Explorations and Reflections

on awakening the true self  in education

  • Mick Scott

I grappled with Maya Angelou’s quote for months: “If you must look back, do so forgivingly."

6 months ago, “forgiveness” held no practical significance for me. It was conceptual, and since I didn't think I held long grudges, I didn't think it applied to me.

When I added compassionate self-forgiveness to my toolbox, however, forgiveness became quite powerful for me in ways I didn't anticipate. Here’s how:

The truth of it is that there is no changing the past. Events occurred. Things happened. It’s done.

The past is never the problem. The past is perfect.

Problems lie in our judgments and opinions about the past. These judgments and opinions live in the present.

The past does have impacts - things like consequences and outcomes, physical and psychological trauma, etc. However, these aren’t a problem either. They’re not bad or wrong either.

Problems only lie in our judgments and opinions about these impacts. These judgments and opinions live in the present.

Many of us drink poison and hope that it fixes our problems.

We drink the poisons of resentment, anger, and justification. We drink the poisons of shame, regret, and guilt. We drink these poisons over and over again, hoping that it somehow heals our wounds.

We drink these poisons and hope someone else apologizes, feels ashamed, learns, dies, or fixes the problem. We drink poison and hope it absolves us of our sins.

Forgiveness is the alternative to poison. Where anger, resentment, hate, shame, and guilt are poison, forgiveness is a healing elixir.

Forgiveness is a key to unlocking acceptance and its much more powerful siblings: love and gratitude.

Forgiveness is an action. Forgiveness is a commitment. Forgiving is a way of being.

Forgiveness is a willingness to find peace, love, and gratitude within ourselves about others, ourselves, and the past.

Forgiveness seems like a gift we give to others, and sometimes it is. However:

Forgiveness is always a gift we give ourselves.

Stop drinking the poisons of shame, regret, anger, resentment. Instead, forgive.

“I forgive myself for doing that.”

“I forgive myself for saying that.”

“I forgive myself for thinking that.”

“I forgive them for doing that.”

“I forgive them for saying that.”

“I forgive them for thinking that.”

And along with those words, bring in some feeling. Feel some compassion. Feel some love. Feel some relaxation and some release. Feel some letting go.

What I love about forgiveness is that it brings me to what really matters and to the ultimate access to freedom, opportunity, and possibility:

This moment is perfect.

After all, the only place this moment ever occurs as imperfect, screwed up, or wrong is in our own judgments and opinions.

Compassionate forgiveness - forgiving ourselves, forgiving others - doesn't change the past. But it does change the present and the future.

The present is where life is really happening anyway.

Thanks so much for reading. ❤️

  • Mick Scott

It was the middle of a rainy, windy Saturday and we just finished hour 6 and mile 9 of riding through Baltimore. The students and the vehicle were doing great, but the kids just fought their way up a long hill to the top of Patterson Park. They were exhausted.

Standing there catching our breath, a student standing next to me said “I’m so proud of this vehicle!”

This student had never used a bandsaw before. He’d never used a drill press, never welded, never used an angle grinder, zip ties, or socket wrenches. He'd never built something so practical and so collaboratively creative. He learned all those things, and the project worked - it worked well.

This student was the only sophomore on a team of seniors, and he kept showing up. He was quiet, yet he’d ask questions and give his ideas. He was at times daunted, yet he participated fully. He didn't know how it would turn out, and he didn't know how to create a path to fulfilling on a vision, yet he kept showing up.

One of humankind’s superpowers is our ability to think. Mostly, we use this superpower to keep ourselves safe - physically and socially. It’s a really good thing that we do this!

However, most of us leave untouched our greatest creative thinking capacity: the ability to create an all-encompassing, life-giving Why.

No matter how wet, cold, or worn out we get, when life is being lived in service of our Why, it’s worth it.

Our Why is worth our fears, and our Why is worth our discomfort. Our Why is worth continually learning, growing, trying, and failing. Our Why is worth our succeeding, and our Why is worthy of our pride.

When our Why is clear enough, it can give us life in any moment. It gives us a reason to forgive, a reason to give, a reason to lighten up, and a reason to live full out.

My Why: to elevate the well-being of all life on Earth.

What’s yours?

Thanks so much for reading. ❤️


Here's a picture of most of our team around mile 3 yesterday (I can't show student faces):

  • Mick Scott

I just had a spur of the moment call with a client/friend because something popped up for her. She received an email from a former colleague, and a bunch of strong feelings and judgments overcame her - feelings and judgments about her former colleague, and feelings and judgments about herself.

She called seeking clarity, peace of mind, and reconnection to what she really values and is committed to.

This is extraordinary.

To have our reactions to others yet put on the brakes before communicating from our reactions.

To know that something else is possible and to take steps to honor that.

To get that our first reaction lacks integrity with who we are and who we aim to be, then to realign ourselves with what really matters to us.

This is extraordinary.

My conversations with people uncover their deepest values, commitments, and passions, and they get access to freely living from there now. We unlock new avenues for living that align with what we really want for ourselves and others, and this frees us from our default or conditioned reactions to what we don’t want.

Parents, families, teachers, friends, culture - they've taught us how we're supposed to be. Sometimes, though, we want something else - living inspired, not living by default.

Health, work, family, relationships, hobbies, finances. Wherever we’re blocked, stopped, frustrated, or constrained, there’s an opportunity to do a little work and experience the extraordinary.

As my friend Ross recently shared in a post: “Extraordinary is a commitment.”

I’m so grateful that this client reached out to me this afternoon. She got to experience the gift of freedom from frustration, anger, fear, and insecurity. She also got to experience the gift of who she really is and what she’s really committed to fostering in the world: compassion, love, and community.

And I got to witness the extraordinary.

Thanks so much for reading. Go be extraordinary. ❤️