“Before you can live a part of you has to die. You have to let go of what could have been, how you should have acted and what you wish you would have said differently. You have to accept that you can’t change the past experiences, opinions of others at that moment in time or outcomes from their choices or yours. When you finally recognize that truth then you will understand the true meaning of forgiveness of yourself and others. From this point you will finally be free.”
― Shannon L. Alder
Many months have passed since my last post. In that time, I have lost and found my ability to use my words. In the time after my failed attempt at an Ironman CDA, I have focused on my company Pagesculptor Studios, healing a long-term Achilles injury, and patching up a friendship that had fallen on hard times. It meant setting aside a bulk of my training and spending that time in solitude. Really sitting and just listening to my emotions more than my thoughts and determining what I wanted as an athlete and for this friendship that had gone astray. Though I am pretty independent, my independence often grows from rebellion (i.e. someone hurt me and so I must prove I don't need them). The luxury of time and space gave me a bit more freedom to explore my 'wants' and 'needs,' and make independent choices that were less reactionary.
During the process, I pulled my focus from all the wrongs done to me by others and began focusing on why I wasn't able to forgive and forget. For me, it boiled down to one simple truth: I would have to hold myself accountable for the wrongs I did to others, including running away or pushing them away when there was a problem. I am terrible at accepting love or truly loving others, which most people don't see since I am friendly and come across as nurturing. But deep down, I knew little things that make up 'love' like vulnerability, trust, and forgiveness, those things terrified me. And since I spent my whole life proving I was tough, there was no room to for admitting I was scared. But once I did, I quit fighting with myself. In fact, I had made a conscious decision to allow that fear to rule me for the rest of my life. After that, I felt okay to admit to my friend just how much I had kept him at arms length since our major fight last year.
We are almost at the first of the year. My Achilles is getting better, but I have decided to be more gentle with myself this training season. Of all the things I hope to bring into the new year, it is that delicacy towards myself and others, probably what most deem as compassion. I deem it love.