This month I let go of two grudges. Both were righteous and based on pain inflicted on two women I love very much, but both of those grudges needed to go. It turned out to be as easy as Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz clicking the heels of her ruby red slippers together three times and finding herself back home in Kansas. I did not need to carry them any longer and my spirit is lighter. The photographs are back. (Yes, I really did stow their pictures in a drawer.)
Grudges are parasites that eat away at the soul and I’m not very adept at hanging onto them. I should know that. Several years ago, my friend Darcy Lockhart and I did a circle based on Marty Seligman’s Signature Strengths (http://www.viacharacter.org/www/The-Survey). My number one strength was forgiveness. As the year 2014 ends, I am lighter in spirit because those grudges don’t weigh on me. One absolute thing about grudges is that the only person who suffers is the grudge carrier. (I just took the survey and Forgiveness is still Number 1.)
From a global perspective, my fervent hope for the human beings in war zones, especially the women and children, is that some cosmic force manifests itself in the hearts of the men so intent on enforcing their distorted version of righteousness. As the light dawns, they will lay down their weapons of all kinds, shake their heads, and wonder what on earth had gotten into them. Better still would be a solemn ritual of burying those hatchets, swords, Kalashnikovs, and revving up those ubiquitous Toyota pickup trucks so favored by rebel groups to deliver food and clothing to the needy.
Let us even, dare I say, consider the immovable object and festering wound that is the Israeli and Palestinian conflict/war. I was born in April 1948, a month before the State of Israel was founded. For my lifetime, Israel, the tiny Gaza Strip, and the West Bank have existed in an exhausting state of extreme tension and terrifying bursts of bloodshed.
Could a circle of women from all sides gather in a large Red Tent safely encircled by a Peace Zone and find a way forward? Could they agree on the place to meet? Could robust thriving replace merely existing? I want to think so. In the meantime, light a candle for all the brave women around the world who are protecting their children, their communities, and the souls of their countries.