Day 18: It Knows My Name

Betrayal is the breaking of a promise.

I swore in my heart to stay, dear one,

though I never said it out loud.

Our interlocked fingers had burnt down to ash

long before I let go,

only the shell of it left,

like a log that holds its shape

while its inside turn to grey powder,

ready to burst into a cloud of the past.

Is that the same as breaking?

I promised I would try,

cut myself open one last time

and found I was empty from all the trying.

I was so tired, honey.

 

Betrayal sounds like willful destruction,

to throw away someone’s naked gifts,

like broken china on the dying grass.

I never wanted to break;

just your permission to leave.

You see it as failure

– and I can hardly blame you –

as I take a sledgehammer

to our castle in the air.

Shaken and dazed,

I step out from the ruins,

blinking in the glow

of colours I’d forgotten

in the years of our ash-grey chamber.

Knees buckled into rubble

and old picture-frame glass,

your heart bleeds through your chest,

and the scars on my own

weep in recognition.

Forgive me, darling, for changing my mind.

Letting Go of Things Not Meant for Me

A few weeks ago I gained and lost a job in less than 24 hours. I was at my most anxious about money, feeling powerless and fearful. Then I heard about a little freelance online job I could apply for. It wasn’t a lot of money but it would have been a way to make a bit of extra cash and feel that I was contributing. At the time it seemed like the only way.

I worked hard on the application, sent it off and to calm my nerves I said a quick prayer:

If it’s for my Highest Good, please help me get this job.

A couple of hours later I got the email confirmation that I was in, and I was thrilled. I went to bed excited and when I couldn’t sleep I actually got up and worked for an hour at 1am. I made a stupid mistake on my work (that I probably wouldn’t have made during daylight) and when I checked my email the next morning I found my account had been terminated. The job was gone. No second chances.

I was really disappointed, ashamed of myself for screwing up, for being back at square one, for being useless and a burden on my parents. I tried to reassure myself that it wasn’t meant for me, that something else would turn up. But that day I was pretty depressed. I let myself be upset, angry, frustrated, even self-pitying for a short time. I knew it was temporary. The next day I was able to start looking for other ways I could work, confident there was something out there for me. It was still a disappointment to have lost the job, but I trusted the process. Then again, I wasn’t all that attached to that particular position: the pay wasn’t great, I wasn’t passionate about it and I hadn’t heard about it long enough to be super excited about it. It was relatively easy to let go of. What about things I’m far more attached to?

I’ve been grieving a friendship lately that sadly didn’t end on great terms. And while I’m trying to release this person with only forgiveness and love, my ego feeds off thoughts of blame and resentment. There’s a part of me that really struggles not to give into the temptation to replay our last conversation over and over again. I’ve imagined pointing out to them every mistake they made so I might feel less guilty about leaving.

It’s been a month since we spoke, and yet I’m still experiencing these attack thoughts, or guilty thoughts. Perhaps I don’t want to fully release even these painful thoughts because then it will really be over. If I stop having imaginary fights with them, they’ll really be gone from my life.

But it’s time now. It’s time to let go. I don’t want to view them in this negative way, because they’re a good person and I sincerely want them to be happy. Last night in bed, I found myself replaying the same old fight, stewing in the same old anger. And in that half asleep state I didn’t have the mental strength to steer away into thoughts of forgiveness and release us. Then my brain created an image. In the familiar scene, beside me I imagined an angel, her hand on my shoulder. She spoke with a gentle, comforting, big sisterly energy:

“That’s enough, honey. Come away now.”

And just like that I got up and left the room, letting her steer me out of the situation. Because it is enough now. I understand why I’m clinging, why I’m reluctant to really let go of this person, but it’s time, and I needed a wiser big-sister part of me to step in and help me with that. That relationship isn’t meant for me anymore, so I choose to release it with love. I can’t carry that negativity forward in my life and future interactions. It’s not mine anymore, and that’s okay. I can look back on that time with gratitude and affection, and move forward. And in doing that I give them space to do the same. I free both of us. I choose to have my last act toward them be an act of love.

This doesn’t mean I’ll never slip into negative thought patterns again with this old friend, but I know there’s a part of me strong enough to choose peace instead. I know releasing them with love actually makes me feel more connected than clinging with resentment.

And I choose love.

Forgive Yourself For Not Being Perfect

The person I used to love most in the world is no longer speaking to me. Our relationship has gone through so many different forms over the last few years, and we’ve done our best to adapt to those changes.

Recently I felt the need to take some space from this person and tried to communicate this with them as gently and compassionately as possible. Even doing this felt like a failure to me. It seemed all around me people were able to continue in loving friendships with those who had once been their romantic partners. Admitting I was having trouble with it felt defeatist and weak.

A week or so later the guilt was mounting and I wondered if I’d jumped the gun, so I called them and we spent time together for a few days. At first it seemed fine, but it ended in a huge fight, with them telling me how deeply hurt they’d been by my request for space.

I felt I’d let them down, and betrayed who I’m trying to be. I failed to be a good friend. I may not talk to this person again, and I hate that our last conversation happened that way. I blame myself and I’m flooded with guilt.

Last night I clicked on a link that said “The Things Each MBTI type Needs to Forgive Themselves For,” and for my type (INFJ) it said “Forgive yourself for the perfection you never achieved.”

My relationships with people are the most important aspect of my life and I put a lot of pressure on myself to be the best friend, sister, daughter, girlfriend I can be. I pressure myself to be perfect. So for this person who I care so much about to feel betrayed by me is the worst kind of failure. It’s the stuff of my nightmares.

But at a certain point I have to forgive myself, because of course I can’t be perfect. Of course I will fail, even at the things I pour my heart and soul into and hold dearest to me. Forgiving myself means acknowledging and accepting my mistakes and my imperfections. It means looking at myself through the eyes of a loving parent, who sees my missteps and waits patiently for me to learn from them, but loves me unconditionally throughout. It means looking at myself through the eyes of Spirit.

I see where my own pain has led me to make an angry comment, judge behaviour, be insensitive or unaware of someone else’s feelings. Seeing those patterns in myself, I understand that everyone else is hurting too, and that’s the root of their hurtful actions.

Self-forgiveness is vital, because it’s there we learn to forgive others.I can’t release others and grant them unconditional love if I’m harbouring resentments towards myself. Because it starts within. I do have a hard time releasing people, because I’m still clinging to this idea of perfection I think I can reach. As long as I believe it’s possible, I keep myself and others trapped, punishing all of us for not achieving the unachievable.

I want to commit to releasing this hold on myself. I want to choose again. So I choose to forgive myself for how things ended with this person who was once such a massive part of my life. I forgive myself and I forgive them for the mistakes we made out of our suffering. And when the guilt reappears, I’ll forgive again. And again. And again.

I can choose love instead.

Because at the end of the day, we’re all doing the best we can with what we’ve got.