“Never ruin an apology with an excuse.” ~ Benjamin Franklin
“I am the wisest man alive, for I know one thing, and that is that I know nothing.” ~ Plato, The Republic
“The only purpose in your life and mine is the restoration of our Identity ~ our Mind ~ back to their original state of void or zero (Buddha), of purity of heart (Jesus), and of blank (Shakespeare) through nonstop cleaning.” ~ Ihaleakala Hew Len, Ph.D.
Somehow we think that the way to change the world is to resist, hatred, greed, and disrespect. But the old phrase, what you resist persists, is true. I’ve learned this sometimes the hard way, and sometimes in moments of grace.
When I was a teenager, I had a fight with a friend. It nearly ended our friendship. But one day I got inspiration. It occurred to me that if I apologized to her, we could work things out. I did apologize even though, in my mind, she had misunderstood what I’d said or done. I didn’t feel I was in the wrong, but she was my friend and I wanted to mend our relationship. Her reaction taught me a lesson. Using an apology often opens up the discussion.
A few years later, I was a teacher’s aide at a Montessori school. I worked with three and four year olds. One day I had a confrontation with a young student. I could tell he was angry. So, I said to him, “It’s okay for you to be mad at me. I’m an adult. I can take it.” The relief on his face had a huge impact on me. Children aren’t given permission to have their own feelings, especially if they’re negative. And he needed to be given permission to be angry in that moment.
Giving an apology and forgiving someone are two sides of the same coin, and both are extremely difficult for humans. I’m not sure I understand why that is, except that perhaps we don’t love ourselves and so we hide behind our armor of mistaken beliefs, and perceptions.
I’ve recently been reading two books that have shifted my thinking about how we interact with each other. The first is Glennon Doyle’s book Untamed, in which she recounts her ongoing mission to heal from addiction and to love herself as she is, both the dark and the light she carries inside.
That’s been a huge struggle of mine, loving all of myself. You might call it my life’s theme. I’ve not been addicted to substances, but I’ve had my addictions. And who can say they’ve lived a completely blameless life? We all have both dark and light within. It’s most difficult to acknowledge our dark side because we feel such shame when we’ve hurt others. I know what that’s like.
So, there are times as I’m reading Glennon’s book that I laugh and other times when I cry. I can relate to so much of what she’s going through. The bottom line of her book is that we’re here to accept who we are and not be ashamed of our mistakes or triumphs. Some of us are ashamed of our triumphs as if dimming down our talents helps anyone else.
I told you all the above to get to this point. The other day I read a profound entry in Pam Grout’s book, The Course in Miracles Experiment. On May 11, the daily lesson was about Dr. Hew Len, and how he transformed the population of a mental hospital for the criminally insane in Hawaii. The situation among the inmates and workers was desperate. Other doctors who had been put in charge of the hospital had left in despair. They didn’t know how to help the inmates who had all committed violent crimes, or bring relief to the staff. The turnover was probably tremendous.
When Dr. Hew Len was appointed director of the state hospital, he didn’t call any patients to his office. What he did was sit at his desk with a file of a patient and used the Hawaiian technique of Ho’oponopono. He searched for the darkness inside himself that had caused the atrocities committed by the incarcerated patients. The ho’oponopono chant is this: “I’m sorry. Please forgive me. I love you. Thank you.” This technique is based on healing through loving oneself. Instead of working on the problems of each patient, he worked on his own unhealed places and little by little the patients began to settle down and find interests like gardening, or arts and crafts. The employees stopped calling in sick. And patients were even able to reenter society. Eventually the facility was closed.
The thing about this story is, it’s not new to me. I’d heard it before reading it in Pam Grout’s book. But I’d finally come to the place where I had the ears to hear the message and feel it in my heart. The only people we can change is ourselves. And that is the only way we can effect change in the outer world.
Ever since that day, whenever I meditate, send Reiki, or even at various times of the day, I will say the mantra, “I’m sorry. Please forgive me. I love you. Thank you.” I say it when I’m tempted to call someone an idiot for not seeing the world the same way I do, or when a politician or business person puts profits above people, or when someone is so frightened that they take a gun and shoot innocents, or when they protest the lock down. We all get frightened when we think our world is crashing down around us.
The world is never going to go back to the way it was. Since I’ve been waiting for this change, I say thank heaven for it, but it’s still a difficult time to be alive. So, I will continue to say this mantra acknowledging my own fear and grief. I want to search my psyche for beliefs that are just plain wrong and that keep me from healing.
I’m sure you’re tired of hearing and reading this but it’s true. We’re all in this together. What affects me, affects you.
I hope you are safe and well. Thanks for reading, liking and commenting. Welcome to my new followers.
Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2020
Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards.
Have you ever experienced life shattering events? Yeah, most of us have. In The Space Between Time, Jenna Holden gets slammed by her fiancé walking out, her mother’s untimely death, and losing her job all in one week. But she receives unexpected help when she finds her three-times great-grandmother’s journals and begins the adventure of a lifetime.
The Space Between Time is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords and for Kindle at Amazon, or you can find the ebook at iBooks or Barnes and Noble. If you prefer a physical copy, you can find a print-on-demand version at Amazon . Stay tuned for news when the audiobook version is published.
“Never ruin an apology with an excuse.” ~ Benjamin Franklin