Finishing presence

Finishing presence feels somewhat like I imagine forgiveness feels like: the circumstances, the person, the situation, or the event no longer stirs evocative emotions in me. I feel neither this way nor that way. I am finished.

I struggle with the word “forgive” because it implies that someone or something has wronged me in some way. As a child, I was taught that the concept of “forgiveness” meant people could do anything they wanted and as long as they were sorry, God would forgive them. It did not necessarily mean that the person had to stop that behavior.

As an adult, I have to grow into a new concept and definition of forgiveness. Finishing is as close as I can get right now. To let myself off of the hook and quit feeling bad over life long past, I need to be finished and let it go. It does not mean I forget. Finishing means I remember from a new perspective.

From this distance, I can look at events that occurred in my childhood and know that I felt bad. I can even recreate the bad feelings over something that might have happened forty years ago. I am still that child feeling awful about something someone else did. I might even feel bad over something that I did. I am not finished. To be finished requires some creative work. A mindful meditative journey with that child works well for me. From my adult perspective, I can point out and create new stories about the event. As I tell myself (the child) several different stories about the event, why it occurred, what was going on with me and other people, I come to realize that I feel bad because I’ve attached meaning to the event. The meaning almost always is some derivative that I did something wrong, that I was a bad person, that I should have done something else, I should have known better, I should have (fill in the blank). I continue to suffer because I want life to be different than what it was or how it is right now.

This internal work moves at its own pace. The child in me signals readiness when the memory surfaces and I become that child again, feeling bad over things long past. My eternal presence urges me to let it go . . . not to forget the incident, but rather, to let go of carrying the emotional weight. If I stay present, being with the child in the moment, life will bring me all sorts of ways to let go: reading a sentence, drawing a picture, writing a memoir, a physical movement, witnessing life unfolding. It does not matter. There is not any one specific way except for me to trust myself, know that I am eternal, and make the choice to live joyfully.

©2010 by Barbara L. Kass

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3 Responses to “Finishing presence”

  1. holessence Says:

    Barbara – What a beautiful post to read on this last day of April, as we finish the month. I especially appreciate your words, “Finishing means I remember from a new perspective.” That’s a wonderful way to phrase it. You make it clear in your post that finishing (or forgiving) and condoning are not the same thing. I also appreciate that.

    Laurie Buchanan

  2. Barbara Kass Says:

    Hi, Laurie — well, both your numerology report and the April shamanic forecast indicated that this would be a month of endings. And, I saw several things end: Gaia ended March 31, my tennis block time ended for the season, I closed on my condo, my Loyola class ended last night, and I imagine there are some emotional endings that go along with those. May, however, is all about high energy and creativity. I am looking forward to it . . .

  3. holessence Says:

    Barbara – Normally I would say “Rock On!” – but to you I will say “Write On!

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