Earlier this week, I was prompted upon signing into my work computer to change my password. Anyone who works at a desk knows how tediously annoying this process is, because your password is EVERYWHERE and you can’t use old ones again, so I sighed heavily and looked around me for inspiration to create the stupid new phrase. My eyes settled on this quote from the Tree of Life that I keep on my desk: “Help each other. Love everyone. Every leaf. Every ray of light. Forgive.” Honestly I haven’t seen the movie – I pulled the photo from one of those Buzzfeed posts where they take an inspirational stock photo and put text on it – but I found the words inspiring at the time, and this week I found them inspiring again. I created a new password with the last word, Forgive, and figured that was the end of password troubles until the system prompted me again. Except it wasn’t, at all. Turns out, “forgive” is kind of an annoyingly frustrating word to type on a regular basis.
Maybe it’s just that I haven’t got the hang of typing a new password yet, but I’m still having quite a time trying to type it every day. There’s something really introspective about typing the word “forgive” over and over, and messing it up most of those times. It’s not that there’s anything weighing on me; the yogi in me long realized holding grudges causes nothing but pain and I don’t feel the need to apologize to anyone for anything in recent days, except maybe A because little miss still does NOT like him and makes that very clear every time he’s over. Yet even though there isn’t a moment or an event or a person or a thing that’s bringing the concept of forgiveness to the forefront of my mind, messing up my password daily does force me to stop and think about forgiveness and contrition. It makes those two a larger ideology for me – like a constant reminder to forgive and ask forgiveness when necessary.
“You’re the kind of person that asks forgiveness instead of asking permission” are words I’ve heard on many occasions across many platforms, most recently as a character assessment for my job performance and style. Part of me thinks that sounds glamorous, like I fit into the free spirit mold that I’ve created for myself and I do what I want, thinking of consequences only when I have to. I don’t know that it’s glamorous or me though, frankly, because much as I’m someone to follow my intuition over reason, that statement makes it sound like I’m this reckless human out for her own self-interest, and I’ve worked hard in yoga not to be that kind of personality. Don’t get me wrong – I’ve been that person. I know what it’s like to get satisfaction thinking of all the wrongs that have felled you in the past and imagining how you’ll respond to someone who wrongs you in the future. It’s intoxicating to live in this place where everyone is out to get you so you can elicit sympathy or reply with the perfect comeback every time.
Forgiveness is something we can accept only in the present. Forgiveness means letting go of the past, of the hurt or the pain someone may or may not have caused you. Forgiveness means accepting that you don’t know the future, that it probably won’t feel that great if you’re in a situation where your perfect comeback is necessary. Forgiveness is living in the present, and for the majority of us, that’s really fucking hard, because it means you have to surrender to your ego and just Be. None of this is to imply that I’m this perfectly realized human – just last night on the subway, some kid either didn’t notice me or didn’t care that I was literally standing in front of the door, and went to push his way onto a train before I stopped in his track, shot him a death glare and made him back down (and yes, it felt really good). And then it didn’t feel good, because I don’t know if he didn’t notice me and it wouldn’t matter if he didn’t care. Ten seconds after it happened we were both in our own world on the train, and save for this story now immortalized, I wouldn’t remember him in another day or two.
So maybe this is just my small way of letting you know that I understand if you can’t or won’t forgive each other. Forgiveness is really freaking hard, no matter the size of the infraction or perceived wrong. But in tangible daily reminders of how difficult it is to “Forgive,” I suppose I’m hoping to do the same for anyone else reading as well. Just be aware in your days how willing or unwilling you are to forgive. Bring some awareness to the daily task of forgiving a stranger on your morning commute or letting it go when the Starbucks person adds an extra four syllables to the name they’ve already spelled wrong. It’s just a few good vibes to spread on this Thursday, in such a small act. Like the tiny print out on my desk says: “Help each other. Love everyone. Every leaf. Every ray of light.