Life Practice: Making Amends

Artist Holton Rower taped this sign in his studio years ago: a simple, powerful practice to constantly clear misunderstandings or hurts.

Recently, we read literary critic D.G. Myers description of a practice he’s taken up since hearing of his diagnosis terminal prostate cancer:

In the past few weeks I have been approaching ex-friends whom I have damaged to ask their forgiveness. I’ve been behaving, in short, as if dying were a twelve-step program. Step 8: “Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.” Step 9: “Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.” Not that I mind having enemies. One person whom I approached recently accused me of “basking in self-importance,” which is one possible way, I suppose, of describing the tireless knowledge that death is near. But there are other persons, including some with whom I have had very public fallings-out, whom I don’t want as enemies when I pass away. To die without accepting responsibility for the damage I have done to relationships that were once meaningful to me would be shameful and undeniably self-important.

Two courageous, head-on ways of facing and healing the inevitable errors of one’s life.

via The Dish

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