At some point in the early years of getting sober, I had a realization that given the same circumstances, conditioning, etc., I would be capable of doing any of the heinous acts that others had committed (whether against me personally or otherwise), and I so harshly judged.

"I wonder if I've been changed in the night? Let me think. Was I the same when I got up this morning? I almost think I can remember feeling a little different. But if I'm not the same, the next question is 'Who in the world am I?' Ah, that's the great puzzle!"

— Caterpillar (Alice in Wonderland)

At some point in the early years of getting sober, I had a realization that given the same circumstances, conditioning, etc., I would be capable of doing any of the heinous acts that others had committed (whether against me personally or otherwise), and I so harshly judged. When this dawned on me, I had a flash sense of being capable of forgiving the world. At the time, that was a bit too vast for me and it took some years for the integration of my realization to produce the perceived outcome. It did begin the process of forgiveness with family, friends, and myself.

As I contemplated the idea of allowing everyone to be as they were with nothing about them that I needed to change, I began to see life itself as the teacher. I could see life experiences carrying us all to the very next perfect place that we needed to be, even if it didn't make immediate sense to me. It became so clear to me that life knows where it wants to go, all I need do is let go and follow.

I considered my judgment of others and the great desire for them to change might be akin to judging an infant for wetting its diaper. The baby learns as it grows through its wet experiences that dry feels better and that there's another way. Just because one person's way of operating may not be my preference does not mean that they're not in the perfect place at the perfect moment in life, which will bring them into their next perfect expression. At this point I recognized that there was really nothing to forgive.

Each person's life is a power of example. As I express my way of being, everyone around me is affected in some way (and vice versa), and we're all working together like cogs in a wheel, or a finely tuned engine. Shining the light of awareness into all corners of my perceived reality truly was the key to this insight.

We change when it's time to change and not a moment sooner. Life carries us to our next realization through life situations. Life brings us to heal old wounds, and to reprogram ourselves right down to a cellular level. Every day 50 to 70 billion cells die due to apoptosis, which means every day 50 to 70 billion new cells are produced thru cell division. At the end of a year, that's the equivalent of our entire body weight. What a magical way Life has of bringing in new energy and a whole new you to dance with ... wow!

We're changing whether we like it or not. As you express this daily new you, see if you can hold yourself with love — the tender love you would give an innocent baby. We are all infants and infinites here doing exactly what we came to do, no mistake. What a way to free the world, and yourself.

Shellee Rae, author, unteacher, and healer, has been working with people, supporting them in their life process and healing since 1998. She is the author of "Suffering — A Path of Awakening." Visit her website for more: www.shelleerae.com.

The Rogue Valley Community members are invited to submit 600 to 700 word articles on all aspects of inner peace to Sally McKirgan at innerpeaceforyou@live.com