Cleaning my side of the street

Ben sleeping on the toy animals

Because I didn’t grow up in a home where my parents apologized (ever, for anything) and as children, we were “made to” apologize if we did something wrong (as if saying that we were sorry was a punishment and proved that we were defective) it took me many years to appreciate the beauty and blessing of this spiritual act.

There is such freedom in being able to admit that we were wrong about something. We don’t need to hang our heads, or grovel and beg for forgiveness, but when we can meet another’s eyes clearly and squarely, admit that we “missed the mark” and then let it go from our minds and hearts, we are truly free to move forward in life, not dragging guilt and shame behind us.

.Last night as I was sleeping,
I dreamt—marvelous error!—
that I had a beehive
here inside my heart.
And the golden bees
were making white combs
and sweet honey
from my old failures ...

                                                                                                         Antonio Machado

12 thoughts on “Cleaning my side of the street

  1. That letting go is the hardest part!!! I’m pleased when I can recognize that I’ve not met the mark, and glad I can aplogize and try to make things right or at least better, but I keep playing those situation(s) over and over in my mind, wondering what was wrong with me that I didn’t recognize how to not go awry in the first place!

    I’m really glad to see Ben. He looks as comfortable and happy and cherished as can be.
    Thanks a million for the message and for sharing another example of your loving kindness. (Ben).

    From Fran

    • Fran, I think ‘letting go’ has to be the hardest part of any difficult situation in a relationship. Mulling over what went wrong, I do as well but truthfully, I place my own interpretation on ‘what went wrong’ and so am no further ahead. Sometimes situations get out of hand and go beyond any sort of usefulness and take on a life of their own. I’ve had one such situation over this past year with a family member. I’ve had to look at what my needs and responses brought to this situation; what I perceive the other’s needs and responses have been and in the end, found it’s better for me to say…I haven’t handled things as well as I might but I’m not going on with it. I sometimes ask myself what I’m getting out of not ‘letting go’ and I’m darned if I have any one answer…maybe there are days when I simply enjoy feeling put upon and sorry for myself. I also remind myself that I have many positives in my life and why muck it up with all the negatives. But I think you’ve brought up a very good point, Fran, and a very natural human response.
      SandyP in Canada.

      • Hi Sandy, I’m identifying with what you said and want to share my recent experience with this very natural human dilemma.

        I’ve been listening over & over to an audiobook by Pema Chodren about a Buddhist teaching called ‘shenpa’. The word basically means attachment in Tibetan, but refers more broadly to a deep, compulsive, emotional connection. That mulling over place, that feels to me as if I can fix something that went wrong if we could just figure it out but only leads back full circle to realizing I don’t understand it at all, is very familiar to me. This shenpa teaching says allow yourself to recognize the emotional discomfort under the thoughts with love and kindness for yourself and to stay with it as long as you can as often as needed until a deeper truth emerges.
        I’ve been practicing this and I find that the deeper truth for me is often an emotional connection with how much I value being in peace. My mind will try to begin another round of “but what they did was really wrong…” and begin supplying all the reasons I should hold onto the conflict, but that emotional connection with peace helps it to be a little easier to let go of the shenpa a little more each time.

  2. Thank you Ken and Sandy.

    I think part of letting go is the wish to be understood. If “they” understood why I had done what I did there would be less of a problem, or maybe there is a piece of information I am missing that would have made all the difference, or maybe “they” have a need to see me as misunderstanding them and no matter what I do or how hard I try to make amends I would still be in the wrong in their eyes. You are right Sandy, the mulling takes on a life of its own.

    And thank goodness I can mull over this issue instead of where is my next meal going to come from, or how will I find a mortgage payment, or how can I feed my children, etc. I am greatly blessed, and this blog is a powerful way to exchange ideas.

    Mary, thank you again!
    Love from Fran

    • Fran, I think you’ve hit the nail on the head right there…it is a wish to be understood. When those with whom you are having a conflicting relationship cut you off (I should say, cut me off) and are not willing to make any attempt at talking things out, I find it frustrating and that’s what probably keep the pot boiling at my end longer than it should. Everyone wants to be understood. We all have different ideas, ideals, experiences and histories. That’s what makes relationships challenging. Thanks for the synopsis, Fran…you’re right on, for me.

  3. I had such a startle when I read the title to today’s post – “Cleaning My Side of the Street.” I wondered how Mary Muncil could be doing THE same thing that Mary Solomon was doing in Cleveland, Ohio.

    First of all, I was so glad to see that Mary M. was up and running and able to give us a post. Not knowing how the storm might have affected her and her family, it was good to see that she was able to post.

    I had just come in from literally cleaning my side of the street. My house is located where there is a grate on the street (storm sewer) where leaves collect and can flood the street. So, once I realized that I did have electricity and that nothing had happened to my home except a leaf and water build up on the street – I went out and “cleaned my side of the street.” Of course, I also raked the other side!

    It took me awhile to realize what Mary M. was talking about. I was so focused on my own experience – where I was coming from and what I was experiencing. I could not figure out what street Mary M. was talking about. FINALLY, I got it!

    Boy oh boy – when we only look at “one side of the street” we miss most of the story and/or we sure can misinterpret.

    Gave me a good chuckle this morning. Also felt good to be connected to the flock.

  4. The post also gives me an opportunity to share something that I have found most helpful and enlightening and it does talk about the letting go process. I am reading “The Untethered Soul” by Michael A. Singer. I don’t remember where I heard about it, but boy oh boy is it ever speaking to me. The author has been on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday show. Once in August and the repeat of that show was just this past Sunday. I watched it for the first time this week. I am including a link to clips from that episode and some sayings from him. I hope you all find something of value in what and how he says what he does.

    • Wow, Mary! You sure have offered up a treasure trove in the Michael Singer link – I love this flock! One day, yummy recipes to share, another day, food for the mind and heart – thanks, Mary M. and Mary S.! 🙂

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