Recently, a friend gently commented that my blog posts are too “intellectual.” I admit it: even though I’m retired, there’s still a tech writer in me. For example, I like to research a topic before I write about it, thus footnotes in previous posts. But for this post, I’m going to go with my gut, my personal experience, and my spiritual beliefs to explore the concept of forgiveness . . .
Take a minute, close your eyes, and think of a time when somebody said or did something that REALLY hurt you or made you REALLY angry—and notice how it feels in your body. [Pause here.]
Does it feel like a spear thrust into your chest? Does your heart or stomach sink (like in an elevator)? Does your stomach tighten up? Does a wave of heat wash over your body? Do your hands tingle? Does your breathing become shallow—or briefly stop altogether?
How about when you think of something that you said or did to somebody else—maybe a wash of guilt, embarrassment, shame, regret, or sadness comes over you. [Pause again and feel.]
You feel it in your body because I think that all such upsets are actually stored in your body, in your Being. Imagine all those upsets as knots, blockages in your Being. Yikes, what a jumbled mess.
Now think about when you beat yourself up for thinking, being, acting, feeling, or looking one way or another that you judge to be “bad,” wrong, or unacceptable. For me personally, it’s like somebody installed a voice in my brain when I was a kid that’s programmed to do a running commentary that criticizes, judges, questions and second guesses what I do, say, think, or even feel. (Some of you may not experience this to much of a degree, but I can only speak here from my own experience.) This “inner critic” machine can spit out constant comments to us: “You’re too [fat/thin, old/young, tall/short, outspoken/quiet, unassertive/aggressive, self-centered/giving, etc.].”
IT’S EXHAUSTING!!! All of it! And I guarantee that it all very much gets in the way of our Path to Oneness. So how do we rid ourselves of these “knots” and that inner critic??
When I was “called” to write about Oneness a few months ago, I got several “messages from the Universe” that same week that the road (or Path) to Oneness involves two major “scenic vistas” to look at: forgiveness (of others but especially of self), and trust (especially in our own Divinity and our own inner knowing). So let’s examine forgiveness . . .
The dictionary meaning of “forgiveness” is pretty straight forward: “the act of forgiving or being forgiven.” But what I found interesting were some of the synonyms: exoneration, understanding, tolerance, mercy, lenience. I think they add a richness to the meaning of the word.
With respect to the “how to” of forgiveness, if you google “forgiveness,” you’ll find plenty of articles like “What Is Forgiveness?”, “9 Steps to Forgiveness,” or “12 Tips for Forgiving Yourself.” (I haven’t read them and I’m not going to footnote them. If you’re interested, you can do a google search and read some of them.)
I’ve heard that one “how to” is to make a list of everybody who has hurt or angered you (or that you have hurt) and then go one-by-one and forgive them (or ask for forgiveness), similar to a step in 12-step programs. You can do this on the physical plane in person or by writing a letter to them that you send. Or you can forgive them on the spirit plane, for example, writing a heartfelt letter that you don’t send, or in meditation.
Or maybe in this age of accelerated awareness and, as some say, final Karmic clearing, you can take the advice of the song from the movie “Frozen” and just “Let It Go” keeping in mind three concepts:
- We are all (including ourselves) perfectly imperfect Human Beings. And while each ability and talent enables us to earn a living, be creative, etc., each “imperfection” and related actions are also gifts: an opportunity for soul learning and growth. (In my training as a Life Coach, we used to call them FOGs—f’ing opportunities for growth).
- At any given moment in time, each of us is doing the best we can given who we are and what we know at the time. “Who we are” may be angry so I or others say something that we don’t really mean. Or “what we know” may be not realizing that what we’ve said or done is REALLY offensive or hurtful to somebody, or that it’s REALLY inappropriate for the situation, etc. But how can you know what you don’t know?
- Since the incident(s) in question, we have all traveled further on our Path, and we have changed, learned, and grown.
* About those who have hurt/angered you: Who they were then is not who they are now.
* And about your “misdeeds”: Who you were then is not who you are now.
So, Action Items for this post . . .
I’m actually not going to “assign” any “homework.” It’s all up to you to decide what you want to do:
To forgive others or ask their forgiveness: make a list and forgive (or ask forgiveness) of each person one-by-one, either on the physical plane or on the spirit plane.
To forgive yourself: 1) list your “imperfections” and wrong-doings, then forgive and have compassion for yourself, item-by-item; and 2) envision silencing that inner critic by encapsulating it (like in a bubble), transforming it into a ball of Light, and releasing it “out there” into the Universe (or create your own visioning or prayer).
Untie the knots and just “Let it go.”
Envision undoing the “knots” and replacing them with Light. Maybe in meditation or your prayers, just with eyes closed, or in bed before you go to sleep at night. Maybe all at once, or maybe a few at a time. What works for me is to envision a knot untying as I think “I forgive you” (said to an unidentified whoever and whatever), and it becomes a straight line of Light that connects to and unties the next knot (again “I forgive you”), lengthening the line of Light, and onto the next knot, etc. I especially target current body areas of pain. Again, do a visioning (or prayer) that works for you.
Wait for “guidance.” Maybe you’re not ready to do this right now. So put it on a back burner until your inner knowing (your intuition) nudges you that it’s time to forgive yourself and/or someone else.
Whatever you choose to do, listen to your inner guidance about what to do and when. Know that it may shift and change from one of the above actions to another, and then back again, depending on what’s in your “highest and best good” (what’s appropriate for you at any given time). Be patient and you’ll get some direction.
And know that it may be like peeling away the layers of an onion: you may think you’ve handled an item only to have it come up again, but on a deeper level or as a different aspect of the item. Like everything else, it’s a process. And note that you may want to start with forgiving and having compassion for yourself so you can do and feel the same for others.
So why is “11-Character Word” in the title of this post ? Well I’ve always been fascinated by numbers. No, NOT math. Rather, interesting occurrences like glancing at the clock and seeing 1:11, 11:11, 2:22, 3:33, or a date that’s a palindrome (the same sequence forwards and backwards), like 10/02/2001. Or I just looked at my Fitbit and I’ve walked 777 steps today (Jeez, I better get moving to reach my daily goal!).
In numerology, “1” is the beginning of a cycle, and “9” is the end of a cycle. If 1 = new beginnings, then double 1’s are double that energy. In fact, I’ve seen “11” described as symbolizing a BIG new beginning, specifically, “the gateway to enlightenment.”
How interesting that forgiveness is an 11-character word. How appropriate for it to help facilitate “Your [Our] Path to Oneness.”
Kudos to you if you take this on now. It takes a lot of courage. Conversely, please do NOT beat yourself up for not being ready to take it on yet. You’ll know when it’s time, when you’re ready. Just as you can’t know what you don’t know, you also can’t do what you’re not ready to do.
Whatever you choose to do, be gentle with yourself. This is BIG soul work!