Forgiveness. One of the most powerful forces in our lives is also sometimes, the least engaged.
How can I forgive them, we ask. They…. and we list the litany of their transgressions, holding on to what we cannot forgive. Holding onto our wounds and pain and fear and anger.
Sometimes, we cannot forgive for fear to forgive means to make okay what they did. Sometimes, it’s because we are stuck – in the past, in their wrong-doing, in our victim’s role. Sometimes, it’s simply because we don’t know how.
In our unforgiveness, we limit our capacity to live life to its fullest, for all we’re worth. We limit our ability to move freely in the world. Locked down in unforgiveness, we cut off acceptance, blocking the possibilities of right now, of living in the ‘what is’ and keep ourselves tethered to what was – that place that hurt us, wounded us, scared us and traumatized us so much.
Forgiveness is never about making what the other person did ‘right’. It is always about doing the right thing. For ourselves and the world around us.
It is not okay that someone lies or cheats or hits or deceives or destroys. Forgiveness isn’t about making wrong-doing right. It’s about letting go of wrong-doing to step into that place where we are alright with our world today, exactly where we are.
Forgiveness doesn’t count how much we’ve suffered. It lets us count on ourselves to end suffering in our lives.
Forgiveness isn’t about giving in. It’s always about letting go.
Letting go of holding onto the past, pain, sorrow, grief, anger, guilt.
Forgiveness isn’t about making the other person feel better (though that may happen). It is always about making our relationships better – starting with ourselves. It is always about healing.
Forgiveness lets us quit playing the blame and shame.
It opens us up tohealing. Compassion. Love and peace.
It gives us courage to welcome in what we want more of in our lives – Joy. Peace.
Tranquility. Acceptance. Release. Redemption. Renewal. Love.
If we believe it is hard to forgive. It is hard to forgive.
If we believe we’ll never forgive. We’ll never forgive.
If we believe we can’t. We won’t.
If we believe we can. We will.
If we believe forgiveness begins, right now, in this moment, it begins. Right now. In this moment.
If we are waiting for the other person to apologize first. We are holding on – to anger, shame and blame.
If we choose to apologize first, we are welcoming in, joy, love and peace.
It is all in our choices.
Forgiveness is a bridge. It closes the door on past pains and suffering and opens us up to new possibilities, to hope and love and joy and happiness today.
A few years ago my eldest daughter, Alexis, when telling a group we were coaching in together about her experience of forgiveness after the pain of my deserting them, described it thus, “Our pain was like a river. Deep and wide. Every time my mother acknowledged what she had done and we forgave her, drops of love fell into the water. The pain lessened until eventually love ran free.”
Sometimes, to heal, we must ask forgiveness. Sometimes, to help the other heal, we must be willing to step into those painful waters and let our love flow freely so that they too can be washed in the healing waters of forgiveness.
For me, forgiveness began with me. How could I ask for my daughters’ forgiveness if I believed I was not worthy of forgiving myself? How could I accept their gift of love if I believed that to forgive myself let me off the hook of accountability? Forgiving myself didn’t make me unaccountable for what I’d done to hurt them. It let me hold myself accountable in Love. Through forgiveness I was free to let go of the pain and shame and guilt and fear of what I had done so I could move into all that I could do to claim my right to Love and be Loved without fear blocking Love’s flow.
Forgiving myself began with a simple statement of, “I forgive me.” In that statement hope was born, love awoke, joy descended. In that statement, I connected to the Divine, to the scared in all of us and became one with the One.
In that statement I set myself free.
In freedom, I am capable of anything. In freedom, I am never too small, too old, too bitter, too lost, too hopeless.
In freedom, I no longer live in the fearful past, I no longer chain myself to sorrow, blame and shame.
In freedom, I am free to love myself exactly the way I am.
In freedom, I am free to see the Love of God in everyone, no matter what they are doing, what they have done, or who they are – without fearing they will hurt me. In freedom, I take care of me with loving hands and trust others to do the same for themselves too.
In freedom, I let go of revenge and misgivings and trepidation and fear and open up to the greatest gift of all, the freedom to LOVE and be LOVED unconditionally. For in forgiveness, I find the path to greatness, the path to living this one wild and precious life in the rapture of now, free to experience the world around me through eyes of wonder, arms wide open my every act and word and thought flowing through my heart full of love.