Thursday, September 16, 2010


Educator and author Parker Palmer has written that the only real sin is “conspiring in one’s own self-diminishment.” There has always been something about that notion that has struck a deep chord in me. As most of my readers will have heard, the word “sin” is a centuries old archery term which literally means to “miss the mark.” While it is spiritually incorrect to speak of sin to most New Thought audiences, Mr. Palmer gives us a workable and meaningful definition that when coupled with the archery term opens the door to a radical clearing of what keeps us in the throws of conspiring in our own self- diminishment.

At the time of this writing, we are in the ten days between the Jewish High Holy Days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. This period of time is termed the “Days of Awe,” and represents the opportunity to forgive whatever has occurred since last the book of life was sealed. The book is re-opened on the New Year, and we are given the gift to look within our personal books of life to see where we have missed the mark in the past year. As the book will be re-sealed at the end of Yom Kippur, that day in particular is spent in fasting, self reflection, and prayer. While I was not born into the Jewish tradition, I have observed these days of Awe for many years. I have come to think of it as my “fall house cleaning.” I give myself the gift of extra practice and contemplation, and pay particular attention to the ways in which I have conspired in my own self-diminishment. I reflect energetically into the spirit of the Kol Nidre prayer which is chanted Erev Yom Kippur. This haunting prayer seeks forgiveness for pretending to be what we are not, and for denying what we really are. Historically, this remembers the Spanish Jews who were forced to pretend they were Christians in order to spare their own lives. The Jews pray for forgiveness for breaking promises they couldn’t keep, often due to circumstances beyond their control. For me, it is a self-forgiveness prayer for all the times that I have pretended to be less than what I am by virtue of my Sourced creation. For the times I have played small, and believed and lived from my own self- lies. For the times I have gotten so attached to my own self-aversion that I hide the True Light of my Being from my self and from the world. For the countless times I have betrayed my own promises to treat myself with more compassion, kindness, and merciful respect.

Before the book of life is sealed this week-end, I acknowledge the times I have given my power and authority to an outer source, and then blamed the effects rather than my own unskillful ways. I forgive myself for believing the lies of a bigoted world, and for withholding my gifts in fear of outer criticism and rejection. I am willing to own, during these days of Awe, that no one can criticize, reject, minimize, or diminish me without my willing cooperation. I forgive me the times that I have withheld, recoiled, and pulled back from giving my love fully and freely, and then self-suffering from the contraction of my own closed heart. I forgive me the subtle energetic suicide of my own self aversion, and the sabotaging ways in which I have dimmed my dreams. I forgive me the grip of grievance, the resistance of resentment, and the strangling chokehold of self-righteous unwillingness. I forgive me the disowning of my inherent power to heal, to uplift, and to shine forth as Truth in any circumstance, situation, or relationship. I forgive the unconsciousness and unskillfulness that forgetfulness of Truth brings, and I ask forgiveness of all others I may have offended or hurt since last Yom Kippur.

I forgive me now the many times I have missed the mark of my own Holiness, Worthiness, and Perfection. I forgive the ways both subtle and concrete that I have conspired in my own self diminishment, the ways in which I have pretended to be less than I truly am. And as the book of Life is sealed, I vow to live more fully aligned with the Truth of my Being. I devote myself to uplifting me and all those around me to a place congruent with the Truth of our Sourced Isness. I now conspire to call forth the very best in myself and in all those I encounter. In doing so, I join the Universal conspiracy of bringing forth the very best that this sweet New Year has to offer, and in embodying the liberating Truth that deep forgiveness reveals.