How can you forgive others I wonder, if you can’t forgive yourself? Forgiving yourself, true redemption – is an act of loving the self. How can you love someone else if you can’t love yourself? And so it is with these thoughts, I close off here. This is not my final word on a big conversation – I just want to rest in a cool and tranquil place to draw breath and reflect.
On a superficial level, to find redemption I needed to dream of a life better than my current one. And so I looked to becoming ‘The Pilgrim.’ Believe me, when I planned to take on this life for one year, I was unsure if I could ever achieve such an ambitious project. Oh yes it was huge – in the year I turned 50 I ran a marathon on each continent, wrote a book about it and raised much needed funds for the Hospice I worked for. On a spiritual level I had to trust myself first, and then the forces of good which lay way beyond me. I asked Them to bless this quest and bring realisation. Dreaming on one level and trusting on a deeper formed the first stepping stone towards my redemption. Here is the story.
The day I was retrenched from work was humiliating. I was the lucky one, for in truth it was exactly the spiritual quality which gave me the courage to take the next step. Starting my own business. I knew I needed to plan the way ahead carefully. Walking away from the illusion of comfort in formal employment required more than insubordinate boldness, in itself an illusion. More than humility, the second step also needed budgets, money and strategic planning. Here is the story.
To be sure, redemption is a lifelong process, strenuous and demanding. I knew from the outset it would be the most valuable act of self-love. If I was serious about such a thing, the third step was total commitment. And what, pray tell asks for more commitment than running the Comrades Marathon? For the uninitiated reader this is no ordinary race – this is a race of more than twice the distance of an ordinary marathon over the most brutal terrain in KwaZulu-Natal’s Valley of a Thousand Hills. Here is the story.
Ours is a time and a culture that needs to take action. Superficially that is where the spoils go and also the victory. “Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision just passes the time. Vision with action can change the world” so says Joel A. Barker. But in the unseen world this is only true when the fourth step is tempered with patience. This was also true when I decided to walk away from a mediocre life and go to university. Here is the story.
It took more than just courage and self-awareness to finally see the elephant in the room. The fifth and final redemptive step required me to accept I was an alcoholic and realise I could never drink again. I look back on it now and think “what was the big deal?” Yet in those early days it was the big question. Now with perseverance it is nothing but normal. And that, my friend, is the final powerful step – acceptance and perseverance. Redemption rests with, and is comfortable with what is normal. Here is the story.