Marilyn Briant is the author of The Pax Principles - a Red Ribbon Winner 2020, in The Wishing Shelf Book Awards (UK)
Learning Never Ends
One of the things I love about technology is the ability to FaceTime! The opportunity to chat with my son and grandchildren in England. To hear about the challenges of schoolwork and exams. And, even if they don’t want to hear it, to explain the learning never ends.
Yes, that is what I have discovered as I have grown in awareness. I never stop learning. Just when I think I have fully absorbed some aspect of spirituality, I realize that perhaps I still did not totally get it!
I find myself thinking something is unfair or feeling judgmental about what someone else is doing. I complain about what is wrong with someone, some thing, or the world. I have a hard time feeling empathy for those filled with hate.
Even if it just seems to me that someone is unfriendly or rude, it means I have chosen to judge and label their words or behavior. I have allowed myself to believe I know what motivates them.
What happened to being able to monitor, challenge and replace my unwelcome thoughts? The discomfort I feel inside answers me: I need to relearn or renew my intention to do this!
Perhaps this happens to us all. We do our best to live from our soul-selves, but sometimes we just don’t do it. Or maybe it is that we are not able to do it all the time. There are times when it is more difficult to keep fear at bay. Times when something happens and we are thrown into despair, when doubts flood our minds and threaten our sense of peace. We find ourselves running to God/Love crying, “What is this?”
We start to feel as if all the progress we have made has been lost. And we are back where we started. We are full of confusion about why we are not putting into practice what we know we want to do!
Been There, Done That
Yes, I have been there and done that. I have felt as though I have gone two steps forward and taken three back. But this is the feeling my ego (fear) would like me to accept. It is not how I want to feel.
It is also not the truth. With each step I have taken—from all the challenges I have been given and overcome—I have learned and grown.
Every step I have taken has also deepened my connection with my soul-self. Has helped me trust that every situation arrives in my life so I may continue to grow in “knowing” and love.
I have let go of the past. I have learned that forgiveness, offered from my heart, brings freedom and peace. And from every single judgmental thought I’ve rejected and each incorrect belief I’ve altered, I have found more peace.
My heart is open. I don’t need to question the lessons, I just need accept them—to realize the answers are not outside, but inside me. It’s easy to fall back, to let fear take control of my life sometimes. But sooner or later I will return to understanding... I can never lose what I have found.
Who would have thought a difficult childhood, or hard times later in life offers the best possible lesson? How many who have been there, done that would agree? Yet I have learned hardship has been the lesson which taught me just how strong I am. Has encouraged me to live from my heart.
Compassion And Feeling Peace
I have also learned painful experiences are not fair or unfair, but an opportunity for spiritual growth. And pain prompts us to perceive differently, guides us to develop compassion.
Surely compassion is what I feel, what we all feel when we interact with, or share our lives with those who choose to stay with what is familiar. Those closest to us whose hearts are closed, who continue to hold onto the past and struggle with the pain. And surely compassion is behind why we do not question their choice.
That is what is true for me. I feel compassion because I was someone who refused to see how fear directed my life. And for too long, was unable to acknowledge that each and every “difficult” experience was teaching me more about loving myself and others.
I know what it feels like to blame others for the sadness and hurt I thought they caused. To believe I would feel better if only others were less cruel and unkind. Yes, it is because I have been there, done that, I have learned and grown. I have discovered peace.
Now, I look at and forgive myself for the words I spoke and/or the actions I took which did not reflect my true self. And I feel peace. Instead of being judgmental or angry with myself or others for my/their mistakes, I choose forgiveness and acceptance. I remind myself of those situations which challenged me to change and grow. And I feel peace.
I understand the learning never ends. And when I tell myself I have been there, done that, it is not a boast about having done more, or better than most. It is simply an acknowledgement about what I have experienced—a statement made with empathy, forgiveness, kindness and compassion.