How to forgive? (or not!)

How to forgive? (or not!)

Hey peeps!

After new year’s eve, a video resurfaced where-in Pope Francis was greeting the crowd of pilgrims and children. The crowd looked excited, and everyone wanted to shake hands with THE POPE. Suddenly, a woman grabbed his hand. While he tried to move on, the lady pulled him back, and kept saying something. The ‘not-so-gentle’ pull annoyed Pope, and in frustration he slapped her hand and moved on (Video Link).

Do you expect something like this from a Pope? I know, I know, many of you would be surprised to know about Pope’s behavior because isn’t he the one who teaches the world about kindness, compassion?

And when it was time to practice what he preached, he contradicted his teaching!! Oh man!

However, I know there would be different set of people who would see pope as a ‘human being’, a person who in spite of his wisdom and teachings makes mistakes. And there comes real compassion (Pope later issued a public apology for the same).

“The act of forgiveness takes place in our own mind. It really has nothing to do with the other person.”Louise Hay

Now, what if you aren’t like a pope (which you surely are not!), and don’t forgive (which includes forgiving ourselves too) easily? I see your hands raised up! And you can count me in too!

I don’t forgive easily. I love to hold grudges, and decorate it in my grudge cabinet. Like talk to me about my boss from previous company, and I would pick one grudge from my cabinet, and would tell you thousand reasons for why I still hate her.

There are many articles I have read which talks about how good it is to forgive, and move on. They say that it can pretty much offload too much of weight from your shoulders, and I whole-heartedly agree to this.

While I have been successful in forgiving many annoying events and people in my life, there are still many events which are stuck, like a lump in my throat, and doesn’t matter how much I try to spit it out, it’s still there! A little part of me does not want to forgive! Forgiveness feels impossible in many cases. Are we in the same boat, mate? Cheers!

Days ago I was listening to a podcast by Tara Brach, and she said that when we are consciously or unconsciously, not able to forgive, it means we are holding onto a thought, or trauma just so that we can unconsciously protect ourselves from experiencing that pain again.

It simply means that we are yet not ready! Our body knows better. Over years I have learnt that healing is not linear. It takes times to heal wounds, and it take seasons to lighten the scars.

Same goes with forgiveness. It needs patience and love. A little part of our body needs us, and our inner child wants to hear that, ‘It’s okay if you can’t forgive now. We will keep doing it, and someday we will be successful.’  And I have noticed that it releases some blocked energy. I mean, it really works, even if you are not that ‘into’ your body to notice it.This simple ritual says that it’s good if we do not judge ourselves.

You see I can say to myself, ‘All the spiritual talks you talk, books you read is bullshit. You haven’t learned anything if you can’t forgive! You definitely need a spiritual retreat once again!’

“Be the one who nurtures and builds. Be the one who has an understanding and a forgiving heart one who looks for the best in people. Leave people better than you found them.” ~ Marvin J. Ashton

Come On! It don’t need anything external to validate myself. A little love, and self-compassion is what I need. Therefore, here I am ‘Forgiving myself for not forgiving’.

Once I tried to dive deeper into finding the reason about ‘why can’t I forgive’, and I found an underlying fear that if I forgive, someone ‘else’ will do it again. It’s like creating an imaginary shield in my mind. But the truth is whether we forgive or not, it has nothing to do with other person’s behavior. People do what they want to do. They rarely think from other’s perspective, simply because they can’t.

We can not control how others see the world, but then we can define our boundaries.The fact is, we do have a choice, though we are not aware of it most of the times.

I mean I HAD a choice when my manager talked rudely to me, and the choice was to respond though calmly yet assertively, and it could have led me to the situation where I had one ‘less’ grudge in my grudge cabinet.

As soon as we decide that we won’t tolerate ‘something’, there comes the power, and a plan on how we can do it. (I am still defining my boundaries, so count me in here too, mate!). And I am learning this slowly.

Over the years, number of self-help books have taught me that ‘how a person behaves’ has nothing to do with ‘me’, it’s all about his past life, his piled up stories, his griefs and insecurities. While it still causes irritation to think that ‘why I am being treated badly for what he/she has experienced‘, it actually helps to calm down a little bit, and let go of the anger. (Pic on right: Just to fill the page. Lol).

It reminds me of one of my annoying managers in India. Every time he would shout at one of the team members, we would joke, ‘Aaaj fir biwi se lad kar aaya hoga.‘ (He sure would have fought with his wife today again.), and this would cheer our mood.

Final thought: Every action which is inspired by ‘Love for ourselves‘ is bound to heal us. And while we stress enough on giving love to others, showering the world with kindness and compassion, the first person who deserves our is ourselves. While we all strive to be perfect, just accepting ourselves as we are now, and at the same time working towards healing, is incredibly powerful.

I hope we all learn to have faith in ourselves, and our unimaginable healing power.

I hope we remember to ‘Forgive ourselves for not forgiving others’.

Love and big hug,

Ankita

When Strength found a lovely face!

When Strength found a lovely face!

Hello World!

Life can be a bit rough and distressing sometime but if you look at it with a positive outlook you’ll witness that all of this is going to be
worth someday. Everyone has a story, a lesson to teach, and wisdom to share. Every story inspires. So, here I am sharing mine, a small part
of it.

Hi! This is 19 year old cancer survivor Prapti talking. I was 17, young, naive and reckless when it all started. I remember that things
weren’t going fine that time in my life. My physical and mental state wasn’t good. My body was signaling towards something. My stomach
felt bloated, there was anxiety, sudden weight loss. One fine day, I told my mother about it (mothers are goddess), and same day she
took appointment of a Gynecologist.

No, I’m not going to the hospital”, I told her because I was afraid of gynecologist.

My mother won the argument, and we went to the doctor next day. The doctor advised an ultrasound. Next day I got my ultrasound done. The radiologist called his senior, his senior called the third person. I could see a question mark on their face. The whole procedure lasted for 45 minutes. Next thing advised was few blood tests, and a CT scan because ultrasound didn’t make anything clear.

A day after, CT scan was done; I found the whole procedure astounding (I am a curious child who can be dangerous sometimes). Then next day I got my report, and we headed straight to the doctor’s cabin. After few checkups and I was told to wait outside while my mother stayed inside.

After a while, I could hear some noise.

I could see my mother coming out of the cabin.

This feeling was not new. I could sense all of it. I could smell what all was going to happen. I trusted my instincts because 5 year back I lost my brother to brain tumor. I decided to remain silent.

I took the report and searched every scientific word on the internet while my mother was sobbing. It breaks my heart to think about it again. It showed Stage 3B Immature Teratoma!

The body never lies! Period.

I went back to my mother. I told her, “We’ll get out of this soon.”

Courage speaks when YOU are numb!

Tickets to Mumbai were booked. We went to the city of dreams with some hope.

October 1, 2018, my registration was done. A card with my details was hung around my neck. That day, I met people to whom I’ll be forever grateful: My doctors!

Tests were done, biopsy was done and within three days I got the confirmation. I was told that the treatment would last for 4 months which will include 4 big rounds of chemotherapy and a surgery if needed. Okay! Bring it on. I’m ready. I was already aware of chemotherapy.

It takes courage to choose hope over fear-Mark Zuckerberg

I was admitted on October 5th for the chemotherapy. It was decided that only 75% dose will be given. I had all the effects. The damage in the liver disease went to Stage 3. My pulse dropped to 48 due to which the first round was stopped in the midway. It was not a good experience at all.  Same happened with the second round. I remember we used to sleep in casualty all night. Out of 30 days, I would spend 22 days at the hospital.

Why all of this is happening to me only?”, I had this thought in my mind. I guess when you are stuck in the middle of life by a crisis like this, your vision is blurred, nothing positive comes out and the mind screams to get some answer, ‘Why me! Why me! Why me?’ I clearly didn’t bother to see the suffering of the other patients.

Second round was over by the end of  November. I got my CT done which showed that I haven’t really responded to the chemo. The report mentioned two lesions of 20*17 cm and 15*10 cm. It reached Stage 4.

I was shattered and hopeless. Meetings were done, and surgery was planned. I somehow knew that this surgery is going to be worth it.

Surgery was to be done on January 4th, 2019 in the morning shift. I was shifted in the Operation Theater. I could see 19 patients of every age lying on the stretcher outside their respected OTs. All smiles lit my heart. All of us were in the same boat, and all of us trusted that we would land safely to the shore.

I could see my Name and details on the whiteboard. Big lights, machines, doctors and BEEP BEEP sound in the background. “Is this a real life or a Bollywood movie?”, I asked myself.

The whole procedure gave me 38 stitches. It was a Unilateral Oophorectomy .I came back with 4 tubes coming out of my body. My stomach was flat now. Finally, my 5 kg tumor was out.

Ah! What a relief! This made me feel strong. I knew that I’ll appreciate it. More importantly, I wasn’t hopeless anymore.

There’s only one mantra with which you can make any tough situation look easy, i.e., you telling yourself, “You’ve got this, and you’ll come back stronger”.

Childhood Cancer is too challenging and seeing those little warriors on the ground fighting this deadly disease was my biggest source of motivation. When life knocks you down you only have to look around, and you’ll find everyone is fighting his/her own battles which is tough in itself. Some show strength, while some surrender.

I choose to be a warrior!

Two more rounds were left. Each time I was given 100% dose. I didn’t have any side effects this time. What made this difference?

I believe it was my positive outlook, my affirmations that ‘Things will get better’, and my surrounding which filled me with positive energy and hope.

The 4 months treatment took 9 months. I lost one year of my life to Cancer. But I gained strength, wisdom, positivity, and the confidence to face whatever comes!

After 100+ blood requisitions, tons of medicines, 4 rounds of Chemotherapy, and 1 major surgery the AFP level came normal, and I was declared cancer free. Yaaaay!!!! I came back home as a fighter. I was welcomed with a greeting card made by my little sister who stayed home away from everyone else.

But there was more! The struggle didn’t end there. People made fun of me whenever I walked out of my home due to the hair loss. Neighbors would look at me. Some actually called me a boy. Every day I was being asked about the scars chemo gave me.

For months I faced these kinds of issues but I didn’t owe anyone a reply. As human beings, we are insensitive many times. We judge easily. One day I actually saw two girls pointing at me, and laughing about my short hair.

Today, I am a proud owner of a tiny ponytail. Everything is still there; the scars, the stitches, some long term effects as well.

Cancer taught me so many things! I am happy that I have actually changed my way of living in a better way AND most importantly that I’m alive. Now when I look back, I know that there is a ‘higher good’ in every ‘bad’ situation. If thing wouldn’t have happened this way, I would have not met the people whom I love now. Especially, my doctors with whom I crack jokes now. More importantly, I am no more afraid of Gynecologists. Lol.

I personally think that sharing our stories not only help others but it also helps Us. Think about letting go of all your worries by talking about it. Offload all those thoughts that has been eating you up. This worked as a therapy for me, and I’m sure this will work for you as well.

Talking about some myths, unilateral Oophorectomy is normal. Women still functions normally. I mean look at me! Don’t I look super healthy, super happy, and super charged!

What else do I need in this life!

Thank you LIFE, for I have YOU, and you have ME!

Let’s not forget, we are no less than a warriors. Share your struggles, you never know whom you are inspiring!

WE ARE IN IT TOGETHER.

Love and healing,

Prapti

Note: Hey guys, Share the article as much as you can. The world needs courage, strength and faith, and most importantly, the beautiful face above needs recognition!- Ankita