Pause at the word: “for-give.” “For-to-give.” Forgiveness is such a gift that “give” lives in the word. Christian tradition has tried to make it a meek and passive word; turn the other cheek. But the word containes the active word “give, ” which reveals its truth. – Michael Ventura, Meeting the Shadow
This quote begins Lesson 9: Letting Go of the Past in week two in the book I’m reading called “Calling in the One.” As you recall, I shared my thoughts on “Making the Space for Love” from this same book in an earlier blog. I’m making the journey through this book with four friends. It’s been an eye opening experience and I’m grateful to have such an amazing group of women to share this learning experience.
The author, Katherine Woodward, opens the chapter with a personal story. She went on a three-day-silent-meditation retreat. She was struggling with feelings of anger towards her ex who had wronged her deeply. She knows her resentment towards her ex is impeding her current relationship. She does not have a clear space for love.
She has an epiphany in which she understands all that is due her will come forward; however, she must first release her ex and her attachment to getting restitution from him. It is preventing her from getting what is due to her. In this moment, she let’s go of her resentment towards her ex completely and never again is she plagued by feelings of bitterness or rage. By releasing these feelings, she could also see her role in creating a difficult situation in that past relationship and grow from her experience.
Then we had to do the practice:
- Who am I carrying resentment toward?
- What do I resent this person for?
- What can I be responsible for in this situation?
- In what ways can this experience help me become a more mature person?
- What lessons did I learn?
- What good can come from this situation?
- What have I been unwillling to accept about this situation?
- What can I now let go of so the situation is complete?
As I started to think about all my past loves and friends, I realized I did hold some resentment towards one person, and then two people, and then the list grew to eight people!
You’ll be surprised what comes out when you start writing. I was in a 10 year relationship that I thought I had resolved in my mind years ago. Five pages later in my journal, I realized there were alot of things that I had just accepted. “It’s okay, I’m okay.” Do you ever do that? Do you convince yourself it’s not a big deal? No reason to overreact, what good will it do?
The other person who wronged you is not suffering from your non-reaction, you are. It holds you back from creating a clear space for love with someone who respects your feelings.
Eleven pages later, I’ve answered all the questions in the practice about the eight people who have wronged me. It’s forced me to examine what part I played in creating the situation and it’s helped me to understand how to prevent it from happening again.
There’s a bonus practice, write a letter to someone you are ready to forgive. You can send it to the person, burn it or rip it up as a ceremonial release. Or, you may do as I did, and keep all eight letters as a reminder to myself of the stand that I have taken to let go and release the debt I have felt the person owed me.
In the last paragraph in your letter, write “I am willing to forgive you and I release you from the debt you owe me.” It’s quite empowering and feels good to put it in writing.
I’m half-way through the book, our group taking more than the seven weeks to complete as suggested by the author. We love to listen and give our input when asked. We’re learning from the book and each other. We find we have alot in common.
I highly recommend this book! You can purchase this book through our blog, see the Amazon ad in the right column. Looking forward to sharing more chapters with you.
p.s. I did share my letter with one ex-boyfriend in person. We have been friends since the relationship ended seven years ago. Recently he brought up “us” as in the possibility of us dating again. Since reading “Calling in the One” I felt it was the perfect time to share my resentment towards him. He was surprised, but appreciated that I shared this with him. It felt really liberating!
p.s.s. There is another person that I will read my letter to soon. I feel it’s important for me to share this with him in person. Why? I am withholding myself from him.