January 9, 2020 10:00 am Published by

The First Step to Forgiveness? #234

Pema Chodron (AniPemaChodron) is an American Buddhist nun. When I’m challenged, she offers clarity within a sea of noise.

I was listening to Oprah’s Super Soul Conversations with Pema Chodron on her new book, Welcoming the Unwelcome. During their conversation (which is well worth the listen), she responded to a question about what frustrates her – because of course, many assume any Buddhist (and maybe especially a Buddhist nun) would be beyond human emotions like frustration, anger, and any other negative feeling.

Her response was refreshing and helped me work through one of my own sticking points. She discussed how frustrating it is when people hold onto what I call a “fixed assessment” of a person. In other words, we conveniently hang onto an interaction, moment in time, the situation with a person/people to permanently characterize who they are to justify our inaction or unwillingness to move forward in the relationship.

We, of course, would prefer others to see how we can grow, change, learn and progress as we make mistakes. Ah, the hypocrisy. It hit me so powerfully. My challenge now is to see those moments within the breadth and depth of who people have been over time with me and let my present-self meet their present-self. Perhaps this is the key to forgiveness—or at least the first step?

There’s way more to this – give the podcast a listen if you’re ready for it…