My neighbor recently decided to spread chicken manure all over his front and back yard, in order to help his lawn grow in better. Oh my God, the stink that wafted in and through my house, and stayed there, was intolerable.
Now, mind you it might sound like I live somewhere in the back boonies, but in actuality, I don't! It's one of the more prestigious and sought after neighborhoods on Maui, (I was truly blessed to receive this private ohana on the west side) and there are multi-million dollar private estates surrounding. I am across the street from the ocean, and dotting the shoreline are beautiful hotels and vacation resorts. In other words, it's a nice area.
My neighbor never ceases to bring me opportunities to forgive. Whether it's parking his barbecue grill right under my bedroom windows, mowing and hedging the lawn on Sunday mornings, or loud and screaming football parties all afternoon, I've had to learn how to forgive at a whole new level.
I've also become better practiced at expressing my needs as well.
Now, in the beginning, this wasn't so easy. You see my neighbor had gotten used having his life the way he wanted it without regard to his neighbor for many years. (And there was a lot more inconsiderate behavior I won't even go into here.) Since no one had ever spoken up, he simply carried on. And one by one, the tenants of this ohana would just move out. At a cost to the landlady, and to themselves.
But I had something else in mind. I liked this area, knew what I had, and wanted to stay. I deserved peace and quiet, respect for my dwelling and consideration as a neighbor. It was a challenge, but after a lot of forgiveness work first, and then asking for what I needed second, one by one things lightened up, and shifted. It was hard work, but each one got resolved. I welcomed back the peace and quiet this area is noted for, and what was much needed for my work. It restored the tranquility and respect I deserved to be able to stay in my beloved ohana.
Everything that is going on in your world that is an aberration, an irritation, and challenging you to the core, is calling you for forgiveness.
What helped me a great deal here was - and always so conveniently - my lesson in A Course in Miracles at that day:
God is my Source, I cannot see this apart from Him.
The Course's support with this lesson is in shifting your perspective into a higher truth, by seeing with God's eyes. And what did I eventually see? This chicken poop was fertilizer! Yes, I know that might be a stretch for you, but coinciding with so many other things that are happening in my work and life right now, highly fertilized soil is exactly the strong foundation that is being nurtured and built for me in these weeks. It was so delightful to see this hilarious reflection, like the Universal joke that it was!
The other part of this is that God does not ask you to be a doormat that is stepped on by others. Oftentimes that other person is completely unaware of what they are doing... This is a call for you to summon the courage, and ask for your needs.
It's important to remember that there are two parts: one is to forgive first, and the other is to express what you need, second. In that order. The one must come before the other, otherwise you are simply launching into a fight. An argument. Combat and attack and counterattack. You don't want that. And you really must forgive so that you are not living in a state of constant anger and resentment.
So reflect a little before you choose to speak to that potentially combative irritant. Don't go off ranting on someone, or do its opposite which is to keep it all inside, and grow angry and resentful. Believe me, you'll then have a heck of a time getting that forgiveness done.
It was only through doing the lesson, and seeing through God's eyes and forgiving that I was able to receive the miracles of peace, see how beautiful this whole message was that was wafting through my life and work.
Now, it doesn't quite stink so much anymore.
Is there anything irritating you these days that you might want to look at with God's eyes?
Feel free to leave me your comments below.