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Life That Works: Self Forgiveness Again

“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,

there is a field. I’ll meet you there.

When the soul lies down in that grass,

The world is too full to talk about.

Ideas, language, even the phrase each other

doesn’t make any sense.”     -Rumi

It is a gift to arrive in this field where your shortcomings and mistakes are part of a huge space that can hold them and transform them into steps on a path of growth. I arrived unprepared to a talk on love, and although all the information was there, the structure that conveys the understanding was missing.

I have learned this painful lesson in the past, that there is no such thing as winging it when you come to a group of people and have only a little while to share and teach what is dearest and most important. Speaking clearly and articulately is a practiced skill that demands notes and preparation. There are many reasonable excuses for my unpreparedness but none that really mitigate the fact that sometimes we make the same mistake over and over again until we are ready to have what we say we want.

Self forgiveness is the only path to this field where our life choices, both good and bad are beyond right or wrong doing. It is in the deep grass where self doubt and questions of our own worthiness don’t stick to us. Forging on to this place takes the courage of a warrior but in the end is always easier than rattling around in our own cage of self condemnation where clear thinking and progress is impeded by the bars of our own vision.

Self forgiveness is also the only reliable path to loving anyone else. All growth moves from the inside out, and ignoring this fact and insisting on bringing the broken parts to the outside for blame or repair mostly pushes us backwards; or at the very least a distracted sideways. Self forgiveness and its natural extension of forgiving others is how we are in our purest state, in the field where we have let go of old resentment, guilt and pain.

I see the fears that keep me from taking the time to perfect the work that I am most drawn to clearly. I can look on them with compassion tonight instead of guilt and shame. Loving the weakness is the truest source of strength we have. We always get to try again. It is never about perfecting, it is always about owning ourselves compassionately. The world is too full of wonder for anything less.