Clarity and Forgiveness

I’ve been back for almost two months now. The visit to Paris and the walking on El Camino de Santiago were definitely amazing! I have had time to reflect a lot. Coming back to work and getting back to the usual day to day routine wasn’t easy; I’ve held on to the feelings I had as long as I could. What could I incorporate in my daily life that I learned? How could I keep the feelings alive and well remembered? What changes did I want to make? 

I was away for 20 days traveling with too many clothes (we shipped some home early) and thinking about how much unnecessary stuff most of us accumulate.  I was also thinking about my friendships and professional connections and how much each person means to me. I absolutely love the work I do. There are days, certainly, that I’m not at my best or I’m tired or getting sick. That’s just being human. But I appreciate my clients and my colleagues. I appreciate my friends. And I value every person I meet. 

A friend asked me what one word I had that I brought back with me from walking on El Camino de Santiago. One word?!? Really?!? I had to think for quite a while. And then it came to me. Clarity. Walking was great. The landscape was beautiful; I met some very nice and gracious people, I made friends, and sometimes I walked alone. Those times I only had my own thoughts. It wasn’t always easy, fun or comfortable. I had time to look at and reflect on my relationships with family members, friends, colleagues, and what I brought to each of those relationships. How am I? Am I the best I can be? Do I try my best consistently? Do I judge or criticize? The answers were sometimes stark and uncomfortable. The answers were: not always, not always, of course I do – all humans criticize and judge sometimes. We have to be aware of when we do that.

The word clarity leads to other words. Forgiveness. We talk about forgiveness a lot. About what the other person did that harmed us and whether we can forgive them or not. Forgiving someone is about helping ourself, actually. We let go of the place we have been keeping that person in. And free ourselves from anger, hurt, recriminations, wishing for vengeance, etc. That’s not to say we forget. We learn when we are hurt and that’s important. But that learning has its own place, its home in our memory. Our inability to forgive isn’t helpful when we let it drive and define our life.

I realized I needed to redefine some of my relationships, which is good. It’s important to grow and invite the other person to grow with you. It’s important to say when you’re hurt, when you’re happy, when you’re angry, and when you forgive. And to say thank you when someone apologizes. 

One of the new friends I made, Dawn, told me early on our walk that El Camino de Santiago always provides. She was right! Here’s a great photo of her showing us the El Camino Way!

Please follow me on Instagram @peggerns_therapist to see more photos!

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