38. Lightness of forgiveness

Objavljeno, 23.3.2021. | My Yes To Life journey

When you forgive, you in no way change the past but you sure do change your future.
Brad Meltzer

Yesterday, my son’s father came for him to Zagreb to take him to the doctor in Ljubljana because he was visiting for the weekend and he had the flu. Before leaving, we sat down for coffee and cocoa and we talked. I was dead tired because our son wanted to talk to me until 3 am and his father was visibly content I had the opportunity to taste some of the infinite portions of puberty that, now that he lives with him, our son serves him on a daily basis.

Some people are still surprised to see us collaborating together on the matters concerning our teenager. They don’t understand the freeing component of my action and the fact that if it were the opposite, I would eternally repeat my injuries with my own thoughts and by that remain trapped in the past. They don’t understand that forgiveness was an act of mercy to myself by which I cut the chains of the past and freed myself. Even Buddha said that anger is like drinking poison and hoping that someone else will die from it.

Nelson Mandela, while he was in prison, once had to dig a grave for himself and lie in it. When he did, the guards urinated on him. However, when he was freed, he invited his prosecutor who pleaded for his death penalty and one of the guards who consistently tortured and humiliated him, to his presidential inauguration. When he was asked why he had done it he replied: I had to do it. Because if I didn’t, I would still be in prison. Mighty parable, isn’t it?

So we changed our past to wisdom, and we did it in time because our teenager is “busting our balls” whenever he can and he is trying out how elastic our parental boundaries are. But that is normal, right? it’s his job now. The little person is turning to a mini man. Slowly, I came to understand the saying: “small child small problems, big kid, big problems…” but since I’ve found out what goes on in the teenage brain, and especially teenage boy’s brain it is easier to bear it because I don’t take his actions and behaviors personally. I know that the testosterone with which he is awash with is responsible for his complete lack of empathy towards any of us in the family. I know that he can look into my eyes and although it may seem he is listening to me, it is very possible that he is not present because teenage boys have the ability to isolate any inputs or stimulus that don’t interest them – and I know that is me in the first place – boring mom. Yesterday he was explaining to me:

  • Mom, do you know that I have the ability to not think? Seriously, I can stare at a point on the wall for hours with a clear mind and I find that very pleasant.
  • Wow, that is meditation! – I explained to him what this idle state did to his brain and how it totally refreshes his whole system. He liked when I compared meditation to the restart function on the computer when all the data files neatly come to their place in order.
  • I don’t know, but I wake up every morning and I stare blankly in the wall for fifteen minutes before my alarm clock rings again when it’s time to get ready for the school. You know Mom, you get nervous too easily. Don’t be like that, it’s not good for you. I never get nervous. Never- and I’m never sad.
  • I am so happy to hear that – I told him, although, at the same time, it was very strange to hear him say that. I remembered myself in his age and the feeling pressing on my chest as if “someone sat on my soul.
  • The German expression “Weltschmerz” is the best description of that feeling that I had trouble explaining to myself: I had a carefree and happy childhood but on my chest, I carried the pain of the whole world and I wondered where did it come from. The explanation arrived more than two decades later when I learned about HSP people (Highly sensitive persons) and empaths. Until then while listening to others criticize me for being too weird I was mad at myself for being so sensitive. Now I know that we HSP’s need firm personal borders so that other people’s emotions don’t overwhelm us. It took me a long time but now that I finally have them I feel invincible.

Once you take care of yourself and become a master of your thoughts and emotional reactions, life becomes fun as a game. The other day, I heard about a Japanese expression Kaisen which represents the philosophy or a model of constant improvement of the quality of management of business or oneself. The philosophy Kaisen states that continued implementation of small improvements into your business method is the surest way to success.

Forgiveness is the fragrance that violets leave on the heels of the one who crushed them.

                            Mark Twain
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