Making Amends

The humbling process of purification began. I acted on impulse to cleanse my thoughts, my body, and my behaviour with the intention to elevate my state of being. It was time for shugyo. Shugyo is a Japanese word for the process of training the body and mind. The objective is to purify one’s character while obtaining knowledge. 

I stopped eating foods produced from anything with a heart beat. I liberated my breasts from the constraint of my bra. I stopped wearing makeup, deodorant, and looking into the mirror for imperfections. I aimed to speak truthfully. I put the scale away and let my body hair grow- not because I didn’t care…because I needed to get intimate with the raw material buried beneath a lifetime of presenting myself. I dug deep for authenticity and coaxed it to the surface.

I wrote letters of apologies to people who suffered the consequence of my ego. Being sensitive in nature I had carried the weight of my guilt rather than admitting to my wrong doing. Even when I labeled the incident as insignificant, it sat as an undigested morsal putrefying inside. It was a milestone to be fragile. I understood that conflicts in my life sprung from lack of self love. It was safer to project outwardly than to take responsibility for my vulnerability.

The letters came from the heart, flowing with integrity. I didn’t tell them what had sparked the sudden necessity for atonement. I sent them off without expectations. What I received in return was proof that in essence we are all of the same. Not only was I forgiven by each person they too owned their part in the conflict that transpired. I even received words of kindness in return. By setting my burdens free, I discovered the magical ripple effect of making amends.

People have showered me with compliments in the past- “You’re so beautiful, so talented, so strong, so amazing…” but their words bounced off my deflector shield. When I was younger I countered with “ No I’m not” and pointed out my shortcomings while blowing them up bigger than the compliments given. As I got older I recognized it was impolite to respond that way. Instead, I said “thank you” while internally refuting their words as lies. I transformed their gift into ammunition and pushed harder to be better.

In writing those letters I had put my shield down. I was out in the open with my heart exposed and It was beautiful. In making amends with others I learned to make amends with myself. I’m letting it ripple out.

Making Amends- Painting by Maasa

LESSON: “ Healing is the end of conflict with yourself”

-Stephanie Gailing

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