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.

photo by: nigelhowe

About Chris Lemig

In 2007 I finally came out to family and friends as being gay. After twenty-three years of drug and alcohol addiction, I got sober, picked up a book on Buddhism then promptly bought a plane ticket to India. The Narrow Way is the story of how all that came to be.
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One Response to Shortcomings

  1. Jeannette says:

    That is so moving. And Thanksgiving is such a perfect time for those words as I am so thankful for you as one of my teachers on my own journey.

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