What is forgiveness and why is it so hard to forgive ourselves?
According to Merriam Webster Dictionary, “Forgiveness is a noun and an action or process of forgiving or being forgiven”. Forgive is a verb and is to: “Cease to feel resentment against an offender, to give up resentment, or to grant relief from payment of.” “Forgive.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/forgive."
I love the deep transformational work I do with people, and our inability to forgive ourselves is something I spend a lot of time talking about. Why are we so hard on ourselves, and why do we allow the judge or critic in our mind to continue to have a party and run the show?
What if forgiveness is like a garden that you can dwell in? It is filled with beautiful flowers, plants, fruits, and vegetables that make you relax and smile. With each act of forgiving yourself, you compost the soil of your garden so that it can grow even more beauty, sustenance, and love .
Dwelling in Forgiveness is a daily commitment to not allow the inner critic to take over.
Forgiveness continues to be a powerful teacher and liberator for me. In one of my first initiations in Gabon over 20 years ago, I had the opportunity to look deep inside myself with a very powerful sacred plant medicine known as Iboga or Sacred Wood. This medicine goes back to the Pygmy people and is used throughout Gabon and Cameroon today as a way of life and healing.
There was extensive preparation and purification leading up to the initiation to get me ready physically, mentally, and spiritually. The initiation itself lasted for a few days and the medicine took me on a deep inner journey. I had the opportunity to review my life and look at all the different ways I would beat myself up in my head. They were quick flashes of moments of time, sort of like quick scenes from a movie, and I could watch them without any emotional attachment. I saw how much this affected my daily life and held me back. The rapid scenes of all my negative self-talk got very loud, and the energy of this felt like it filled up my entire body. I was full of the vibration of beating myself up in every nook and cranny of my being. There was no where else for it to go and it was still getting louder, and then I felt this energy pop out of the top of my head and leave my body. I was not really sure what to make of all of this in the moment except that it felt like a very thorough energetic enema.
As the days and weeks went on, I noticed that whenever I would have the negative self talk, there would be this pulse of energy in my spine that would catch my attention to what I was thinking. This would shift my perception, and change my habit of doing this. The energy of those thoughts could no longer live in me like they once did. It was fascinating, and a deep gift from the Sacred Wood and Creation.
Forgiveness visited me again after my youngest daughter, Dyllan, passed. I was full of many thoughts of what I could have or should have done differently. That somehow my actions could have changed the fact that she had died. I participated in an all-night Native American Ceremony with my family shortly after her passing. I was deep in my own cesspool of blame and loss. I looked up across the fire at the other side of the tipi, and shining in the firelight in huge letters across the entire side of the tipi was, “YOU ARE FORGIVEN”. It startled me, and I hear myself say, “for what?” A kind and loving voice responds to me and says, “FOR EVERYTHING!” Forgive myself for everything…what does that even mean and how do I do it? This made me chuckle because it felt like I needed a clobber over the head and a large flashing banner to get my attention, and get me out of this funk.
I decided to try dwelling in “You are Forgiven”. I breathed it deep into my body and heart and could feel the liberation, love, and connection available here. This was 7 years ago, and forgiveness continues to be a teacher, liberator, and friend that I walk with.
I invite you to “Dwell in Forgiveness.” Try it...Imagine your own garden of forgiveness. What lives there, and what is being composted. You are worth it!