Me in Matera, Italy

Thursday, 18 August 2011

forgive [fəˈgɪv]

I've been thinking about forgiveness a lot lately, it's part of this Soul Restoration process ~ they tell you to forgive everyone, YES EVERYONE.  There have been numerous studies that have shown that people who forgive become less angry, feel less hurt, are more optimistic and become more compassionate. This all results in a reduction in stress and physical manifestations of stress.  Based on this, it sounds like forgiveness is something you actually do for yourself and not for others.

I recognize that I do not have a forgiving heart and that is something I want to change about myself.  I can intellectualize that people who forgive are happier and healthier than those who hold resentments.  The trouble is, I don't really understand forgiveness.  What does it even mean? How do you actually forgive?  Is forgiveness necessary?  I did some research on the internet machine to get some more insight and perspective;  what I learned has actually really helped me understand what forgiveness is and even more importantly what forgiveness is not.

Forgiveness IS the process of concluding resentment, indignation or anger.

Forgiveness IS NOT excusing the behavior or actions of others. I think my biggest struggle with forgiveness has been the feeling that I am condoning hurt others have inflicted on me.  What I am coming to see though is that it's not about saying you are okay with what happened or that you agree with it, it's about letting go and moving on.
Forgiveness IS NOT forgetting or wiping the slate.  As Arthur Schopenhauer has said  "To forgive and forget means to throw away dearly bought experience."  Forgiveness does not mean you erase the past, or forget what has happened; all it means is that you are letting go of anger and pain and moving on to a better place.

Forgiveness IS NOT about reconciliation.  We have to make a separate decision about whether to reconcile with the person we are forgiving or whether maintaining distance is a healthier choice for us.

Forgiveness DOES NOT have to involve any interaction at all with the person you are forgiving.  It can be simply something that changes in your heart or for those who require something more tangible, there are several symbolic letting-go rituals that can help with the process. For me, I feel like it will be cathartic to write letters to express all of my feelings and explain why I need to let go and then I plan to have another burn party.  Last week I had an anger burn party where I burned some cards and letters that that were causing me anger.  This week I am going to have a forgiveness burn party where I burn the letters of forgiveness and release that into the universe.

Now that I have dissected and analyzed this concept of forgiveness and have been able to differentiate what it is versus what it is not, I believe that FORGIVENESS IS POSSIBLE and even further that forgiveness will change my life. There are people I will find hard to forgive, it will be even harder for me to forgive myself but I know it's time to really let go of the past and focus on the present.  I'm moving on.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Maximum Inefficiency

I am generally hesitant to actually give advice to others, especially on my blog; however, I am so confident in my ability to be in efficient that I am making an exception.  Over the past two days, I have been frantically cleaning, organizing and preparing for my Aunt to visit and even though I've know about this for a very long time, I left everything to the last minute and tried to cram way too much in leading to a lot of aggravation and frustration along the way.  So here I'm going to share with all of you my top 10 inefficiency tips, Letterman style.

Before you get started though, be sure you pick the right project because in order to ensure maximum inefficiency, it should be a project that you really do not want to do (like cleaning your house), if you enjoy doing something it can be more difficult to truly be inefficient. 

Tip #10. Set your expectations high, so high that given the time and resources you have the task is virtually unachievable.

Tip #9. Be tired before you start.  Be exhausted if possible.  In fact, don't take care of yourself at all.  Don't shower.  Don't eat.  It's important that you start off in the correct state of mind.

Tip #8. Feel sorry for yourself.  Convince yourself that everyone else on the planet is having so much fun and that they all have so much more help than you do.

Tip #7. Incorporate distractions ~ tv, music, telephone, texting ~ whatever distracts you most will do.

Tip #6. Create extra work as you go ~ spilling, dropping, breaking.  It doesn't matter what just as long as it creates chaos and/or frustration and is quite difficult to clean it up.

Tip #5. Keep supplies like cleaners and paper towels and especially the garbage can in a separate area from where you working, on an entirely different floor if you can.  This way you will spend lots of time and energy running around the house.  If you are inconsistent with where you keep it, you can also waste a lot of time looking for things which is excellent in this process.

Tip #4. Don't finish anything the first time around.  For example if you take dishes out of your bedroom, don't take them to the kitchen and put them directly in the dishwasher.  Maybe make a pile outside your door and then add an item to your list to take them to the kitchen later.

Tip #3. Plan a LOT.  Make lists and plan out how long you think every task will take, make schedules for yourself and repeat this process often throughout the period of time you are working on this project.  Some people underestimate the importance of planning to the inefficiency process but trust me, it works.

Tip #2.  Add in extra projects, especially ones you've been avoiding long term and aren't very important at this moment.  This can include things like washing blinds, cleaning the dust in the tiny little fan ducts with a cotton swab, clean out and organize your pantry, sort shoes.  As long as the task has minimal impact on the final outcome then it qualifies under this category and will assist you in prolonging your project.

Tip #1. And my number one tip for maximum inefficiency is to spend a lot of time thinking about how you will blog about the experience.   Try to do this in the final hour or two of your project deadline.  Distracting yourself from the task at hand when you have the least amount amount of energy and highest level of stress is sort of like icing on the proverbial inefficiency cake.

Please remember my friends that creating maximum inefficiencies in your day-to-day life is a process, it will not happen overnight.  You must practice and hone these skills but if you stick to it, I have confidence that you too one day may be as inefficient as me.

Monday, 1 August 2011

Defying Gravity

 Everyone deserves the chance to fly!

This weekend we went to see the Broadway Musical 'Wicked' as part of my plan to add more enjoyment into life.  It was such a great play and there is something really special about sharing these experiences with my daughter and creating forever memories.   

I think the song "Defying Gravity" could be my daughter's theme song ~ it is about taking chances and not playing by the rules of someone else's game or accepting limits.  I admire that about her.  From a mother's perspective, it can be scary sometimes but I still think it's much better than living life in fear and not taking chances.  She's only nineteen years old and already she has participated in a 6-month volunteer program; she has traveled to many areas of Canada as well as South America, the United Kingdom and Europe.  Her world is so different than mine was when I was that age.  

Sometimes it seems like our roles are reversed because it feels like I learn more from her than she could ever learn from me.  Who knows, maybe some day I too will try defying gravity?  It's not too late even for me.  Certainly I am blessed beyond words to have her in my life and all I ever hope for is for her to be happy and have all she's ever wanted. 

♪ I hope you're happy right now ♪