Monday, February 10, 2014

Shadow Work

God is...

I felt and heard my shadow so clearly this past week while visiting with neighbors in a church vestibule following a funeral service for one of our own.  Our neighbor, Carol, had been sick many years with serious respiratory problems and is now at peace.  I shared how grateful I would feel for my ability to be able to get on my bike and go for a ride knowing she was confined to being indoors most of the time.  And then my neighbor, and former carpool member, Tom, asked me if I’ve been to a retiree luncheon lately.  My demeanor went dark. I felt my previous sense of gratitude overcome by resentment.  There was a bite in my words.  I told Tom I half considered going to a luncheon a couple of years ago, but as I came close to committing, old fear surfaced.  And now I clearly see I still have shadow work to do with forgiveness.

I previously put a lot of effort into the work of forgiveness surrounding my aging parents’ and their care needs.  The following are thoughts I gleaned from reading Gavin De Becker’s book “The Gift of Fear,” public radio broadcasts, and a workshop I attended featuring Robert Enright and Susan Freedman from the International Forgiveness Institute, and some of my own conclusions.  I’m grateful I recorded them in “God Never Hurries” for they now provide me needed review:  

-- Forgiveness is most needed where things are least safe; and you need to be in a safe place to work on forgiveness. 

-- Fear is more than fight or flight, guile and cleverness are just two of many ways to address fear; and fear keeps the world in check.

-- The human brain is never more invested than when its host is at risk; intuition is then catapulted to another level entirely, a height at which it can accurately be called graceful, even miraculous.  It is going from A to Z without stopping at any other letters along the way.

-- Real fear is not paralyzing but rather energizing.  It is coiled up energy.  Perhaps courage is another name for this energy.  Love is courage talking.

-- Denial of anger was cited as a clue to Pride and an obstacle to forgiveness.  It takes humility to admit being hurt.  It is humbling to admit woundedness. 

-- Forgiveness results in emotional control.  It transforms who we are.  Freedom and a more real life view are its fruits.  Forgiveness is giving up resentment and coming to view perpetrators with compassion.

What if I could remember all that as I continue my shadow work to forgive?

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