In the Flow

This morning I walked through my City of Sydney, drinking in the sights with these eyes for the last time before heading off for a month long adventure. In nine years, this will be the longest I have left this city and I am sitting here somewhere between being nervous and excited. It is a bit like going on a first date with someone who you’ve had your eye on for a while and you know it’s going to be a game changer. I am leaving my home, my cat, my students and my community but this is the next chapter of a story that started a long time ago. Finally, after three years of dreaming of it, I am hopping on a plane to undertake a 200 Hour Prana Flow Teacher Training with Shiva Rea in Greece.

It feels like I am standing here on the edge of change – ready to let go of what was, honouring what is and completely open to what will happen.

My first 200 Hour Teacher Training was done locally, with BodyMindLife in 2012. It was no doubt a life altering experience. So much changed for me during this time including a shedding of a long-term relationship and a huge change in career. I’m glad I had opted to do it part time to allow me the chance for slow integration into all aspects of my life. This time however, I am taking the plunge. I am immersing myself completely in the experience, limiting my contact to the outer world to a minimum.

Every time I go deeper into this path something of what I was, is stripped away so that I can become more of what I was meant to be both as a person and as a teacher. These events are magical even though they might not always be easy. They have a way of releasing an old way of being, a way of thinking that no longer serves us and sometimes even old relationships. Leading into this, I have been very careful not to make big commitments as I know that these are very personal journeys and it would not be fair to make a promise that I am not sure I will be able to keep.

There is so much to experience and so much to learn within yoga and we are lucky to be in Australia at this time as the tribe is continuously growing. We have had an influx of great international teachers including Ana Forrest, Maty Ezraty and Bryan Kest, each bringing with them a wealth of knowledge that has fed my own practice and my teaching.

Prana Flow however, has always been close to my heart.

This was a style that was introduced to me more than two years ago by Chanel Luck and Simon Park. Being an ex traditional dancer, something about the ritual and ceremony in combination with discipline, intelligent sequencing and the freedom of flow spoke to me. It was like the practice was telling a story and my body opened to participating in this tale that was being spun.

I am in love with how elements including the weather, the cycle of the moon and the energy of the students in the class are all welcomed into the space to create a complete experience. I am fascinated by how the more Tantric philosophies that honour the feminine are involved.   The way the flow is taught has given my body and soul a freedom that can only be found when my mind can get out of the way. There is an intuitive intelligence to it that can only be felt. There is a fullness and wholeness to it that feeds the soul.

And so we unfold.

When I decided to become a yoga teacher, it also meant that I had committed to a lifetime of learning. It meant a dedication to self-enquiry. Yoga is a lifelong process, a loop that keeps looping. We learn and we practice so that we can keep teaching. Sometimes we have to go back to our own lessons in life and in practice to be able to give. If the day ever comes when I don’t want to practice and feel that I have nothing more to learn, then it is probably a sign that I should stop teaching.

For now, the path is taking me deeper into knowledge of myself as a person. This is the knowledge that informs me as a teacher to be able to offer more to my students on their own paths and I am so grateful to the teachers and life lessons, hard as they may have been, that have brought me here.

So here I head into the next leg of this journey. It’s hard to be away from loved ones and the support that I’ve come to cherish from my community but we are in continuous flow and sometimes, the river has to take us in a solitary direction before we can come back to the sea. I look forward to returning to my city and my community with a new way of seeing things, more to share and so much more compassion.

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One in Four – A Walk through Shadow and Flame

According to statistics, one in four children in the US have been sexually molested. I don’t know what the statistics are in other parts of the country, but that is a big number. It means that every fourth person you meet has been in some way or other, sexually taken advantage of. I don’t know what the statistics are in Malaysia or in the UK where it happened to me but it could be similar. And yes, it did happen to me.

This was 29 years ago, when parents thought that the world was a safe place and that you could allow children to play securely and innocently. He was an acquaintance of my mother’s, someone she was taking a course with in Manchester, UK. It was already a rough time, as my father had sent me to my mother along with a letter that he was leaving her for a younger woman. She was devastated and I was confused.

How does a six year old even begin to describe the situation? It was a public place, and there was no pain involved but something about the situation didn’t feel right. I couldn’t even find the words to say what had happened and my mother was already upset, so I kept it quiet. Keeping it quiet however, did not mean that nothing manifested of it.

I’ve lived my life panicking every time a man stands too close behind me, and when a man assists me in child’s pose, my initial reaction is to stop breathing and freeze up until the message gets to my brain that I know the person and that it is OK to relax. It took me years to get used to the assist in downward facing dog where someone grabs you from the hips and pulls you back. Even now, there are only a few men I can relax into the assist with and I am extremely sensitive to the intention behind the touch.

It was never spoken of, but it has always been somewhere in the shadows.

And it wasn’t until two years ago that I had a vivid memory of the experience. My abuser had come from behind and he wasn’t rough, but he did touch me in an inappropriate way. A child might not know it in their mind, but children are sensitive receptors of touch. It was a lucky thing that there were other people around on the other side of the room or it could have been worse. I wanted to look out the window and he carried me until I could see. It was subtle but I did feel violated.

The event has been playing in the back of my mind for all this time.

‘When the student is ready, the teacher appears,’ old Buddhist proverb.

And so I must have been ready as the right teacher appeared. She had been through a worse experience than I had, relived the memory and come out the other side. I remember being in her class over a year ago, and the feelings surrounding the situation for me came up. Even from the first class, she noticed that I had trouble connecting to my sacrum and was coaxing me to bring breath into the area. It has been a slow process and part of the thing that made is so was my fear to face the assault.

It takes a lot to face these things but last Wednesday, something clicked. Ana Forrest, my beautiful teacher coaxed us to go on a quest towards identifying the blockages that keep us from being whole. In case of a traumatic event, a part of you remains in that time until you go back and free them. Ana said the magic words, telling us that the worst was over. We had survived and we were alive.

That, I think was what did it for me. I decided at the beginning of class that I would chase this fucker down so he could have less power over me. That intention must have been potent because even from the beginning as I was bringing breath down to my sacrum and pelvic area, the tremors began. They continued through core work and most of the class. Finally, when we got into Shavasana, they took over, wrecking my entire body and causing me to panic to the point of not being able to breathe. Luckily Claire, Ana’s assistant, lovingly stayed with me, gently touching my head and cueing me to keep breathing. As soon as we were out of Shavasana, I was a sobbing wreck.

It did not finish there.

Through the day, when I got home, I would sit down, start breathing into my sacrum and the shaking would start followed by sobs. Emotionally, I had to revisit that time of being confused, scared and betrayed. That feeling of being left alone overtook me, and most of all were the very strong feelings that as this was happening to me, my father, the one who was meant to flex his muscles (he was an ex footie player) and protect me was busy starting a new romance. He had let me down, and that’s where my belief that men leave you when you’re weak started.

There were some positives to it though. I was finally able to speak to my mother about it and gave the six year old a voice. She has been a rock through these times. She continues to be amazing, caring, calling me and supportive in my determination to get through this. She’s stuck through me in my crazy quest and called every day since.

We women are so much stronger in our compassion than we give ourselves credit for.

On Thursday I went back. The tremors started early, and towards the end, we were in a compromising Frog pose with a big roll under our bellies. That’s when they fully took over my body. A big part of me wanted to leave the pose and run out of the room. Another part of me was absolutely adamant to chase this fucker out of my body. Ana stayed with me through almost all five minutes of the tormenting ordeal where there were moments when I truly believed that I might die.

But I didn’t and here I am.

I’ve been a gaping wound all week. The memories, and the feelings surrounding them rise and fall like waves. They take over me and I am a shaking mess all over again. Sleep has been sometimes easy but most of the time not. I’ve had nightmares and gone to some really dark places in my mind, but as much as it scares me, I don’t want to put a temporary salve on this.

This will be a tough ride but I want to live my life fully so I am choosing to go through this. The other option is to live my life behind a safe wall where ‘fine’ and ‘comfortable’ are good enough. They are really not so I am living the days occasionally getting thrown into my past knowing that only by facing the nightmares will I be able to shine light on them.

The first 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training I did, I was recovering from a breakup. This time, I will be so much more vulnerable as I head into another time of big change. Sometimes though, it is in times of darkness like these that you learn to find your own light. I could bury it and stick a positive affirmation on it, but that’s not where the work is done. There is greatness and magic in the world however, as what you need always gets provided to you. In my case, I have a strong and loving bond with my family even though they are far away, a generous and solid community that holds me in their arms, wonderful friends and a nuturing yoga practice.

I am also taking steps to protect myself now. Where I would spread my love without fear of backlash before, right now, I am a bit more cautious. Where I see threat of unnecessary hurt, I step back. Some friends will taper away. This is when you know the ones who are leeching on your life force, the ones who only want you when you are light and easy. If you have a partner, this is when you know a weak person from a strong one.

It is a process of riding the waves day by day, and a transformation through fire. At the other side awaits a stronger person with more compassion and so much more love for self and others.0c136b5c56fd13046766ee65c4826572-d6ha2cv

Brahmacharya

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In 2012, a few months before I went into my first 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training, I made a radical decision. I decided that for a year, I would observe Brahmacharya. Named for the state of searching for the ‘Great One, Supreme Reality, or Self,’ Brahmacharya is one of the five Yamas according to Yogic texts. In Vedic traditions in refers to the state of celibacy one chooses during the life stage of being an unmarried student and fidelity when married. In modern times, it is better known as a state of being sexually responsible. In Hindu and Buddhist traditions, Monks practice Brahmacharya their whole lives as it is considered necessary for their spiritual practice.

It wasn’t a decision that required a lot of consideration on my end. I loved the sound of the word, ‘Bharmacharya,’ and something about doing it felt completely right. I chose the more strict sense of the word, not only refraining from the sexual act, but also anything that could lead to it including kissing, extreme alcohol consumption and situations where I am alone with a man I am attracted to in a private setting.

As soon as I had decided on it, it was like I had donned a veil that made me sexually invisible. There was a sense of liberation in being able to let it go and practice my Yoga, learn my texts and most of all, learn more about myself. Once I had taken the whole dynamic out of the picture, I found a lot of freedom. I learned to walk in my own skin without trying to gather the attention or to please a dominant male figure.

A lot came up in that time but once the year was up, and as I was ready to lift the veil, my beloved father passed away. Now that opened up a whole other can of worms and Brahmacharya was extended. The relationship between a daughter and a father is always something pretty amazing. My father, no matter what he did was my hero. Whenever he was in a room, his was the only presence that mattered to me. We had our ups and downs of course. When we disagreed there were so many strong emotions running around that the charge was palpable. It was the love that was also the double-edged sword. When he hurt me, I would lash out as strongly but the love was so deep that when I hurt him, it was akin to taking a knife to my own heart.

My father was a bit of a narcissist in that he never saw how his actions hurt the people who loved him. Growing up I was used to him getting distracted either with a new relationship, a new love interest or a new work venture and he would disappear during those times. Those were the days when he didn’t return my calls, or was simply not available. Then when the thing that had his interest for the moment went to shits or he got bored of it, he would be back and I would welcome him. It hurt like hell but I was young not to see the cruelty and selfishness in it so it became the norm.

When he passed, the patterns that I had carried on from my relationship with him to my relationship with other men came to light. Of course, I never loved anyone quite as strongly. How could you love an employer, friend or lover as much as you love your own father? Not even close. But I did notice that in my relationships with men, I had been willing to accept a degree of cruelty. I’m not saying that the men in my life have been cruel, not all of them anyway, but there have been acts of cruelty that I had previously quickly forgiven and even sometimes apologised for.  In doing so, I had been cruel to myself and reaffirming the belief that I was not worthy and therefore it was my responsibility to hold things together.  That was a pretty big one to see and a bigger one to disprove.  Thanks goodness for the friends who see your light even when you can’t.

There is something to be said for not being in a romantic relationship and seeing these patterns. I haven’t been a monk where emotions are concerned. Of course, I’ve had crushes and emotional interests but the commitment to my practice has held me from getting into going forward with a relationship. I had nothing to lose. I’d spent my entire twenties almost continuously in long-term relationships. The thing is, when you are in one, you’re so caught up in the highs and lows of it that you can’t step back and say, ‘wait a minute, here’s that behaviour that I am repeating.’ I’m not saying the change is immediate but like with everything else, you have to notice the pattern to change how you act to it. That has been my greatest lesson.

I have many lessons to learn, I’m sure, but it has been three years and eight months since I committed to a state of learning these lessons on my own. This has in a way become a crutch to save myself from complications and the possibility of pain, but what is life without some complication. It might be time to opening myself to lessons that involve another dynamic now.

In about two weeks, I enter into my second 200 Yoga Teacher Training. The main teacher, the amazing Shiva Rea is a true Tantrist. This time instead of slow assimilation to practice, it will be a month away in an insulated situation, but once the month is done, I think it is time I consciously lift the veil of Brahmacharya that I’ve been wearing all this time.

To victory in facing fears, taking risks and standing in the discomfort of the fire until change is ready to happen. Jai!

When My Femininity Came Knocking

For over two years now, I have been single and celibate, not so much as kissing a man in that time.  Somehow, it is the celibate part that gets attention more than the single part.  Somehow, it has become ‘unhealthy,’ and I am denying myself ‘the expression of my femininity,’ like sex can somehow make one feel more like a woman than any other thing in the world.  Sometimes I believe these ideas that have been cast upon me by other people.   And sometimes, when I have spent four days in spandex (not the same pieces for all four days of course), and I’m covered sweat yet again, both my own, and other people’s, I do have moments when I feel a bit less than feminine.

So it was nice to put on a dress and heels, and catch a random man cast an appreciative glance, smile or even greeting my way.  To this stranger, I am not the yoga teacher, the person who fixes his posture or the person he shares his aches an pains with.  I am not the person who cashes the till or locks the studio up at the end of the day.  I am not the asexual best friend who he jokes around with.  He doesn’t know the decisions I’ve made and the thoughts in my head.  To this man, I was just a woman walking down the street who might give him my number or go home with him.

Perhaps, given the chance, the encounter could have progressed. When I was younger, believing that every avenue needed to be explored, it probably would have.  Perhaps numbers would have been exchanged.  A call here.  A text there.  Trying too hard to make something happen when it could have been left as a nice random exchange.  Perhaps I would have tried to make him like me because the more men wanted me, the more of a woman it made me feel like.  I was never a flirt, but that didn’t mean I that I didn’t sometimes wonder if the amount of attention received meant that one was a better woman than another.  Those thoughts always flew away as quickly as they came however.

There were always more interesting things I wanted to do and learn.

There were people I wanted to meet and know; their stories, their lives.

And in these explorations, and doing things, I am too learning that the expression of femininity might not be limited to the late night trysts you have with a man in darkness.  If it is, I want more than that.  Perhaps I am old fashioned, but I am learning that femininity is more than looking like a stereotype of what the average male wants you to look like.  It is not the long hair, or the diets, or the oh so flirty way you say his name as you saunter towards him.  It is less than that, and it is more than that.

It is about how you feel.

I am in my feminine when I am bathed in sweat, dancing between the postures.  When I have spent a day in spandex, or elbow deep in numbers trying to find that missing link in the counting.  I am there as I sit here in my towel, exploring these thoughts.  When I am the shoulder to cry on, the teacher, the best friend, the sister, the daughter and even when I am cracking the whip.  I am in it as I sink in the bath at the end of the day, and I am in it as I haul a box across the way.  I am in it in my anger, frustration, sadness, disappointment, happiness, joy.  It is there when in my interactions, when I speak, touch, listen, and love.  It is in, and a part of me and no person has a right to say that I am not honouring it by not feeding my base desires.

And perhaps, my deeper desires are stronger than my base desires.  That desire to be seen as a whole, a person, a friend.  Perhaps my femininity is in wanting to turn things inside out, to stand there emotionally and mentally vulnerable, to allow him to see me from within and move from there.  Perhaps, in my 33rd year, I am starting to believe that romance is not a roll between the sheets, but conversation and deep friendships instead, and that as a woman, I owe myself this right to hold any part of myself back until I feel completely ready to share it.

Perhaps, I am learning that instead of jumping into the arms of a random person who is attracted to me on sight, I would rather be with the person who knows me.  Perhaps, right now, my femininity is expressing itself in the ability to let go of instant gratification, slow it down, appreciate the journey and just allow space for things to happen.

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Throwing Out the Lists

He said, “you think you’re a lady, but I know you’re a woman….”

This morning, I find myself thinking of the first line of the song, ‘Love Puts on a New Face,’ by Joni Mitchell, thinking about the difference between a lady and a woman.  Is there even a difference at all? When I was growing up, there wasn’t much talk about being a woman. A girl became a woman when she got her period.

But a lady… ah becoming a lady required some effort beyond the physical.

What is a lady though?

According to Wikipedia it is a, “…civil term of respect for a woman, specifically the female equivalent to, or spouse of, a gentleman or lord, and in many contexts a term for any adult woman.”

When I was in growing up, being a ‘lady,’ was a desirable trait. It ensured that you were respected and that you ended up married to a gentleman.  Among the rules of becoming a lady included speaking well, having good manners, keeping your eyes open and your legs closed.  Sure I agree with having good manners and speaking well, but shouldn’t that be everyone?

As I grew up, I realised that these rules were just the tip of the iceberg, and that there were more lists to come.  All you need to do is open a women’s magazine, and it will give you all these lists – what to do to be such and such, what to say, how your romantic life should be, what to do on the first date, the games you have to play.  I’m not a reader of men’s magazines but I’m sure they are also full of instructive and useful tips.  To be normal nowadays, you would have read at least one self help book in your life, one that’s got yet even more tips. And of course, in the wellness world there are tips on how much you exercise, how often, and of course, what you should (or rather should not) be eating.

While we become a people who are intellectually intelligent, have we lost the ability to find things out for ourselves?

Let’s look at this. There was a time when there (oh my god!!!) there were no magazines to tell you what to eat.  You’d eat something, and then if you felt muggy, heavy or just not right in your body, you would not eat it anymore.  Same goes for a workout routine. Feeling a bit sore is great, feeling your muscles stretch and work is great, but you have to be aware of the difference of discomfort and pain. In a yoga practice, discomfort is something you work with. It’s your edge and as you keep working, the edge grows further away.  Pain… well, that’s that red flag that goes ‘ouch!’ and if that’s what you feel, adjust, or even find a replacement pose.  And instructor will get you to do poses, but you always know your body best.

And you do. You know yourself best. You know what feels right in your body, and more than that, you know what feels right said out loud.

When someone you like asks you out and you have the urge to jump up for joy, why not just do it? Jump. Cheer. Give yourself a high five if you want.  But oh wait… some magazine said that you shouldn’t be over-enthusiastic right? You have to play these stupid games so that it looks like they’re more into you than you are into them. That way, if it doesn’t work out, although your heart might hurt, your ego remains intact, right?

There’s that fucking ego again.

All these rules, all these lists, all these have tos , have not tos and don’t you dare do thats!?.

Why?

Maybe it’s because while we are following lists, things become intellectual pursuits. Once we let go of these lists and start feeling, then it becomes complicated. Lists keep things black and white, but once we go into sensation, there are a million colours in between and sometimes the colours blur into each other.  It’s fucking scary. There is no ‘scientific proof’ in the world of feelings, and sometimes things can collide.  Anger and love. Hate and compassion. Sadness and fear.  A lady and a whore. A mother and a lover.  A gentleman and a villain. Desire and distaste.

But perhaps, it’s simpler than that… Perhaps we follow these lists for the one basic thing – the fear of being unloved.

As for me, I’m going to give up trying to be a lady or a woman for that matter. I want to just be – to make mistakes and say stupid things, to just swear when appropriate (not at parents or elders though, that’s just basic human decency and respect), and to just be OK with myself when I’ve eaten more than 500 calories a day plus a bag of chips, when my dress size is not a 6, and when I fall over while demonstrating a pose in class.

Because you know what?

Sometimes a perfect life comes is made up of many imperfect moments.

So yeah, let’s all throw out the bloody lists and work on the areas between the blacks and the whites.

Lady and A whore
Edited by Cazz Eccles: http://lovewhatitloves.wordpress.com/

In Your Own Skin

Recently, a friend referred to me as a woman, and I wondered when this happened. I mean, obviously I was always female, but when did I make the transition from girl to woman? When do any of us? Is it an age thing? Does it happen with life’s milestones like graduation/marriage/motherhood? Does it happen when we become the kind of woman we want to become or does it just happen while we’re just merrily going on our way?  Do we have any control over it at all?

To be completely honest, up until very recently I cringed whenever anyone referred to me as a woman.  I was not ready, and to be honest, I was still not comfortable in my own skin.  There was way too much that I wanted to fix before I became a woman.  In a way too, I was procrastinating because I knew that to be the woman I wanted to be, I’d have to turn back and look at the vast expanse of my past.  Unfortunately, time does not stand still, and no matter how we fight it, we don’t stand still either.

Honestly, I am one of those people who have spent most of my life being off my hinges. I never put down roots so that I could always be ready to leave.  In fact, after almost three years of living in the same apartment, it was only three months ago that I bought my first pot plant and although I have been writing all my life, it has only been in the last few years that they have been made public.  What happened to the ones before? Some are in a journal somewhere and most of them (letters to people because I have communication issues) have been burned.

As I know that it’s not just me, I wonder why a lot of really great women don’t let people know the real them? No, I’m not talking about the loud girl with the super high heels and too much makeup. I was that girl once too (at 19 instead of 29 though), and believe you me, at that point, even I didn’t know who I was.  I remember talking a lot but not really saying much at all, and thinking that I needed to be tough talking to show that I was strong.  I was so busy worrying about my weight and what people thought of me, I didn’t even think of what I thought of me.  And I knew nothing of what life was going to throw my way at the time.

So really, when does it happen? And what part of the girl do you keep with you when you transition?  Maybe this is it. Maybe it just starts happening when you look at yourself for once instead of worrying about pleasing someone else.  Maybe it’s the day you realize that some of the things you’ve done in your past do not sit well with your conscience and you choose to face them head on instead of putting makeup on the scars.  Maybe it’s the day you admit that you’re in pain instead of pretending to be happy.  Maybe it’s the day you open up to the world, scars and all.

People often have double standards when it comes to acceptance.  Parents, partners, and even some friends often want you to accept them as they are but get painfully embarrassed about some things you do. If like me, you’ve spent most of my life trying to be perfect, maybe it’s time to realize that it’s fine not to be.   I don’t know when it started, but at the ripe old age of (almost) 32, husband-less, child-less and in varying degrees of imperfection, I’ve decided that it’s alright, and maybe that’s what makes a woman – just starting to be comfortable in your own skin.  After all, this is the only skin you’re likely to have in your life, so might as well make yourself at home in it.

Forgiveness

This morning a young friend asked me if he should forgive a girl who he was romantically interested in, but who had cut him out of her life.  She had apparently texted him and said “I’m sorry”.  When he asked me, without hesitation, I told him that he should forgive her, but it has started me thinking.  Where do we draw the line at forgiveness? Note however, I am speaking of forgiveness in a mild sense, not something as extreme as abuse, murder or anything else in that category.

Personally, I am a huge advocate of forgiveness.  In my opinion, it is the giving, and receiving of forgiveness that makes the difference between a mistake and an absolute disaster.  After all, all religions in the world teach us forgiveness, both asking and receiving.  Where I come from, to repent for an act of harm or injustice against another person, you have to ask the persons you have wronged.  It is not an act that can be forgiven by God (or any other higher power) if the person you have harmed hasn’t forgiven you.  This is why we have a month in a year where it is tradition to go around asking for forgiveness.  Not that you have to wait for this particular month to apologize.

When do we ask God (or any higher power you believe in)? Well, when we’ve done something that involves ourselves with no harm to others.  Even then, it is not as easy as confessing and professing to never do it again.  I suppose that’s how it should be.  If you were really sorry of the things you’ve done, you would want to remember them and not repeat them.  Just waking up with a hangover and saying “I’m never drinking again!” is not good enough without actual conviction.

So back to the question at hand: when do you stop forgiving someone?  And if you do forgive them, how do you know if they really are sorry and will not do the same again?  If you were to ask a parent, grandparent or any family member, I suppose the answer would be that they never stop forgiving with the hope that we find our ways.  If you were to ask a friend, again, the line might be pretty far out there.  With your manager or colleague, it might not take much at all, as there is no emotional investment there.

What about a lover or your life partner? Once I used to think that a forever relationship was made for perfect people who never messed up.  Now that I’m older and understand things a bit more, I see that it is made up of many many “I’m sorrys” and an almost endless supply of forgiveness.  I still wonder though, at which point is the “I’m sorry” no longer enough and the forgiveness runs out?

When I look back at my relationship with my dad, what made me finally walk away was not the way he left or the fact that the only thing that mattered to him was him.  It was the lies and the fact that there was never a point when he was actually sorry about the things he had done to other people.  He was only sorry about how his actions affected him.  He was living a life which was made up of a lie over a lie over another lie, and it was that point that I just gave up on him and decided that I didn’t want to be stuck in his cycle anymore.

It took ten years, but as I moved from a very dark place to a place of lightness, I found that I could forgive him and I did.  The first phone call was hard and by the end of it, we were both crying.  I realized that I never stopped loving him.  As I had never been sure that he had changed, I just had to take time to be strong enough to ensure that had he not changed, I would not fall back into the same cycle.

At the end of the day, I suppose each person is different and has different levels of tolerance.  However, think of this. Maybe in forgiving you are telling someone that not all hope is lost for them. Maybe forgiveness is a light that you can give to someone who is lost in darkness.  Maybe when you forgive, it is more for you than for them – it is an act of softening in order to be stronger. The magic of forgiveness is that it is not something that is received by default, but it can be given without request.

Flowers by Opulent Garden: http://opulentgarden.com.au/

“Dare to reach your hand into the darkness to pull another hand into the light” – Norman B. Rice