Is it possible to forgive someone who has not asked to be forgiven? Is it possible to forgive someone whose transgressions still persist? I struggled with these questions for quite a while now. I had been hurt but the specifics don’t really matter. I watched the perpetrator hurt some of my loved ones and still continue to. How in the world could I forgive when the hurtful behavior still continued?
I had to start from the inside. The first question I asked myself is, “How do I feel when I think about this person?” I sat with the question, quietly closed my eyes, and quickly felt sick to my stomach. The more I sat with it, the stronger the reaction became. At one point I began to think vengeful thoughts: I want the person to suffer badly. I want him to die a miserable death. I never want to see his face again.
But, I also began to think of people who are directly related to this person and suddenly I felt their pain and how selfish it is for me to wish him gone. Someone must love this person. He has children, after all. It is not for me to wish him ill. Not that my wishes could just magically come true! He is entitled to his life. Thinking about his life suddenly being over really didn't bring me less angst. It would simply open another set of woes. His children would be devastated. His wife, close friends. The thought suddenly sounded very immature, childish. It brought me no joy.
The next step for me was seeing how my anger toward him was really affecting me. I needed to think about how it was affecting my loved ones around me. I was carrying my anger and hurt everywhere I went. I had to put it down, not for him but for those around me. For myself. I realized I could forgive him for things he had done and things he would continue to do. But, I would no longer be part of it. I could remove myself from the whole situation. Yes, there would be collateral damage. Some others would have to be cut out of my life. But, as long as I maintained any kind of relationship with him, I could not truly forgive. I had to forgive and let go. It was the healthiest decision. My stomach relaxed. My headaches were gone. I could now sleep through the night. Best of all, I could laugh with my children and hold my husband close. I could look myself in the mirror and know that I had forgiven him, even though he had no idea he had hurt me and many others. Forgiveness is freedom.
I’ve been thinking a lot about balance lately. Years ago I had my first experience with feeling very unbalanced. I had just gotten married. My husband was unemployed. I was estranged from my family – well, I was estranged from my brothers who I had been pretty close to most of my life. I hated my job. I mean HATED my job. And, I worked with my brothers. You get the picture. I dove into yoga hoping it would be the cure I was looking for. I remember doing a downward dog and feeling the world start to pin. The room seemed to literally spin. Frightened, I went down into a child’s pose but even there I felt uneasy and dizzy. I tried the downward dog again, telling myself I would push through the uncomfortable feeling. I thought I was going to throw up! I went home feeling even more depressed than before. Now I couldn’t even count on yoga to help me feel better!
When the feeling of physical instability didn’t subside, I saw my family physician. She ruled out vertigo and suggested I see an inner ear specialist. He diagnosed otoconia, a problem in the inner ear involving calcium carbonate crystals. After four treatments involving me wearing a strange looking mask and being slowly moved while strapped onto a revolving bed, followed by sleeping in an upright position for days, the dizziness subsided.
After that episode, I started to realize I had many other aspects of my life that were out of balance. I began to slowly, slowly work on setting things straight. Without any outside or professional help, I began to feel more balanced in most aspects of my life. But, it took years. It was difficult and ugly at times. I had to find out on my own who and what I wanted in my life and who and what I needed to purge. I now share my day with work, kids, family, friends, and through it all, self.The Balance is beautiful!