I was reading a column recently where the question was asked, "Can someone love you, yet cheat on you?"An interesting question! But what I thought was even more interesting was the answer. The answer went something like this. "That person may say they love you. But they were not practicing love."
That got me thinking. We talk a lot about perfection and what a lie it is. And how destructive it is to believe that we are worthy of love and the life of our dreams only if we are perfect. So we've adopted Progress over Perfection.
I absolutely believe in taking small steps and progressing forward. I also believe we can get stuck and need help. However, there is a destructive lie buried within all this.
Lie: If I am not progressing, then I am failing.
No, no, no! That is not true. This brings to my mind a vision of a long, desert road stretching out before me. It's hot and I'm tired. Yet I take another step and another. Sweat dripping off me, worn out, shoulders hunched over. "I must keep going! I have so far to go. I must Progress."
This is not the correct vision of changing your life. We have it wrong. It is not a linear stretch of time laid out before us, taunting us with how far and how long we have to go until we reach that magical "someday".
We have ways of being before us in the present moment. We can practice violating ourselves and our bodies. Or we can practice self love and radical self care. We can do that right now. We do that with one choice.
For example, it is 5:24 p.m. as I write this. I have an evening stretched out before me and I'm getting hungry. I just made my veggie bowl recipe, enough for the week, but pizza sounds really good. I don't have to walk down any road, progress anywhere, or wait any period of time to make a choice that honors my life. I can do that right now.
When I make a choice that honors my life, I am practicing health, wellness, self care and self love.
Later in the week I might have a stressful day, triggering me out of the present and into my past story. Poor me, I am so stressed out, I need a donut. If I choose a donut, I will not be practicing self care. But it doesn't mean I've failed, or am not progressing. It doesn't even mean I am stuck. We are human, so we go back and forth between practicing self care and not. And it's OK.
Forgiveness is the same way. Haven't we all done work to forgive someone who hurt us, only to have it pop back up? Didn't we already forgive them? Have I now failed at forgiveness?
No. If the resentment comes back up, it just means we need to practice forgiveness once again. We have to get back in. I have a reminder above my desk at home where I write, that says, "Forgiveness is a Journey of a Thousand Times." It will come up again and again. And I can choose to practice resentment...or I can choose to practice forgiveness. Again and again.
Practice: the actual application of an idea or belief
If you want to forgive someone, do so right now with one choice. Then create the daily practice of forgiveness so that day after day, you know how to come back into it; how to practice forgiveness. It is right here for you.
If you want to honor your life and your health, then make a life-affirming choice right now! OK, you're in it. Now create the daily practice of life-honoring choices so that day after day, you know how to come back to it; how to practice it. It is right here for you.
It is not off in some distant future of trudging through dry land. You are in it. It is right here! Honor your practices. Create them mindfully. As you practice them more, and get better at coming back to the present moment instead of staring down the long road of Progress, you will change. You will be swimming in an ocean of grace, forgiveness and honoring your life. It is always right here, a breath away.
So next time the lie comes up - I have so far to go, it will take so long - claim the Truth. Take a deep breath in and claim your inherent worth. Because it is yours to claim right now.