Letter to Forgiveness

Dear Forgiveness

What is there to forgive in my life?  All or nothing..?

Then this childhood memory suddenly swoops into my brain:
They didn’t know me, they’d never seen me before, but this was my day: me, a woman child of 12 or so lolling around on the swings in a strange play ground with a plaited friend.  Suddenly we were surrounded and my ‘friend’ ran off as three bigger girls gathered on me and punched, pulled, kicked and bit.  Bleeding and limping, I howled home to my mother, who held me close in horror and then sat me down and brushed out handfuls of the long blonde hair that they had yanked out of my head: my crown was completely bald and bleeding, then stinging with TCP – and to this day, the hair there has never grown back quite right – for now it is short and crooked, split and colourless, a constant reminder that hairdressers find a particularly shocking phenomenon to contemplate…

So I’ve been attacked physically, yes and verbally too; I’ve been bullied, slapped, put in mortal danger, rejected, misunderstand, deserted, overlooked, ignored, made redundant and hurt by people I loved and who I thought loved me.  I have been shocked by mild and wild acts of violence, selfishness and inconsideration that have devastated and rocked me to the very core of my being – shaking my belief in myself, in those entrusted to be with me, and in my very life.

When thinking about this theme of forgiveness, the playground bullies of my childhood came out to taunt and attack me again.  Why now? Why this instance?  I have recently reached an impasse in my life where it seems I have been challenged on so many real or imagined fronts; and the thought of forgiveness is a sudden and blatant consideration.  So this long lost and battered day in my life is rearing its’ head again and will serve to represent many wrong doings in a long and Peachey life; and I will now take their presentation as a cue to consider, resolve, heal and move on…

For an often sensitive, sometimes selfless and sometimes selfish person, living in a similar world – when people close to me – cross me, it afflicts me so very much.  This is magnified when MY feelings simply do not come into the equation of the maligned action – the perpetrator stating quintessentially that: I am not important, not cared for, or not worth the simple damned consideration.

So is that is my realm of forgiveness – created by others or dreamt up by me – a gift to be parted with or else a weapon of missed destruction…

For I remember using forgiveness with a point scoring, self satisfied, evil intent one day with my mother – who, as she so often did, was finding copious reasons to be angry with my teen self.  She was cursing and shouting and blaming, and then the tactic hit me, like a lightening bolt through my shoulders: I stood up straight, smiled, looked her in the eye and said ‘I forgive you for this and all the terrible things you have ever done to me.’  Then she flew at me like a furious animal and I was slapped and screamed at, whilst I kept yelling ‘I forgive you, I forgive you!’ through smug hot tears, and the point scored, prolonged the seething, shouting bout of unforgiving anger…

I never used that particular tactic again and have always realised after the event, that such strategies never serve me well…

So was my mother a victim of me?  Was I a victim – all those perpetrated times when I was sinned against?  Are victims made by others or are they self made creations – reacting to a chain of circumstances with a label of wrong doing, hurt and crime?

In my world, as a habituated human and my mother’s daughter – I can see blame every where – I can wear that crimson cloak of victimhood and decide it has defined me.  Then, as woman, as a coach, as some one who values her freedom of will – I can see that I can create me and my reality; and I can peel off the label or never let it stick in the first place…  And I do both: I dwell in darkness, duelling with demons, and then again, I skip in the sunshine, as time, tide, roller coaster and mentality decree…

Ultimately I find that forgiveness is a choice, a willingness, or a lack thereof… rather than a default setting sprang into via wounded reprisal – a bat to hit back what I feel someone else has beaten me with.

Forgiveness too is power – which can be smugly misused – but that is easily sensed – for along with words, forgiveness is an energy, and when it is authentically given, we just know – through tone, or eyes or six sense, or what ever our own flavour of antennae detects…

Forgiveness is power, though many would argue that it is a turning the other cheek kind of weakness.  And somehow, not to forgive, means that the perpetrator is permanently punished.  The thing is, in reality, that it is the un-forgiver that is punished – weighed down, in their own head and heart, with a burden they will carry, like a gargoyle on their back.  Such self punishment is ignored or a sacrifice to be chosen, (either consciously or unconsciously) in preference to condoning an ‘unpardonable’ act – when often it was considered to be a justified or non descript action on the part of the so called perpetrator.

And there are the minor indiscretions of life and there are atrocities beyond imagining, yet such unforgiven burdens are heavy mental weights to carry around.  They dawdle and drag you down, slowing the spirit and seeking to bloat themselves up with collected further (perceived) wrong doings – sucking them in, causing more and more to fly in and cling to one another – like iron shavings stuck to a mouldy magnet.

Yet the power comes when forgiveness is a choice and given of free will – although it is not always willingly presented.  It can come uncomfortably, or be as light and easy as a feather floating off from your forgiving hand – choosing to let it fly out of sight.

And most of all forgiveness is a gift – sometimes to the receiver, but more critically, to the giver.  Forgiveness is freedom, it is letting go of perceived or actual actions that clank and bang against our sense of self, getting in our way, filling us with dark ink; an ink that swills around our suffering souls, ready to squirt, fling or fire as ammunition out into the world, or to ripen and rot within.

So as these letters go… First of all I consider… I see what un-forgiveness does to me and brings to me.  I choose to see it as something I do not want in the life and times of me. Then I decide I want to give forgiveness and with it the cool, delicious relief and lightness that it brings to my spirit.  I name it and then I present it – this time as an act of writing.  I can breath this to its’ receiver or I can give it quietly, in my heart – simply and silently as my own cathartic ceremony.  Then I celebrate what I have done – a healing, amazing, liberating act of wonderful will.

And I know that I should be, am, will and may be forgiven – often and never too…

By giving the gift of forgiveness, I can now let the object of it go, or accept it or do what ever needs to be done to move on.  Not necessarily to forget or condone it, but to see it through different lenses, and to note how it has shaped me, in positive ways, how it makes me what I am: a vision stepping, running and then dancing in the light, to my own tune, the beating of my heart – a rhythm of pure love…

So, who ever and where you are, I forgive you, I ask your forgiveness, and most of all I forgive me

And that is how I forgive and this was my Love Letter to Forgiveness.

Yours sincerely

Sandra Peachey

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Letter to Sophia

Hey Little Squitler

Well here you are… an idea made flesh and fur… Quite simply you are a squeaker, a looker – kitten and button cute; maddening, emboldened and a feline force of nature.  You are a complete and composite cat joining the Peachey Pride, so that our litter grew from two, to three.

I had wondered dreamily, about bringing in a third cat for years… I looked, I missed, I forgot – as life is…  Already I have two cat companions, both middle-aged male meowlers, and I wanted to bring female kitten energy in to my life and to the mix; to greedily create the next generation of company and purring and responsibility.  Yes, that was the idea…

So what Universal Law of Laughter decreed that when I said, no NOW is not the time for the next leonine instalment, did someone literally turn up on my doorstep with a kitten in cage???

Was it simply Sophia’s time and nothing to do with me?  You see, many cat people I know, (yes, even the pragmatic ones), tell me that the cat always, mystically, chooses you

And she came with her name – discovered as she was, with her mum and siblings in an old sofa in someone’s garden.  And Sophia, definitely suits her…

My visitors are fascinated by her multicoloured coat – she is grey, with patches of peach and dark stripes down her spine.  She has a Tortoiseshell mum, along with one Black and one Ginger brother – and somehow, all these genetic colour ways conspired into one pussy package.  And who ever saw a peach coloured cat??? Surely she was pre-destined for little old Peachey me!

Well here she was, in my life.  The cage was opened and the cat was out of the bag and into my life – immediately at home, skittering around, only 8 weeks old; new to this living dimension, yet facing it with such catlike confidence and an almost terrifying temerity.

I was simultaneously enraptured and in shock!  Within minutes there was mayhem – a squeaking, skittering creature on the loose in the house.  The adult cats were distinctly and hostilely not impressed.  A growl would mean George was in the vicinity, and a hiss would herald that Taz was within range of the grey furry force that was the tiny ‘Sophie Kitten’.

Sofia was no respecter of boundaries, too young to understand commands and to be fully house trained.  She literally tore through the house: ruining the curtains, crapping in crap places and shredding my skin.  She had a particularly horrid habit of running over my bare feet, with her claws embedding themselves deep into my pink flesh – my poor appendages looked like they had been run over by motorised a cheese grater…  And when ever I wore thick protective socks she would leave them well alone – oh she knew – the little madam!  And next I would find soil flung out of plant pots and onto my carefully manicured cream coloured carpets.

The most intense periods of naughtiness are first thing in the morning and last thing at night.  There is a distinctly wicked glint in those greeny grey eyes, and she switches into a terrifying, troubling trance; ignoring every one and everything in her wide awake wake; and skeetering and careering and trashing everything she meets along her tail trail.

The beautiful balance of the household was dangerously tipped.  The boy cats unhappy, me frustrated and stressed, then in the middle of it all – Sophia, oblivious to the maelstrom her kittenish presence was creating.

When she arrived in our lives, I was at the thick edge of a long period of illness and rued the disturbance her furry presence caused.  I mourned the quiet routines me and my boy cats had fallen into over the years, and the loss of their company, as they voted with their paws and left me alone with my grey bundle of boo.

I had to go to the trouble, damn it, of kitten proofing the house, of making changes to long established routines, as well as buying toys and special baby cat food.  It was all building up to a steam and bang of stress and pressure, and I thought I simply could not cope.  So I decided she had to be returned to her nest, for this Peachey household was not to be her for ever home – the sacrifices were simply, too great…

And the days turned and I ran around busily, stepping over the kitten, concerned with my daily doings and goings, and preparing for my impending, long dreamt of holiday…

So I went sailing away from our lion cave for a week, and while I was gone, the kitten was well looked after by my calm and mindful house mate.  Time moved on and I started to feel healthier in body and mind.  And somehow I had grown used to the idea of a little Sophia in my life and found that after all, I was determined to make this expansion to our world, work.

Having had the companionship of cats for most of my life, I thought I knew them and could wrangle and coax them to my co-operative will, but Sophia was a different pussy proposition.  So I read (up on cat lore) and reasoned, and then relaxed.

The ‘Little Squitler’ came into my life two days before my 50th birthday.  Friends said ‘what a perfect present’ and of course, she really is a gift.  So let’s drop the doubts, and ponder what this present of a puss gives to me…

I have a little creature to mother and I love that.  She is bonded to me and squeals her delight when she sees me.  She has such a steady and ready purr – it is quite delicious and decidedly loud, and it changes in sonic intensity as she exhales and intones her copious pleasure.  She loves to cuddle up and as her reward I scritch her skinny rib cage and scratch her chin, and no creature on this planet could possibly be more deliciously and delectably, delighted…

She chats away constantly – chirruping and berrowing where ever she goes.  She is still mastering the art of meowing, so the sounds that leave her tiny body emanate as high pitched squeaks of greeting, or complaint, or hunger, or loss, or love.  Shut her out on the wrong side of a door and she does the most piteous cries of ‘please-please-please let me in’, that I have ever heard in the animal world.

Her uncle cats are still not impressed.  My big black moggy Taz has practically moved into the garden.  He pops indoors quickly to eat or for fuss, and then the little interloper runs excitedly up to him and he is gone, being either in fight or flight mode.  George I always knew would be braver – despite his soft pedigree good looks, he is an alpha male and made of sterner stuff.  He is also bonded tightly to me and wants to be around me constantly.  And at first it was for minutes if she was there, and then more minutes, and now sometimes hours…

Sofia absolutely adores George and on seeing him, rushes up squealing her delight.  In return she receives a gentle warning swipe and a long, low, deep growl…  George will only tolerate her if she is still and silent, so if she creeps up to him while he is sleeping and snuggles in, that, strangely, is allowed.  Though the second she wants to play or squeaks or reaches out, it’s game over and he is gone, escaping any where she is not.

Sophia knows her name now, is occasionally responding to commands and loves her furry little life.  So a few days ago, when she was sitting on my lap, looking up at me purring, blinking and adoring, I wondered what lessons we will learn together as we pad and walk our journeys through life.  Her name ‘Sophia’ actually means ‘wisdom’, so time, tide and fur will surely tell.

We’ll work it out, since we girls are good at that, and the boys will work it all out, in their own feline way and with my intermittent human interference, too.

This is it then, the intention is now set: let’s all expand the Peachey Pride into a happy, harmonious and, of course – ‘purrfect’ one ;-).

With tickles and treats

S xxx

PS: See my ‘Love Letter to catkind’, along with more ‘Love Letters to Life’ to the people, phenomena and happenings that make up my Peachey Life. You can get hold of your copy here…  or else from Amazon (in both Kindle and Paperback formats) and from all good book shops…

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                                    Sophia, ‘helping’ me to unwrap my birthday presents…

Letter to Mum… One Year On…

Dear Mum

There I was, rushing from one transient transaction to another – caught up in doing and being, and filling out and filling in the long hot hours; and eventually, in the middle of it all, I paused… and then the realisation racked and rocked me… You died a year ago, this very week…

A year… time and tide marked by the passing of days – of suns, moons and of tears. And laughter and anger too and all the other inner panoply of life, along with the external chaotic, diametric business of the outer life…  Then the crazy cliché of ‘how can that be’, how can this time have passed, have changed, have thrown me forward one whole year of existence – moving on from that one day..?

A day with a telephone call, a dazed evening journey to the hospital, a dark evening with a strange doctor explaining, wandering all around the verbal houses before he would say… when inside I was screaming – ‘just tell me!!!‘. And finally he told me… And so that was the beginning of this particular end…

And so my destination on that day changed, for that was the end of my mother’s earthly journey, and the start of renegotiating my own as a result. My sense of identity subtly shifting as my concepts of self, of connection, of reason, of pattern and of pace and place, all change and re-form and reinvent, and then connect back up, to a new whole, yet wholly recognisable me.

That it is what it is, with me – Sandra – newly orphaned child of this parish and currently good with where the journey has taken me, and yet I find that the relationship with my mother still lives and grows, and indeed ebbs and flows…

And as life is, I have thought of her and not, off and on, splinking on and away from the radar of my consciousness, and I know too, without doubt, that she is always with me, part of the DNA of my sub-consciousness.  I have lived my life to be so different from her and yet, so often, am so very much the same.

My mother was certainly feisty and often fiery and frequently noisy (her silences were, some how especially loud…).  At times, being with her felt like a constant drone of negativity, of bile and bitterness, of blaming and wailing and ranting. That is not the complete picture of course, but that is what I carried with me, for so so long, down trails of tears and disaster; till I found and released my own light, and then shone it back at her and then I could see her burning more beautiful and brighter in the glow…

Or so I think or thought… I’ve had a long tough period where my health has been difficult, dogged by headache and exhaustion, and this illness has been constant and chilling and it has changed the game of my life, taken me frequently to the doctor and to the hospital, and I have read and meditated and shared… and yet instead of healing, it has escalated to a recent point in time, through body and mind, onwards to the hated signs of menopause.

I remember well my mother’s menopause years, and I shared with her too my fizzing female teenage hormonal hours, as we were spitting and spatting through the transitions of our respective walking womanhood journeys.

And so here am I, now going through that second transition myself and not, I have to say wearing it well…  My body creates chemicals and has suffered them into my blood stream, changing the body that I thought I controlled; and then those horrible hormonal spheres infiltrated me deeper and deeper and then the mind bubbles, burns and bends with evil thoughts, hates and intentions.

Nothing would stop this vile onset – not doctor drugs, not change of diet, not chatting it all out with my female friends, neither incanting affirmations, or seeking alternative therapies. I was just not ready to accept and heal.  And so it all escalated and exploded and I started to speak out, to let my untamed thoughts and feelings free, like misty grey moths flying to a dark moon.

From this loosened version of me, I’ve said some really real and sometimes harsh things to those in my orbit… “Oh my god – I am my mother!!!”  Suddenly from my body being lassoed by horrendous hormones, I was actually possessed by my mad mother and it felt so intense that I was her, wrapped simply in my own outer skin…  Her disappointment, her bile, her anger and frustration were me and it was hell.  Hot, hurting, tearful, bloated and menacing hell.

And going through this, I have thought and said aloud, again and again, I can now understand more why she acted in those loud ways of hers, and have so much more empathy for what she said, did and felt…

The thing is, I could hate that my mother was so outspoken, so I always chose, in the past, to be the opposite.  Yet despite the hell, through the twisting agonies of hardened emotions turning to spoken word, I would remember that I secretly envied that chiding freedom of voice she had, and her complete ‘take it or leave it’ attitude.  And so everything I have said through that demonic time, I do not regret.  It was all my truth, and it was time to burn its’ way out and to face and feel the heat of its’ consequences.

With heaving, seething hormones – decisions and doings became heavy and difficult as I crawled this satanic pathway.  I wonder would the world who shared my surface swannings about have guessed?   The proud white swan was gliding in sweet sight on still waters and yet paddling furiously and drowning under water and out of subtle sight…

And that has been the year of my body and mind… and yet too, what an absolutely awesome year…  Mum would be so very proud (and I like to think, IS proud…). ‘Her’ Sandra has published a book, appeared in famous places – in print and on airwaves.  And her Sandra won an Award and received it in a gorgeous dress, with fabulous shoes and applause and dancing.  She was always proud when I did good and she was proud when I looked good.  And her Sandra has coached and spoken and supported and laughed and written and achieved so much and had the most wonderful time; going along and giving her gratitude for a crazy and amazing existence both in time and in head space.

Yet there it all was, the worse of me, inside of me, frothing and flailing; and I had to come, eventually to my own stubborn resolution, not overtly sought, for I could not see the way out.

It happened as I was leading my group of gorgeous ‘Damsels in Success’ to their own conclusions, resolutions and light… then suddenly for me too, the light bulb snapped on and there it was… sweet and blessed relief and resolution.  Here was my delicious clarity – to embrace this transition, these lessons in life and to joyfully receive my healing.  This is my selfish / selfless reason for supporting, for I constantly crave the same succulent thing too…

Well that was one balmy evening, and the next morning there I was chatting on a radio show in a strange city, and she would so love that… And then, later, my footsteps took me towards a cathedral I had never passed the portals of before – and I was drawn in, inexorably and naturally.  It was time to absorb, time to reflect, to celebrate and to make my peace.  I lit a candle and breathed the sacred atmosphere in, feeling my mother comfortable and close.

I wandered on through this sacred space and there were just two stained glass windows.  They were installed in the year I was born – so my attention was piqued and caught, as was my heart as the light streamed through the glowing arches above me.  I read that they represented the journey from darkness to light… and they were of course, there just for me – my sign, my message, my seal on healing.

And I walked out of that perfect place into intense July sunlight… A year ago, on another such beautiful July day – we said farewell to the physical mother and celebrated her life… That whole day, with its’ sun and singing; family and friending; remembrance and reconciliation, was a gorgeous gift from God for me.  Now, four seasons later, I needed this day too: to remember my mother in every way, and to heal and to reconcile – both me and her…

So now I have turned my cathedral corner and am again walking in the glorious sunlight…

A whole year ago, at my mother’s final church service, I stood up to speak my piece and this came to me: “mother has a message for you all – she has had a word with God and arranged this gorgeous sunny weather as a special thank you for being here today…”

And that is how that ending began, and then how this ending ends…

With love from

      Sandra

Doubter and Daughter xx

There are more letters to my mother, along with more ‘Love Letters to Life’ to the people, phenomena and happenings that make up my Peachey Life. You can get hold of your copy here…  or else from Amazon (in both Kindle and Paperback formats) and from all good book shops!

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The Journey into Light