This is my crazy, kind promise to myself this month and forever.

By “forgive” I mean to let go of the idea that things should be different than they are.

Buddhist teachers talk about the “three poisons.” They are attraction, repulsion, and ignorance. I want this thing. I don’t want that thing. I don’t have a clue.

In this moment, I feel pain in my right thumb. I don’t like pain. I don’t want it. My lizard brain wants to make the area of pain the focus of this moment. Why do I feel it? I shouldn’t feel it! Poor me, that I should suffer so. There must be someone to blame. And so on…

This is a tiny example of the acrobatics my mind can perform when I’m not aware.

So I forgive this Moment for not being more pleasant. I forgive myself for petty thinking and lack of awareness.

When I feel hurt by something you’ve done, I choose to forgive you. It’s a six-step process.

  1. Become aware of the hurt and the story I’m telling about why it’s there.
  2. Let you know I feel hurt. Ideally, this would be in a nonviolent communication: “when you do X, I feel hurt. The story I’m telling is… Is that how you see it?” We go from there.
  3. Drop the story. No need for my mind to jump in, assign blame, and so on. Set it free.
  4. Metabolize the feelings. This is a new idea I am learning from Resmaa Menakem. Our bodies store our feelings. To release them, we need to move around and work them through. This is tricky for someone, like me, who is quadriplegic. I get to imagine movement. I close my eyes and feel as though I am moving. To an observer, nothing is happening. To me, the energy is moving through and dissipating.
  5. Let it go. Journaling can be a great tool for this step.
  6. Repeat as necessary.

This month, I want to notice all the times I want to push away what’s happening. I want to let go of any grasping. Let go with wild abandon, so nothing is rejected. I want to get so I can (in the words of one Buddhist teacher) “welcome everything.” Even moments of suffering can be my teachers. I want to be aware and awake, engaged and alive.

In your journal:

  • Write about examples of “the three poisons” in your life. What do you grasp? What do you push away? When do you feign ignorance?
  • How do you think about forgiveness?
  • Write about a time you felt hurt.