What is personal growth for? Do you find yourself working to improve yourself so that you can go back to those old places and old people from your past just to show off how well you have done? Be honest. Is that what it is really all about? If so, all you are really doing is living for your past and truthfully, that isn't growth and it isn't living. Even more, it is a block on your path that you must remove. Personal growth is about being courageous enough to go into the unknown, to go beyond what you thought was possible. It takes you having the knowledge that what you are doing isn't about anyone except yourself and the future vision of your life that you are giving to.
A few posts back I wrote about forgiveness in a two-part series (Part 1 & Part 2). I said that forgiveness is about giving energy to a greater future, a greater you. Forgiveness is integral to growing. Several times I have heard the drama-drenched statement, "I can forgive, but I can't forget." Hell I have probably said it thinking I was really deep, well I know I have said it. It is almost always said like it is a threat. Who are you threatening really? Your feelings have already been hurt, the pain has already happened. If you have truly forgiven, you have tended to your wound, and created a greater vision to give your energy to. So who are you threatening with your amazing memory? It is very rare that the person or situation that hurt you will be at your mercy, no matter what Hollywood tells you. So who are you threatening? You are threatening your own great future. It is almost like saying, no matter how great things get, I won't allow it to be fully great because I rather sit around and brood about how this past thing that hurt me. Right away, it says you still haven't healed and that is okay, but understand what it really means because then you can do something about it. You don't have to be healed in order to forgive, but if you are actively forgiving, you are healing. Let's be clear, this is different than learning your lessons. But if you learned your lesson why do you have to go back and take the same class that you mastered. Learning your lesson isn't passing with a C, it is mastering the subject and then being in the position to teach someone else. Until then you are still learning and that is great, but don't be confused.
Personally I love learning and I have also learned that sometimes we visit lessons we have already learned just so that we can feel at the top of the class. At some point, you have to be willing to be honest and get the nerve up to learn new lessons. Without that honesty and courage, there is no personal growth. So can you forget? I don't know, but the real question is what are you remembering? Are you able to see the full picture now? Can you be grateful for the past because of all of the growth you have experienced in your present? Can you be grateful for the contrast because of how it has inspired your greater vision that you are now giving to? What are you remembering?
No matter how hard you try, you can't go back. Sure you can call those old people, visit your old neighborhood, remember your old school, but you will quickly find you cannot fit there anymore. You can't fit in the past so why even try. If you think about all of your acquired wisdom as furniture, imagine trying to fit it all in your childhood home. It doesn't fit nor does it match the decor. It's clashing and sometimes that is hard to admit.
In my work with myself and my clients, I use Reiki to address the root causes of these past pains so that our personal energy can be focused on truly forgiving, creating a greater vision to give to. My ideal client is someone ready to go beyond any perceived limitations and then keep going. Our growth is exponential and I am here to remove the blocks and give you love for your fuel. Going to the past to flaunt your growth can be an ego boost but it is ultimately delusional, and in the words of Sweet Brown, "Ain't nobody got time for that!" You are greater than that. Look to the past with gratitude and more importantly give your energy to a greater vision.
Say you were in a relationship and you feel betrayed by your mate because they cheated on you with 11 people and they videotaped all of it on your bed. How do you forgive that? You first use emotional intelligence and allow yourself to grieve the relationship and set up clear boundaries for yourself. Next, after you have properly address your emotions, it is time to forgive. As we know, it is never about them. When you are forgiving you are giving YOURSELF a greater vision of what's possible. I feel forgiveness is hard for people because they are afraid to enjoy or want more because it means they have to grow. Many have a fear of growth or change. I know I did. I felt like I would no longer be in control if I forgave. That somehow they won. That is really the ego making everything a competition, not wanting to give up control, wanting everything to stay the same; it isn't you. Forgiving is a great ego killer.
So how do you forgive your porn-star dreaming mate (more likely ex-mate)? In this case, you would create a vision of a healthy relationship filled with commitment, honesty, and trust and you would give energy to that. You get your imagination in full gear and start envisioning or writing exactly how a healthy relationship looks to you. What can come up for people is realizing that they never felt worthy of that vision. They start to realize exactly how they got in that particular situation in the first place. They start to see all of the ways they have been dishonest with themselves, all 11 ways. That is the hard part, because you realize that you also are forgiving yourself (another ego killer). Often times the person you have criminalized becomes insignificant as you have to take responsibility for yourself and your experiences. Then, eventually, the whole concept of truly having a healthy love-filled relationship with yourself isn't so far-fetched. If you go all the way, you may even feel gratitude for that "horrible" relationship that prompted you to fall in love with yourself and to create greater visions to give to.
That is the real power of forgiveness. You give forward so that you can be greater than what you were. But once you get there, to that beautiful land, do you then "give back" to those who are where you were? My answer is no. You realize that you are always growing and learning. The gift of forgiveness taught you that you can create greater visions, greater moments of understanding, greater personal growth. Your growth isn't something that you put aside so that you can go "back". That doesn't make sense and is counter-productive. Instead you know that every person and experience offers you a chance to grow and expand. You realize the world is your teacher and you are the faithful student ever-learning, ever-growing. There is no peak are plateau to reach. Your brother or sister ain't heavy because you are walking beside him.
If you take on that mind-set, who is benefiting from who? Who is less fortunate than who? If you go in an "impoverished" area and see that people who have less than you materially are happy, joyous, and grateful, shouldn't you be at their feet with pen and notebook in hand learning and reveling in their wealth like Papa Scrooge in his money pool. Then you in turn can share with them how they can use their wealth to create their OWN desired environment. You see it's an exchange. You aren't "giving back" or helping the less fortunate at all, unless you consider yourself "less fortunate" as well and why waste your time with that concept. I have to admit, in the past I have been more of an observer and judge than a student and lover, but ever since I started to truly know my own wealth and worth, I naturally began to know it in others. Forgiveness taught me that. Love taught me that. Forgive so that you may give yourself something greater to be greater.
I forgive you, western toilet.
One of my recent pet peeves is the term "giving back". I have also never been enthralled by the concept of volunteering or giving charity to the "poor". These concepts are based under the idea that you have more than someone else and now you are "helping" them by giving your services for free. Nothing is really free. Energy is always being exchanged and you can choose to be ignorant to that or benefit greatly from that exchange. What people may not have monetarily, they have in talent, insight, joy, wisdom, and intellect. Furthermore. you don't have to be happy, talented, insightful, emotionally balanced, or spiritually aware to be monetarily wealthy. All it takes is you knowing you are abundant in something. That "something" can be anything. Even thinking you are abundant in poverty can bring lots of money to you. Ask a drug dealer. Ask a loan shark.
So what does this have to do with forgiveness and "giving back"? Looks like this will be lengthy but take this ride with me. I knew my next post would be about forgiveness because it kept on coming up in my Reiki sessions but I wasn't sure about my approach. Well this past week I was shown the way in countless ways but especially in two special car rides. The first ride I spoke with a woman who could clearly see the value in the kind of work I do and she expressed her desire to do more than what she was doing. She felt she had achieved so much in her life and that now she wanted to "give back". Immediately, I cringed when I heard the term. If I had two words to describe what I'm doing, it would be "love reveling". The love in me meets the love in you and we revel in its magic (some call that "healing"). Back to her...She volunteers to help children who have been taken from their homes in cases of abuse or suspected abuse. I am very protective of children so I listened to her like any protective mother would, very carefully. I could sense that she really had good intentions for the work she was doing with the children but I also noticed that these kids were considered "low-income". During our conversation I pointed out that similar things are happening in "affluent" homes as well but these things just don't get reported. And because they are seen as "affluent" we assume they don't need anything we have. When we see people as "less fortunate", we think that what we have is what they need. We have been conditioned to see certain people and conditions as "less fortunate" and others as "affluent". That is exactly how a missionary can go into a country with full confidence and work to dismantle a group of people's beliefs and way of life under the premise that they are doing something "good" and "needed". I think the concept of connecting with children in those situations is beautiful but the idea that one is "giving back" brings the taste of vomit to my tongue. Some would say it is a matter of semantics but we also know that words have power. A few words can traumatize someone for years. I have been taught and can personally attest to its validity, that to forgive means to "give forward". When you forgive you are giving forward to a greater vision of what's possible. You are no longer dwelling in the past, holding onto dead weight. You have given yourself a greater picture to love and be in. So if that is forgiveness, why would you need to "give back"? If you are in such a great place in your life, why decorate a dead weight?
I briefly mentioned a missionary earlier. Would you be surprised if I told you my second car ride was with a Jehovah Witness missionary? I was. She captivated me with stories of her travels and since I love to travel and live with the people as well, I listened very carefully. While in parts of East Africa, a place I've yet to go, she helped to build schools and offer "education" to the people there. She saw the challenges they were faced with and saw true hunger and sacrifice. Of course she also went to areas that were very developed and were like any other city but we talked about the "third world" a lot. When she spoke, I could feel how confident she felt about the work she did there and how good it felt for her to "give back". I could tell she felt good that she was able to see men learn trades and even some being hired for future work. It all sounded great. After she told me about all about what the people learned from the missionaries and volunteers I asked her what she learned from the people. She told me she observed that they were very happy, intelligent, didn't complain, and were jovial regardless of their environment. This was a fantastic observation but I noticed that she didn't answer my question. She was able to tell me how great the well was constructed and the beauty of the water it held but not its taste, its feel, its origin or how it worked. People are so obsessed about being happy, smarter, and younger and there she was at the well and just looked at it. What was she "giving back" to, when she was at the well of exactly what this western world is in feverish pursuit of? Why didn't she ask the keeper of the well for a sip? Where was her cup, bucket, or bathtub? The mindset of "giving back" can dramatically block ones ability to see the wealth of knowledge that stands before them. The humongous continent of Africa is filled with wealth in its people and its land. But history tells us that people didn't invade Africa because they wanted to "give back" to the people. They came because it is a endless source of natural resources and wealth that they wanted control over. Somehow the wealth of its people became relegated to a spectacle and not worthy of the humility, respect, and love it takes to be a student.
I don't judge her in the slightest. In fact both women were full of love in their hearts and I felt it strongly and I definitely recognize their work as valuable. They both had qualities that I studied and learned from in our limited time together. I felt their worth in my experience. I shared the wisdom I have gained through doing my work, and I knew I wasn't "giving back" as I shared it. If anything I was giving to the greater vision I hold about what is possible in my interactions with them. I have shared before that I only deal with fellow presidents, queens, kings, emperors, and empresses when I connect with people. Because of this I can't "give back"; I live in an entirely new world because I gave a greater vision to myself. What if when we interacted with people that have been labeled as "less fortunate" or "poor", we chose to see their wealth? What if we sat at each others feet and became students of each other? How greater could we all be if we greeted each other with love in our hearts instead of pity? What if we didn't waste our time judging people, places or things as good or bad and instead sought for understanding? This is the vision I am giving to. This is how I have forgiven.
To conclude, I am not saying that to share your time and energy with someone in a "volunteer" capacity is "bad" but what I am suggesting is to recognize it as an energy exchange. I am suggesting that you forgo the notion of charity and realize you are giving yourself the chance to grow exponentially when you can see someone else's growth potential. I am suggesting that if you are attracted to a certain group of people, recognize like attracts like and that you are with your equals. If you then choose the see the wealth in someone you are sharing with, what will be returned to you is even greater wealth, and possibly a new friend. I suggest that you understand that what works for you, may not work for someone else and conversely what works for them, may be heavenly for you. What if you encouraged and supported them to make their own magic in the way that feels good to them? What if they did the same for you? Finally I am suggesting that you seek to learn and love than judge and change. You are neither "giving back" or "paying it forward", you are sharing in a greater vision. That is what forgiveness is to me.
For more on forgiveness go to ----->Part 2