An undeserved firing, a cheating partner, a false accuser, a friend who never pays back money lent – why is it nearly impossible to let go of the injustices we have endured at the hands of others? Why do we waste time ruminating on people who don’t deserve another minute’s thought – the liars and the cheats and the backstabbers? We fixate on and revisit these feelings of betrayal because we wholeheartedly believe in the rules of balanced and fair conduct. When someone deceptively tips the fairness scale in their favor, we want repercussions for the cheaters’ and charlatans’ duplicity. Once we have recognized their deceit, we desperately attempt to rebalance the fairness equilibrium. Becoming consumed by our efforts to uncover their motivation, we endeavor to understand the why, feverishly seeking justice in a situation that is intrinsically unjust. Haven’t we all, at some point, been incapable of spitting the betrayal bit from our teeth, even though we know it’s causing us further anguish?
This unrelenting quest for fairness, sadly, puts our own precious life on hold. Unable to move forward, we spend hours rehashing the details with our friends and therapists, conjuring schemes to rebalance the scales by stooping to the betrayer’s level or questioning if we somehow deserve what happened to us. To step off this hamster wheel, we need to move past our inherent need to comprehend these injustices. Squandering minutes contemplating motives or reliving the injustice merely exacerbates our wounds and is ineffective in moving the scales. How do we begin to rebalance?
In spite of what you may believe, forgiveness is not proclaiming, “I forgive you because I didn’t warrant being treated any better” or “I am releasing you because it is okay that you did this to me.” It was NOT okay – it was NEVER okay. Forgiveness is saying, “I release you because you are incapable of giving anything better, whether through your ignorance, intolerance, mental defect, or circumstance.”
So, how do we unearth forgiveness for the undeserving? By sending that shithead all the love we can muster. Whoa, I know; it’s not easy. There’s a Buddhist meditation called Metta meditation (Lovingkindness meditation) that encourages the meditator to first focus on someone they love deeply and meditate on the words, “May you be well, may you be happy, may you be free from suffering.” Next, they focus on someone they feel neutral about – the barista, the dog walker, the person jogging down the street – and repeat the same words. Finally, the meditator choses someone who deserves their anger. They gather up all the bits of love in their heart and send that loving energy towards the undeserving, feeling the words, “May you be well, may you be happy, may you be free from suffering.” The meditator continues with the practice – days, weeks, months, years – until they can truly muster lovingkindness towards this person.
Once we can find love in our heart for an undeserving asshole, we can find love for anyone and everyone. It’s a sense of mastery – and then we are free.
I’m still practicing.
**Inspired by Phil Stutz…and Betty Broderick
LIGHT AS AIR LEMON CHIFFON PIE
Spring captured in a pie. This light and airy pie doesn’t skimp on tart, mouth-watering, fresh lemon.
- 1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs (about 11 graham crackers)
- 7 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- ¼ cup cold water
- 2 ½ teaspoons (1 envelope) unflavored gelatin
- 1 cup sugar, divided in half
- 4 large eggs, yolks and whites separated (room temperature)
- ½ cup fresh lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 Tablespoon lemon zest
- Freshly whipped sweetened whipped cream
- Combine graham cracker crumbs and melted butter. Press along bottom and sides of a 9” pie plate. Set aside.
- Pour cold water into a small bowl. Stir in gelatin until fully mixed and let stand while you make the custard.
- Meanwhile, whisk ½ cup sugar, yolks, lemon juice, and salt together in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until it is the consistency of custard, about 10 minutes. Add lemon zest and softened gelatin and stir until fully incorporated. Pour into a large bowl and set aside to cool while you make the meringue.
- In a stand mixer, beat egg whites on medium speed until foamy. Gradually add remaining ½ cup sugar, one tablespoon at a time. Increase speed to high and continue beating until firm peaks form. Fold ⅓ of meringue into custard to lighten and then fold in remaining meringue until no large blobs of white meringue remain, but do not knock all the air out.
- Spoon filling into crust and refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours. Garnish with sweetened whipped cream.
By adding about ⅓ of meringue to the lemon custard first and then adding the remaining, the two textures blend without overly deflating the meringue.
This meringue is uncooked. If salmonella is an issue in your area, use pasteurized egg whites.