Brian’s Reflection: Thursday, February 23, 2012
Finish each day and be done with it.
You have done what you could.
Some blunders and absurdities have crept in;
forget them as soon as you can.
Tomorrow is a new day.
You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit
to be encumbered with your old nonsense.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
The problem, of course, is the second line: “You have done what you could.” Most of the time I think I haven’t really done what I could – that I surely could have done more. But, when we think this way, maybe we are being too hard on ourselves? Maybe.
Whatever else we may be being or doing, what we are certainly doing by holding on to the past is limiting our possibilities for today, as Emerson points out.
We need the freedom to accept the blunders and the absurdities, or our laziness, or cowardliness, or whatever has gotten in the way of being true to our heart and spirit and love. If we don’t forgive ourselves and “forget them as soon as we can”, we just spiral further down.
Don Miguel Ruiz, in his “Four Agreements”, says (I think it’s number 4) “Always do your best”. He knows that even if we try, we will not always succeed, and will have to forgive ourselves. But his point is the same as Emerson’s: if we try to do our best, and accept our failures, we can start each day unencumbered with our old nonsense. On the Christian path, this is the core pattern of Death and Resurrection.
When I was a monk, we ended the day with Compline. It contained Silence to ponder what our day had been like, a “confession of sin”, and an absolution. We “forgot”, and prepared for the new day with serenity and a “high spirit”.
Good advice. Do your best. Forgive the failures. Embrace the New Day afresh.