Daily Archives: August 11, 2015

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

Feminine Masculine Split

My memoir, Flight Instructions: A Journey through Guilt to Forgiveness, devotes two chapters to the feminine/masculine split and how the divide affected the nature of my being. I say, “It would be several years before I understood what else I had to release in order to move successfully through various stages on my journey of self-discovery. […]

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Some changes look negative on the surface, but you will soon realize that space is being created in your life for something new to emerge. –Eckhart Tolle

After my first year at PSU, Tracie, and Kelly, ages eighteen and fourteen, come to Portland to live with me. This development offers me another opportunity to practice my parenting skills face-to-face.

Tracie had dropped out of her freshman year from Boise State University, dumping a track scholarship, and Dave called to inform me he is sending Kelly to me with the expectation that I ‘fix’ her. “She’s running with the wrong bunch of kids, they’re into drugs, and who knows what else. She’s skipping school, and she won’t listen to me.” Without a pause, he continues, “Stefanie is doing fine, but wants to come to Portland during the summer break. I’ll call to make the necessary plans in early May.”

Abandonment runs in our family. I can see that now. My father was abandoned by a depressed, unloving mother; he then abandons his son Wally, my half-brother, via alcoholism, and Wally’s mother abandons him through death. My mother abandons me, twice: first, metaphorically to God, then psychologically by seeming to be unavailable to my growing-up needs. I abandon my children by physically leaving them, and Dave, unwittingly, abandons them by marrying another and redirecting a lot of his attentions away from them, toward his new wife and her children. I am well aware my daughters have not gone unscathed through my family’s string of discards.

Long before my mind is aware of it, the desire to break this damaging cycle is sensed by my soul (spirit). This yearning is so deep within, I can barely identify it. The wounds caused by my leaving needed to heal. I wanted my girls to have what I didn’t—a truly nurturing mother. This visceral understanding eventually became the taproot connecting me to my childhood.

I start slowly, so slowly that one would barely notice. Without a playbook, I need to write my own moves. Understanding it and knowing how to correct it don’t line up easily so I do what I’d always done: march forth with dogged intention, but without a plan.

I add the first few ingredients for my new recipe:

one tablespoon of purpose

half a cup of confidence

a dash of grit.

The makings seem compatible, yet not quite ready for blending. I cover the bowl with a soft muslin cloth of hope, and store it safely in the pantry of my heart to protect it from the rain.

What I came to realize is:

  • I had to let go of the guilt and shame that fed my Denial. This is a large order and it takes me nearly three and a half decades.

Stay tuned. Next episode: A New Playbook