Forgiveness opens the heart to love and healing. It took me a hundred years before I was able to embrace this truth. After leaving my husband of fourteen years, and my three young children in the 1970s , shame and guilt for a long time.
Many of the days in the weeks and months that followed, I carried around the low level vibrations of denial, insecurity, and despair which lead to self-doubt and self-flagellation. Joy and pleasure came fleetingly.
While denial is a powerful tool which served to block out what felt like a shameful past, the guilt clung to me like moss on an old oak tree. I’d buoy myself up and go for joy and happiness then, Boom! I’d fall, literally, spraining my ankle, later breaking the same ankle, and intermittently scrapping my knees and shins.
Forty years later, with decades of therapy behind me, and reunification with my daughter’s, I wrote a memoir about the journey to forgiveness. This decision to write my story didn’t come in a single aha moment. Friends and family nudged me forward, but I’d wave them off, “Oh, I wouldn’t know how, what would I say?” So, I filled my time with doing other things. Then, in 2012, during morning meditation I heard a voice say, “Get with it already!” I gave up my volunteer work and other doings realizing it was time to “be,” to still my mind and dip into my heart to listen.
Perfection is being not doing; it is not to affect an act but to achieve a character. –Bishop Fulton J. Sheen
If you’ve never tried being I will warn you, it’s not easy. It requires a great deal of courage to live in semi-solitude. When one is being, attention to detail is required. I needed to look up and down, concentrate and pick up my feet, stop stumbling, stop looking on the outside, and look inside of myself. In writing Flight Instructions, I dug deep, opening and closing many of the issues that were holding me back from my joy. The writing of memoir didn’t magically make it all better, but rather created a new beginning, an opening of doors to a greater awareness of my spiritual nature and the call for healing as my thoughts and feelings floated down from my head to my heart.
With the opening of those interiors doors, my understanding of love expanded—the self-love that I lost early in life, and have longed for every since, is now mine.
The International Forgiveness Day occurs on the first Sunday of August. On August 2, 2015, I, Kathleen Perkins, was honored as a Heroine of Forgiveness, “In recognition of her exemplary commitment to Forgiveness, Peace, and Reconciliation.”
Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there. -Rumi