A few times a week, on my walks, sitting alone or contemplating my next brush stroke, I think about my past transgressions over these +73 years. They range in consequences from minor to major. They involve friends, family and others that I barely knew. As I reflect on the origins of these transgressions, most, if not all, seem to be a result of my acting selfishly, being overreactive and defensive. Some of these, which were serious, hurt others—probably for a long time. I know that I am not alone in transgressing against others. I know that I have made amends to many who I have hurt. As part of my recovery from addiction in the late 1980’s, I worked hard at my inventory and the making of amends. But somehow, my inner displacements work against my basic nature.
Like the forest fire, destruction needs fuel. But after the fire there can be rebirth and regeneration. I have learned that I can fuel or quench my poor choices and behavior. When Jean Cocteau published The Difficulty of Being in 1947, he wrote “In the end, everything is resolved, except the difficulty of being, which is never resolved.” For me to have resolution I have to look back at how I traversed this 74 year-old trail. I know that I am instinctual and intuitive—often navigating territory impulsively. I am peripatetic. I focus on completion and not so much the journey. I am driven. Some say that I am intense—at times overly persuasive. This trait has resulted in others following my lead even when it is not in their best interest. Of course, their choice to follow is theirs. As they have entered my orbit they may be drawn to the flame like a moth; or like the beauty to the beast—only to discover that my inner self is not so threatening.
At this stage in my life I ask myself: Why Change?
I could, I suppose, just let it go and stop thinking about my inner swirling world. Just be. Is it an illusion that others live content in their own skin? Is it arrogant to think that my inner tussles are unique. I don’t think so. It seems that dissection in public (like this post) is a way of reflecting on consequences and reflecting back the actions of others. I do know one thing: the traces of transgressions remain indelible—while many joys are forgotten. These surface at odd times—sometimes in a dream; sometimes as I glance at something that triggers a memory. Since magic only happens in love, I can’t go back for reparation. I can only forgive myself as I accept myself.
It is trivialities that we cling to that can consume us—and prevent transformation. My goal then is simple: shed as many trivialities in my life as possible. By that I mean: doing what enables me to transform my view and generate new ideas for relationships and interactions. As Cocteau says “…I shall wound much more severely if I dig into the scars.” It is time to let the scars heal—full well knowing that there will always be a trace of the wound long after the healing. To those I have hurt, I say I am sorry. I will forever carry the knowledge of my transgressions. They will inform my forgiveness, They will light my path to transformation.