A Course in Forgiveness

blueorch 2Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.” – Mark Twain

“One forgives to the degree that one loves.
-Francois de La Rochefoucauld

I could spend a lot of time thinking about the different struggles people have and what lessons they need to learn from them.  Not long ago, I decided that a friend of mine has to learn selflessness.  The circumstances in this person’s life just scream it, really.  But as hard as I’ve tried, I haven’t even heard a whisper about my biggest lesson.  Until today in a heart-opening backbend in yoga class.  It came to me.  It hollered (as my grandmother use to say) at me.  But I didn’t like what it was saying.  It was saying that forgiveness is my lesson.  Which, to me, is the most difficult act of kindness there is.  Nothing can get me crying faster on a pew on Sunday than a good sermon about forgiveness.  Because I know that I haven’t given out all of it that I should.

Not to say that I don’t get over things, because that I can do really quickly.  And it’s not that I can’t continue to love someone who hurts me, because I have, I do and I will.  But I know deep down in my heart that I have not forgiven the giver.

I can track back over my entire life and see how I was being tested for this forgiving thing.  And though I haven’t failed all of these tests, I have quite a few incompletes.  I won’t call them failures since I’m not dead yet.

Some things in life are serious and just shouldn’t be done.  But I want to take life less seriously and just believe that even the worst of things that have happened to me have only been to teach me something, and nothing more.  Not because I deserved to be treated badly, which is the answer I usually find lurking around in my head.  By forgiving someone, I think I will be able to stop blaming myself in one way or another for the things that have hurt me most.  It will give me clarity about the act that caused me the pain in the first place.   The act has nothing to do with the receiver.  It was just a byproduct of a lesson that someone else was learning.

If I can find a way to forgive myself, others and God, I think that I can live the life I want so badly to live.  To be the peaceful person that gets hidden away behind all of these walls that I put up to protect myself from needing to forgive anyone.  I think I will be able to love more deeply, without the fear that one day this person will hurt me and I won’t be able to forgive them.

The “how” is the hardest part.  So I’ll start with lots of heart opening asanas and see how it goes from there.


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