Recently I’ve been listening to an audio program by Colin Tipping called The Power of Radical Forgiveness. While the insults and injuries have accrued for a lifetime for most of us, the really radical part of the Radical Forgiveness program is that maybe we’d be better off surrendering to instead of suffering through a lot of stuff we let totally trip us up.
We humans like to be right. We like to be right at the expense of a lot of other things. We’re a society that likes to play the victim and express our righteous indignation way more than gratitude or humor or any other emotion that might lower our blood pressure.
Radical Forgiveness asks us to look at life as if it were an intricate tapestry. The challenge is we can only see the back side of the tapestry where the threads randomly intersect with frayed knots, stops and starts, and loose ends. Try as we might, it’s hard to find the order in all this chaos.
It’s rare that we can turn it over and get a glimpse of the other side of the tapestry. This is the side where everything comes together beautifully without any hint that everything is not exactly as it should be and every thread is serving a singular purpose.
Remembering the tapestry analogy in the middle of an audit, a divorce, a life-changing illness, the loss of a loved one, job, dream, or a once in a lifetime opportunity is almost impossible for most of us.
But the promise of being free of the energy required to keep up the fight is worth the discomfort of working through it. I would rather use my life energy to create something new than to stay stuck in a cycle of sameness. Because if it keeps showing up, apparently I haven’t learned as much as I imagine I have.
Naturally, I turn to my dogs for clarification since I’m convinced dogs are spiritual masters. It’s no coincidence that dog is god spelled backwards. Not only do they have the unconditional love thing down, but they don’t have to say a word for me to totally get the point.
Allow me to illustrate.
Yesterday Scooter, our small Jack Russell terrier, was naughty. On our daily walk he discovered something dead, smelly, and nasty. Despite several scoldings, he refused to drop it where he found it and instead brought it home. A present, perhaps? Still I decided Scooter would need to be leashed this morning in order to limit his meanderings.
Jake, our overly exuberant 100 pound brown lab, loves to walk 15 pound Scooter. He puts Scooter’s leash in his mouth and off they go. On family walks, I walk Bob, Bob walks Jake, and Jake walks Scooter. Abbey just follows the parade route.
Because of the size difference, if Scooter decides not keep up with Jake, he gets pulled along. For this reason, Jake usually walks Scooter on the way home, after Jake has tuckered himself out and is more likely to move at Scooter’s pace.
For whatever reason, this morning Jake was especially exuberant and Scooter was exceptionally reluctant. Because Jake was getting to walk his dog from the get-go, his enthusiasm could not be curbed. Here’s how the scene unfolded in my neighborhood.
Jake was gleefully galloping along. Scooter was resisting and, therefore, skidding along the sidewalk. I was trying to catch up to both dogs, all the while coaching Scooter to stop resisting and go with the flow and pleading with Jake to stop pulling and cut Scooter some slack.
The madness stopped when Jake cut the corner a little too close and lost his grip on the leash. I caught up and the lecture began. It went something like this:
“Scooter, why must you resist? Jake is 100 pounds heavier than you are. If you surrender and enjoy the ride, Jake will get you where you want to go much faster than you ever will on your own. Granted, you forfeit your right to stop and sniff at your favorite spots. But there will be sniffing spots where he’s going. Why do you think he’s in such a hurry to get there?”
“Jake, not everyone is as enthusiastic and gung-ho about this adventure as you are. Not everyone sees the value in being the first, the fastest, and the most focused. A near death experience does not guarantee another will see the light. In fact, it may have the opposite effect.“
At this point both dogs just wanted to go their separate ways. Before I could put myself in time out to think about their behavior, they’d forgotten it. But since they went to the trouble of staging this lesson for me, I promised them I’d tell their tale (as they wagged their tails) in today’s blog.
Now you can share if you dare. Who or what is showing up with news to amuse you?