Wednesday, January 15, 2014

A Story of Forgiveness

Yesterday at work I was given the blessing of an extra free hour, which actually left me with almost three free hours in between my classes. So I gathered up my coin purse, my book, my notebook, and self, and took us all across the street to the tapas bar that is there to have an americano and some breakfast. I took a barstool to the window so that I could feel the sun on my face and look out at the "scenery," and began to relax and enjoy my break.

I was excited to have a chance to read and write, and told myself that while there was work I could do and/or prepare, I was going to take this time to not think about it, and really give my brain a break from the constant activity it is facing. For Christmas, Santa delivered to my grandma-knit stocking a new book, Undaunted, by Christine Cain. And I'll be honest, it took me a while to get into it, because the first section is about something I heard her speak about when I saw her at Women of Faith a few years back (she is a total firecracker, by the way), but a couple days ago, everything shifted, and now I'm pretty into it.

The particular section I am reading now is all about forgiveness, a topic which is very important and relevant in our lives, but one I think many of us don't really think about or consider too much. Growing up as a Christian, forgiveness is not exactly a topic I'm a noob to, but something different happened today while I was reading about it. I have no idea why her words struck me in a way that I don't think I've ever been struck before by this topic. It just must have been my time for all this. My aligning moment in time. My time for all that was about to follow. To happen. To pass.

Something inside me stirred, and I was prompted to close my eyes and meditate and pray. I started to think about all the people who had caused me pain or hurt over the years. All the people who had contributed to my pain body and made me feel like I wasn't this or that enough. And I thought about all the ones who had hurt my pride, infected my mind, and treated me poorly. But above all, I was thinking of all the ones I really, really needed to forgive. I was thinking of all the pain and hurt I needed to forget, and all the internal suffering I needed to be free from.

And then without further thought or intention, I entered into a really deep, direct meditation. Not the kind where it was like I had been transported outside myself to some other realm of the universe, or where you are vibrationaly tweaking out. It was the kind of meditation in which you are transported so far and deep inside yourself, that all you can feel and sense is whatever you're intention is. And the kind of meditation in which you are just there, you have got it going on! You are focused, you are in touch, and you are zoning in on something so powerful, that you almost lose yourself within yourself, and are carried around through the meditation wherever it decides to take you.

I felt like Elizabeth Gilbert (author and liver of Eat. Pray. Love.) when she writes about being on the rooftop of her ashram in India and inviting the spirit of her ex-husband to come to her. I started speaking to the people who had caused me pain over the years. I let them know that I was coming in peace (most likely threw up a peace sign and adapted an alien voice when I did), and I had come to forgive and make amends. I told them that I wanted them to come join me and participate in this healing ceremony with me. And then I called out to one soul at a time.

When I felt like I could really sense them -- like I had their face in my mind and the feeling of being there together -- it all began. I spoke to them through my mind, but more importantly, I felt it deep in my heart. I told them it's all ok, that I'm ok and I was ready, and we went over each thing I could recall they had done against me I wanted to forgive. I thought about it, felt it, let whatever emotion rise with it, felt it some more, let it take its place, and then when I believed it and felt it, I told them I forgave them. After thinking and feeling these words with all my mind and all my heart, they slowly drifted away as the next one came up.

With each person, group, or situation I thought about and forgave, I got lighter, and lighter, and lighter. I could feel the space in my chest opening further and further, and the energy inside of it swirling, pulsing, and vibrating, activating the energy being that we all are. What I felt in my chest, coming from my heart chakra, was so powerful and magical, I guarantee there were rainbows blasting out of me, unicorns prancing all over, pots of gold shooting around, and all forms of magical and mythical creatures having a big om'd-out, Namaste-ing party all over the place! It was remarkable. It was incredible. I am so blessed. To be able to conduct such a thing within, feel it, see it, witness it, all I can say is, "Wow!"

There wasn't an excessive number of people I could think of that I wanted to call forward, but I spent all the time I needed to in order to be able to really say I forgave them, believe it, and feel it in my core.

I forgave all the guys who just stopped talking to me instead of telling me that our time was through; leaving me to feel defected, undesirable, and not worth it. All the ones who made excuses for not wanting a girlfriend, staggered in their contact with me, and then ended up with one just a couple weeks later. The one who I gave nine months of my life to, just to be cheated on and verbally abused; left to feel completely worthless, lame, ashamed and embarrassed. The ones who had taken advantage of my weakness and allowed me to go further than I might have wanted to; leaving me to feel such heavy shame that it affected all relationships that would follow, as well as the value I placed on myself during my college years. I forgave the friends who were nothing of the sort. The ones who ditched me, took advantage of me, used me, excluded me, and made me feel like there was something wrong with me and that I couldn't and shouldn't be myself. The ones who I participated in sick mind games with as a second grader, intentionally trying to hurt The Girl of The Week, by making her feel excluded, stupid and alone. The ones who didn't care if you liked a guy, because if they did and had the chance, they'd take it without second thought; an action that would screw with anyone's head and damage their self-assurance. I forgave the woman who runs the preschool I went to, who through a conversation I had with my parents, I learned used to read off a list all the things I'd done wrong and ways I'd been bad, in front of my face, to my parents every single day when they picked me up. My mom told me that she watched the way I started to believe I was a bad kid, and watched everything about how I carried myself begin to shift and change; something that ultimately and unknowingly affecting my self-confidence for the rest of my life. And then I forgave one of the most difficult ones of all.

With this soul, I struggled. I didn't want to forgive everything. And as I was thinking about what to forgive for, new memories would come up, and I would get angry, sad, or heartbroken. At one point there were tears falling from my closed eyes, as I opened myself to what was more painful than the names and demonstrations I had endured, but the ones I had witnessed against two of the most important and influential people in my life. But no matter how much my heart wanted to resist, skip, and stop, I did not let it. I told myself, "Look! Look at yourself! YOU ARE FINE! You are okay, you are amazing, and you are doing great [in life]!! All of those things that happened in the past, they obviously didn't impair your ability to live, to love and to be, because just look at you and all you're doing! It is time!! The time has come, let's forgive! If for nothing else, but to see what might happen when you do. (I'm notorious for turning anything and everything I can into a game of sorts.) Okay? Good. Now, keep going. You're strong. You've got this!"

Because I believe and know these things to be true of myself, and because I have fully accepted and love myself, this method worked. This self-talk and self-assurance, it helped. If you want to make this process happen within yourself as well, but you don't quite believe these things to be true of yourself, make yourself believe them. Repeat positive words of encouragement and build yourself up for as long as it takes, before you can tell yourself, "Ok, you're right. I'm fine, I'm amazing, I'm magical, and it's time." Through doing this, I was able to let go, be ready to forgive, and then make it happen.

One by one I worked through the memories, and when I was finished forgiving, I sent off the soul I'd forgiven dripping with my newly empowered love and light. And when I was finished clearing out all that old junk, and had created an expanse of space within me I didn't know I could have, I knew it was time to take on the hardest person any of us can and will ever have to forgive. I took on myself.

I called out to anyone I could recall hurting, any ugly thought, word, or sentence I could remember uttering, and every bit of pain that I might have inflicted on another person. I told them I was so sorry. I told them how immature and unaware I'd been. I told them that there was no excuse, and I couldn't even believe I'd done it. But that it had happened, and for that reason, we're here. I'm here to ask for forgiveness, and I'm here to hope you will give it to me.

This is one of the hardest parts of the process of forgiving -- seeking forgiveness from others. Some of these people we need forgiveness from are no longer in our lives. Some are no longer in anyone's lives. And because of this, it is hard to believe we are forgiven. But as someone who believe in the afterlife, I have to know that whoever has already passed and needs to forgive me, is granting it to me from where they are, because they have entered the realms in which there is so much more. And I have to trust that by my begging forgiveness from them and from God (the most important forgiver of all), it is mine. Some of you might actually reach out to people you've lost touch with. Some of you might not know where to even begin looking for them. Whatever the case, it's okay. You have asked, and in many cases, that's more than could ever be hoped for. And trust me, the pressure we put on ourselves is always worse than the pressure put on us by others. So if you can forgive yourself, then your part is done. It's up to that person to have a cleansing ceremony for themselves and forgive those who have hurt them. Remember, not forgiving does more damage to yourself than it does to the other person.

So there it was, my time to forgive. In the course of maybe 10 minutes, I did something that some will never even consider doing. In just 10 minutes time, I hit every range of emotions, and took a trip though my past. In 10 short minutes, I released myself from bonds that I didn't even know were holding me, and created a chest cavity I had never known. All it took was 10 minutes, and I was left new, and more ready than ever to continue living my life, applying this new practice of total forgiveness for the duration of my days.

Of course this doesn't mean I will never struggle to forgive again, or that I'm now somehow immune to anything that could need to be forgiven. And it doesn't mean that if I brew on hurtful scenes from the past I am unaffected. It doesn't mean a certain memory won't start to bubble up and bring sadness, or that the affects of those times are somehow gone and completely cured. But it does mean that I know I have released myself from it, and it from me. I have decided to stop carrying it around with me, and therefore it has lost its unknown grip on me. It means I am free! These old hurts from people in my past, present and future have such less bearing on me now. And the most amazing part of it all, is when I think about the things that used to cause me so much pain or anger, I know it's been dealt with and that I have moved on!

Very little good comes from holding onto things from the past, especially those things that are like poison to our souls. But in order to be freed from all of it, we have to deal with it, and decide that we're okay anyways. Forgiveness is a practice that can release us from these poisonous emotions, and carry us closer to our best version of ourselves.

I'd like to thank Christine Caine, for being the woman of God that she is. For shining out her light so bright and undeniably, and for her words, which caused all of this to pass, enabling me to move forward in life with a new lightness inside. And I'd like to thank all of you who read this and take it to heart. Just by considering it you're doing something good for yourselves, which in turn does something good for others.

Good luck in all that you do, and try giving this forgiving thing a shot. I promise you won't feel the same after you do, and it'll be totally worth it!

Share below any practices you have that help you be healthy on the inside (or out), and feel free to leave any questions or comments you see fit.

Infinite, heavy blessings to you all, and as always, Love & Light!

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