Turning the light ON (a different kind of list) (12/31/11)
One of the good things about writing is you can look back at your life and see the struggle, the pain, the craziness, the good stuff, the joy & take it in from an observers perspective. From that perspective, life seems less an overwhelming set of tasks and more something that you should never give up on.
As the new years resolutions roll in (I always have at least a few, if not a hundred) it is hard not to remember the things that fall into the "yet to accomplish" category (other wise known as previous years list FAIL). Looking at these past lists can feel like a huge kick to the face, the guilt smites & guilt is in no way a productive thing... in fact it is just the thing that will keep you from accomplishing your goals.
I kind of think this universal (time) restart of the new year is a beautiful thing in this regard. Think of the Jewish restart of Jubilee... after a 7 year cycle, all things start again... all accounts closed, it is the bigger picture sabbath we all need. Time to recount the year, settle up, forgive and move forward. Time to begin again, and turn that internal light up to it's highest setting.
So with the goal of hitting a reset button on your life, the list that seems most urgent to me is a list of things to forgive myself for. A list of all the things I have not done to care for me... a list that lets go of that guilt and shame and banishes it from the new year and any new work I have in mind.
In one of my favorite books The Healing Light by Agnes Sanford the author talks about our body and spirit being like a lamp filled with Electricity. And in this book she says “As we practice the work of forgiveness we discover more and more that forgiveness and healing are one.”
If we can liken our bodies to a lamp and our spirit as the electric current that flows thru it, then I guess guilt and shame are the things that block the current and keep our light out or dim. And healing via forgiveness is the things that clears that block to our spirit allowing our light to shine.
If this is the key then let me start this new year off with setting as much of it as I can aside. It has, after all, already been forgiven... I mean, do I believe I am redeemed. ???!! I can set to work on beautiful goals for the new year, for healing and forgiving others, caring for others, and self care. But until I set to forgive myself, none of it will matter and I won't move forward in being "the beloved" in living my truest life for Him, my family, myself everyday.
What is required is to become the Beloved in the commonplaces of my daily existence and, bit by bit, to close the gap that exists between what I know myself to be and the countless specific realities of everyday life.
- Henri Nouwen in Life of the Beloved