I’ve been working through Emotionally Healthy Spirituality by Peter Scazzero. He says that we can’t be spiritually healthy if we aren’t emotionally healthy. That’s kind of a no-brainer. I’ve been working on my spiritual and emotional health for the last 16 years, and I gotta say, it ain’t easy. If it were easy, everyone would do it, and there would be more peace, love, and brotherhood in the land.
The practice suggested by Scazzero is twice a day- in the morning and in the evening, to meditate, read the daily devotional – which consists of scripture, commentary, a question to ponder, and a prayer- then meditate again. Lastly, you are to jot down your contemplative thoughts. Today’s question was, “What God-given birthright are you ignoring?”
Of course, I’m wracking my brain. Is it public speaking? I am a classically trained actor; maybe I should be on stage. But no, I lead people through yoga flows four times a week. That’s public speaking. Is it music? Should I be taking voice lessons? Finding a band to front? Should I be auditioning for Annie Get Your Gun?
If you read last week’s entry, you’ll note that all of these things that I’m considering aren’t very restful.
Smh. Old habits die hard.
Recognizing that my brain was churning in thought, I relaxed. I gently redirected my awareness to the So Hum of breath and texture of a mala bead between my fingers. And just as in an asana, I waited and allowed myself to relax into the question.
There is a pause between the in-breath and the out-breath, between the current bead and the next. In that pause, an intuitive thought visited me: It’s not about doing. It’s about being. The being, in this case, is being forgiven.
When I was a young Christian, it was elementary for me to accept God’s forgiveness. I mean, how much damage can a good Christian girl of 14 do? I believed that God forgave me, and therefore it was apparent to forgive myself. I mean, if the GOD OF THE UNIVERSE can forgive me, then who the heck do I think I am to withhold forgiveness from myself. Am I bigger than God?
As an adult, when my mistakes were, well, adult-sized, it became harder to accept God’s forgiveness. The whole notion of not being good enough takes root, and pretty soon, shame is running the show. Shame invites its friends, fear, self-doubt, pride, jealousy, and comparison. The next thing you know, you’re sitting in a therapist’s office or a 12 step meeting wondering, how did I get here?
My Higher Power, or Higher Self, reminds me today that forgiveness is a birthright. It is for all of us. Even if you don’t ascribe to religious practice, grace is yours. It’s mine. The only thing preventing us from basking in its peace is our unwillingness to accept this truth.
Just for Today
I will accept that forgiveness is my God-given birthright. I will let myself off the hook and practice spiritual principles.
God help me to accept your forgiveness and to forgive myself. Grant me a deep knowing that I am loveable.