Wednesday, March 4, 2009


It has been 'one of those days' where everything will not go as planned and where I am at eternal war with myself over certain family issues, so this could not have arrived at a better time...

Young @ Heart by Pam Young

The Potato Report

Last week I wrote to you all about my challenge of forgiving a couple of people I've had ill feelings toward. If you read my essay you know I cut a potato in half to represent each person and carved their names in the halves to keep on my desk until I could forgive them. Here is my Potato Report.

February 24, sent Young @ Heart to Kelly February 25, Halves are still on my desk. They are very scary looking, and are starting to smell like dirty feet or dirty laundry that's been in the hamper too long.

February 26, Halves are getting soft and dark. I have an Aha Moment: It is AS ridiculous to be mad at the potato on my desk, as it is to be mad at the people it represents. There is NO difference. Is it the potato's fault that my office smells like dirty feet and there are Nats circling? No, the potato is just being what it is. If I allow the potato to stay on my desk it's my fault. Is it the people's fault (who the potato represents) that I've been upset and angry? No, they are just being who they are. If I allow the people the potato represents to pull me from my joy, it's my fault. The potato on my desk has done nothing to me that I need to forgive, any more than the people the potato represents have done anything to me that I need to forgive. There is nothing or no one to forgive, but me for having bad feelings about the potato and the people the potato represents. In fact the potato that represents the people has been taking up way more energy in my mind than the people the potato represents. That tickles me! It shows me how silly this whole thing was in the first place and is now. Every bit of this has been in my mind! Who can I blame? Me. Who can I forgive? ME! Who loves me? ME.

February 27, The potato halves are still on my desk only because it is very interesting to observe. It is still teaching me some stuff in a very humorous albeit smelly way. Right now I am actually enjoying looking at them! They are funny!

February 28, I received this email through FlyLady. Dear FlyLady and Pam, The essay on forgiveness couldn't have come at a better time. An employee of mine is having trouble forgiving the former management staff of some pretty horrible things they said and did to her. It has been over a year now and she has been feeling as though it is time to forgive and has seen how holding on to this is affecting her health. However, even with this knowledge she is having trouble letting go. Moments before the essay reached my inbox, she came to me talking about how her and her husband might be getting divorced. After reading my email, I printed the forgiveness essay for her to read. Later that night she sent a text message thanking me for sharing the article with her. She said she was beginning to see things in a different light

March 3, I had my baked potato (my reward for letting these two people free) but I have to report the potato halves are still on my desk! They have dried up! They don't stink and there are no longer any Nats flying around my office. I think they are in the process of petrifying! Maybe when we get our petty grievances out in the open (as I did with my essay and cutting open the potato) those grievances get a chance to just dry up! It's when we keep things secret and pretend we're fine that things fester and decay. One of my princesses sent me this: "Forgiveness is giving up all hope of having had a better past."— Anne Lamott

This has really been fun and you know my saying; If it isn't fun, it won't get done.

And a prior email (which I missed - eeeeek!!)

Young at Heart - Learning to Forgive will Lighten the Load

Young @ Heart by Pam Young

Is there anything ickier than a rotten potato? There's that saying,"one rotten apple spoils the barrel," well give me a rotten apple anyday! One rotten potato affects all the potatoes that are next to it in a sack and if left, that one potato would affect the whole bag. That usually doesn't happen because of the smell. I don't think Icould let a whole bag "go" because just the stench of one rotten potato is enough for a call to action.

I got an email from a woman who said her teacher (spiritual) asked thestudents to bring a clear plastic bag and a sack of potatoes to class. They were told to write the name of every person they had not forgiven on each potato. Some of the bags were quite heavy. They had to carry their bag with them everywhere, putting it beside their bed at night, on the car seat when driving, next to their desk at work until they could forgive the people the potatoes represented. "The hassle of lugging it around made it clear, what a weight I was carrying spiritually, and how I had to pay attention to it all the time to not forget, and keep leaving it in embarrassing places," she wrote. Naturally, the condition of the potatoes would deteriorate to a disgusting gunk if you didn't let go and forgive. This is a great metaphor for the price we pay for keeping our grievances.

So after reading the email I thought of myself as a potato who has some forgiving to do. There are two potatoes I can think of without any effort. Now if I don't forgive these potatoes I myself as a potato am rotting on the inside and I affect those who live in the sack with me because I'm not as totally loving as I could be. Terry's the only one in the sack with me, (ahemm) and I know he is affected by my blame of these two potatoes I haven't forgiven or seen in five years!

I decided to cut a russet in half and put it on my desk with the namesof the "unforgiven" on the halves. They are going to sit on my desk until I have completely forgiven them. The halves will show me what's happening on the inside of me. They will also illustrate what I'm doing to the potato I love and share my life with not to mention my potato friends and family who have had to listen to the tales of thesetwo "evil" potatoes who have "seemingly" wronged me. I also know I can't afford to let this metaphor rot before my eyes AND nose.

I will report back, what's happening on my desk (and in me), but I challenge you to join me in this experiment. I intend to have fun with this. I have even come up with a reward for the forgiving. A baked potato is one of my favorite foods, so I am going to bake thebiggest potato I can find and load it (butter, sour cream, bacon and chives) in celebration of the forgiving; until then, no baked potatoes. I know that forgiving is a natural attitude we were born with and getting in touch with that attitude can happen in a blink or a lifetime, it's up to us how long it takes. I have faith in myself that as the russet deteriorates and the carrot of a baked potato hangs before me it will be closer to a blink than a lifetime.


rosebud101 said...

That is fabulous! Thanks for sharing!

Sylvie Elise Lansdowne said...

I loved this. I have some people I need to forgive, but it's going to take a while. I might be ready for this at some point though.

In the meantime, I'm just thinking it would be funny to represent them as rotting potatoes in my mind (but that wasn't really the point of this was it??!!)