Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Lo Siento

The Italian once told me over dinner that he had learned that the minute we catch ourselves apologizing for being who we are, we need to stop. At a certain degree, I agree that we are who we are and that we need to accept ourselves entirely and unconditionally. However, is it not egotistical to not acknowledge a fault?

I always say that I am only responsible for myself and my actions. I cannot be responsible for other people’s baggage, weight management, credit score, eating habits, enlightenment, and all that other good stuff until I have my own in order. I find that the more I take care of myself physically, emotionally and spiritually (which is really simple and only entails more quality alone and quiet time, hot baths and homemade meals), the more I am in the position to take care of others. If we want more love in the world, I believe the only place it can ever really begin is within. Right, wrong, indifferent, this is my conviction right now. And one that I take very far and very seriously.

Which brings me back to the idea of apologies. How the mere thought of it makes me shudder. Saying sorry is not easy for me and never has been. If you were extremely cautious and calculating like I was, you would know how we build these illusions of perfection around ourselves that we don’t ever have to apologize for anything. If something goes awry, everyone else it to blame.

Birthdays cause me to over-introspect. I can say that I am in a good place in my life and I’d like to think I have nurtured the gift of gratitude along with it. I realize though that I suck at giving apologies. Big time. While laying in bed the other night, I asked myself how I can be a better human being, how I can be more of what I am called to be. In a moment of clarity, I realized I need to humble myself more through more heartfelt apologies. Especially if we are resistant to it (like I am) and if the idea is for the ego to soften, then maybe it’s a worthwhile spiritual practice to utter the words, “I’m sorry” every once in a while.

So I challenge The Italian’s dictum of no apologies. While I am only responsible for myself, I cannot punish people for where they are in their lives, for whatever they have to work through in this lifetime. I cannot be the hard-ass that I have strong tendencies to slip into because their experiences are different from mine. So I’ve decided to put together a list of apologies and journal them here as they come to me. If Oprah proliferated gratitude journals, maybe there is also equal humility in admitting you are not always right.

Here goes the first and most difficult ones (oh God, help me):

1. I am sorry if I have been party to cause despair and desolation to the Ex. While I have no doubts that that towel had to be thrown in, I am sorry that I dealt with and still dealing with the whole thing coldly. Guilt is not my friend and as long as I know that I am coming from a place of guilt over something more sincere, I refuse to deal with a potential personal apology.

2. I am sorry that I take my Mother for granted sometimes. Relative to other people, I have a very active (sometimes, really stifling, but it is what it is) relationship with my Mother. I am sorry that I am not as soft and tender as God would have wanted me to be towards her, but that same God knows that I try my hardest. Sometimes it really kills me to try and sometimes, it really gets the best of me. For those times that I do snap, I apologize.

That's about all I can handle tonight. This is pretty heavy and intense for me so no cartwheels tonight.


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