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“I wondered if that was how forgiveness budded; not with the fanfare of epiphany, but with pain gathering its things, packing up and slipping away unannounced in the middle of the night.”

– Khaled Hossein, The Kite Runner

I’m not going to tell you how to forgive.

I have grappled with the concept for years, attending workshops and writing letters never to be sent, berating myself for being less than kind when referring to certain occasions in my life and feeling ashamed of the venomous rage that spits from every cell of my being if I happen to recall actions that have deeply hurt in the past.

I am very much a beginner in the forgiveness faculty and it’s one of the areas where my dear ego pulls out all the stops, sweeping herself up in her feather boa and flouncing around in full flourish.

She’s been doing this for years and it’s kept me stuck.

I have been thinking about the concept of forgiveness over the past week and how the lack of it affects our energy.  Sitting alone, the truth started sinking in, as it often does with me.

Who am I hurting by holding on to resentment? 
 
Who am I punishing by withholding forgiveness? 

 

Then it occurred to me that most of the bitter, prickly resentment residing in my cells is a product of a really old story my ego has been playing out over and over again for years, like a silent movie projected onto the walls of my heart, complete with dramatic soundtrack and a few badly written lines.
I have held myself captive by this story, sometimes with a different cast, always with the same plot. Deep down there is a part of me that developed an addiction to feeling sorry for myself, a part of me so determined to keep playing the role of victim I lost sight of the fact that ticket sales dried up years ago and opportunities to play other roles more aligned with grace and light passed me by, because I was too busy unconsciously self sabotaging my ability to access joy.

I have struggled with forgiveness because I’ve expected other people to behave like me. I  expected other people to think like me; I expected other people to feel the same things I feel.

I projected that old ego story on to them and expected them to pull up a chair and eat the stale popcorn.

This stops, now.

You see, forgiveness has very little to do with the other person.

That’s the most annoying thing anyone can ever say if you are in the throes of anger and resentment.  Oh you guys.  I know.

How do I forgive when the apology never comes?

Accept the unwritten apology anyway, is the answer that resides in peace and settles in the base of my core before my ego has had the chance to wake up.

And I ask again:

Who am I hurting by holding on to resentment?
Who am I punishing by withholding forgiveness?

Only myself.

Only my own psyche and my cells, my muscles, my mind, my soul and my body.

A week ago I sat down and thought about all the times I had experienced forgiveness and how it felt.  What impact it had on me.

Experiencing forgiveness feels a lot like letting go.  Like a beautiful release from pain.  Like a connection being offered based on love, not resentment.  Like I had had the privilege to know what it felt like to be in the presence of grace.  Like an opening for healing.  Like an opportunity to let the light in.

So here I am, stumbling along the pathway to learning forgiveness. The best advice I can offer is this: bless those souls whose actions hurt in the past because it is also a blessing within you.

Letting go feels free; holding on hurts.

Offer forgiveness because it is a gift to every cell of your being and that positive energy reflects out into this world.

Accept the unwritten apology anyway. 

It will reflect in the way you carry yourself and leave a little more room for happiness.

I think it’s time to put the old projector away and start playing a new story.  One without a victim.  One that doesn’t feed pain.  One that comes from a place of love and grace.

May there always be grace and the space to let the light in.

 

Forgiveness: This is Not a How-To Guide
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