To Those I Have Judged, for This I Apologize

To Those I Have Judged, for This I Apologize
aaron <3
Aaron

“Forgiveness inevitably leads to acceptance. It is a demonstration of your willingness to move on. Acceptance does not mean you agree with, condone, appreciate, or even like what has happened. Acceptance means that you know, regardless of what happened, that there is something bigger than you at work.” – Iyanla Vanzant

aug 2012
Patrick

I guess it may seem inevitable after this last year - enduring the death of my brother - the end of my romantic relationship amid my brother’s funeral - then to take on full-time Gringa life outside of the USA - I am very much on a spiritual journey. Life is always a spiritual journey whether we see it or not, I suppose. And, this time I choose to be the hero.


Holding my brother as he was left to lay brain dead humbled me to the core. The brother who once held me as we both cried and struggled to process what was our oldest brother’s funeral. We became bonded to a whole new level as siblings since that experience. So, to now lose him and hold his physical body that no longer had life left… it’s changed me forever.


My relationship to the man I was in love with crumbling at the most difficult time in my life added more confounding whip-lash. Yet, it set me on a path to uncover what was underneath the black molten rock that engulfed my heart - my strength.


The last two years have basically been the on-going funeral of my ego. Leaving Los Angeles and the world of music already humbled me as I walked away from the only identity I’ve known: my identity as a musician/performer. This departure exposed a masochistic nature to expectations and attachments to outcomes. By letting go of the way I insisted it ought to be, I began finding my way back home unto myself.


After my world ripped out from beneath me, pressure boiled to understand it, igniting yet another confrontation with God. The insistence of freedom from attachments I could not escape, as nothing is truly ours. God has reminded me many times of my lack of control, teaching me to trust that life is as it should be. And, to have faith that no matter what has happened to me, as messed up as it may seem, is somehow in my highest interest. It’s begged me to reckon with my capacity, that I am capable of facing it all. And, to realize that I have the strength to survive life as it unfolds, because we know, life is going to do just that.

“Regardless of how hard, challenging, frightening, or difficult an experience may seem, everything is just as it needs to be in order for us to heal, grow, and learn.” - Iyanla Vanzant

To do so, my spiritual journey of seeking peace commenced, as did my faith in the possibility of joy. I learned its roots begin with a life lived not from the ego, but instead the heart. My ego was annihilated the day my last brother died. A greater understanding of life summoned me to appreciate each moment with more profound meaning. For so many years, I was driven to prove my importance to others, to myself. I wanted to be something… you know, all the things. What’s proven itself now is that while staring death (or life) in the face, not once did those things matter. Accolades will never bring my brothers back or fill the volcanic crater of a void. The only way I accessed the strength buried somewhere within me is by embracing a life of higher vibration. I discovered this is possible through forgiveness and acceptance of what is. I can choose to deny or fight reality, or I can choose to trust.


I take responsibility for the people that have come into my life in which triggered me. I own projecting onto them the things I may not have seen or wanted to see within myself. I realize that every interaction and relationship is a reflection of the one I have with myself. I ask for forgiveness for times I held beliefs about others, when they may have been judgments I held against myself.


To open myself to the liberty of trust, I trust in a plan beyond me. I free myself from attachments to people, places, things, and from beliefs about these people, places, things. I stand in my power because of all the hard work I’ve put in to honor myself thus far. I strive to act with self-respect and therefore to respect others. I solidify a life lived trusting in myself and in God because, without this, it is a life of suffering. For I know that if I can be the last one standing amongst my siblings, then I will keep going. No matter what, I will be okay. With forgiveness, the actions and or beliefs I formed around others fade into the distance. I pick myself up off the ground to sit up in my seat once more. I put my hands on the wheel, and only for a moment, I glance back to remember how far I’ve come. But, that mirror is small. I choose to look out the big window ahead of me, because through forgiveness, I found the road to joy.

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Fré Sonneveld

 

*I would like to note that after all the chatter about Eat Pray Love, I finally read it about eight months after I returned from Bali when I moved to México. I happened to resonate and agree with Elizabeth Gilbert’s interpretation and analysis on her choice in the use of “God.” Whatever your God is is cool with me.✌️

A Perch, Not a Cage

A Perch, Not a Cage
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Saying Goodbye to California, Venice Pier, October 2016

As my presumably fabulous L.A. life was crumbling around me, my ego & spirit went head to heart. The reeking suspicion was setting in that the greatest love affair I’d come to know, my marriage to the City of Angels, was nearing its end. Like any great love there’s simply no way to predict the story’s evolution. And, like many great narratives, what seemed to be a grueling devastation was actually an ignition of rebirth. California was a hell of a ride, but one that was starting to feel like the gas tank was teetering on empty. I trekked there at twenty years old from sweet home Alabama with so much pride, I was sure I’d never run out of fuel. As my resistance began to subside, the idea of an adventure was taking reign. Suffice it to say, there was no cushion lying around, but I was slowly readying myself to toss over the keys.

Where is my life headed? Who am I without this identity? It was a bleak road with no glimmering light in sight, aside from my one compelling instinct to flee for southeast Asia. How am I going to manage that? As I watched my home, Venice Beach, turn over & succumb to the gentrification that was part of a greater change within the city, I watched my wallet fall prey to these changes as well. I could no longer upkeep with the ever demanding market, unless I wanted to live to work, and that I did not. The burning smell of Balinese incense kept lurking over my way.

Travel goals actually became a great crutch during my California demise, an easy talking point of reasoning to others. Naturally, as change was setting in, these “others” were in sheer opposition. “If you leave, that’s it.” Of course there were lurking fears. Have I failed? Am I going backward? But, really such a declaration rings as music to my rebellious ears. I typically reject being bound to anything. As an astrology mentor once acutely proclaimed, “You’re a bird with a perch, not a cage.”

True that.

After all, I felt like I was drowning in a sea of expectations. I was sinking in the vast, vapid pool of proving one’s self. The identity that once was a glowing torch of inspiration & purpose had become a shackle. If I was going to “prove” anything, it was that I didn’t have to stay to prove anything. But, my intention was not to prove. My intention was to let go. I wasn’t sure how I was going to get to Bali, but about six months later on my thirtieth birthday, I stepped onto that plane and over to the other side of the world. Suffice it to say, it was a hell of a flight.