“Forgiveness means giving up hope for a better past.”
The past. Wow, what a trip we can take with the past. There are pleasant trips down memory lane which fuel our joy and remind us of who we are, where we have come from, and the roots that nourish us through life. The past is the link to our ancestors who remain with us, offering support and guidance and showing us where love can flow anew.
There also are trips down memory lane which fuel our resentment and invite us to “tame the ghosts in my head, that run wild and wish me dead”, as Mumford and Sons sing in Lovers Eyes. These trips down memory lane darken our minds and entrench us in the mental-emotional judgements and punishments that destroy relationships, first with ourselves but also with others, even those who we love most.
Recently, I was reminded of the vast difference between the story in my head about someone I loved and the actual, lived connection that was expressed in a wonderfully, ordinary visit. The difference between these two realities was clear for me that night. It was a distinct fork in the road. I could walk in the path of resentment and an unforgiving heart, or let go of my emotional attachments to ‘the hurts of the past’. I chose the latter – I needed to walk forward freely. I chose to release the resentment limiting me from fully experiencing the gifts and flowing love possible in the here and now, and into my future.
The past is done. Ruminating on the past again and again will never change what happened. As my mentor once said to me, “I can wish today that the ice storm didn’t happen two days earlier making my flight delayed, delaying me…I can wish and wish, stomp my feet and demand it didn’t happen. But it did.” What happened in the past is like the weather that happened. It’s done.
Yet, most of us walk in our present life, unconscious of the past that we are in bondage to, bound by decisions and resentments that limit our perspective and choices available to us here and now.
Learning to forgive is about releasing our resentments about what happened in the past … to be free to be, to live in the here and now.
There are definitely gems, wisdom and insights to be gained from the past. We need to understand what happened then so that we can make different and better choices that reflect our values of today. Bringing forward the strategies of success from the past and applying them here and now may also be incredibly useful, if these strategies are still relevant. However, in the path of deep transformation (that forgiveness opens us up to experiencing), many of these strategies need to be evolved.
As I read and observe, weep and grieve for all the hatred spewed across the globe in heightened and carelessly aggressive ways, it tells me how deeply we carry the past in our consciousness, ‘ghosts in our heads that wish us dead’. Forgiving ourselves, our ancestors, others around us, our enemies is no longer something we’ll get to some day (when I’m less busy, when the kids are gone, when I’m not working full time … ). That some day is here and now. The cost of all this poison is making us so sick, making the planet so sick that we cannot justify bringing it forward into our future with us.
The ego argues, “Oh, but don’t take away the resentment that protects me and is my shield so I don’t experience such hurt and trauma again. I really need that to keep me safe.”
I have found nothing joyful and light-filled about resentment. There is nothing free that comes with resentment. Resentment has a deep cost to the soul. It costs you your happiness. It costs you your health. It costs you connection and love. These inner states are the fundamental desires and needs of the human condition. When we give up these fundamental desires and needs in order to ‘cherish our resentment as our safety valve’, we actually destroy our inner sense of security, of belonging in the world in our very unique place. Resentment destroys us at the root of who we are. And I believe this is why spiritual leaders from any tradition call upon us to forgive.
Steve Jobs died a billionaire, with a fortune of $7 billion, at the age of 56 from pancreatic cancer, and here are some of his last words… “In other eyes, my life is the essence of success, but aside from work, I have a little joy. And in the end, wealth is just a fact of life to which I am accustomed.” … “At this moment, lying on the bed, sick and remembering all my life, I realize that all my recognition and wealth that I have is meaningless in the face of imminent death. You can hire someone to drive a car for you, make money for you – but you can not rent someone to carry the disease for you. One can find material things, but there is one thing that can not be found when it is lost – “LIFE”.
If you want your life back, then learn to forgive. If you want your health back, learn to forgive. If you want to be free from your loneliness because you ran away from all your connections, then learn to forgive. Forgiving will bring you your life, because forgiving is the essence of loving another.
Let me repeat this ancient wisdom … forgiving another is the essence of loving them. And this goes for yourself as well. Forgiving yourself is the essence of loving yourself.
Let’s Forgive, so together we can …
Free up our energy
Free up our creativity
Free up our love and joy
and make this world and planet a better place, where Spirit can abundantly flow once again.
upcoming workshops this fall
The Art and Practice of Forgiving – Discover the Freedom to Live
Saturday, September 14 @ 9:00 am – 4:30 pm
This one-day workshop is for anyone who wants to learn an effective and simple method to let go of the resentments that bind us to our past hurts and block us from our joy. We also will examine what interferes with forgiving and how forgiving is distinct from grieving a loss or healing a trauma.
Compassion and the Art of Self Forgiveness
Saturday, November 30 @ 9:00 am – 4:30 pm
This one-day workshop is a follow up to the Art & Practice of Forgiving Workshop This time, we will explore how shame and guilt are often confused in the self forgiving process and how we can resolve this confusion and move on with our lives.
Friday & Saturday, October 4 & 5th & Saturday, October 19th @ 9:30 am to 4:30 pm
Begin your path to self-healing and spiritual development with Reiki. Awaken to its power and mystery. Deepen your journey by joining an active community of supportive and like-minded fellow seekers and Reiki practitioners.
Saturdays September 28th and October 26th, 2019 @ 9:00am – 1:00pm (both days)
Pre-requisites: Reiki Ryoho Level II
This 8 hour workshop is for Reiki practitioners who wish to have those uncommon discussions about the ethics and legal considerations when providing a professional Reiki healing service. For those of you who also offer other modalities, this will still have relevance. *with special presenter, Jennifer Godwin