Embodied Practice, Part 5: Learning and Practicing Forgiveness
By Eliza Demarest
Anger, sadness, sorrow, grief, betrayal, and resentment are all inevitable emotions of the human experience.
Has anyone ever caused you enough emotional pain that you don’t want to forgive them? Is there a part of you that wants revenge? Do you find comfort in the act of unforgiveness?
You are not alone. However, I have news for you: If you choose to stay in the bitterness of unforgiveness, what you’ll stay in is the suffering of bitterness.
I have a few ‘seeds’ for you to plant that may encourage personal growth towards the path of forgiveness. The first seed is delivered to you by Marianne Williamson, internationally acclaimed spiritual author and lecture. For each seed presented, I would like for you to plant it, water it, nourish it and watch it grow. All of the seeds have the same ingredients: FORGIVE for you, not for anyone else.
SEED ONE: Start by praying five minutes a day for a person who has caused you harm. Pray for someone you currently believe should not freed from the responsibility of the harm they caused. It’s heavy to walk around with the anger and resentment from the past. It’s so much easier to bless them than to blame them, not immediately - but the work will begin to unfold, trust me.
“Your greatest power to change the world is your power to change your mind about the world. All minds are joined. There really is no place where you stop and I start. If I pray for your happiness, one of two things will happen: either you will behave differently or I won’t care.”
SECOND SEED: Focus your energy on the things you can control: your breath, diet, self talk, and how you show up in life. We all have a choice in the present moment. If we bring the past into the present, we do not allow for the future to unfold.
“The universe is self organizing and self correcting. If anybody did anything to harm me, the universe is already on it. The universe has a way to make sure that I get whatever in the material world that person took away from me. I call that the Principal of Divine Compensation,” shares Marianne. “But if my heart is closed, then I won’t be able to receive the miraculous new possibility that the universe is bringing.”
THIRD SEED: Feel your feelings. Acknowledge your emotions. The process of letting go forces us to open old wounds. This will begin to remove the anger of the past and the fear of being hurt in the future.
SEED FOUR: Write out all feelings and thoughts related to the attachment of your past pain. Write what comes to your mind, without a filter or concentrating on correct grammar. Depending on how deep the wound(s) are, do this exercise for a day, a week or a month. Then, speak to yourself or others about your clear reasoning of letting these feelings go. Simultaneously burn the piece(s) of paper covered in words that reveal your past pain.
Whatever it is that happened to you, it does not exist anymore. It’s easier to love and have compassion for people who treat us or our loved ones fairly. However, wishing for the person to feel the same pain that you did or worse will never serve you. Once you start to forgive others, you will begin to forgive yourself.
“What I have seen in my life and what I see in people around me and what I think that the world is called to right now, is that higher love, that sees beyond people’s mistakes, allows the past to be the past, and allows the world to be reborn, as it were. It is amazing how difficult it is to do this, it is amazing how much resistance we have to giving up our thought that someone did the wrong thing or said the wrong thing and somehow if they did or if they said something differently we would be okay.”
Experience Marianne Williamson's wellbeing tools LIVE at LEAD WITH LOVE this fall on October 26-29.
Originally from Mount Shasta, California - Eliza is a wellness focused contributor at Aspen City of Wellbeing. She's a lover of all things wellbeing: smoothies, yoga, meditation, glitter, flowers, and time in nature. She's an aspiring road hog. Be sure to honk or wave if you see her cruising on her Harley through the Roaring Fork Valley.