Forgiveness is both a big universal energetic topic and a soft bruised place called personal truth. It is a thing of life, a state of being, a choice and a place of pain and unfinished business, one that I have known well and one that seems to invite me back into deep contemplation on occasion. This big idea, an archetypal field, welcomes memories and brings me back to a time when forgiving was paramount, needed, inactive, when I had much to learn about it and had not idea how to find my way to a more neutral experience of life with and beyond forgiveness.
Forgiveness is the act or process letting go of resentment, anger, blame, towards another person or ones self. Rather than an instantaneous release or happening, forgiveness is offered and the perceived hurt or offense remains present, activated, challenging…
Over time understanding deepens. Connecting with ones own truth and creating space for shifts in consciousness allows the resentment to begin to dissipate and forgiveness starts to release you from the place of pain. That dissipation of pain and releasing of resentment and blame make room for the energy of love & the space for new possibility. It has its own flow and like all energetic inner work it produces a ripple effect that extends beyond the self…
The practice of forgiveness is our most important contribution to the healing of the world.
– Marianne Williamson
I remember a time in my life when I was so wounded and my boundaries were so blurry that I could not face the pain of the situation, it seemed to be easier to forgive and move on. During that time long ago, forgiveness was more of an ego choice. In hindsight, it was not forgiveness at all but a gilded hammer of protection and a choice of “taking the higher ground” that made me feel like I was right. Rightness, righteousness, and forgiveness have little to do with one another but they often get mixed up because forgiveness is often extended prematurely in the face of great pain, grief and sorrow. These times of grief and sorrow, and yes they can last a very long time, can be periods of acute disorientation when we seem to feel something akin to chaos. Like being birthed into, forced into, an environment that feels unsafe. Our own perspective is altered in this state, particularly when we have not had a chance to catch our breath. Soothing our self with false-forgiveness can be a powerful blanket of protection and one that sends a message of shame, a declaration of wrongness.
My false-forgiveness informed and taught me because it created more dis-ease and challenge in my life, rather than creating ease. When the time came to find my lost self and I began again to be able to feel my frailties and vulnerabilities, I was able to tell my truth-tales through art (as you all know, art is a powerful mirror) and understand the nature of my own masking, armoring and blocking of distress, emotion and the like. It was my own blanket of shame that needed to be explored and understood for me to finally release and allow forgiveness to flow in my life. Unraveling my blanket of shame meant telling my stories, really knowing them and understanding them from different perspectives. In order to release my shame and allow forgiveness to become expressed, I needed to know where I had lost my own way, not because of others or circumstances, but because of my own choices, needs, thoughts, perceptions and assumptions.
Invite these prompts to reflect your life:
- What place in my life is bruised and tender?
- What is ready to be released?
- How is forgiveness active in my life?
- What place of pain is holding me captive?
- How am I inviting forgiveness to flow?
Each of these questions is an invitation, a part of your story that is waiting to be heard, understood and recognized. You can create with these ideas through writing or expressive art and see if you can find some new truths. Move them, the old stories and the new truths, into image and form to see where they guide you.
Forgiveness is an invitation. It must be offered regularly, it is a message sent like a winged seed, released into the wind and offered to the universe. It is a gift of love to self; letting go of your own stale, used up energy as it is released into the earth to be recycled and renewed. Forgiveness is a practice, a be-coming, it seeds possibility and cultivates new growth. It is a place of preparing, an “inner” birthing space that promotes healing. Releasing the energy of loathing and resentment opens one to finding new direction in unexpected ways.
Clarissa Pinkola Estes shares that, “The important part of forgiveness is to begin and then to continue.” I have found that to be so, I begin again, and continue to explore and release. Seeking and finding layers of self, new truths, old stories, frozen fears, forgiveness, tolerance, choice, loss, love…sending my seeds of new self-knowledge into the wind.
If I sense wounding happening nearby or if I feel scared or hurt, I can be triggered, rising up in indignation and make a judgment. A expression harsh and uncompromising perspectives can be an indicator of areas of ‘forgive-not’. I too can dish out a spoonful of shame but I have the insight to look at those areas and see myself in the reflection, taking back projection of shadow stories or forgive-not’s and allow them to teach me to connect with forgiveness, something at a deeper lever around areas that I thought were complete. Within this mirroring I am able to see and know what it is that I do, even if I do it to me. Forgive-nots are always a self -punishing act. When I can open to seeing other perspectives, that are always present when I look deeply, I walk myself through the various truths that live side by side.
I am able to find my way through life within the paradox of my messy human experience, claiming these are my stories. They are the lived and intuited experience that I create with helps me to explore my life more deeply. Working with what is active, true, what I feel, see and think I know, regardless of how odd or challenging it seems, always in illuminating. It all counts. The things that reveal themselves in my life (and art) are there to teach me more about my path. I have learned about release and forgiveness by pealing back the layers of my self and winding my way back to old stories, and forward in time to tell my new truths. I live into life on purpose activating healing from the inside out, visual narrative and expressive art serve me as a reflection of these layers, they are layers of my life that shift and change in the light of each new day, releasing me to fly.
What are you needing to release?
Are there areas of forgive-not’s that impact you negatively?
Where do you focus on the wrongs and pains that have meet you in life?
How can a healing journey guide you in releasing these old stories?
Connect with Cat to explore depth coaching and journey work via eCourse or retreat, as a structure for shifting, releasing and finding your new path!