Likely the period of most profound growth for me was time spent immersed in learning who I was and coming face to face with ‘what was and is’ while at “The Meadows” in Wickenburg Arizona. Those weeks in the high Sonora Desert in 2007 were eye-opening and life changing beyond anything I can describe.
When I think of the experience, the first things that come to mind are:
1) Life is pretty much what you make it into.
2) Letting the past go is critical to having a future.
3) People I care about and those who care about me are what really matters.
On point number three I was exposed at The Meadows to a loosely structured way of making amends. The process can those willing to listen and hear what I have to say, but is not sure thing. However it almost always works in helping me make peace with myself.
To verbally attempt to make amends all that’s needed is someone willing to hear me out, even if they can barely stand to do so. Attempting to make amends with another who does not want to be around me and holds great bitterness and hatred will only serve to make the chasm between us wider and deeper.
The amends process is mentioned often in recovery and self-help groups although the only “written form” I am aware of is the sheet just below.
The process is to over time thoughtfully fill out the ‘amends sheet’ and share the contents with the person you hurt, offended or wronged. Sometimes sharing it with another is impossible and my healing comes from the focus to complete the form. At other times it will make no difference and the abhorrence the person feels will be unaffected.
There are other occasions when a someone considers what was shared and accepts the amends somewhere in the future. And there are the instances when an amends makes an instant difference. It has amazed me how a person who could hardly stand to be in my presence softened and connected with me again when I spoke my amends. The “Likes/Loves” section can lend a lot toward helping reestablish some equilibrium between people.
It is important to remember an amend is not just an apology, but instead is about establishing justice as much as possible. If the indiscretion can’t be paid back or rebuilt, then symbolically restoration needs to be made. Nothing says the latter stronger than a true change in the behavior and future actions of the offender.
Sometimes it makes no sense to make an ‘in-person” amends as more damage could be done by it. At others amends are impossible because a person one hurt has passed on or is impossible to locate. Then a “living” amends can help. This simply means living differently. Amends are about a genuine change in behavior instead of the patchwork of an apology.
The ten tips below about making amends can be found here in depth LINK
1. Face your own feelings first… it’s not always self-evident.
2. Understand what it takes to make amends. Go beyond desire to cover up shame.
3. Write down the reasons to make amends. Get out of your head and on paper.
4. Look over your reasons… See patterns emerging?
5. Practice what you need to say in your head. Prepare your notes (form).
6. Express genuine regret and provide measurable promises to change.
7. Decide to meet … face-to-face (at) a good, neutral place (if it makes sense)
8. Don’t overdo it! Avoid making assumptions about their feelings or perspective.
9. Keep it simple and to the point.
10. Resolve to move on. Whatever the outcome… forgive yourself.
Today’s blog came from looking for a file in my documents and stumbling across “The Meadow’s Amends Form”. It has served me so well in making peace with others and myself. The greatest benefit of each attempted amends, whether accepted well or badly by another, is the healing that has come to me. For every one I have made and all those I yet will, I am very grateful for the process I was taught its many benefits.
The injured party does not want to be compensated because he has been wronged;
he wants to be healed because he has been hurt.
NOTE: To save the form right click on it at the top of the blog and select ‘save picture as”.