Monday, July 25, 2016

The latest life lessons written on my stones

I don't know how to encapsulate what I've experienced in the last week and a half—it's been radical—but without going into the detail of events here's some thoughts:

1) Vulnerability is power. Open hearts create a vacuum for healing.

2) Taking responsibility and acknowledging the pain we cause others through radical apology is both terrifying and liberating. Such an act requires complete relinquishment of control in regard to outcome, but it is the right thing to do. The only thing you have to lose is pride; not dignity. It is an act of sheer bravery because it demands no reward and strips us bare of pretense and defensiveness.

3) Radical forgiveness doesn't mean we accept that wrongs done to us are right. It doesn't rob us of power. It does not demand that we open doors that are closed for safety's sake. It simply refuses to assume resentment and bitterness, over and over and over again. It's not a one time thing. Like the refocusing work of repentance, it takes constant immersion and repeat effort.

4) Peace and pain can coincide. Don't assume that because you've done the right thing you will rid yourself of sadness or hurt. But doing the right thing does relieve the conscience, and that peace is soothing while the pain of healing takes place.

5) There is a reason that some formulation of the Golden Rule appears in the canons of every major religion. Give and take is the law of the universe. In the words of Stan Lee: With power comes responsibility. In the words of D&C 82:3: Unto whom much is given much is required. If we have anything, we can't just sit around waiting to get what's "ours." Do unto others. Love thy neighbor. So on. So forth.

6) It's okay to sit with pain without letting it turn to bitterness or resentment. Take your stones into the mountain. There's relief to be had in letting go.

7) Retribution is the responsibility of the universe, not humans. Acts of revenge mean we are complicit in the original offense. It's a needlessly vicious cycle.

8) People can come around. If you're willing to give the benefit of the doubt to confessed sinners, you have to be prepared to give it to proclaimed saints. In the end, we're all on equal ground anyway. Dust to dust.

9) This pacifism thing I subscribe to—one human at a time—it works.

10) Validation is the second kindest gift any of us have to offer one another. Forgiveness is the first. Above all, LOVE THY FREAKIN' SELF AND BE KIND TO YOUR OWN HEART! If you know you're doing your best, there's nothing else to be done, is there?

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