Follow the yellow brick road...
In one of the most famous scenes from the wizard of Oz, Dorothy and her friends, thin man, scarecrow, the lion and of course Toto, asks the good witch how she can find the wizard as she wants to go back to Kansas. She is then instructed to just follow the yellow brick road in front of her, and that in the end, she will find the long-awaited wizard who can concede her wish, and also her friend’s wishes as well. The Wizard of Oz, itself is a story of courage and self-awareness, and fits very well as an example for me to draw the analogy that I have in my mind. Well, leaving Dorothy behind, as there is no place like home, let’s talk about something very important: forgiveness.
During the first three decades of my life I listened to older and wiser people whom were always pointing me directions and also telling me that every person, no matter how much damage they have done, that no matter how much you were hurt by them personally or a situation caused by them, moreover, how you came to suffer as a result of these acts, deserves a second chance in life. I know this is a dangerous territory, especially when is written so plain like this, and I already can see the face of some of you rolling your eyes and shaking your heads and calling me a naive person. I can assure you, I am not a naive person. Well, let’s put aside the "feelings of revenge" aside for a moment and think about it, but please, do not do it with your mind only, but do it with your heart. Surely the person who hurt you had reasons for doing so, but this is just life isn’t? Stay with me, I promise to make myself more clear in the next paragraph.
So, by now, we agree that, unfortunately, everything in this life has an explanation, right? Now, if you stop for a while and think that even a rapist or a murderer is able to explain the reasons which led them to do what they did, it may help to consolidate the previous sentence. I am not creating excuses here or even praising people for the bad things they have done, I just want to clarify that everyone is able to explain their own actions, good or bad! It is also a fact that sometimes, when people are explaining things to us that we do not care or do not understand we give them the "pigeon face”, just a picture a pigeon looking at you, so you are there, in front of the person listening to all that shit, that does not mean anything to you, worse than that, you do not care. Another point I want to make it clear is that I don't think we have to forgive anyone simply because we have to, although the religious or spiritual duty preached by some tell us the opposite, and I have said here in many occasions that I am a spiritualist, not a stupid person, so don't abuse my good will and patience. I guess, the exercise here is to listen only, to listen to the explanations first, and then make a decision about something, and if you fell like forgiving, so do it, at least it will a genuine feeling, not something that falls out from the mouth without any meaning at all. Is that more clear now? Ok, let’s carry on then!
They say that time is the best medicine to heal pain. Particularly, I don’t agree with that, however, I believe that time takes the focus off of grief, but what happened still and it will always be there, and every time we remember the situation, we relive it, which means reliving its associated emotions as well. This is a process that happens to all of us. From time to time we focus our awareness in figures of the past, which is something very interesting, because during these processes of revisiting things, very often we came to the conclusion that pain or grief originated by those facts, no longer has the same weight they once had. Why is that? As we are able to relive facts, we, sometimes re-weight them by judging them again under a new light. Is like analysing an old problem applying a new theory, and sometimes doubts emerge from it. What if we gave a strong medicine to a not big disease? Was that the right attitude? Even better, is that attitude still valid today? Why we continue to deny forgiveness even when the pain is no longer the same? Is this behaviour what society expects of us? Do we live in a world where forgiveness is a synonymous of weakness? Why is it so hard to give a second chance to those who have made us suffer, or betrayed our trust? Is it forgiveness something that really frees us and helps us to continue our journey in a lighter way?
I have always believed that I am, or at least I was, a person with a very small ability to forgive. More than that, I have convinced myself that I am a person extremely proud, and as such, to ask for forgiveness, it would be a thing for weak people, cry-babies. People would only have one chance with me. Looking back, I see that most of the time I've always been the type of person who would rather "drop" out of a situation then actually face it on a more adult way. Today, I know that it was due to sheer lack of maturity, never for lack of principles, more still, perhaps due to fear. And speaking of fear, I don't have any fear or even I do not feel ashamed to admit it publicly at this time of my life. People who know me are aware that I have several examples of situations in my past where I reacted in such a way, which means taking the shortest path. Making wrong decisions, labelling people, and acting as if I were in an American Court, where people are condemned by the mere fact of saying yes or no, were typical behaviours I used to have. To analyze the options calmly and thoughtfully weren't my best qualities during the first twenty-five years of my life. My older brother has a saying that goes something like this: "Let's leave the way it is to see what happens", basically it means, the attitude was not addressed, it was let aside, creating more problems than solutions, and with this attitude I was not leaving unsolved problems behind me, I was also leaving people along the way. I did not know about it back them, for me it was just an easy way to get rid of those people in my life, than to question my own beliefs. What I did not know as well, is that the exercise of not thinking about it, would never take the facts away, and somehow they one day would come back and haunt me, generating more conflicts and anxiety.
One of the good things about age is the growing ability to discern, the capacity to analyze more and separate what is real from the lies and delusions. Well, it is true that many people do not reach this stage in life, but I would rather focus on the positive side of humanity here and talk only about those who evolve as human been. I do not have the patience to waste my energy on lazy people right now. Recently I had the opportunity to rescue people that I had locked away in my past forever. You know those moments where someone comes to your mind, out of the blue, and because they bring memories of “bad” moments, instantly you remove it from your consciousness? That’s right, as a “normal” person, I used to this all the time, therefore I carried on, believing that these people were nothing more than distant marks along my road, which over time, due to my own actions on not giving them permission to be part of my present, they never existed in my future. I do not need and I do not want to give specific examples of events or people, they are irrelevant, it will not add nothing to it. I am only talking about possibilities that can enable us to re-evaluate facts, these, for sure I have to talk about it.
Somehow, I have tried to repair the damage caused, and based on that I have allowed me to be in contact with people from my past again, and to my great surprise, these encounters, turned to be very pleasant experiences. I thought, when we finally meet again, we would talk about specific moments that we shared in the past. The ones that hurt us, ironically, we did not talk about it at all. On the contrary, we talked about nice things, laughed a lot about moments and memories of a time when we believed in things that we know today were dreams that only young adults could dream of, fruits of our own lack of experiences. In the end, we ended up making plans to see each other again in the near future and I returned home with a lighter soul, relieved to finally have the opportunity to review my concepts and prejudices with the insight and knowledge that I have today.
What happened in the past stays in the past, like Las Vegas. It no longer has the same importance. Crucial lessons have been learned, and although I know that relationships will never be the same again, there's still the possibility not to rebuild upon, but to build again. So, why we continue to deny forgiveness, even when the pain does not have the same weight anymore? It is because that, this is exactly the behavior society expect from us. We can't be weak, only inferior people forgive an enemy or someone responsible for causing us a lot of pain and resentment.
We are under no obligation to grant second chances for those who have made us suffer, or the ones who have betrayed our trust, moreover, we do not have any obligation to forgive someone if we don't feel this is the correct action to be taken, however, we do have the obligation to weight the facts that happened in our life fairly, and forgiveness is rather something that actually frees us and allow us to carry on our journey in a way lighter than before. Furthermore, I believe that people change with age, also I know that some people do change for the worse, but overall, they become milder since life itself teaches many things, good and bad, and that we should rather, exercise kindness in our hearts, allowing us to see people as they are, with their qualities, weaknesses and deficiencies. We should strive to realize the efforts of people towards us, because if we do that, maybe the world and human relationships would be easier and consequently it would make people happier.
I wish you a week with plenty of good vibrations to you, loads of common sense to be used when doing the balance of life and giving the appropriate weight to each fact that you carry on over your shoulders. You'll notice that the yellow brick road is not as sinuous and dangerous as it seems, and that there is a wizard somewhere over the rainbow, and there is where you will find you... and me!