forgiveness was one of those words that was supposed to mean a lot. I treated it that way and yet would have to add that it never really hit me square between the eyes, as they say.
then, in the way that the universe has, I was receiving back to back to back messages, all of them leading with forgiveness…
I opened up marianne williamson’s email to sign up for miraculous monday, and the theme was forgiveness. I settled in that evening to read the next chapter in Rising Strong, and it dealt with forgiveness. I spent last weekend with jack kornfield and the forgiveness meditation took me to my knees. two days in a row the daily course in miracles email came in and each was about forgiveness. and THEN I started an online course and well, you guessed it, the biggest player is using the hawaiian prayer of ho’oponopono, which is a prayer of forgiveness! okay universe, you’ve got my attention. I’m here to learn. please show me…
(btw, has anyone else ever noticed this phenomena? if you ignore the messages, doesn’t it simply get even messier?!)
herein i relate my path to forgiveness from concept to learning to see it as it shows up in my life, and to practice it day to day. i’m certain forgiveness will become a life-long player in my sadhana, right up there with meditating, my gratitudes, intention setting, inspiration and journaling — all things I do each morning to set my day, and me, up for success.
ergo, i backtrack to “regret.” this is *another* one of those words that i kind of slid around for a long time. i thought it was cool to live without regrets, i thought it meant that I was making choices that would leave me without regret. in fact i did proudly proclaim that I worked diligently to live a life of no regret.
seriously, who did i think i was fooling?
back to Brené Brown’s latest offering titled Rising Strong. in it there is a chapter about composting failure (isn’t that an awesome analogy?). It opens with this, “Regret is a tough but fair teacher. To live without regret is to believe you have nothing to learn, no amends to make, and no opportunity to be braver with your life.”
i knew right away i was in trouble.
‘coz of course i knew deep inside — in that way that we all know something and yet try desperately to ignore — I have regrets. i simply didn’t know what to do with them, and they made me feel so lousy that i didn’t even want to try. my story, up until now, was that regret, or the denial thereof, held the steering wheel, simply because I chose to remain unaware of what was deep within.
i have a few intense regrets, the deepest being the ways in which i was unable to be present for my dad and mom before he died. this is big stuff that I continue to work through. with forgiveness, i’ve found that working through regret gets just a tiny bit simpler each time I bump into it. forgiveness has become the way to atonement and amends, both to myself and to others. forgiveness has held the power of transformation.
when i follow my formula (below), I can go through the apology, the repentance, the ask for reconnection, and the gratitude to Life for giving me such a lesson in love and faith. My blessing is that I get to simply end the entire process with love.
where does your deep regret lie? how do you feel around it? have you made peace with it? has forgiveness played a part in getting to ease? i’m curious because I believe that being vulnerable in all of the most important ways is how we make this world of ours a better place for all…
forgiveness allows me to see with my heart. I can honor what I have suffered with an open heart, and then I can move on with my life, cleanly and sweetly, with newly found wholeheartedness, grace and loving awareness.
namasté and a deep bow to each of you.
in my self-directed #OneYearOfMetta, i did have the audacity to add two phrases. it is not quite as lyrical, however, it reminds me of steps I personally need to take in the journey of true forgiveness and releasing. it goes like this:
i forgive you
i love me
i love you.
Repentance. Forgiveness of self and others. Gratitude. Love, of self and others. simple GOOD stuff.
in my notes from the weekend with jack kornfield I found these nuggets of pure wisdom:
— let’s work with forgiveness of self and others, with loss and betrayal. it is good to let go of idealism.
— lest we become chained to the past, it is necessary to increase our capacity for forgiveness.
some steps to forgiveness:
1– decide that it stops with me. regardless. it does not condone what happened, nor to allow it to continue. I will not imprison my heart, I will not carry this hatred.
2– you can’t paper it over. it is a process, sometimes long. “Give up your hope for a better past.”
3– forgiveness is not naive. forgive *and* stand up for what is important to you.
and once again in that serendipitous way of the universe, this lovely outtake rolled into my email. this is pema chodron and tami simon “regret, a seed for compassion.”