Forgiveness, Perfection(ism), Joni Mitchell & Bob Dylan
I’ve been reflecting deeply on forgiveness this morning. I woke up with lingering images and stirred feelings from a recurring dream involving some unresolved dynamics with a loved one. I welcomed these “visitors” and took them with me into meditation to explore further. I heard echoes of a conversation I had a few days ago. I was telling a story of a recent relationship and despite my best efforts to reach a place of total acceptance and peace with it, upon reflection, it was obvious that there was still a hint of resentment present. There was still a subtle feeling of having been wronged and a wish that they had done better, revealing a false projection of perfectionism that I’ve been noticing elsewhere as well (more on that, in a moment). In seeing this, and connecting this narrative with the feelings I awoke with, I felt a readiness to release it and truly create space for the new.
In my experience, the ability to forgive is one of those lofty spiritual muscles that it takes a lifetime of practice to master. It’s also a concept that gets thrown around a lot and that is often advocated in a way that suggests it’s just a matter of deciding to do it and then BOOM, done. I’ve come to see that forgiveness actually happens in stages, and that it’s really more of an internal process than an outward one, and that it ‘s much more about our relationship with ourselves, than it is about our relationship with anyone else.
The main stage that I often tended to skip, until recently, was giving myself permission to be angry, to feel rage, to be filled by it and to even vilify the other. When we cut this part out, our healing process excludes and fails to takes into account the part of ourselves that was hurt or upset, or wronged, in attempt to spiritually bypass our human experience and go directly to a higher, more enlightened outlook. In my experience, this does not work and the step of FEEL-ing it fully is a must. There are, of course, ways to do this responsibly so I’m not necessarily advocating that we need to go on a rampage so we can forgive. For me, music is definitely a great outlet for some of the more gnarly emotions that come up, whether it’s by channeling my anger into singing (or shouting), or by listening to a song that touches my emotions deep and letting it do its work. Like I always say, #MusicMakesMeFeelGood.
I’ve found that once this step has been fully honored, the letting go of our grievances, our upsets and the stories that keep them in place tends to happen quite naturally. It’s usually at this point, that the higher awareness truly sets in and we are able to see the Perfection in it all, and how despite the unpleasantness, that it was ultimately, all for our greater good. And that in Truth, there’s actually nothing to forgive, there’s just a whole rollercoaster experience to consciously ride from bliss to pain to rage to peace.
So while nobody’s perfect and there’s no such thing as a perfect relationship, it’s all Perfect.
And only one who has been through and through it, who has been in the muck of the humanness of it and who has made it through to the spiritual clarity on the other side, can have the space and clarity to hold both levels of awareness.
What’s most interesting to me is that I’ve been seeing how all of this applies to my own creative expression (bet you didn’t see that one coming…lol). I realized that there’s a process there too that has its own unfolding and there’s a way to navigate it that honours the Perfect time and place for everything. And how while none of it is perfect and there's no such thing as the perfect song or the perfect performance, it's also all Perfect.
This video was shot almost a month ago. It happens to be of a song that I’d been playing for a solid few weeks to help my own process of forgiving some deep hurts that left a very bitter taste in my mouth. Bob Dylan’s sharp-tongued and somewhat sarcastic lyrics were the perfect vehicle for me to let some of that resentment fly. When I watched the video back right after capturing it, it felt pretty good to me BUT as usual, my perfectionism reared its head and I came up with a number of reasons why it wasn’t worthy of being shared.
I watched it back today, having had some space from it, and with this idea of forgiveness ever-present in my consciousness, it struck me differently. Some of the imperfections occurred to me as having a certain charm to them. I could see how I’d been holding on a little too tight, at the expense of making space for all the new that ideas and creating that is wanting to come through now. And I could also see how I might just not have been ready to share it then and that to do so, would have been to bypass my present experience in the name of some idea or aspiration.
An apt Joni Mitchell quote I caught a glimpse of last night also rung true. Joni said:
"You could write a song about some kind of emotional problem you are having, but it would not be a good song, in my eyes, until it went through a period of sensitivity to a moment of clarity. Without that moment of clarity to contribute to the song, it’s just complaining.”
I guess, in a way, that might explain why I wasn’t ready to share the video (i.e. forgive) until now. The wounds were still fresh and so was the musical offering.
At the time, it didn’t feel right to share for a number of reasons, but now it does.
Perhaps this means I’ve reached that moment of clarity.
I forgive you. I forgive me. Letting go feels good
I wish the same for you :)