Feb 15

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The beauty of watching a mind shift

Usually I title these posts using the word “miracle.”  I don’t mean to imply that this one isn’t a miracle in my world.  However, I watched something happen in someone else’s world this evening and I can’t assume that it was a miracle for her.  It was, however, an incredibly beautiful thing for me to witness.

I spoke tonight at a local chapter of Altrusa, a civic organization made up of business women that does a lot of wonderful charity and community support work. I was there to give a motivational talk about ensuring that you take care of yourself when you’re in the midst of supporting and caring for others. As a part of my talk, I mentioned some of the messages that I’d heard about my body from my father while I was growing up (chief among them – “If you don’t have pretty legs, boys won’t like you!”) I talked about how I used those old voices to continue to torture myself as an adult, and then about some tools that we can use to quiet those old voices.

After the talk, a woman came up to me with pain and grief written across her face. In a quiet voice, she asked, “It sounds from your talk like you forgave your father, but I don’t understand how. How can you forgive those things? Everything I read tells me that I’m supposed to forgive my parents, but I don’t think I can do it.”

It took a few minutes of talking for me to hear the disconnect clearly enough to be able to address it.  Finally I said to her, “You don’t have to forgive your parents for what they did – the words they said to you were cruel and that’s not okay. But you can forgive them for not knowing any better.  They were doing the best they could.  Unfortunately it wasn’t as good as you’d want it to be, but they were doing the best they knew how.”

Her whole face changed. The look of misery dropped for a moment and I saw a flash of understanding and peace that was so beautiful it took my breath away.

I hold no illusions that I was the cause of her shift, nor that her life has changed completely. She was ready and available to hear what she needed to hear in that moment, so she’s the one who did the work.  And it will require more work on her part to integrate what she heard and understood tonight.  But that first moment of clarity and understanding is EXACTLY why I do what I do.

It gives me such joy to see that moment when the facade drops away and the naked soul is visible for a moment.  It happens periodically in my workshops, and those are the moments that I keep returning to as my touchstones.

I’m so grateful to have had another of those moments tonight.

About the author

Leah Carey

Leah Carey is the Chief Miracle Officer of The Miracle Journal, where she writes about the large and small miracles that happen in her life every day. She is a life coach, speaker, journalist, freelance writer, and lover of life. In all of those pursuits, she works with people to identify what’s already right in your life so you can build an even more joyful and fulfilling daily experience from that foundation. You can find her on Facebook, , Twitter, and YouTube.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.leahcarey.com/themiraclejournal/2011/02/15/the-beauty-of-watching-a-mind-shift/


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  1. Maribeth

    I was there last night and heard you too. Funny thing was, I was supposed to leave early, but decided to stay and listen and I am so glad I did! My Dad was your Dad and I still carry those scars 50 years later, and still struggle, but this morning I felt a lightness, an ease I hadn’t known in years.
    In fact, it got me thinking about my own daughter, who is so wonderful, and yet struggles so much with her self esteem. What did I say or do that could have contributed to her self pain?
    Thank you for talking to us. Thank you for saying the words, that I needed to hear.

    1. Leah Carey

      Dearest Maribeth,
      Thank you so much for writing. I am touched and honored by your words.

      As you think about your daughter, remember that none of us goes through our life without incurring some wounds – it’s part of the process of living. That doesn’t condone being malicious, but it does mean that as we go through our days, we may say or do something that another person interprets in a way completely unlike how we meant it and hurt will creep in. We are each doing the best that we know how in the moment.

      I hope that we will meet again soon. Sending you a hug,

  2. William

    Dear Leah,

    Having recently found your miracle journal I went back to Jan 1 and started reading forward. This, my favorite entry so far, touches me so tenderly it brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for putting words to the disconnect that I too have struggled with. Overflowing with gratitude -W

  3. Leah Carey

    William, I am honored and touched. Thank you so much for letting me know.

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