This is a guest essay from Mary Anne Radmacher. I am happy to be part of her blog tour celebrating her eighth book Honey in Your Heart: Ways to See and Savor the Simple Good Things.
Mary Anne Radmacher has an international following of both her art works and her writings. She’s been included in the Oxford Dictionary of American Quotations. Her work’s been featured on CNN, HGTV, the New Yorker and many other publications and is frequently quoted by media personalities. Her words hang in the lobby of Oprah’s Harpo Studios. Honey in Your Heart is a beautiful book full of uplifting thoughts and ideas, as well as some very fun art!
Forgiving Leads to Honey
People often ask me if there are things that are essential to do before you can see and experience the small joys in your life. In HONEY IN YOUR HEART I identify six starting points: make sure self-care is first on your priority list;
Do not be limited by the pains of your history; choose to tell the positive story by sharing what went right; live your life as a victor (not a victim); be open to surprise and celebration; be flexible. And now I would add:
A Dr. Seussian-type rhyme has been floating through my mind while thinking about this:
It was a matter of just forgiving folks
and that forgiveness had to be free… while
I’d doled it out generously to others … the last
on the list was always me.
The little poem gets worse from there…
But I forgive my inner poet!
In these transition decades of learning that forgiveness is not the action of a martyr but a self-preservationist, I come to accept that I am a partner in most inappropriate scenarios. Some way or another.
In the old days I took everything upon my shoulders. In fact a key mentor in high school threatened to ban me from the dramatic arts department if I didn’t stop taking responsibility for errors and omissions and commissions that were not mine. A characteristic I learned later in life was common to the archetype of “martyr.” Ick.
Then, in the classic pendulum swing of learning, I went through a period where I took no responsibility for anything. Equally unsatisfactory. An essential phase and I am so glad it was short lived.
I face a current circumstance that most of my friends have found untenable, on my behalf, for some time now. And while, on the surface, it appears that forgiveness must be forthcoming for an “other,” my experience has demanding that I offer forgiveness to myself. I have to forgive myself for poor boundary setting. For losing my voice in this instance. For not speaking up when the time was right to say, “Now, WAIT a minute…this is not correct.” My inner mouse took over my boundless inner labrador and huddled just this side of the cheese on the trap. Hoping it wouldn’t spring and catch my writing fingers in the snap of it.
I forgive myself for being so timid. And so far, that’s the circle of forgiveness as I experience it. Forgiving my self creates a full circle experience. It’s like the “OTHER” gets swooped in on the broad embrace of forgiving myself.
And that self-forgiving action really frees my eyesight to see the sweet joys and simple pleasures in the course of each of my days.
To read more be sure to get a copy of Honey in Your Heart: Ways to See and Savor the Simple Good Things!