Apologies are something we do with our bodies.
We get ourselves in trouble thinking apologies are things we do with words. As if saying something fixes everything.
If only we could fix the world with words. If only magic worked.
Words matter. They have their place and in their place they can be powerful. Saying sorry is meaningful. The symbolism is not empty. It makes people feel seen. It can make change possible where maybe it once seemed impossible. With words we can acknowledge what we did wrong and show we see the harm it caused.
But, words are not enough.
Real apologies are things we do with our bodies and not just sounds we make with our mouths. A word might start an apology, a recognition of wrong, a clear unambiguous acknowledgement of responsibility, but physical action cements it.
Until we make contact with the world in a new way we have not really apologised. And until bodies start to move the world around us, to make space for those who have been wronged, to acknowledge their bodies and the effects they bare, there is no apology.
We live far too much in our heads now. Our bodies are just vehicles to carry our minds from one place to another or to facilitate the connection of our mind to the worldwide hive of other minds.
Perhaps that’s why we feel like we have to constantly apologise over and over again, or be apologised to over and over again. It’s all we seem to have.
Words, words, words to fix the world. But it never does.
How many words are enough? Do we need to build ever bigger more powerful computers to figure that out? All the while something doesn’t feel right. Our souls are unsettled, we can’t find peace, we are unwell with each other.
Apologies are also invitations to forgiveness. This is also something we do with our bodies. To be unforgiving is to stand in a certain way towards the world. Sometimes it feels hard to forgive, when our bodies feel unsafe and under threat. Maybe this is not yet the time to forgive.
We cannot forgive simply because it is the logical thing to do, because a belief, or an idea tells us to. We can mouth the words but inside we know we won’t live it. Our bodies won’t let us. Our bodies carry our pain.
When the time is right to forgive our bodies will shift, through action, touch, or both, our stance towards the world changes. Our bodies will have the space and the safety to accept the invitation the apology gives us.
And we can heal together.
Apologies are something we do with our bodies – & so is forgiveness.