What is this blog about?

There is no such thing as an expert on the topic of Life. We all have had our battles, our suffering, and our questions. Despite the uniqueness of our personal obstacles, we have endured them. We have endured them well enough to advise those behind us as to how to do the same. I have done the research on your behalf regarding the multitude of reasons why wisdom exists. My mission is to utilize the voices of the world's greatest thinkers and heroes to compose a guideline of life's wisdom so that you don't have to experience those trials alone.

If you have any questions, please tweet them to me @JoeSielski or email me at JJSielskiJr@comcast.net

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I will do my best to try and answer every question as quickly and efficiently as possible. Thanks.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

A Day for Forgiveness

This past winter has been quite unpredictable and unfavorable for many of us in my regional vicinity.  I found this to be perfectly opportune to talk about the topic of forgiveness.

As a society, we don't talk about Forgiveness. We don't want to talk or think about it, because it's difficult and sometimes hurts. We would simply rather ignore it. This is primarily because we don't consider it to ever be an option. Society virtually grants us permission to seek vengeance or to burden ourselves with negative aspects of our histories. 

There's a huge misunderstanding as to what Forgiveness is.  Many people believe that to forgive is to suddenly re-interpret a circumstance as right or just or fair.   That's not true.  Forgiveness is the ability to look into the past and know that it cannot be changed.  Forgiveness is the humility to embrace that realization.   Huge traumatic events can derail us,  people can offend us and we can make a mistake that leaves us regretting ourselves for years and years.  Forgiveness stops those circumstances from hurting us more deeply.   

So what does this have to do with the weather?        .......  Everything!!! 

I love using the weather as a metaphor for Forgiveness.  Why?  Because the weather is constantly changing.   The weather does exactly what the weather does and none of us can control it.   If we are told to expect rain today, it's going to rain today.... no matter what you do or say or think.   Now what?  Well, if we are anticipating rain, we grab our boots and our umbrellas and we prepare to face it.  I'm sure you might be thinking:  "Of course, we always do that."  And that's the point.   The weather will change outside of our control, so what do we do?   We respond with wisdom and we change.  We acclimate to the changing situations and we change how we dress ourselves in preparation to address the new weather.   We can't stop it from raining, but we can stop ourselves from getting wet... [as the adorable frog is demonstrating] 

How is this relevant?   It's always relevant.   Things change, people change, dates change.  It is our responsibility to let go of our feeling that we have the utmost control.  Spring, summer, fall, winter, rain, snow or sunshine, the weather is constantly changing around us. In most times, we are aware of this change and are prepared for it.  In fact, we adapt to it too. So ask yourself:  "How can my response to the weather guide me through other changes in my life?"  Sometimes, we might not like that things change, but we can acclimate to it. This act of accepting that we cannot return things to their original state is half of the battle for Forgiveness. What happens after we accept it? We let go and move on. Time only moves in one direction.

As we are all well aware, bad things happens. So rather than developing resentment, we learn to forgive. However, this is crucial to explain resentment from a simpler mind. Resentment, the word itself, comes in two parts, The first “re” is a prefix to mean “again.” The second part is related to the word “sentiment,” from a Latin root, representing the concept of a feeling. Therefore, to resent is to look at a past event, reminiscing of how you existed in that past moment, then feeling those emotions a second time. To resent means you would continue to feel those emotions over and over, again and again; allowing them to wound you deeper. 
“The longer we dwell on our misfortunes, the greater becomes their power to harm us.” [Voltaire] 

Forgiveness breaks that cycle. It is often said about Forgiveness that it is a gift you give to yourself. The hardest times, those personal storms will shake us and try to break us. But once they've passed, they're over and time only goes in one direction. Yet, despite the brighter days after those storms have passed, many of us will still try and create thunder. This is the habit of resentment. For those who wrong us, they are free to do what they please which leaves us wounded. It is then our duty to continue our lives with this wound present. Due to our insecurities, we have the potential to also inflict wounds upon ourselves. We might call ourselves ugly, we might call ourselves stupid, we might strip ourselves of social worth. And this cycle will persist until we decide to give ourselves the gift called Forgiveness. 

For those of us who truly understand the act of Forgiveness, it is understood that forgiveness finds source in love.   How is love relevant to forgiveness?  If someone offends you or hurts you, they deserve to be forgiven because they are also deserving of love.  We all experience suffering. Suffering is the reason why forgiveness is even a virtue. Most times, for most people, any incident that causes us to suffer from grief, anger, regret or resentment are the times when Forgiveness is required.  Due to our suffering, we become likely to judge or offend others. We neglect that others are also likely to experience suffering in their own unique manner.  Therefore, love enters to regenerate that relationship. Love comes in to supersede its own suffering. Love enters amidst our suffering to sacrifice the ego and aid us with the healing of the other party so to ensure we experience the healing power of Love together. Yes, you read that right. The Love of Forgiveness reaches out to the other individual, maybe even the one who hurt us, and it reaches out with a spirit of kindness. The knowledge of love values the relationship to such a degree that it persists in loving despite its own suffering.  This is called unconditional love.  And just like that,  forgiveness is the act of sacrificing one's ego.  

As the weather changes and stirs up our lives, we must remain attentive to how our ego has planned for things to go.  We must remain attentive, understanding that we are not in control.    “In three words, I can sum up everything I learned about life: It goes on.” [Robert Frost]    We must find peace with those shifting winds.   That is the gift of Forgiveness. 


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