Raised in the church as I was I often heard of forgiveness and it was frequently mentioned in many of my studies. It was a concept and on some level I am sure I forgave or thought I forgave many. However, in the 4T class I was forced to focus more on forgiveness and set out on an inner search to find those I had not forgiven. And of course the biggest lack of forgiveness was for me. This class and others that followed showed me how I avoided forgiveness and how it blocked my spiritual and human movement.
During this period I saw that I had not forgiven someone at work for what I saw as betrayal and pure meanness. I thought this person was a friend and left the job with feelings of disappointment, anger and sadness. Although this did not involve racism I see now the connection between this and the experience in middle school. I believe it called forth some of those old feelings. As I began to look at her and the situation I saw a person much like me needing control, afraid of not being good enough and determined to not really connect.
One of the most helpful exercises (and I apologize to whoever gave me this practice as I have forgotten) was imagining the two of us walking along talking and each of us had an angel walking with us. As I repeated this day after day a change came over me. I realized that I allowed myself to be consumed with anger and self-righteousness. It did not change how I felt about the unjust and unreasonable way people where I worked were treated. However, the blaming began to lift and I forgave her for what I saw as betrayal. I also realized she may have seen my actions as betrayal. The biggest admission which I try never to forget was that she was doing the best she could at the time given where she was in her life. This experience assisted me in seeing clearly that the heart must be the primary focus in forgiveness rather than the mind. I could feel my heart expanding as forgiveness occurred.
However, there was still the matter of forgiving myself for walking away from the job in anger with no plan. I can laugh now as I see myself as some righteousness knight marching off to show that place how sorry they would be without me. What a hoot! Of course they survived without me.J One of the practices that helps me in forgiving myself is visualizing my higher self as a separate being filled with light. This self walks with me, talks with me, embraces me reminding me that I am here to do the will of God and have a purpose to fulfill. I also am reminded that because I am human mistakes will be made but in order to move forward I must release the blame and love my weaknesses as well as my strengths. For me this is an area I must periodically revisit. I am still human and have moments of reacting without thinking or beating myself up about something that floats through my mind. Vigilance is needed to remember the peace that is at my core and to keep focused on that peace.
What is your experience with blame and forgiveness? Is there someone you need to forgive? Do you need to forgive yourself? What action will you take? Can you get out of your head and emotions and into your heart? Are you willing to seek assistance to do it?
Eventually I returned home to continue my journey back to health. As I regained strength I began reading and studying again. I also returned to church and eventually made the decision to join. Almost three years had passed and I needed “desperately” to find a job. I was led to take a class being offered at church called “4T Prosperity”. It was developed by Stretton Smith as a prosperity and commitment to change class based on the twelve steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. Part of the focus is on changing your thoughts to change your life. I believe you have to go through this class to understand its power.
A crucial part of this course is a master mind type prayer group which provides ongoing prayer and support for an aspect of prosperity for which each member requests help. The class was large enough to have several prayer groups and the folks in my group were wonderful. I started the class in around the January-February timeframe. My focus was on finding a job. Each week we would lovingly look in each other’s eyes and state the positive thoughts we held in prayer for each member of the group. For the introverted, group shy person that I was it was an emotional experience requiring risk taking on my part. Gratitude overflowed.
Another aspect of the course is a commitment to tithing a minimum of 10% of your income for the duration of the course 12 weeks. Well I hemmed and hawed and moaned and did the no one is going to tell me what to do dance. But the pull to take the class was stronger than my objections so I made the commitment. I was totally amazed that I did not face poverty and everything I needed was provided. But even more amazing was the joy I felt in giving. I still tithe grateful to the Universe for the abundance it provides while understanding it is just a part of my giving that I came here to do.
The class ended and I did not have a job. I was disappointed but stayed open to the possibility and worked to focus on positive thoughts. Whew! That was not always easy. But lo and behold a couple months after the class ended, someone where I previously worked contacted me to ask me to be part of a special project to develop and train a refresher course on the child welfare automation system. Best of all it was a job that for the most part was to be done at home. Initially I hesitated to get into that environment again and then I wondered if the Universe had a sense of humor putting me back where I never thought I would ever work again. Eventually I danced around my kitchen joyously in gratitude.
This course helped me regain a belief in myself, reminded me who I truly was and gave me another opportunity to connect in a group and thrive from the experience. It helped me increase my patience quotient as well as providing a way to share my compassion with others which is part of my purpose.
Do you see opportunities that God, the Universe has provided to meet a need you have been asking to be met? What areas of your life are not prosperous and what next step are you being pushed to take? What are your risk and patience quotients?
It was to be a Thanksgiving trip to visit my daughter and son-in-law in Los Angeles. I arrived on a Friday night a little tired from the flight but not feeling unwell. On the way to their home I had a bad nose bleed but I was used to it and shrugged it off. The weekend went fine with shopping and sightseeing with my family. Then I got up one morning began to feel weak and generally awful. I remember lying on the couch with my teeth chattering as I was so cold. Later in the day I felt better and did some things but that is the last I clearly remember until Thanksgiving evening. My daughter told me that either I got dressed and let them take me to the UCLA hospital emergency room or they were calling 911. Somehow I got dressed with the help of the angels and off we went.
I remember very little of the next few days. There are snippets of memory including a frantic expression on a resident’s face and my daughter asking what was wrong. He told her he did not know as everything was off. It “just happened” that a visiting consultant was there and once called in on my case quickly figured out a kidney stone was blocking the passage out of the kidney and sepsis set in as the poison filled my body. I was rushed to surgery where the kidney stone was popped out of the urethra. I began a recovery period that lasted three weeks in the hospital and three weeks as an outpatient before I returned home.
The first few days in the hospital are mostly a blur. But I am eternally grateful to those in the hospital – doctors, nurses, nurse’s aides, food preparers, physical therapists, lab technicians – who took such wonderful care of me. It was a time of turning all control over to others. I could not even think beyond each moment! The recovery was rocky and one of the things I remember is the young doctor coming in every morning to let me know how I was doing. Each time she talked of improvement and then came back to say tests showed something else with wrong and a new protocol was started. And each day my sweet daughter had to call family and friends to talk about something else that was wrong. It must have been a horror for her as she spent her time working and visiting the hospital. But what an advocate she was for me. I recommend her highly for anyone who needs an advocateJ
So there I was with no control over anything as I depended on others to do almost everything for me. My need to have “control” in my life led to a state of no control. I see now that Grace stepped in and saved my life. I did not realize that until I was an outpatient and the residents I saw kept exclaiming over how they did not understand how I was alive. Each one asked me if I understood how sick I was when in the hospital. I also learned later that prayer constantly surrounded me from many family members and friends.
Is control an issue for you? What do you believe you have no control over that you wish you did? What is your experience with control in your life? What do you fear if you lose control?
For the first time in about 35 years I was not working. I had an idea I could market myself as a consultant but that went nowhere as I put little energy into it. Luckily I had investments that I could draw on to live. With so much time on my hands I began to study again with familiar teachers. By now I was so deep in the shadows I began a time of trying to figure out what was wrong with me that I could not “get” all this great knowledge being shared. I can see myself literally shaking my head” yes” as I read about the addict archetype but not seeing I was living it with exercise. Looking back I feel so much love for that part of me wallowing in such foolishness.
The worry continued about money. Was it going to last and what if this and what if that? In this place there was no room for accepting the miracle that money was there and the bills were getting paid. The fear of not being enough flowed over into the fear of not having enough.
However, the pull in me to be, to live the life I came here for managed to peak through periodically. Knowing I needed to be giving I volunteered to work with a woman with Alzheimer’s disease who was in an assisted living situation. What a gift she was in my life. She brought laughter and tears but one of the greatest lessons was experiencing living in the moment.
The other effort I made was testing the waters of attending church again. I chose a Unity Church since several Unity ministers were teachers for me. The minute I walked in the love and light surrounded me. It was almost too much. My attendance was irregular and I tried to keep a very low profile.
But I had “control” of exercising and eating and reveled in how thin I was ignoring signs that all was not well with my health. The Universe kept trying to get my attention through every means including nose bleeds and shaking and lack of energy.
Do you see times in your life when the Universe, Creator, God tried to get your attention? How did you respond? What was the result?