Sunday, July 22, 2012

It's about Forgiveness.

The practice of forgiveness is our most important contribution to the healing of the world.                          

Don Henley has been haunting my  head with these lyrics for the past 4 days.
"I've been tryin' to get down to the Heart of the Matter
But my will gets weak
And my thoughts seem to scatter
But I think it's about forgiveness

In this years multitude of resolutions, my quest to continue in my practicing gratitude (my inspiration being glorious Alicia), I added a bugger of a challenge. To also actively practice "Forgiveness aka the art of letting things go"...and good crap I apparently don't like to do that, (NOT-AT-ALL) I like to hoard my feelings for a rainy day, so when that day comes all the misery of my life can be played again and again like an old time slide show. Equip with a trusty side of junk food, my pity parties indulge my entire need to self destruct including Doritos, Ben and Jerry are invited, and of coarse my trusty sweat pants, protecting myself by putting the world between me and my bed covers. I revel in my hurt and roll around in it for a while. Healthy, right? Yup, that's me,  work-in-ever-lovn'-progress.

If I have any chance at all of helping my children heal, learn these arts and practices of both gratitude and forgiveness, my arse better be in shape,so as much as I sucktasically fail at doing much of either thing I am 'trying' to practice that of which I teach. UGH.

 So I went to Vegas.
Cause you know it's the place to go for Inner Peace and absolution, right?

 But I really did, with my two baby (*cough* they prefer "younger") brothers in tow to visit our biological Father.

You see, we for a short time were raised by both him and our mother, together until their marriage collapsed with us three at ages of 7,6,and 3 caught in the cross fires. It was ugly, hard and difficult for everyone involved, much like many children of divorce and broken homes could testify. He moved far, far away and visits were limited.  I know our story is not rare, there a specifics too private to share, but lets just say in the wake lay trauma, lots, and lots of trauma.

Do I ever question my parents choice to divorce? Never. I wouldn't be the person I am with out every exact moment that has led me and my siblings to who we are...and not to toot, whoot, or blow my own horn, but we three are fantastic people.

We have shared losses, and trauma, protected one another from abuse and taken the brunt in turn. We came out on the end of a childhood and adolescence together scared and world wise, but most of all together. For the most part, despite our Fathers best of intentions, he was unable to protect, be a part of or emotionally support much of our growing up years, you see as his right was, he started life a new, with a new wife and children. There is still pockets of loss I have felt in lacking the relationship I wished I could have had. Cynically rolling my eyes at the song "Butterfly Kisses", hating movies with "Father/Daughter" tear jerking scenes...because being angry at them, thinking them sappy and ridiculous, covered my pain, and yes, even jealousy towards our Father and his other family.

As the years have passed, visits had been on behalf of Funerals, and occasional Weddings.Then as a grown woman and adult, in my own marriage, and motherhood set in, I began to let the loss create anger, and judgement, hiding the hurt, of what I felt he was missing, the best parts of me,within my children.

I gave that hurt and resentment free rent inside part of my heart for years.
As I have grown older (oy) and wiser (debatable) , I have learned, in order to fit certain things in your heart you have to kick out some of those old tenants that are no longer doing anything for you but messing things up and making way more noise than peace.

So after a bi-annual phone call on Fathers Day, I shocked myself into an idea, a sibling trip to visit my Father and Step
and so we did.

It was special, he made so many efforts to ensure we had an incredible time. No huge life altering conversations, but time was spent, laughter was present, healing took place. Boundaries were kept.
I think sometimes we confuse "letting things go", forgiving as forgetting and putting ourselves at harm. That is the beauty of boundaries, they are the catchall for how far it is safe for us to go without getting hurt.
Much like my INSANE, debilitating fear of heights (imagine crying, puking,shaking mess)...we went to the new bridge over Hoover Dam, the height is indescribable...I had the option to walk on the bridge or wait, tentatively. I decided to "do it", BUT, 90% of the time I held onto  the outside wall holding fast to the concrete side where I could not see the distance between me and the bottom. Only when breathing deep and making the decision to cross did I, and when I was ready returning to the safer, more stable side, and on that day, I let go of some of that debilitating fear, on my terms.

Within my boundaries, I accepted the relationship my Dad has to offer with open arms, letting in that redefine my expectations and past hurts that were mucking up any hope of anything healthy. I moved much out of my heart this weekend, and surprisingly the old resentment of "what it can't and won't ever be", made room for someone new, "acceptance for what is".I think I may let them stay.

In that same apartment building in my heart, there are some other rascally tenets that are having an eviction notice signed as we speak. Sometimes our forgiveness needs isn't for one specific individual, but an experience, and all encompassing 'thing' that slowly eats us up, and knocks us around a bit. For me this 'thing' has been the Quintessential of the early 1990's "Guns and Roses" hotel guests of my heart. My inability to safely bare and deliver children naturally.

You know me the freaky, all natural, organic when possible,essential oil using, free ranging my chickens in my suburbian backyard chick....well I am having to learn to forgive myself, my body,the Universe and even God for not allowing me the gift and experience of safe, natural pregnancy and child birth. It is something I have mourned and been so very sad over. I may sound like a gluttonous-baby-hoarder, good crap I have 10 children, Right?!? I should shut my ever-living-yapper. Understand I have so much gratitude for ALL of my babies,and the beautiful ways they have entered my home. But, truths, of truths, as many true honest adoptive mother would tell you. I wish I had been able to give birth to each and everyone of my children, sparing both them and I loss and pain.At times I wish I alone could carry their story with them, from the beginning. Selfish? Maybe, but after multiple, and I mean M-U-L-T-I-P-L-E, miscarriages and pregnancy losses, I still do sometimes wish I had the sacred opportunity to carry and give life without hoards of I.V's, feeding tubes, constant stress tests/Ultra Sounds, though those modern day things saved both me and my children's lives repeatedly.  I wanted an at-home water birth, with a Doula and Midwife. I ended up with hoards of Dr.'s and Nurses, tubes every where and two miracle babies of myself and my husband, and eight Miracle babies of other warrior women, whom I am blessed to share our children's stories with.

 In this forgiveness for myself, and absolute belief that women in their beauty and strength to create and sustain life, should have the right and option to have the birth experience they wish to have (the one I was denied due to my high risk) I am seeking my healing by becoming what I lacked. My passion for natural childbirth, respecting and advocating a mothers wishes has evolved in my passion to become  Doula certified.
As this journey of healing, and wonder of the amazing, AMAZING power of women and creation, being allowed to be apart of that heals parts of my loss, crying with them, soothing their pain, creates light in places dim with resentment. Amazingly as winding as this journey is, in the next three days, I will be helping my Baby Faiths Birth-mother give birth to her next child.
Beautiful aint it?

Forgiveness is a Gift, oddly the receiver is 100% you.

The heart of the Matter is simply that. Loving yourself enough to let go...and receive with both arms wide open.


  1. I'm going to have to revisit this one in the future. I'm still stuck in anger and hurt. You give me hope that one day I can let that go too.

    Love you to pieces Linds. You teach me so much just by living your life.


  2. I second what Cynthia said. You teach me so much as well just by being you. I am so very, very grateful God saw fit to make our paths cross in real life.

    I've actually been working on many of the same things. Revising, redefining, and trying to claw my way out of some serious darkness. I'm still working on it. It's a hard journey. Sometimes new loss is created by maintaining safe boundaries. Only when that loss is processed and grieved can it be revisited and redefined. Only when fear is conquered can we see the beauty and divine lessons in all of it.

    So proud of you for becoming certified AND for doing all you've done to help Faith's birth mother. God bless all of you and heal all your hearts in the process.

  3. What a great writer you are, and you made me think about a couple of things I haven't considered before. Firstly, forgiveness comes to me as freely as breathing; I think I forgive people proactively! But, I had the most lovely childhood - at least in terms of being in a safe, secure, loving home, with boundaries. It was a bit puritan perhaps - no focus on "the kids" certainly with loads of toys or trips to Disney - but all the most important things solidly in place...and perhaps that is why I forgive so easily....out of the wealth of my early safety - a childhood with nothing TO forgive.

    Also, I also SERIOUSLY grieved my inability to have a "real" childbirth....I wonder if there could be a pattern among women who adopt of feeling like they "missed" something? After I ended up having my second child also by c-section, I thought I'd really come to terms with it. Maybe not!

  4. Linds, I just want to give that girl peering over the railing a HUGE HUG!!!!! You're amazing hon, just amazing :)

  5. Out of a total of 7 pregnancies I was able to carry 3 to term and for some reason, I never carried any blaming or bitterness beyond the grieving period. Might be that I tended to get pregnant again within 6 months! Just call me "Fertle Mertle" and let me roll over wrong! I now look back and realize that I would not have the 3 wonderful children I have if it had not been for the loss of the previous pregnancy! (But, that is also the story of how I came to be!)
    Now I just see my adopted children as God's reward to me for carrying on after each miscarriage and believing He knew what was best for me. And the fact that I adopted after a divorce seems to speak to the fact that my ex never viewed the pregnancies as being "real" until the baby was born! Not sure how he could ignore my big belly and the kicking I let his back have at night! :) I tended to share those experiences whether he wanted to or not-yuk, yuk. I am grateful though that He broke my 7 kids into 2 bunches or I would be totally lou-lou. :)

  6. Have you heard the new Matthew West song, Forgiveness?

    Take a listen.

  7. The time in Vegas sounded awesome! Way to go!

  8. Thank you so much for writing this. I had a traumatic experience growing up that for a long time (and sometimes still) warped and changed who I was. It wasn't what a lot of people would call "serious" - I was socially ostracized by the kids in our church for years for being homeschooled, weird, different. It took me so long to let go of that hurt. It felt like if I forgave then I was saying that it was ok that they did it. But I did forgive, I did move on, and my life has blossomed! That trauma is still something that happened, and shaped me, but it is no longer the driving force, the most important thing in my life. Praise God!

  9. You are an inspiration to me--despite the fact that I am not a mom--although I've always yearned to be. Your story about being a child of divorce, and your dad starting a new life with a new wife and family, suffering thru loss and trauma, and your dad living in Las Vegas where you and your siblings went to visit recently gave me goosebumps because it is soooo SIMILAR to my own history! The divorce, having been abused (NOT by my dad but he and i have our own baggage) and he started a new family---he moved to las vegas in 1994. I've not seen him in 20 yrs. I am telling myself that this year is the year I will find the courage and go. I haven't gotten there yet but none of us are getting any younger so I am going to try.
    Congrats on deciding to become a doula. You will yet again be making a difference!