Tag Archives: forgiveness

Scale Model

Squabble – Word of the Day

P9250446.jpg

Innocent little things, not so long ago they were in the incubator, now they’re happily fosicking around the yard together, but soon they’ll squabble and fight over scraps, worms, seeds and more. Like any young, they learn to play and fight, and they learn to negotiate life’s maze. Squabbling is petty, but part of living, and as we mature we have opportunity to learn from such behaviour, what is important and what we can let go. If we don’t we may sadly remain petulant, enmeshed in anger, jealousy, or bitterness and miss out on the joys of life and relationship. Squabbles are an opportunity for children to learn to work it out rather than escalating into something intractable.

Pity there isn’t much in the way of leadership at national and international level by way of example. We seem to have a gaggle of immature, petulant politicians. But the same could be said for some in the celebrity circus (although the line is now blurred between civic and celebrity), or the sporting world. Sad how the back yard or the school yard squabble has found a place on the international stage.

But then that is not so strange, if the model at home is no better then why should we be surprised by public displays of such behaviour by adults? Unless I take steps to resolve or even prevent squabbles in my own life then what right do I have to whinge about the behaviour of politicians and celebrities? None. As Gandhi said: “Be the change you want to see in the world.” He also said: “Whenever you are confronted with an opponent, conquer him/her with love.” And of course, love invokes forgiveness, the serum, the antidote to squabbles of any kind.

More serum in the world please!

ivy chokes the tree
the cherry blossom smiles
the pink heart of love

©Paul Cannon

Paul,

pvcann.com

11 Comments

Filed under life, mindfulness, nature, permaculture, quote

Guilty?

via Daily Prompt: Guilty

Rubin-Hurricane-Carter-be-008.jpg

Former boxer Rubin “Hurricane” Carter (Photo: Guardian.com) released after two trials and conviction when a US Federal court set aside the convictions.

Carter was no angel, as a teen he had been arrested for petty crimes, and was later discharged from the military as unsuitable given that he had been up on four charges while serving in West Germany. His first wife divorced him due to his infidelity, a girlfriend accused him of assault. So he wasn’t a perfect citizen by any means (I haven’t met too many perfect citizens).

However, the murder charges for the shooting in 1966 at the Lafeyette Bar in New Jersey were pinned on Cater and his friend Artis. Subsequent trial and later appeals showed that police had not collected crucial evidence (no finger prints, no gunshot residue test), witnesses were inconsistent (until the first trial when they magically became consistent), and witness statements didn’t conclusively point to Carter or Artis, alibi material from Carter and Artis was ignored, the alleged guns used by Carter and Artis were only admitted to the evidence clerk five days after the shooting and arrest. The two main “witnesses” recanted at the beginning of the second trial, but this was dismissed, and Cater was convicted again.

After a campaign by supporters, and including Muhammad Ali and Bob Dylan, in the late 70s the appeal to the US Federal court was succesful and in 1985 Carter was freed.

Rubin Carter was black, what else mattered in getting a conviction? His rights (even if he had been guilty) were trashed by the police and court process. Sadly there are many Rubin Carters across the world: In Western Australia the cases of John Button (1963), Darryl Beamish (1959), and Andrew Mallard (1994) are cases that send a chill down your spine. Button and Beamish were fortunate to escape hanging (Button received a manslaughter charge while Beamish was given life), Mallard served twelve years. All three were exonerated, the appeal process showing that police and prosecution had failed at every turn, and in Mallard’s case had pressured witness statements.

In the UK and Australia until the end of capital punishment there were several posthumous pardons for those wrongly convicted and hanged, in the US it is still going on. It is a sickening thought that one minute you’re minding your own business and the next you’re being wrongfully convicted, and in some countries that would mean also facing the death penalty. Although science has enabled better evidencing of crime, it is still not fool-proof – not even DNA testing, so, although the problem has been minimized it has not yet been eradicated. And this is more than just human error, in many cases of wrongful conviction there has been a miscarriage of justice, willful and determined bias, racial prejudice, typecasting, leading witnesses, evidence tampering, hiding evidence and more, none of which is simple human error. Guilt should not, cannot be pronounced simply because you want somone to be guilty, someone to suffer, to pay. And jumping to conclusions is unhelpful to everyone.

To use the term guilty is a heavy pronouncement and should never be done in haste, for any circumstance. I’ve seen miscarriage of justice while working in schools, churches, community groups, sports teams, government agencies, in families and between friends. The end result is devastating, but more so when it is proved to be wrong. Yet we are all guilty of something, and there’s the clue! Who should rush to cast the first stone? Jesus said that only those without sin/wrong in their life had the right to punish another found guilty, knowing that no such person existed. The point being that we’re all guilty of something, so forgiveness must be a starting point (and which is fundamental to Restorative Justice) and self reflection must be part of the guide in dealing with those who have wronged us. The more we are conscious of our own motivations and actions, our own shortcomings,  the less we are likely to be baying for the blood of another.

For good measure – a clip of Bob Dylan playing his “Hurricane” song live, the lyrics are confronting.

Paul,

pvcann.com

 

 

20 Comments

Filed under history, life, mindfulness, Restorative Justice

Thwart Across, Side to Side

via Daily Prompt: Thwart

DSC01068-500.jpg

These boats have timber seats, planks thwart the boat. Otherwise known as thwart seats because they cross from side to side. They are a seat , but only rudimentary, their true purpose is to act as a reinforcing brace that helps provide a rigidity to the boat’s frame, so a thwart seat is a double-bonus, seat and brace in one.

I came to this example of thwart while at the same time I had been reflecting on forgiveness. The more common understanding of thwart is to obstruct, to stymie, or block someone or an action. When we don’t or won’t forgive, then we thwart ourselves, we block ourselves.

There are many serious quotes on forgiveness, one that I like is from the Greater Good magazine from UC Berkeley: “Psychologists generally define forgiveness as a conscious, deliberate decision to release feelings of resentment or vengeance toward a person or group who has harmed you, regardless of whether they actually deserve your forgiveness.” The upshot of this is that we unblock when we forgive, we help and enable ourselves to move on from the anger and pain. So forgiveness is about ourselves and not the other. When I forgive, the other may never know, but in the act of forgiving, even from afar, I am indeed releasing the anger, the revenge and the pain, I’m stepping away from the negative. And as a result I feel better, whole. And sometimes that enables me to reframe a relational conflict and bring healing into it, so that there can be reconciliation. Again, that’s because I have done the work in myself, I am transformed and able to meet the other, to enable the other, as such it is a double-bonus.

Forgiveness is not unlike the thwart seat, it spans from one side of a relationship to another, it bridges opinion and blockage, and most importantly, forgiveness supports me, and helps to hold me together when I’d rather take negative attitudes or actions. Without the thwart seat of forgiveness in our lives there is nowhere to place ourselves in conflict that has any positive way forward. As vessels we are fragile beings and we really do need forgiveness to be able to reconcile, heal and grow. Forgiveness is a gift to our selves, and yet also to the other, even though they may never know. Forgiveness strengthens us.

Paul,

pvcann.com

21 Comments

Filed under beach, boats, life, mindfulness, psychology, self-development

Who do you Judge?

I read “The Shack” years ago, and more recently re-read it as part of a book/study group. I recently watched the movie, which I thought encapsulated the book really well, in fact better than the book in some ways. It is a story, an allegory of sorts, of human meets the trinity in the midst of tragedy and grief. But whether or not you hold to the christian faith (and if you do, it is refreshing because it breaks down racial and cultural stereotypes that have been distorted and politicised) it doesn’t matter because (for me) teh penultiamte scene is the scene where Mack meets Wisdom (Sophia) and she calls him on blame, projection, and judging. Mack is consumed by grief, anger, and blames God for the death of his daughter. His consuming feelings are destroying his relationships. this excerpt from the movie is powerful in that we are confronted with our desire yet incapability of true judgement. From a Buddhist perspective, it would lean to non-harming and non-attachment.

The point is, we all tend to judge, we all blame, but can we step aside from this? Forgiveness doesn’t bring back the dead or undo the negatives in our lives, but Wisdom asserts that we can transform, simply through forgiveness, which doesn’t change events in the past, but sure gives positive opportunity to move on into the future. This is a must for every justice system, every community group, every family, every individual. Restorative Justice, at its core,  is founded on this principle. When we let go of the bile and hate, when we realise we cannot get better by punishing others or getting revenge, then there is an inner tranformation, which is also lived and shared outwardly. Forgiveness isn’t giving a free kick to someone who has wronged us, it is letting ourselves off the hook of anger and hate, it unblocks us and sets us free to live. I’ll let you know when I’ve perfected the art of not judging, but for now I’m in training.

(Video: Youtube, The Shack, Judgement)

Paul,

pvcann.com

8 Comments

Filed under Alt-Religion, community, life, Philosophy/Theology, Restorative Justice, Spirituality