I’ve had a whole lot of therapists in my time.  I’ve dumped a few, one has died, others I just stopped going to and they never called to check in on why I left.  But there’s one that keeps coming back into our life.  My husband saw him 13 years ago for Life Coaching, and then on and off we’ve seen him as our relationship coach (makes it sound like we are proactive about the relationship, rather than trying to put out fires, doesn’t it?)  We’ve been seeing him for the past couple of years as we deal with all the relationship issues that tend to spin around a couple that is dealing with a chronic illness (or 2 or 3 or 4).

I got a text from hubby this morning, reminding me that we had an appointment, but he had to work, and would it be okay if I went on my own?

Ugh.  It’s a lot of money to waste, so I went.  And, I was okay with that.

I walked into the office with the DSM IV under my arm, a little light reading swiped from the bookshelf in the waiting area.  Clearly, I sent a message of, “I mean business,” and “I’m ready to pathologize myself!”  ; )

I thought I would be nervous. . but we jumped right in.  John has a way of getting to the core of issues. . inviting you just to crawl into the belly of the beast.  One session with him is like 6 months worth of a mediocre therapist, and believe me, I’ve seen plenty, I’ve gone to school with a few, and I’ve heard about even more.

I told him that paying him was like doing my own psychic reading, and having him as a witness.  And it was worth every penny.  My heart just cracked open and I saw truth.  Well, at least after we argued about my enneagram and its fondness for suffering.

I need to forgive myself.  For being ill.  For not opening my arms and my heart to the Faculty member at my college who cornered me in a hallway and told me that she thought I had a chemical imbalance, soon after the bite, instead of pushing her and all the people who cared about me away.

I deserve to forgive myself for not allowing myself to be vulnerable.  I was trying to make a name for myself in a male dominated profession.  I believed I had to hide behind my toughness–my ability to leap tall buildings in a single bound.

I need to forgive myself for believing that my natural treatments, my holistic work, my diet and my yoga were the first line of defense to my issues.  I need to let go of the “what ifs” and the “if onlys” and just accept what is here.

I need to forgive myself for passing these infections to my kids and to my husband.  And stop pretending I’ve already forgiven myself.

I deserve to forgive myself for not having all the answers.  For not knowing that my kids were infected.  For not knowing that all of my seemingly little issues were actually really big, and far beyond what I could handle myself.  For denying my gut feelings.  For trusting people who said they could help me, and for not recognizing that they were full of ego, not care.

I deserve self-forgiveness.

I get to soften to myself–stop thinking that I have somehow failed because my novels aren’t published, and I’m not famous.  I need to forgive myself for not “being all that I could be” like the guys in those Army posters, or the people I went to College with.  I need to stop believing that because I haven’t accomplished all that I thought I would by this age, that I haven’t made an impact on the world.

I need to see myself as a beautiful result of every moment, every decision, every happening in my life thus far.  The joy, the initial infection, the hope, the chronic nature of my illness, my creativity, the difficult treatment.  All of it.

Radical Forgiveness.  That’s a tough one.  But I’m giving myself the invitation.  If I get through this lesson, I might actually start believing there is divine order in the world.

That would be a miracle.


5 responses to “Forgiveness

  1. Oh, what a post, and what an experience! A miracle of breaking through and beyond. It’ll take work to keep these insights fresh and ever-present, but I’m ecstatic for you. I know what you mean about good therapists, and mediocre ones, and then finding the ones who are like midwives helping you through a challenging birth. It’s a radical difference, and I’m delighted to know you have found someone of that level of insight and honesty.

    Hooray, you are so due for some freeing of your spirit and some good news. I celebrate with you!

  2. Jeanne Marie,

    Thanks so much for writing this. When I read the line

    “I need to stop believing that because I haven’t accomplished all that I thought I would by this age, that I haven’t made an impact on the world.”

    I cried.

    Truth has a way of doing that.

    Keep looking. Keep writing. Keep grappling. Your voice and your story IS impacting the world. It has impacted me.

    I appreciate you,


  3. IheartWolfBain

    Radical Forgiveness should be on a t-shirt, and everyone on the planet should be required to wear it!
    You are more than a ripple in a pond. You are a huge freaking planet dropped in the ocean. SPLOOSH! You have positively affected so many lives and empowered so many people. Good on ya, Jeanne 🙂

  4. Wonderful stuff, Jeanne. My heart is so glad for you for getting to see this, seeing the ways that the habit of being sooo hard on yourself (a common human habit, no?) may have kept you from seeing yourself with self-compassion. And beyond that, with appreciation, even admiration.

    While none of us are perfect, we’re each lovable and awesome if see aright. In your case, I want to suggest that your lovableness and awesomeness is plain as day to the friends who can notice who you are. 🙂 And yes, please do forget all about comparing yourself with anyone else! How unfair and silly is that? (For any and all of us!)

    In my life, I’d say that the process of learning to see myself with greater self-compassion and self-forgiveness has helped foster an upward spiral of greater happiness, health, and further growth…to the point that the whole unfolding Great Story of evolution make sense to me, and my own life story within that. Einstein, Glenn Beck, Marianne Williamson, ticks, the economic collapse, Peter Mayer, global warming, the MayDay parade, the vast worldwide grassroots efforts (below media radar) to create a more just and sustainable world – it’s all part of an overall upward-trending process.

    So I’m here to vouch for that rumored Divine order in the world. And I would bet that if you keep practicing that good old radical forgiveness 😉 it’ll become clear to you too.

    P.S. On a humorous note, a friend quotes Glenn Beck as saying, “If you take everything I say as the Gospel truth, you’re an idiot.” Who knew? 🙂

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