The Act of Forgiveness

Ice cracking

“Forgiveness multiplies and melts rigid postures. Try again and again with self-forgiveness. Be the kind of parent to yourself you may not have had.” Sark

Forgiveness has always baffled me! Perhaps it is because a blanket declaration of “I forgive” has rarely worked, or maybe it is just not in my terrier nature to forgive and forget. Some people are like that, ya know.

One big statement fails to take into account the deep rooted memories of abuse held in the body long after I have declared myself free of pain and animosity.

A hand is extended to pet my head, a common human reaction to doggies, and I immediately cringe away in anticipation of the searing pain a blow to the head can create. As a puppy I was kicked and hit or whacked with a broom, chased with that horrible noise machine, the vacuum cleaner, and made to suffer to the amusement of my first owner.

When there are too many memories, like the skunk who sprayed me, or Marco scratching my nose, or even Seamus stealing my bone, then mom says I must explore and release each assault, one at a time, eventually leaving the memory chamber free of anger. Too continue to bring forth the memory, continues to feed new life into it and the pain comes along for the ride.

Mom noticed my pulling away at certain moments, even as I wanted the caress, instead I would become tense and agitated. She knew someone had done my heart great harm and I asked her what I could do to change.

MAYA
Mom, I don’t mean to growl and snap when you pick me up, but when I was a young cairn a man would lift me up and shake me hard, then laugh at what he had done. If I forgive him will my physical reaction ever go away?

MOM
I think Maya, that this is a concern for many people who have suffered great pain and tragedy in their lives. You have been a victim of abuse multiple times and should learn that each memory requires a moment to reflect and forgive as it rises to the surface.

I feel that a soul greater, more compassionate than mine can call forth each and every assault on the body-mind and with one swift declaration forgive the trespasses of their tormenters – and this is admirable. But it appears that I am not made of such stuff, though I have tried again and again.

MAYA
So what do you do?

MOM
Well, it is those moments when the memory rises to the surface, of betrayal, of words spoken in anger, of physical abuse or abandonment; but most of all the withdrawal of love – then I say, “I forgive you this transgression against my body, my heart and my soul. May we both find peace and happiness.”

MAYA
That’s it? That’s all you do?

MOM
Yes, that is all I can do and just like that it slips away out into a universe congested with memories and pain loosed from the Earth.

MAYA
Sounds too easy to me, mom. Will the memory disappear forever?

MOM
Hold to the memory, little Maya, and you keep it alive with the energy of your thoughts. Each time it arises and you dwell on the pain you bring that moment back to life again and again. Better to forgive and allow the memory to dissolve completely. In this way you can move on with your life in peace and create for yourself some happiness.

MAYA
But that will take a long time to forgive all the wrongs done to me.

MOM
Perhaps, but look where you are now. Everything that has happened in your past, every action, thought and deed has led to your being here with me, Seamus and Tessa. If one thing had changed you might be somewhere else and never come to know this way of life.

MAYA
Ha, I see what you’re doing, very clever. Now I’m thanking my tormenter for leading my life in this direction, where I am loved and cared for unconditionally.

MOM
Well, it is a way of looking on the bright side of things. I think it is always best to see situations as opportunity disguised as loss, as you never know where you are being led.

MAYA
By something outside yourself?

MOM
Or some deeper part of your true Self?

MAYA
Forgive, forget, and move on. That’s it, isn’t mom?

MOM
Yes, but now you have to put it into practice, with awareness and the courage to let go and free yourself from the bondage of your memories. Meditation can help and that’s how I practice.

MAYA
(Sigh) Nothing’s ever easy, is it?

MOM
Depends, but meditation can make the process of letting go happen in less amount of time. Here sit down and let’s do it together. No sit, Maya. Come on now, SIT. Ok, how about a treat to sit.

MAYA
Now you’re talking.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Alice F says:

    Lovely. You are right, forgiveness of abuse and even forgiveness of self for embarrassing moments can set the spirit free.

    Like

  2. A great insight — that meditation can increase the pace of healing / moving on. Thanks for your lovely, lyric articulation of the power inherent in forgiveness.

    Like

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