One of the most important aspects of recovery is forgiving ourselves and embracing our shortcomings. If we let ourselves be consumed by regret for all the mistakes we made in the past we’ll never be able move forward.
Here’s a piece from The Narrow Way where I had that realization in the middle of a meditation retreat in Dharamsala, India:
With my face hidden there in my arms, I begin to realize that
it’s ok to feel vulnerable and afraid. It’s ok that I spent years
hiding the truth about myself. It’s ok that I was lonely and angry
and a little bit crazy. It’s ok that I hurt myself and even the ones I
love. It’s ok that I made so many mistakes. Right here, right now
all can be acknowledged, all can be forgiven.
As I embrace all of these shortcomings I begin to feel myself
let go. The merciless inner critic who used to slash me down to
the bone is silenced and for the first time in years, maybe even
for the first time in my whole life, I feel real compassion for
myself. Finally, I see the reality of my own suffering and I am not
so afraid of it anymore.
I lift up my head and the sun is still shining warm on my
shoulders. I look around and see that there are many sets of
glistening eyes looking right back at me. It is a good sight, not a
sad one. I know now that all of these people have seen something
good and fertile and rich within themselves and that they too
have decided to keep it and till it into the deep soil of their lives.
I take a slow, deep breath, the kind that hurts your lungs after a
long cry; then I let it go.