I was exceptionally fortunate to have Mary Olive Hill as my spiritual advisor for 7 years before she died at age 90.
Her main topic was always forgiveness.
It took me a long time to realize what that meant. Not just forgiving people, but forgiving everything for being the way it is. That cracked window, that aching joint, that whiny neighbor. They very shittiness of life in a human body must be forgiven.
In reality you can either do something about things that bother you or not do something, but just hating doesn't serve any purpose so you might as well just get over being pissy about it.
That's why the serenity prayer is honestly one of the wisest things ever written:
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.
That about sums it up. Really. The spiritual wisdom of the ages in 3 lines. Nifty.
But back to Mary Hill.
New people in class always objected to the idea of forgiveness. "How is someone supposed to forgive Hitler?" they would ask angrily.
On these occasions, Mary had a great little smile.
"Don't start with Hitler," she would say. "Start with your mother-in-law."
As usual, Mary Hill was right. I may not be able to change the great injustices of the world, but there are plenty of small annoyances to work on in the mean time.
After just 9 short years of spiritual practice, I can usually drive to work without getting angry at the idiot drivers around me. I always was a great student.
What do you need to forgive lately?