Walking through early Sunday morning in my part of London. Not many people. Not much sign of the recent Spring light that has been breaking through. A low, grey sky. Feet and paws going forwards.
Does the fact I have to keep forgiving myself mean I’m doing something wrong? Or that I think I am? I wrestle with this, and it’s not so cut and dry. Not so simple.
There must be a part of me that yearns for a different life, another version of me. There must be, because I keep needing to forgive myself for being here like this. Maybe because depression is in itself, such an unforgiving beast, I have to keep forgiving it?
An hour or so ago, with Leonard The Dog: lurching, stumbling, slouching, not toward Bethlehem, but just through the simple mechanics of another day. Park. Home. Leonard snoozing. Me: tapping on a postcard. Chewing on the word, the flavor, of forgiveness. Dreaming of death, the way that I do.
I can do it.
First walk. Done.
An impulse followed through… a postcard or a prayer.
A batch of chocolate & peanut butter muffins (new recipe)
Bath (not negotiable as getting smelly)
Made it through the day.
Sometimes I can’t help judging my little life, for, well, being so little. I imagine myself much more productive and functional. I imagine myself with some of the stuff I never will have. Maybe, that’s why forgiveness has to be an ongoing project? Maybe, we just have to keep forgiving ourselves, and each other, for being who we are?
Would I really trade myself in for one that didn’t wake up every morning full of dread, or one that wrote productively and socialized with ease? Oddly, I’m not at all sure I would. This is the one I am. And, I’d miss her.
And the sort of forgiveness I’m tugging at is different from the radical forgiveness required in the face of violent acts, though radical enough in its own way. Forgiveness as a homecoming, as acceptance and love. Forgiveness as a celebration of being just like this. Forgiveness as a doorway to our own precious hearts.
I seem to have riffed my way into a kinder place. And the kindness, as one of my teachers once said, can hold everything.
As Leonard sings: the sweetness restored… not forgetting to include: I’m tired and I’m angry all the time…
It’s all true. It all resides in the Fields of Mercy, Kindness, and Forgiveness too.
I’m here with my dog, pushing and pulling breath in and out of my lungs. It’s my Sunday. It’s my here and now. It is quite, quite simple, if I can let it be so.
I read this poem out loud. I kiss the sweet belly of dog. I sign off the window ledge and walk towards the muffins.
RELIGIOUS STATUES by Leonard Cohen
After a while
I started playing with dolls
I loved their peaceful expressions
They all had their places
in a corner of room 315
I would say to myself:
It doesn’t matter
that Leonard can’t breathe
that he is hopelessly involved
in the panic of the situation
I’d light a cigarette
and a stick of Nag Champa
Both would burn too fast
in the draft of the ceiling fan
Then I might say
for the terms of my life
which make it so painlessly clear
that I am powerless
to do anything
and I’d watch CNN
the rest of the night
from a completely different
point of view