Most of us forgive
Because we have trespassed
Not because we are magnanimous.
The Women Gather, by Nikki Giovanni
Going to our center is a journey–one that we make again and again having been called away from our center by a hundred thousand things. The more we practice returning to our center, the easier it becomes. Those first attempts feel like looking for a needle in the haystack. We go there, though, and eventually we begin to know the way, more or less.
As that familiarity of the way to the center begins to form in us, something else happens. We begin to notice the potholes. The uneven path. The tree that has fallen across the way and threatens to halt the trip back to center altogether. These obstacles! How did this happen? But we know. A transgression here. A fault there. Anger unresolved. A wound so deep that the scar itself is like a boulder in the road. Inattention, forgetfulness, denial and those walls of shame and guilt rise up. At some points, we even encounter a river flooding across our pathway to the center, that river called grief.
Despite the obstacle, we can still journey back to our own centers. We have the tools. Forgiveness is one, and it works best if worked first on ourselves. And then, compassion. Gentleness and kindness are more. We see that we are wounded, broken, failed, and so we hold ourselves with compassion. And then, we can hold others as well.
All of your faults
Have root in something
The journey to the center will show us our true selves. For all those obstacles that we face, there is a beauty within that we belong to. Go there often. Forgive yourself as often as necessary. Be gentle and kind and tender. And from that place, go do the work of Compassion. She’s just waiting on someone who knows the way. And we do.