Thursday, May 3, 2007

Forgive and Forget

“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be cumbered with your old nonsense.” (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

Emerson’s quote captures an essential activity. Forgiveness of the past. What is missing from Emerson’s quote, of course, is any hint of how does one ever manage successfully to do that?

The words are easy to say but what if you can’t forget them in any amount of time? Or, worse, what if “forgetting” means simply shoving them down into some dark space in your subconscious where they will fester for years... or even decades and eventually erupt in some outpouring of incomprehensible babble?
How can one finish each day with no resentment and forgiveness unless they have the necessary qualities of mercy and forgiveness already present within to make the act of getting rid of “my old nonsense” effective or possible? Learning to honestly admit failures, inadequacies and resentments, first to yourself then before the universe, seeking the sense of forgiveness and release that will make it possible to “forget them” as Emerson says you must.

It is possible, perhaps even necessary, to engage in forgiveness as a fundamentally selfish act—forgiving people or more importantly, forgiving yourself because you desperately need to become free from the acids of resentment that will otherwise burn into your soul. Resentment and bitterness will kill your creativity as quickly as a fire doused in water.

However, the process of forgiveness can empower you to deny permission to your old habits that keep pulling you down. Also this act empowers you to not keep repeating day-after-day tiresome and depressing patterns of personal failure and resentment.

Do Not give permission to your old habits and depressing patterns of personal failure to drag you down. Let each day of your life become an upward spiral. Repeat this mantra every day:

“I ain’t what I ought to be and I ain’t what I’m going to be, but at least I ain’t what I was.” (unknown)

Write it down,