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Forgiveness may not be what you believe it is. Imagine looking out at the world and seeing peace where there was once anger and pain, that’s the gift of forgiveness. Ponder the experience of being peaceful under all circumstances before you read on. Just imagine it without doubt or hesitation. You have the power of imagination, why not use it for reinforcing your own peace instead of pain? Go ahead...
Why does forgiving another seem so hard at times?
Just contemplate the last time you thought someone had done something wrong against you, someone you love, or the world. Perhaps it felt like your heart was being torn apart. It can feel like a volcano ready to explode right there at the center of the heart.
Forgiveness means letting go. It means letting go of the hurt, the anger, the pain, the shame, the guilt, and the personal sense of insignificance. When we let go, we feel the pain rising back up before it is released. And it doesn’t feel good, does it? That’s why we push all those uncomfortable feelings down because we don’t want to feel them.
Yet when we let them go, there is a huge release, and a pure sense of freedom and joy can arise once our burden is released. Sure, the mind comes in and says you cannot forgive that because it’s wrong. But who is suffering when you don’t forgive? You or the one you won’t forgive? The answer is always, first and foremost, you.
When you attack another in thought, word, or action, you are living in your own weakness, your own smallness, and your own insecurity. Holding onto a grudge against another is an attack, even if they started it. It doesn’t feel good, and you know it!
When you let go of those attack thoughts and words, I mean truly release them. There is such a deep sense of peace that arises. This is because you have let go of your own pain.
The reason you do not forgive in the first place is because you first must feel the uncomfortable burn. Yet feeling and then releasing that burn brings with it a removal of your own sense of fear, guilt, pain, and fatigue.
As much as you want to blame others for the wrongs of this world or in your life, it ends up being a burden on you that you constantly carry.
You simply can’t know what the others‘ experience is or why they act the way they do. Tend to your own garden, do not try to weed the other’s garden. When you tend your own garden, you create space, an example, and an openness for the other to do the same. Whether they tend to their garden or not is not really your business, is it? Unless of course you are in law enforcement or a parent. But even in those roles, releasing the anger and pain is integral to your own health and happiness.
When you put blame on another, the only person who really suffers is you. And if the other person then suffers because of your words or actions, you are simply spreading the pain instead of releasing it. It then grows like a parasite inside you.
How do you forgive what appears to you to be heinous acts against you or the world? You need a different perspective to do so. The perspective you have now is going to lead to the same pain that caused you not to let it go in the first place. So then, how do you gain a new perspective?
You must be with it, all of it. All your beliefs about the situation, all your uncomfortable emotions, and the discomfort that arises in your body when you feel it. I call this acknowledging your experience. You need to acknowledge it all unedited and unapologetically. You are not acknowledging it to indulge your anger and blame further. You are acknowledging it so you can see it for what it really is, unprocessed and unintegrated thoughts and emotions. When you can view your mental and emotional beliefs instead of getting caught up in them, you create space between you and that which has been charging you. That’s acknowledging, which then leads to accepting.
Accepting does not mean I give up. Forgiving does not mean that another’s actions were not possibly cruel according to society’s beliefs. Accepting or forgiving frees you from the burden of carrying the pain. It means I accept this moment exactly as it is showing up because it is what is in front of me at this moment. Resistance leads to suffering; acceptance leads to peace. Acceptance also takes you out of the mental-emotional cycle that continues to recycle the pains of the past. What this means is that you are now free to take actions that are not prompted by past pain. You are free to take actions prompted by present-moment inspiration. Imagine that. Not letting past pain dictate how you respond to present-moment experiences! You could have a totally different experience with your loved ones and even the whole world.
This is when accepting leads to allowing. When you fully accept the moment as it is showing up without trying to modify or change it, you are releasing yourself from the burdens of past thoughts and emotions. This allows you to be completely free to engage in the present moment with thoughts, words, and actions that are appropriate to what is happening now. What do I mean by that?
Have you ever had an argument with someone and left it unresolved? Then you see that person again, and because the interaction was unresolved, you act differently toward them. Now imagine meeting that person again, completely free from the unresolved argument. You meet them with a beginner's mind and heart. Perhaps they then feel that from you and respond back to you with kindness. Or if they do not, you can simply walk away or stay anchored in your loving, open heart without the pain of anger and blame.
That’s freedom! Forgiveness is for you first always. It doesn’t mean you are going to allow another to continue to hurt you or those you care about. It does allow you the freedom to respond to life with a peaceful heart instead of a heart bubbling with volcanic heat that’s ready to explode.
That’s living in light.
That’s living in peace and freedom.
That’s YOU living a life of love!
In Loving Service,
Heather Indu Arena
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