Seventy Times Seven

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It is not possible to get to Carnegie Hall without traveling the path of practice, nor is it possible to find joy without the practice of forgiveness.  Practice, practice, practice.

In my continuing quest for peace of mind and happy endings, I am more aware than ever of the need to put my money where my mouth is and stop talking and start doing the inner work that is necessary to move forward on the path to enlightenment.

In answer to my impassioned plea for more joy in my life I was rewarded with the opportunity to practice what I preach.  This answer comes to me in the form of a person who is so in-your-face angry and contentious that I want nothing more than to see the back of her head when she walks away. The experience of being in her presence is so disturbing that my heart ties itself into a knot just thinking about it.  Sometimes I think that God has a very mischievous sense of humor.

Twice I have received guidance and insight into the path to forgiveness of her and twice, it has slipped away.  How fleeting these precious thoughts can be, and how quickly I forget!  I need to write it down so that I can remember and practice, but it is so elusive that I ask for help to remember and recapture those ephemeral thoughts.  Help comes in the form of a poem.  Well, sort of.  I’m not a poet.

She is not angry with me
She is angry with the world
Those in her path reap her wrath
Rather than respond with anger
I prefer to offer forgiveness
Yet forgiveness is hard to find

She is not angry with me
The world has done her wrong
Her anger lashes out on others
And she drives them away with her fury
She is in great need of forgiveness
Of herself, of others, of the world

If I cannot find forgiveness
Perhaps I can find compassion
Compassion for her suffering
Compassion for the pain that drives her
And understanding of the intense grievances
That clog her heart with the fear of love

Jesus implores us to forgive seventy times seven
I may find it in my heart to forgive today
Yet tomorrow will bring renewed opportunity
When she stands in my face once again
With a glare, a frown and bitterness in her heart

In her current state of mind
She is helpless to help herself
But I can refrain from my judgment of her
And silently acknowledge her suffering
In exchange for her anger and contention
I can offer compassion and forgiveness
And a prayer of peace and love for her
Seventy times seven

 

 

 

 

The Quest for a Happy Ending

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The following is an excerpt from a newsletter that I sent out to the residents of my condo building on June 30, just two days after the tragic shooting at the Annapolis Gazette. Though you may have read it before, sometimes it helps to be reminded that each one of us makes a difference in our world.  There is a revised ending–just so you know!

On Thursday we were reeling from a senseless tragedy that occurred right here, a mere four miles away from our own front door, in a building where many of us go to doctors and dentists.  It doesn’t get very much closer to home than that.  At the risk of sounding uncharacteristically negative, today I am feeling rather powerless and hopeless as I process all that is happening in our world today.   The horrendous murder of innocent people coupled with a pervasively negative political climate is turning our country inside out.   If I think about it or dwell on it too much, it almost seems more than I can bear.  Perhaps some of you may be experiencing similar feelings.

As I sit with heavy heart, I am aware that my mind tends to run away with itself by indulging in negative thinking.  I am not helping the problem—indeed, I am adding to it by allowing an insidious underlying fear to infiltrate my mind and dominate my thought process.  A smile is catching.  So is fear.

I don’t want to be responsible for spreading the disease of fear, for truly, it is a disease. It robs us of peace of mind, a healthy outlook, and hope for a brighter future.  Instead, I am going to shift my mindset into one of looking beyond the appearance of what is, and instead focus on what may be, and of what is possible when we focus on love rather than fear.  I invite you to join me in adopting and maintaining a higher vision of a better, safer world.  In horoscopes, it is often written that sometimes we must “tear down in order to rebuild.”  Life on our planet may never return to what it once was, but I am holding a vision and keeping the faith that one day it will be rebuilt into one that is even better.  Please, please help to speed the process by focusing on what’s right rather than on what’s wrong, on light rather than dark, on love rather than fear.

If this post speaks to your heart, I hope that you will share it with others who may find solace and comfort in knowing that they too can make a difference in a world in such need of love and peace.  Please pass it on.  We need all of the help and hope that we can get.

To borrow a phrase from yesteryear, “Make love, not war.”  Stay strong and nurture your spirit with thoughts that lift you up into the hope of a happy ending.

Peace, blessings, and love to all.

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