Today the act of forgiveness was brought to my attention while I was reading my bible study. Over the years, I have always struggled with letting go of grudges completely. I said that I forgave someone, but when it came to the bitter feelings inside, those didn’t always go away. However, as I am reflecting on my study I am realizing that forgiveness does not mean that we necessarily forget what happened or how it made us feel. What I am coming to understand is that forgiveness is allowing ourselves to no longer be angry about what happened in spite of it all. When we harbor anger and resentment, we are not hurting the other party involved. We are only hurting ourselves. How can we live a life of positivity and joy if our hearts and minds are full of revenge or bitterness. Yes, horrible things happen to wonderful people, and that is wrong. But it is not your fault. Unforgiven emotions only continue to hurt us. The best way to get back at someone is finding peace in ourselves and letting go of hurt. Finding a way to live a life full of positivity and love.
It is difficult to forgive. I am still learning how, but this year I am going to work on finding a way to forgive those who have wronged me so that I can be at peace!
It is not often that a story touches the hearts of so many people in such a profound way I believe the Fault in Our Stars is one of those stories. I have read the book and seen the movie, and I have felt my heart utterly envelop the characters. I feel their pain. I burst with laughter right along side them. I swell with love as their story unfolds. Even though it is heart-wrenching, it teaches us so much about life and death. About finding acceptance with the life we have been given and being able to find love in the most unlikely places.
There are so many lessons from the story that I can apply to my life. For instance, even though I do not have cancer, I have other demons in my life that plague me and I wish, more than anything, I could be free of them. I wish for a life without plagues. A life where I could just be happy instead of wasting so much energy on working to win internal battles. However, when I step outside of my self, I see the beautiful life that surrounds me. I see the love that my husband gives me everyday. I see my parents and my brother showering me with affection. I see my students and co-workers enjoying my humor and passion. When I close off the fear of my own mind, I see the beauty that God has placed in my life. Seeing these things lessens the weight of the plague I bare and strengthens my resolve to never give up.
I have been learning that we all have internal battles. We all face challenges in our lives that wear us down. I am not alone. You are not alone. Together we are strong and and conquer anything. As John Green says, “that’s the thing about pain, it demands to be felt.” Without feeling pain, the feeling of joy cannot be understood. Without anxiety, there is no peace. The burdens I carry were given to me for a reason, and I choose to accept its weight. I was created to be strong and it will never win.
There have been times in my past where I hid away from the world. Buried myself deep inside my blankets and imagined myself in another life. A life that was anxiety free. Where I was able to conquer the world and be a hero in everyone’s eyes. I lived my life through characters on a page or on the television. I honestly thought love and adventure was true for everyone but me. Everyone else was destined for something great, but I was only destined to be full of fear. I did not think I deserved to be happy, and I am not sure where this thinking derived.
As I have grown older, I realize that life is not meant to be watched from the sidelines. It is meant to be grabbed by the horns and roped and bent to your will. Everyday we are alive is another chance to make something great happen. To find beauty in the unexpected. Experience transformation of the soul that is triggered by jumping head first into adventure. I know now that this applies to me. I was not created to be a creature of fear and dread. I may have anxiety, but I am NOT anxiety. This disorder does not mean that I am a less worthy human being, it only means that I am human like everyone else. All people struggle with something dark and are afraid to expose it for fear of rejection, but we cannot continue to miss incredible life moments because we are afraid of our weaknesses! We must break down our walls and show our true selves, good and bad, and watch the world around is transform into a more accepting and loving place.
Do not love your life in fear of your own weakness. Do not let it hold you back from the destiny you were created for. Take a risk. Be stronger than your fear. Overcome.
I woke up with a slight bit of anxiety, but I was not going to allow it to keep me from experiencing the adventure that each day brings. My husband, being the amazing man he is, lightened my mood by joking and playing around to make me laugh. We stayed in bed and just relaxed, since we have been on the run the entire week. I then, even though I had almost no motivation, practiced some yoga. It felt incredible to stretch and strengthen my body when it felt so right and bogged down by anxiety. Of course, my lovely little pups were a bit of a hindrance to getting into my headspace. But of course I will always love them!
After yoga, I went outside to journal and study my bible. The temperature was perfect and I felt my anxiety ease away and I was able to find peace. I do continue to take my medication but I have discovered that medication is not something that we should be totally dependent on. It’s important to learn natural coping skills that help refocus our thoughts and open our chests.
I am looking forward to conquering my day and I hope you all are able to do the same. However, if you’re in a darker place, remember that all darkness will pass when the dawn comes. The light is coming. Do not loose heart.
Tonight, as my husband and I were driving home from a BBQ, the air was warm and sweet. Our car windows were rolled down and we took the long way home so we could saturate ourselves in the beauty of this summer night. As the wind curled through my hair and kissed across my cheeks, my hand rested gently on top of my husband’s. I felt hyper aware of his presence as we sat together sharing in this unspoken moment. I smiled and felt my heart swell with emotions of utter and complete peace. Not a single shred of anxiety crossed my mind or tightened my chest. Surreal really, considering that most days I have at least a tickling of anxiety pressing against my chest. Nothing put contentment and joy resonated within me. It was indescribably beautiful. Never in a million years could I imagine stretching moments to exist without anxious thought. But here I am, an hour later, still without anxiety. God is good!
By the time we got home I was ready to further my peaceful mind and practice some yoga. It felt so good to relax my body and allow it to match the restful and relaxed state of my mind and spirit. Now, I am ready to drift off to sleep and recharge for tomorrow!
For a visual, here is a picture of the end of my yoga practice (in my new pants) with Thor sleeping at my feet!