Making peace with ourselves is not a small undertaking. The list of my mistakes resembles Santa’s Naughty or Nice scroll. I envision little errors recorded in a tiny Serif print while the colossal goof-ups scrawled in big, bold letters. Some are even written in neon, flashing, “You f’ed up.”
I kept that scroll tightly rolled up, hidden in the dark recesses of my mind. When something has to be added, or a memory is triggered, my ego would dash off to the Mistake Vault to retrieve said list. I can see him (my ego, for some reason, is a man). He wears half-moon spectacles over which he peers at me, disapproving. Tut. Tut. Tut. My offenses are reviewed and I’m found lacking.
Punishment on Repeat
In Don Miguel Ruiz’s book, The Four Agreements, I read that human beings are the only animals to punish themselves more than once for the same mistake. We do this in an attempt to stop ourselves from making the same errors over again. We believe that if we suffer enough, we won’t have a “do-over.”
Unfortunately, that’s not how things work. Suffering is optional, and it doesn’t stop us from repeating past mistakes. In fact, focus on mistakes causes us to stay stuck in the past—a past which can never change.
Look for the Lessons
Alternatively, we are invited to examine our scrolls. Unroll them and look at each entry. Make amends where necessary. Forgive ourselves and others. Seek the lessons to integrate into our lives. Only then can we let go of them and stop punishing ourselves repeatedly.
Consider this: If we don’t follow this process, by the time we’re stooped and old, we’ll be weighed down unnecessarily by the past. And life’s too short for that.
“Each moment is a chance for us to make peace with the world. A chance to make peace possible for the world, a chance to make happiness possible for the world.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh
Starting October 29, 2018, a 12-week Journey Program begins where we’ll engage is unpacking our loads, healing our wounds, keeping the lessons, and remapping our futures. We’d love to have you!