Forgiveness: For the past, or for the now?
Close on the heels of Thanksgiving in the United States, I’ve been reflecting on the idea of what it may mean to give thanks for forgiveness – giving forgiveness, that is. (Although receiving it, too, has its advantages, I suppose. I’ll leave that for another blog post, another new moon.)
Give thanks for forgiveness, you say? Oh, that sounds kind of like the celebrating of giving in – giving in to another’s (perceived or actual) transgression upon us, you may be thinking. In this edition of Soul Notes, let’s take a closer look:
Forgiveness may mean letting go of something that occurred recently, or long ago. Either way, however, it’s not about the past. Not really, anyway. It’s about the present. And the future. Yours.
There’s healing to be gained. And, a lightness of being to be enjoyed.
There’s the removal of the sting, the dropping of the hurt that lingers until you let it go.
Giving up any corresponding resentment, too, sets you free. It’s liberating as well as empowering.
To carry the burden of nonforgiveness is a heavy weight to bear indeed. Working through the ‘transgression’ and out the other side allows you to move forward with greater facility and with a lighter spirit.
Make the choice. Decide. Honor the hurt feelings, feel them, and then allow them to dissolve as if dropping a capsule into a glass of water. It’s not an abrupt excising. Rather, it’s a settling of the sediment, so that it may be sifted down and removed away from the present moment, and from your ongoing experiences.
There are opportunities, too, hidden in forgiveness. What possible opportunity could such transgressions afford us, you may be asking? Through the act of forgiveness, a transgression or the so-called ‘offense’ no longer holds any power over us. We retain our sovereignty. Conversely, allowing the offense to remain in our system (our body, our psyche, our spirit) grants it permission to maintain control over us. We in effect trade in our sovereignty for suffering.
Forgiveness, I would venture to say, is not a “one-and-done.” It’s an ongoing commitment that each of has the good fortune to invoke on a regular basis. As with other scenarios we’ve explored here on the blog, we now have yet another opportunity to engage in a daily practice! Try it out: Start with the “little” offenses you wish to forgive, and work your way up to the “big” ones. As with any practice, it gets easier through consistency and repetition.
As I’ve shared before in Soul Notes, I lost my dearest brother to suicide. It’s been quite a few years now since he took his own life; and yet, of course, new reminders continue to pop up from time to time, even all these years later. My brother’s suicide has afforded me lots of opportunities to practice forgiveness. I’ve forgiven him for leaving me and the rest of our family to continue on without him. I’ve forgiven him for what sometimes has felt to me like his having “taken the easy way out” – of our disfunctional family, of a morass of financial struggles, and of deep emotional pain and suffering. I’ve forgiven myself for even feeling that way about him, about the one person I felt really close to within my immediate family. I’ve forgiven myself for “survivor’s remorse,” and have allowed myself to feel joy again (that was a big one for me, and one that only within the past year or two have I truly come to terms with).
Whether it be the loss of a loved one through illness or death, or the loss of a current relationship, or of simply unmet expectations, there’s a time for grieving. Truly grieving. That, too, is a topic that could fill up several editions of Soul Notes. For now, though, on this new moon, I invite you to welcome in all the ways in which you can also take those losses and transmute them into instances of forgiveness. Allow yourself the opportunity to forgive the other person or persons, and yourself.
To forgive, forgo
To forgive is to forgo:
Forgo the lingering.
Forgo the suffering.
Forgo the entanglement.
Forgo and let go.
For your consideration:
What if instead of hanging onto hurts and resentments, we each made an ongoing commitment to hand them over to and for forgiveness?
Okay, your turn:
What are you ready to forgive and forgo? For you, is forgiveness a one-time only event, or rather an ongoing state of being? What is your commitment? What stand are you taking, in this moment? I would love to hear what comes up for you around this topic.
I invite you to share your thoughts, feelings, and experiences in the Comments section, below. Soul-to-soul!
© 2016 Lori A. Noonan. All Rights Reserved.