[Reposted from thewellcraftedmom.com]
Last year, I met with a girlfriend, the lovely and wise Aubri Tallent. We ate a Covid-safe but chilly dinner outside in downtown San Mateo and spent way too much time talking about the company we both worked for—and left—in 2021. The last time I had seen Aubri was before my last day at my old job, where I was doing HR for a small company, and we had a lot to talk about. Over dinner, though, I spent way too much time talking about the company we both had worked for. I had liked the work I was doing at my last job and loved nearly every single one of my co-workers, but the overall work culture had changed and was no longer a healthy one, sadly.
While I talked with Aubri, I realized that despite working for a new company, one that's filled with lovely, supportive people, I was still holding on to resentment, disappointment, even anger over the loss of my last job.
I had worked remotely in that position and I’m currently working remotely at my new job, so while my job has changed, my physical environment hasn’t. It feels odd to be staring at the same monitor, my hand on the same mouse, looking out the same window. To spiritually and energetically cleanse my home office, I’d been burning sage, a Native American practice to expel negativity. At dinner with Aubri, I talked about my incessant sage-ing and joked that I needed some kind of sage to clean my inner psychological landscape, too.
My lingering negativity wasn’t funny, though. At odd times, I was drawn back into memories of psychologically unsafe meetings, the cycles of idealization-devaluation-rejection from a certain person, and how I'd be filled with dread when that name would light up on the Slack app, telling me there was a new message from her, waiting to be read. While cleaning up my office, I found notes I had written in a shaky hand, documenting one particularly bad meeting at my last job. I took the pages and a book of matches into the backyard and ritually burned the notes, sweeping the ashes into the dirt at the base of a tree. But even with the destruction of this “Horcrux," I didn’t feel better.
I leaned into my spiritual practice—meditating, reading the Tarot cards I pull each morning, and listening to the wisdom of my therapist—and discovered something new: Forgiveness is the inner sage. Forgiveness is uplifting. Forgiveness blows away negativity. Like smoke from burning sage can clear the dark corners of a room, forgiveness can purify the mind, too.
As Maya Angelou said: “It is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself, to forgive.”
Since then, forgiveness has been the focus on my spiritual work. Recently, I had a long phone call with another dear friend who's still at the company where I used to work. We talked for more than an hour, only mentioning the company once to express gratitude for the skills and experience I gained while working there. The dark corners of my mind aren't 100 percent cleared yet (memories still have the power to pull me in occasionally), but I feel so much freer.
There's a sign that my husband Bill bought me that hangs in my so very well-saged office that says, "Only look back to be grateful."
I'm getting there.
Is there someone in your life who you’re ready to forgive? Someone you’re ready to disconnect from, both physically and emotionally? Ellie Grace’s guided forgiveness meditation on Insight Timer is a beautiful 25-minute journey to peace (and it's free, too!)
Photo by Ginny Rose Stewart on Unsplash
I'm a mother of two incredible boys, wife to Bill White of Happy Baby Signs, author of the books The Well-Crafted Mom and Signs of a Happy Baby, and an intuitive life coach. I like to blog about my adventures with my family and the life lessons I'm learning along the way. I hope you'll join me on this journey.
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