It is the first day of Paryushan for Jains. (My religion is Jainism, a little known religion originating in India, I am married to a Hindu, so I tend to straddle both worlds).
This 8 day long festival is unlike most religious festivals I know of, for it involves introspection, meditation, self control, penance and forgiveness.
I know, I know, for someone who claims to be an atheist or not religious, I talk an awful lot about religion. I also think even more about religion and where I stand with it. I stand usually forever confused.
I have often stripped away the rituals that have invaded the religion over the centuries and tried to reach the basic tenets, non violence, peaceful co-existence not just with people but the environment, spirituality and the essence of doing no wrong. I try to live by those principles and be a good human being first and foremost but yet I know I fall short.
Anyway, these 8 days, I dont follow the dietary guidelines or the fasting rituals anymore. I may not goto the temple but I do force myself to reflect.
I do force myself to reflect on the year that has just passed, to question whether I was a good human being, whether I have done everything I could to help people and tried to not intentionally hurt anyone.
The most important thing, I try to forgive. I try to forgive those grudges I have long held, to let go of the anger that is often building up inside me. When I utter those words out "Michami Dukkadam" I expect to honestly beg forgiveness from the world for intentionally or unintentinally causing harm and when I utter them in front of the mirror, to forgive myself.
For the last few years, just like this one, I know that I will not be forgiving myself. I am not ready. I am not ready to forgive myself and my body for the pain that it has caused me and those around me. I havent forgiven myself for failing at pregnancy, for its not motherhood I failed at. I never had a chance.
I will try, like the rest of the year, I will try harder during this 8 days to try and let go of some of that anger that is always simmering just under the edge, the anger that uses progesterone as an excuse to erupt.
Today as I began reflecting on my year, I realized I have one more person I am going to struggle to forgive, my brother. He has rail roaded and bull dozed over everyone's emotions in my family. He has hurt everyone and I am more angry over the pain my family felt than the pain I may have felt. I know I will not come close to forgiving him in these 8 days but I have to start, for me, not for him.
He doesnt seek my forgiveness but I have to give it to him because its not fair to me to hold this anger or pain within me.
So I am going to spend the next 8 days thinking about my past year, my ttc journey and trying to let go of something I have clasped so tightly my proverbial knuckles have turned white. I may fail but I have to try.