and happiness would ooze from the computer screen. I would take a photo of a lovely nature scene, pair it with inspirational words and christen this space with light, love and positivity.
That was my plan, anyway. Nothing ever goes as planned.
I left my house, one morning, at the crack of dawn, when most of the world was still hugging their pillows, to get photos of a beautiful pond, in a state park, not far from my home. I arrived at the park, flung my precious camera around my neck and headed toward the pond – which is situated atop a steep hill. I ran up that hill, bursting with the anticipation of capturing the morning light, dancing on the water.
The view at the top, did not disappoint. The fog was hanging low in the air, the clouds were puffy and magical and a layer of sparkly, frost covered the earth. The backdrop of the scene was framed in a mass of mountains and the ground around the pond was surrounded with wild cattails. I love cattails and I love the fact that they symbolize peace and forgiveness. It is said, that when you present a cattail to someone, you are letting them know that you have forgiven them for having hurt you.
Looking through the camera, I walked around to get the best perspective, but instead of feeling overcome by the sheer beauty of this scene, I was overcome with a feeling of overwhelming sadness.
Uh-oh! There goes my hearts, rainbows and happiness post.
I stopped looking through the camera. I stopped searching for inspirational words. I stopped fighting the emotion and I fell to the ground. I sat there, with my yoga pants-wearing bottom, planted to the frost covered earth and I got quiet.
Pin. Drop. Quiet.
I began to recall the people in my life who wounded me – people I thought were in my past, people I thought I let go of, people I thought – I forgave. But, forgiveness brings feelings of peace and lightness and I felt such turmoil and heaviness. Perhaps I wasn’t such a forgiving person. Perhaps I wasn’t such an expert at letting go. Perhaps I had more work to do.
I found the place, deep inside, where I was storing hurt, fighting forgiveness, holding grudges and refusing to let go. I closed my eyes and I opened this imaginary, but very real, box of hurt. No hearts, rainbows, or happiness was stored inside. But I saw the faces of those that disappointed me, betrayed a confidence, hurt me to my core.
So. Many. Faces. So much weight I was still carrying around. Not yet released from the prison I constructed. Made of human bones – not iron bars.
One by one, I began to recall the time spent, the moments shared, the lessons learned – with each soul. I thanked them for the good things they gave me – that left me happier. I thanked them for the bad things they gave me – that left me wiser. I smiled at each of them. I wished them well. I imagined placing a wild cattail in their outstretched hands and… I forgave them. Then, I forgave the most difficult person of all to forgive – myself. I forgave myself for trusting the wrong people, taking paths – I had no business taking, working too hard to control things, trying too hard to please everyone and for holding onto all of it, far longer than needed.
On that frosty morning, with the fog hanging low, the mountains gracing the horizon and the wild cattails standing tall and proud – I let it all go. I felt happier. I felt lighter. I felt more whole – and in that holy moment of release, I realized, that I used happiness to push down sadness. I used lightness and hearts and rainbows to keep my head in the clouds. And in the process, I failed to deal with the heaviness, the hurt, the raw things that could only be dealt with, in the place they originated – deep inside and low to the ground.
There is freedom in letting go of whatever hurt your heart and in doing so – you clear a path for renewal and make room for more love, more light and yes…more hearts, more rainbows, more happiness – all the things the world desperately needs more of.
Who knew that in writing my first post, I would find clarity in the fog, warmth in the frost and forgiveness – in the fall to the ground.
Peace and Love
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