Not ready to make nice

That’s how Natalie in the Dixie Chicks put it after she was vilified, and the band boycotted, for saying she was ashamed that the President of the US was from Texas, when he ordered the invasion of Iraq.

I feel like that just now.  Sometimes I can only work things out by writing them down, so bear with me, dear reader.

I watched a gratuitous piece of verbal violence against someone I know, and copped a sideswipe myself in the same attack.  There was nothing which could condone what was done.

I was pretty angry about it, and I tried to let the anger wash through because you’re supposed to recognize and allow but not hang onto anger.  I resisted making my own attack in retribution.  I figured that I should get over it and work on forgiveness – isn’t that what you are supposed to do?

I dialed up Jack Kornfield’s forgiveness meditation on my iPod.  I had forgotten that it was a three-stage operation, where you first have to ask forgiveness for yourself for the hurt, harm, betrayal or abandonment you have caused others.

Ouch.  That step was a bit confronting, throwing up some of my own betrayals and abandonments.  It got me asking for some forgiveness from someone from whom I realised I had never really sought it, and absolutely should have.

Then you have to forgive yourself for the hurt and harm you have caused yourself – I have inflicted plenty of that too.  Only then do you get to the stage of forgiving others for the hurt and harm they have caused.

Jack Kornfield says forgiveness is a process, and you may not get to the stage of forgiving someone right away.  I went through the process, and I don’t reckon I got halfway there, but at least there was a bit more perspective around it.

I looked for Stephanie Dowrick’s advice in her brilliant “Forgiveness and Other Acts of Love”.  She says:

“It is my personal experience, and something I have observed with many other people, that waiting is a crucial stage in forgiveness.  It is almost as though one has to incubate events, let them settle;  unconsciously as well as consciously sort out what really matters and what does not, and then slowly, and having achieved at least some distance, return to them, find the learning in them, take from them what they can give, and begin to look forward to moving on: although never to life as it once was.”

So for the time being I guess I am stuck in the same space the Dixie Chicks were when they wrote that song.  I am sure I will get past it.  Maybe I have to wait and let things settle – as Stephanie counsels:

“It may also be that this settling allows the issue of forgiveness to move from the head to the heart, which is where it belongs.”

But damn, it’s hard sometimes, isn’t it?

David Rowan White

    • Dee Jensen
    • March 11th, 2012

    But on the other hand, not standing up for yourself can be just as bad as not saying or doing anything to the culprit.

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