Tag Archive | forgiveness


I’m so grateful for this mindfulness path. Some days the challenges are small, some days larger; some days easier to navigate, some days harder. But it’s always good to have some awareness of what is actually going on, what is real, versus what’s all in my head. Today gave me plenty of opportunities to practice.

First, it was hard to get anything done this morning, with the little love bug sprawled over me at every turn…

Today’s guidance in the Mindful Life Community was about going beyond forgiveness to having compassion for those who have hurt us. Forgiveness is hard enough for me, much less compassion for those who have wronged me, even long ago, without an apology or accountability. But tonight’s Mindfulness in Recovery meeting, where we discussed the guidance, opened my heart to remind me how ego lies at the root of resentment, and opened the door to finally forgiving, and even having compassion for, that crazy bitch who stole from me and the state, and let my house fill with mouse shit, when she was supposedly tending it for me during my mother’s decline and death. Does it sound like I’ve forgiven her? It’s hard, but I’m getting there. I’ve made some pretty awful mistakes too.

Why was I even thinking about her? Today’s Mindfulness Activity was “to reflect upon some people or situations that you may be resentful of. Try to step back and identify the suffering that gave rise to it. Can you find it in your heart to forgive? Can you find it in your heart to be compassionate? Can you give yourself permission to heal? As you go about your day, try to be aware of how your outer actions are reflective of your inner states. See if you can recognize this in yourself and others.”

I was grateful for this small, quick puzzle I received for Christmas. It was just what I needed to keep my mind calm while I filled the hour between lunch and leaving for the dentist this afternoon.
It was just tricky enough to keep my attention off my pending excursion, and easy enough to complete in an hour, plus full of delightful surprises like the unexpected edges. Plus, what better way to contemplate mortality?

I had plenty of time to reflect on people or situations I may be resentful of as I drove to the dentist and home again this afternoon. I was anxious about going to the dentist because of potential covid exposure, and my anxiety was well-founded. There were absolutely no covid precautions in place: no signage even suggesting voluntary masks, no masks on staff, no hand sanitizer on the counter. There was a large, older gentleman in the waiting area, unmasked, and I sat as far as possible from him, but that didn’t make me feel any better when he coughed without even covering his mouth. Then I heard one of the unmasked staff beyond the counter also cough. The tech who led me back masked when I asked her to, and the tech who did the x-ray came in masked because I’d asked; the dentist of course was masked for his protection but when he pulled down his mask to talk to me–I felt his breath on my face–I got that static in my head and took a long while to figure out that it was okay to ask him to keep it on for my protection. Just in time for him to leave the room.

The tooth in question, ‘good’ in the dentist’s estimation, because the root is sound, but the tooth is cracked and liable to break again in a year or two if they simply fill it.

I am having second thoughts about pursuing a crown with this office. Yes, the middle-case scenario is what’s prescribed, not a filling (best-case) or a pull (worst-case), but a crown. (This is not the kind of crown I want.) But I’m grateful for the technology and the expertise to repair a tooth, despite the sticker shock from the price tag.

I was grateful that staff were willing to mask when asked, and some were even pleasant about it, but the general lack of awareness and concern for at-risk patients appalled me. Any medical office should have hand sanitizer on the counter. Any medical staff should be masked when they interact with any patient, or at the very least, when a patient comes in masked anyone who interacts with that patient should automatically put on a mask when they see that the patient is masked. I get that I’m on the fringe where I live, that people in this county are done with covid, but as Eric Topol wrote just last week in the Washington Post, the coronavirus is not done with us. I’m grateful for access to newsletters from leading researchers, analysts, and medical professionals, including Topol, and public health professor Dr. Leanna Wen, whose email today addressed the plight of a woman whose husband is immunocompromised with stage 4 kidney disease.

For millions of Americans who are immunocompromised or who live with someone who is, it extremely difficult to live in a country where most people no longer see covid as a threat. The same is true for elderly Americans who are more vulnerable to severe outcomes and those who simply wish to avoid the potential consequences of infection, including long covid.” (from The Checkup With Dr. Wen: We need to do more to assist the immunocompromised 01.12.23)

Dr. Wen agrees with this woman’s policy prescriptions, which include this proposal, so relevant to my experience today: “Masks should be required in medical or dental situations until and unless covid becomes much less of a threat to those who are at risk. Many at-risk people already skip necessary medical and dental appointments due to fear of contracting covid, and optional masking in these venues only makes matters worse.”

I include this picture because Amy doesn’t seem able to distinguish between black mustard seeds and nigella seeds… here’s the difference, haha!

All in all, at the end of the afternoon as I drove home, my nerves felt frayed. I chose to turn my attention to some healthful comfort food once I got home, and calmed myself, indeed practiced the skill of relaxation, by cooking this delicious red lentils with butternut squash and tamarind paste.

As I worked in the kitchen, I relished the view of alpenglow on the West Elk Mountains through the living room window, breathing deeply my contentment in this precious little life I’ve created.

The dish came together and simmered until dark, when I sat down with one bowlful, and then another. Grateful for food, grateful for teeth, grateful for another full day of practice and living fully.


My new-year’s good luck started shortly after I dumped the black-eyed peas into the soaking bowl...

A new friend asked my forgiveness this morning after she forgot our zoom-coffee date. That was easy–it happens, I’ve done it myself–and I was grateful for her ask because forgiveness is something I need more practice with. But then I got given forgiveness, unexpectedly, and after a long time, and that really made my day. A year ago, I left a message on a phone number I’d been trying to get for several years. An old friend from college whom I haven’t seen for about forty years, and whom I’ve been apologizing to in my head for decades, for several offenses.

It was complicated. I made a few selfish choices through the years of our friendship, and only later came to realize how hurtful they must have been to her. If I remember correctly, I’d made a half-assed apology for the last of them in a letter a few years afterward but hadn’t heard back. Then a decade or so ago I received a cryptic card with no return address and was too confused to pursue it. But I had a connection with a couple of her family members and eventually started trying to track her down, resulting ultimately in this phone number that may or may not have been hers. I left a heartfelt voicemail asking her to call me back because I wanted to apologize. When I didn’t hear for a few weeks, I texted. And left it at that. Writing several more apologies in my head since then. I was thrilled to see a response from her this afternoon. It was nothing more than a note that she’d be in Colorado this spring, maybe we could meet, it would be great to see me. Forgiveness was implicit; relief washed over me.

In the same way that it feels better to give than to receive, maybe it feels better to be forgiven than to forgive. It did in this case, anyway. But I’m eager for the opportunity to tell her in person what I’ve thought about writing for all these years: I’m sorry about the dog. I’m sorry about the car. I’m sorry about the trip.

The good-luck peas were delicious, the best I’ve ever eaten. I started with a simple recipe from Chili Pepper Madness but made some changes. First, I only had half a pound of peas, soaked them for most of the day. Chopped half an onion, half an orange jalapeño and a handful of Blot peppers from the freezer, one clove garlic, sautéed them with some Penzeys celery flakes since I didn’t have fresh (look at the little piece in the top of the bowl above), and their Cajun seasoning, kosher salt, a small lamb bone from the freezer, two cups of broth, and the peas in their soaking water. After a long simmer, with the lid on for about 40 minutes then without for as long, I threw in chopped young kale, and squeezed in a little fresh lime juice (thanks, Pamela!), cooking til the kale was soft. So simple, so delicious! I look forward to my year of good luck.

I don’t write a lot of product reviews, but felt highly motivated to give this cat comb five stars–so I did. The wad of hair Topaz is playing with all came off her this morning, and I was still getting more.

The comb was due before Christmas, but the package came ripped open and it had fallen out somewhere in transit. I called to get it replaced, and had the most delightful chat with Ibra, in India. She was helpful as could be, sorry it wouldn’t come til Friday, and I laughed and said that was ok, I’d just be patient and so would my cat. She asked what breed of cat I had, and thus ensued one of those ‘only connect‘ conversations between two cat-loving strangers that left us both happier than we’d been before the call.


Grateful that Stellar made it to the canyon rim another time… wondering if this ‘dying’ story is all in my head… knowing it isn’t, and patience is essential. Choosing to place my attention on the joyful times we share in a day, rather than the ongoing signs of decline.

Yeah, I behaved poorly… Years in the making, layers of labels, resentments, dashed expectations, “different world views,” and a final cascade of events and emotions…. “It was justified.” Still, I behaved poorly, and I’m grateful that I can have compassion for my old sorry self who used to let her mental stories lead her way, and still takes me over, though it’s been a long time…. I’m grateful today that I can observe the processes of “my” mind as I reflect on all the layers of this event, and of how it came to be. Though I’m not clear yet, I’m grateful for mindfulness skills that can help me at least know the possibility of clarity, feel the grace of self-compassion, and aspire to forgiveness.

Grateful for this happy place, this garden, and for living at the edge of these mountains, inside the kaleidoscope.
Grateful for the ongoing gift of rattlesnake pole beans…
…For knowing, finally, how to tell when these weird little cantaloups are ripe: a yellowness comes over the rind when they’re ready.
Grateful that Stellar once again made it to the canyon rim this morning…
…that he made it home again, through the day again, to help me water the marigolds, and inspect the harvest.

It’s hard not to think in terms of last: is this his last walk to the canyon? his last drink from the hose? his last night? his last day? I’m grateful for all this painful awareness, reminding me constantly of what a constant companion he has been for almost fourteen years. And he still is, though it’s so different. He would still fight to the death to protect me, if he could move fast enough. I’ve remained the ‘parent’ as he has gone from infant to elder before my eyes, in no time at all. The challenges of this, too, shall pass. Nothing lasts forever. Death is certain, time of death uncertain.

Grateful to bring in the last of the harvest today, save a few hardy greens that will come in before the hard freeze mid-week: The threat recedes in both intensity and time. Paltry zucchini, ample green tomatoes, the last few okras and rattlesnake beans, and the single solitary purple pepper that grew this year. Grateful that nothing ever stays the same, and that I’m learning to trust and be kind to myself as I surf the sea of impermanence.