I want to start this by saying, “Forgiveness, that bitch.” Yet I’m increasingly aware of how my language might subtly be alluding to my own sexism, and anyway why am I so sure forgiveness is feminine? Just a few weeks ago, I posted on my personal facebook page how much I dislike the word “booty.” I’ve been working in the fitness industry for ten years, and I hate hate hate when trainers or group exercise instructors use the word “booty.” Would you ever tell a man to squeeze his booty in a squat or during a bridge? (I mean, maybe you would – but would a man ever tell another man he has to go to the gym and work his booty off?) Anyway, my point is that “booty” is an inherently sexist term, as is “bitch,” and so I’m starting my blog differently. Awareness. That’s what this is.
Awareness is also what let me to think forgiveness is an asshole, anyway. (Just for reference, I think asshole is a gender neutral term. What do you think?) A few weeks ago, as I was moving on through my yoga class guided by the lovely Lisa Ash Drackert, I realized, “Man, I suck at forgiveness.”
Which was kind of a revelation.
See, I always thought forgiveness was a place I excel. My family is notorious for holding grudges. I’m pretty sure there’s been entire months of my childhood where my parents didn’t utter more than two or three words to each other. My brother didn’t talk to me for nearly a year after I gave him an earful about what a jerk he was being to one of my friends. But I’ve never held back my words. I’m quick to anger but quick to apologize. I’m nearly always ready and willing to chat. About 90% of the time (until recently), I’m the “calm” one in my marriage, riding out the storm of my husband’s temper until we can talk things out in a reasonable tone of voice.
So I always thought I wasn’t affected by this apparent lack of forgiveness.
But that night man.
Sometimes yoga sucks. I get into this deluded mindset at times that goes something like this: I teach yoga. I have done so much personal work. I feel great and therefore I have nothing to improve.
Scoff. Ahem. Any time I utter anything close to these words, you can just go ahead and smack me. Or even if you just think I’m thinking them. Because I’m pretty sure the only people who have nothing to improve are dead.
Which is not to say that I expect perfection – no no, I’m beyond that. (Mostly.) But what kind of arrogant asshole walks around thinking she has nothing to improve about herself?
The kind of asshole that’s a secret grudge holder. A worse grudge holder than outright ignoring other people, because those grudges linger underneath and resurface.
So here’s the thing. Two nights ago my husband and I got into an argument. About something just absolutely ridiculous. Our argument was over the price of a slow cooker meal I made. I was all excited, that I found this easy, delicious, cheap and healthy meal we could cook and save us money while getting us healthy at the same time.
And my sweet dear husband had to do the math and argue with me.
The argument ended up with both of us screaming, “You’re not listening to me!” at each other. Because we’re thirty-two and nearly thirty, and we are mature, reasonable adults.
Anyway, anytime we get into an argument, all of my past resentment from old arguments that were resolved and apologized and apparently forgiven resurface, and I start feeling all that old anger. I start being angry at Keith, not just for being an asshole and arguing with me about something silly like the price of our dinner, but for everything he’s ever done.
So apparently I’m not as good as forgiveness as I thought.
It was Nelson Mandela who said, “Resentment is like drinking poison and hoping it kills the other person.”
So it looks like I’ve got some work to do, my friends. For the next month, or year, or lifetime, I will be working on forgiveness. On not just forgiving on the surface, but truly letting go.
One of the things I utter in my yoga classes quite frequently is that the exhales carry much more importance than our inhales. Exhaling is a form of waste removal. Physically, it removes carbon dioxide which builds up two to three times the normal amount when you’re moving. Emotionally, exhales give you an opportunity to let go of what’s happening in your mind, in your emotions, your attachments, your fears.
My exhales will be letting go of my resentment.
My inhales, inviting in forgiveness.
So tell me, my friends:
- Is there anything you’ve not been completely honest with yourself about?
- Why have you hidden it from yourself – pride, denial, convenience?
- How can you go about letting go?
Namaste my friends!