My vocabulary has grown since I began my spiritual journey. The longer I am on this path, new words occur for my growing vocabulary. Over the years I find a new understanding of words. Their deeper meaning provides a way of life that was new to me, 32 years ago. Amends was a new word to me. I was trying so hard to be perfect; I did not understand the significance and wisdom behind this action.
My first amends was to my mother right out of treatment. I told my counselor the story and he said I was not responsible for her feelings. I had always gone around saying, "I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry I am alive." This was to calm the waters around me and I became the sacrificial lamb in the family. I found out I did not need to make amends to her for this particular situation. I then found out it is a good idea to check this idea of amends with my counselor to see if it is appropriate.
Then, I made an amends to a fellow worker for talking a chart off her desk, as I as too lazy to make my own. At the time she discovered what I had done, she was furious. However, she was most pleasant about it when I made my amends. She told me that it takes a big person to apologize. I was only trying to get rid of my anxiety and guilt because I worked with her every day. I did not see my action as anything more than wanting to find my inner peace and serenity.
I made an amends to my daughter for leaving her and her brother alone in a motel at Disneyland while her dad and I went drinking. This had been tearing me apart for years, emotionally. Surprisingly, I found out she was not upset at her abandonment without a dinner. She understood, she told me. She knew what would happen if I had not gone with him. She was upset about an entirely different incident, of which I never knew was a problem to her.
I heard in a meeting about forgiving yourself. That was not something I had heard about before. I thought about this, over time. Now, I understand that forgiveness is about leaving the past in the past, so I can live in the day, one day at a time. Amends change my energy into harmony when I let it go. Most people have accepted my amends graciously.
As I have forgiven myself, I do not have to beat myself up for not being perfect. Now, I understand where and when I need to make right with another person for my actions that harm them. It may be restitution, reimbursement, or acknowledging I was wrong.
Recently, I was very tired from overdoing when walking and climbing stars that day on a tour, because of my arthritis. In a conversation with my fellow that evening about dinner plans for the next evening, I got angry. I vented well because it could have been a short talk and he kept making it more complicated. I let him get the blunt of my tiredness from being exhausted and in pain. In a few minutes after hanging up on him, I called back and told him that I realized how dog-tired I was and that I was sorry I had had gotten so angry from overdoing it on the excursion. Today, I recognize it sooner, take responsibility for it faster, and move on.