Self-Forgiveness in Grief

Penitence ~ Confession ~ Absolution ~ Abstinence

Lent is an old English word meaning ‘lengthen.’ It is a ritual observed in spring, when the days begin to get longer. Lent is a time of forgiveness and abstinence, of giving things up.  We can observe it as a personal quest for inner peace which begins with confession. 

My first Spring after Jack passed away, I used the rituals from the Biblical traditions and created my personal quest for emotional peace. 

This year, I went to the neighborhood church for the Ash Wednesday ritual to confess to myself the harm I did to my loved ones during a year of frustration, grimness and grieving. I needed to apologize to them but I also needed to forgive myself.

We all need a time for letting go, confessing and receiving absolution from ourselves or a healer. We are human, we make mistakes and we feel guilt, regret or resentment. Those emotions drag us down away from our optimism, hope and creativity. Having an annual ritual of letting go keeps us positive.

Those in a recovery program experience this gift of accountability and relief when working the 12 Steps. I decided the form my spiritual practice would take for this Lenten season. To abstain from negative thinking, and to keep my thoughts constructive, I wrote a page of affirmations and a new Faith Scroll. Here is the discipline I plan for myself.

Lent Day 1 ~ Ash Wednesday

MIND ~ VISION

Fasting from negative thoughts: Read the Faith Scroll. 

Read the Affirmations that I Am a Natural Optimist

BODY ~ HEALTH

Fasting from Carbs

CREATIVITY ~ MISSION

Discipline for writing first thing in the morning.

For Lent: Fasting from Negative Thoughts

My Healthy Mind Food ~ I Am a Natural Optimist

When I notice negative or judgmental thoughts, I want to stop them and redirect my mind. Oh, yes, my ideals get in the way of truth. Truth is the beauty and order of our Creator.

Instead, I choose to use my time creatively which starts with plans.

It’s truly natural to go into action when I want to create something new. My mind is focused on the tools I need and I become practical.

Good cheer reappears when I think about creating something for a loved one.

Seeing the sunny sky fills me with gratitude. I accept myself and the world with patience and faith.

Making mischief makes my eyes twinkle and my attitude playful. Having fun bonds us in love. And, I love being me when I am loving.

Feeling delight gets me smiling and happy. I can only feel in the present so I take time for my emotions. I bypass the critic by reminding her to trust the journey of life. I help her to relax and to remember to have faith. I feel it all, the happy, the sad and the doubts. My feelings show me where I care.

I am busy right now. When I am ready for the next thing, I trust that it will be easily at hand

Right now, I love what I see, think and do. I have faith that my Creator will jog my mind when I need guidance. My angel watches over me and I can trust that there aren’t any minutes in my life which are not purposeful for good.

I brush aside my attempts to control and I remind myself to trust the goodness of life.

Elegant, yes, when I pause to understand, the workings of the universe are elegant. The beauty and order of all things are ever-present.

I release a sigh of relief and follow my heart. I have faith in life and I trust in goodness. I am patient with myself and the journey of our lives. It all takes time and there is always more than enough time. 

Faith Scroll

Faith is trusting that all things work out . . . with perfect timing.

I trust the natural timing of life processes.

I trust the timing of my own growth process.

The more I learn about the universe, the more I trust myself and the positive nature of creation. 

I know that, like all people, I am unique. Each of us is Divinely provided with our rightful place and resources. We are all equipped with abilities that lead us to grow at the perfect rate. The qualities that move me forward are built into my mind. My curiosity stimulates me to probe the unknown, to try to understand the forces in my life. My natural dissatisfaction with the status quo keeps me pursuing new areas of growth. My circumstances always warn me when I begin to move away from my path. I was created to experience the greatest happiness and fulfillment from things that further my advancement. Knowing this, I have no need to worry about myself or feel guilty. I can focus on the process of growing, without anxiety or impatience.

As I grow, my fulfillment expands.

I am patient with my advancement.

At times I become impatient. Sometimes it seems that difficult situations in my life will never end. Yet I know each situation has a purpose. When I learn the lesson, the difficulties smooth away. At times I wish for new lessons so I can grow faster. But I know that all I need to do is work on the problems at hand. I grow best by calmly and patiently addressing my current challenges, one step at a time. And, if resolution doesn’t come, it will return as many times as I need.

I only need to manage today’s lessons.

I fill myself with calmness and faith.

I accept that events sometimes take longer than expected. I recognize that I will be delayed at times– in traffic, in lines, working with others or with technology. In these instances, I fill my mind with productive thoughts rather than becoming frustrated or angry. I use the power of patience to gain the best from the situation. As I relax, I learn to accept each situation as it is. I see the reality of the time and energy and resources. I am patient when I think from a leadership perspective. My self- mastery allows me to plan precisely, to accomplish tasks efficiently and to accept the process patiently. My ability to be accepting encourages others by removing pressure and confirming competence.

I have all the time I need and I relax.

I am most efficient when I am patient and present.

I know that personal change is measured in years. It took many years to become the person I am today. As I recognize this, I patiently accept the amount of time it takes for me to change. With this knowledge, I settle back to enjoy the process of growth in myself, and in all of the people I encounter whether it be a partner, children, fellow workers or friends. I no longer feel irritated when people don’t adjust to my liking. As I accept others, my relationships become closer. I learn ways to support others’ growth and, in return, they are more willing to be patient with me.

I enjoy the natural process of growth.

I have faith in the unfolding progress of change.

INSTRUCTIONS: To practice and gain a virtue, read your scroll once in the morning and once before sleeping for a week. 2022 by Heather Carlile heathercarlile.com 

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