Have you ever felt guilty?
Deeply, horribly, heart-wrenchingly guilty?
What have you done about it? How did you get past it?
Because that’s how I’ve been feeling on and off over the past few weeks.
And as of this morning, I’ve been transforming it into something that feels much lighter. Aaaaah.
As you know if you read my last post, my sweet dog Ollie recently died. It turns out that he was misdiagnosed, and although I’m now sure that I knew all along what was really going on with him, I didn’t know enough at the time to confidently push back with the vets’ diagnosis.
But even more than that, I’m haunted by the idea that I “should” have gotten him to the vet sooner. Besides pre-empting his fast and sudden turn for the worse, I’d have been able to take him to our regular vet who’s really good and who maybe would have diagnosed him correctly, fixed him up, and sent him home with us.
So every now and then … periodically … who am I kidding: frequently!… guilt comes to roost.
It settles in on my heart with its big, black heaviness and squeezes the life out of me.
And guilt is a problem because — and you’ll find this, too — when you do consciousness work it’s best if you can be in a clean, clear, good space. (Of course, doing consciousness work actually helps you get there. But it’s a dance between the two — with one leading for awhile … then the other.) I do a lot of consciousness work for clients and if I need to, I can set my emotions aside. But of course it’s always easier when my vibration is high, and harder when I feel such dispair. (In fact when this happened, I was on the brink of finalizing a date for a free group Holographic Emergence session for subscribers. I decided the registrants deserved better so I postponed it. But stay tuned for an announcement with a new date!)
But besides the fact that it’s trickier to do good sessions, the guilt itself feels absolutely horrible, and on top of fresh, deep, grief it can make you feel almost ill.
So I’ve been searching for a reprieve, sometimes desperately, sometimes calmly and wisely. Although I don’t want to just ignore it (let’s move on, think happy thoughts, etc.) nor rationalize why it’s all really okay (he’s in a better place, you didn’t know, you looooved him, etc.), I do want this to “process” already!
Well first I reached for a lot of my old stand-by’s. (I had them in this post but it got much too long so I took them out. You’ll get them another time.)
Even then, I was aware that, as I wrote to a friend:
I keep wanting to grasp for answers “out there”, and I try, but they seem to only be panaceas. (Of course I now have to remind myself there isn’t an “out there”. It’s all “in here”. And I know the answer(s)/or whatever is too.)
And although I got a lot of comfort and growth from most all of the things I did, I still wan’t quite at peace with it yet.
Still, they were all important because I’m sure they contributed to the movement that opened me to a new and powerful realization this morning.
A New Realization
I don’t know if it’s the ultimate answer (or if there even is one), but it’s definitely promising. (Promising enough to lift my spirits enough to write today — for the first time in quite awhile!)
And here’s how it came about.
Early this morning, soon after I got up, I went to Ollie’s grave and apologized through my deep sobs:
I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you. I love you.
Then I got into the jacuzzi.
I realized after about 5 or 10 min. that I hadn’t even taken a moment to appreciate the beautiful day. I remembered that I had appreciated it as I first walked out the door but that my thought had immediately gone to the idea that Ollie would have loved it. It was nice and cool and he would have loved going for a morning walk. But he couldn’t because he was dead. And sadness and guilt had immediately enveloped me.
But as I remembered that, I looked around at what a beautiful day it still was. The hummingbirds were doing their thing at the feeder, sunlight dappled through the leaves of the trees, the air was clear and wonderfully scented, and everything seemed right with the world.
And a thought came to me:
Do I deserve to enjoy this day too?
And then almost as if I could see myself through other eyes, I realized that this person, me, Patti, had done the best she could. And ya, maybe she made a mistake — she probably did — but she didn’t do it out of bad intentions. (And even if she did, that’s not the point.) She deserves good things too. She’s a good person. She tries! (Oh, God bless her, she tries!)
And even as I was thinking this I realized that even with all that said, she doesn’t have to “earn”.
There’s a spark of innocence, a spark of Divine there that no matter what the personality has learned or not learned so far, that being — every being — deserves love … and deserves happiness … and deserves joy.
And the answer is yes.
Really? Even someone who’s made a horrible mistake and “should” have known better?
And not only that: she deserves to be able to reclaim her freedom and joy fully.
For without that she can’t share what it is that she’s here to share.
And what good does that do for anybody?
Have Compassion for Yourself
And so, this is the most comfort I’ve had around this issue since it first reared its head.
I also suspect that it will offer the same to you.
And even in situations where we’re not in deep despair over something we did, but any time we’re judging ourselves for something or another, it’s a perfect exercise to practice.
At this point, I can still feel some guilt. But I also feel compassion for me.
It’s not either-or, but BOTH for awhile. Okay. That’s okay. The guilt is already subsiding. (Oh great, so now it’s “merely” grief. But okay, I’ll take it.)
So it’s not gone (yet), but if anything can transmute it, it’s the light/love. From my experience, that in itself can dissolve or transform all the shadows and difficulties.
It’s powerful stuff.
And interestingly, the very thing that makes me so sad to have let Ollie down, his innocence and his beautiful trusting spirit, that very thing also exists in me.
My spirit is also beautiful and innocent, and likewise deserving of love.
And so now every time I feel that guilt I also love myself:
I love you. I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you.
I’ll keep you posted … but you’ll know. You’ll actually know because you’ll see me come back to life. It’s already happening. I can feel it.
If you’ve ever felt guilt, what — if anything — have you done about it? Where did you find comfort? Did anything help? Please share!
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
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