The Peace of Forgiveness

liv chair

Louise Hay made the connection between illness and emotional blockages popular. She writes that MS is due to ‘rigid thinking.’

I poo-pooed that bit of information for years holding ‘rigidly’ to my belief I was a person who is flexible, open and I felt very ‘right’ in these beliefs.

Here is a story:

Years ago when my mother died I inherited money which was put into a trust divided equally four ways for the siblings.

My youngest brother was given the thankless job of overseeing the trust for the rest of us siblings. I am the eldest.

We were each to apply for any funds through him as the bridge to the trust.

I was in the full throes of ‘MS-land’ and had not the energy to get a job so I kept taking money out monthly knowing full well I was depleting the principal and would someday come to the end of this gift from my mother but I did not know how to make another kind of decision that may have preserved the money for a longer period.

This was a huge strain on my brother and me. Our relationship became adversarial as he only wanted to support me and I felt cornered and judged and unable to wrap my weakened arms around doing the ‘smart’ things which may have preserved my relationship with my brother (whom I love dearly) as well as my money.

I stopped communicating with him.

Life continued for us both but very separately.

The money quickly ran out as we all knew it would.

I felt oddly relieved and free.

My brother and I spoke sparingly over the years following but always with the foundation of love we feel for one another. The foundation was surely there but with a large chink missing.

A few months ago I felt an enormous ‘missing’ in my heart at the loss of our former closeness.

I called him and apologized for anything I might have done during that time that frustrated him, angered him, disappointed him or hurt him in any way.

I took full responsibility for the wreckage.

I had been making him wrong for a long time in my mind; He was judging me for being less capable with money matters than he and he thought me lazy for not getting a job to augment my finances and he thought me infantile in my dealings with the trust and him as he tried valiantly to do this horrible job he never asked for.

On the phone I heard his deep anger and frustration as he took up the space I gave him to speak.

Something happened during that phone conversation: I heard him and left ‘me’ to the side.

I got off the phone and a wide and luscious sense of peace filled in that missing chink in our foundation.

This peace was palpable and was injected directly into my heart and has stayed there.

As I move through the world now, that same peace seeps out and moves of it’s own accord toward other parts of my life which need the same salve.

My brother and I were/are both innocent…innocent hearts doing their very best.

We are all innocent hearts doing our very best.

I love you, Pete….


15 Responses to “The Peace of Forgiveness”

  1. Bree on January 1st, 2013

    Happy New Year my dear friend. I am completely aware that this year will be an amazing one for girls like us. Hope being the thread that keeps us here, we are alive and well! I loved and appreciated your story of you and Pete. We are all just so vulnerable and delicate after all. I wish the very, very best today and always.
    Love you dearly,

  2. David Jansheski on January 1st, 2013

    This is EXACTLY what I needed to read as I’m preparing to write to my Uncle whom Iv’e had no contact with for years because of something that happened between us (mostly because of me). His brother died recently (my other Uncle with which I was close to) and I’m deeply saddened about it. However, I know that if I don’t write the letter and take full responsibility for my actions upsetting him and he perishes unexpectedly then I will be forever in deep regret.
    You always blow me away with how you life your life and make your art….. Take good care my Dear friend and keep these amazing and inspiring stories coming….
    I love you…

  3. ambujam on January 1st, 2013

    Thanks for sharing Cathy. Forgiveness is the most powerful “chink in the heart” mender I’ve come across. I have recently experienced this in my own life at a depth I didn’t know was possible. ….Peace….and love to you….

  4. Susan on January 1st, 2013

    Dearest Cathy,
    What a huge breakthrough for both you and your brother. Carolyn Myss also addresses this issue of in-completions and the energy we leak daily until we address these relationships.
    I miss you and think of you often.
    I send you love, healing and peace for the New Year.

  5. Joe on January 1st, 2013

    A while ago I read a book I AM THIRD, the life of a truly gifted person,Brian Piccolo who was dying from cancer. They made it into a schmaltzy
    TV movie BRIAN’S SONG ( I don’t know where they got SONG from). Touching but,like your message, what I took away was his message of GOD IS FIRST, MY FAMILY AND FRIENDS ARE SECOND AND I AM THIRD. Thanks for everything you have given me over the years. As I have said before you are MY hero.
    All the best,

  6. Tish on January 1st, 2013

    Oh, the Aten family! How good it was of you to share these trials Kathy, and how difficult it must have been for you to go through. We never know what lies ahead and often we are left with the trail of pieces we’ve left behind. We just keep trying to find happiness and purpose in our being.

    I’ll send you a video that I think you’ll enjoy….how many years have we spanned Kathy Aten? Take care….. and Happy New Year!
    Love, “Miss V”

  7. Diane J Standiford on January 1st, 2013

    Well said. Happy New Year!

  8. Kristin on January 1st, 2013

    Wow…really beautiful and powerful…you are so amazing and I so thank you for sharing so that so many people can benefit by knowing they are not alone in their suffering and in their lives. I love you!!


  9. Michael Ortiz Hill on January 2nd, 2013

    O Cathy
    I was much deeply in the medicine of forgiveness re MS
    when we met — my wife of 25 years leaving me spooked
    by MS.
    A shift for me from forgiveness to praying and ritualizing for her freedom
    and happiness.
    Changed EVERYTHING.
    Blessings to you Cathy.
    I write from LA — will be back in NM in April.



  10. patricia flasch on January 2nd, 2013

    Hello Cathy,
    I just finished reading your sweet story about you and your brother == once again you’ve touched my heart. Your giant willingness to take responsibility and then move into spaciousness is helping me to open to the same energy.
    love, patricia

  11. Karen on January 3rd, 2013

    My dear Cathy, thank you for continuing to soften into what Life offers and for sharing so transparently. With love and respect for you. The most glorious of New Years. Karen

  12. laura Hegfield on January 5th, 2013

    I don’t believe rigid thinking causes MS… I mean that’s kind of a rigid, put everything in neat little psycho/spiritual boxes kind of idea… and does not take into account genetics or viruses or physiological aspects of this biological disease…however I have found that MS can heal rigid thinking… and that is how I am experiencing your beautiful story of forgiveness and innocent hearts… we are always doing our best, moment by moment… when we forget that about ourselves and others, tightness, rigidity, of mind is created… when we remember, we soften, flexibility, openness, possibility, compassion and love are awakened from their slumber.

    Happy New Year my soft, yielding, stronger for what you have learned, friend:-)

  13. katja on January 5th, 2013

    Very, very good medicine. What a template for us all. Thank you so much for posting.

    During a three day ceremony surrounding the solstice, the land, the earth, told me what was most important was to truly listen, and to truly love. All else can come from this.

    You exemplify both. Bless you.

  14. katja on January 5th, 2013

    I agree with Laura — The pitfall of Louise Hay, helpful as some of her thought might be, is the danger of assigning this disease=this flaw can become one of separating from someone experiencing challenge or disease. There is a kernel of truth, that some states of mind predispose to which way your body might be vulnerable, but this get distorted from our legacy of Calvinism and mechanical causality assigning blame to the afflicted one.

    And yet, all of our challenges can lead to our unfolding. You are illustrating the difference between being responsible for (common current distortion) and being responsible *to* — that is, responding to what is in such a way that you blossom.

    Am I making any sense? I am trying to cram a long conversation into a comment.

  15. shanti bannwart on February 8th, 2013

    Oh my dear Cathy,
    just knowing that you sit with that grace you sit, in front of your window and look outside and think and work out one of those flaws that we all have and carry – makes me feel grateful and warm around my heart; it’s as if you are doing our work when you do yours, stirring the cauldron of our human light and darknesses, thank you!

    And the picture of your doggy: peace of mind and body, a great Zen teacher…
    I wish you well for this month and this year, thanks for being you,

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