After a recent trip overseas, I returned home exuberant and full of ideas. My mind raced in every direction, looking for the next step, an answer or opportunity. A couple weeks after I returned I broke my foot and tore a ligament when I was feeling my strongest, although probably not my wisest. I was climbing at a bouldering gym and slipped at the top of a route, crashing 15 feet onto my left foot. A few weeks later I had surgery. In the stillness of the intense moments before and after going under the knife, memories from a past relationship came to light.
As I unpacked the emotions, the regret, the sorrow, I removed layers to discover the truth. In order to heal, I had to forgive. I had no choice but to fully acknowledge the experience for what it was, accepting it, grieving it, and then choosing to release and let go. As Alan Watts says, you change the meaning of the past by forgiving someone. There is room for compassion, loving kindness and freedom when you forgive. It’s a process and a practice, similar to mindfulness. It is also a choice that allows us to live more fully in the present.
In the past couple of months of limited mobility, sitting has become a regular activity. At first I resisted, which made things much more difficult and frustrating. But when I recognized that I could learn and grow in this place, I shifted my attention on reading books, articles and watching videos to help my spirit move forward. I learned how to modify my yoga practice. And when I was ready for the real challenge, I began to practice meditation, starting with a guided meditation centered on forgiveness.
Stillness shows us where we’re stuck. It challenges us to sift through the leftovers of the past, self-judgement, and any other place where we have turned a blind eye. We can continue to choose to avoid, but the relief from addressing these areas of our lives is so much more life giving. We can’t let go until we understand what we’re releasing and acknowledge the purpose it served us in the past. We have to be willing to feel the discomfort, but also see that it’s a choice to continue to hold on.
Today in my busy, scattered thoughts, I felt the sense that I needed to embrace the present by sitting in stillness. Maybe take a few moments to reflect on how you’ve grown and who you have become. There is so much pressure to be more, do more and improve ourselves, but pausing to appreciate who you are today is worth your time. Let your mind and your spirit be still.
“When you are in doubt, be still, and wait; when doubt no longer exists for you, then go forward with courage. So long as mists envelop you, be still; be still until the sunlight pours through and dispels the mists — as it surely will. Then act with courage.” – Ponca Chief White Eagle
Surrender to the present moment, remembering that you are exactly where you need to be.