Love and Forgiveness are intricately woven into our psyche. The only way to truly experience one, is with the understanding of the other. Love is, ultimately, unconditional. It is my experience, we, myself included, are far from a daily experience of giving, or receiving, love unconditionally. Loving unconditionally, cannot happen in a psyche unable or incapable of forgiveness. As we are humans, with flaws and foibles, it is not a stretch to believe that we hold onto to events, slights, losses, ultimately wounds, for too long.
Have you ever considered the Shadow Side of Love? Have you ever tried to feel love from it’s opposite polarity. I don’t mean hate, rather indifference. Indifference is not, the only shadow of love, but it is one of them.
Understanding, the width, and depth, of the capacity for us to love, is a lifelong process. Hopefully, we experience amazing love, in different forms, in our lives. This love, the Light Side of Love, leaves our soul with a desire revisit the experience again and again.
Ask the question: “What is Love” and I am sure you will get many different answers. I am sure each of us coming together, whether reading this, or sharing sacred space with me, will have their own answer to what love is.
Romantic love is only one aspect. Self Love is another. Many spiritual traditions discuss the Ultimate Love, the Love for and of the Divine. Divine Love, ecstatic union beyond self, is delicious, but hard to hold onto. For Divine Love to continue to shine through us, or even just touch us, cannot be sustained if at first we do not understand Self Love.
Forgiveness is a deep, much discussed spiritual necessity. Forgiveness is not a weak action. Nor does Forgiveness imply what happened, was alright, or acceptable.
Many tragedies occur in our lives. Many events have left us bereaved and bereft. The tragic events hold onto us, sometimes not allowing us to move forward in our lives. As a healer for many years, I have had many patients, tell me many different stories, but the same ending. We get stuck in a loop of a memory, an event, a loss, a rape, death of a child; unable to get out of the loop; simply because we do not have the tools to do so.
We are often told to “Just forgive” or “Just let it go”. Those words are true and powerful. However, we often equate forgiveness with condoning. They are very far from being the same thing.
Forgiveness is a process. Forgiveness is taking the opportunity to examine an event and release the energy that keeps us stuck. When Forgiveness came to teach me, it explained to me the metaphor of a bucket full of water. Forgiveness said
“Everyday you get up, get dressed, go the kitchen, fill a bucket with water and carry it. You don’t need that bucket. You don’t need the water in the bucket. But you fill it anyway. If you are to live a life free of encumbrances, and unnecessary weight, empty the bucket and set it down for good.”
My definition for forgiveness is: “I don’t want it, I don’t need it and I’m not carrying it”. When we forgive, part of us IS saying: “it wasn’t alright I was hurt”. So when we forgive, it’s not saying it’s alright what’s happened, we are not here to validate it or invalidate it.
I challenge each person to walk the path of forgiveness. They say humans only have one real power, the power to forgive. So forgiveness is our greatest power, it is ironically the one we wish we didn’t have. Because we can easily say “I can’t forgive”.
Often we say “we can’t” which implies an inability. I have heard many patients tell me they don’t possess the capacity to forgive. The reality however is, they do, except most of the time they don’t want to. And that is what makes everything so difficult for us. The one power that we wield, we simply do not do because we make decisions on who deserves it and who doesn’t, who’s earned it and who hasn’t earned it. This is the thing that we struggle with the most. We try our best not to judge, but we fall back into the “I’m not going to forgive”. But the one thing we can do with certainty – is forgive.
On February 16, 2014, the weekend of Valentine’s Day, I challenge you to walk with me, using the sacred tool of the Medicine Wheel to understand our connection to our deepest selves. Our ancestors left us many stories and teachings, showing us the paths of love and forgiveness. To walk the sacred medicine wheel is a path leading first inwards, then opening outward. Using traditional methods of exploration, release and healing, we will unravel the mystery of ourselves.
Courage is required. The ability to look, honestly, at yourself is suggested. I look forward to sharing sacred space with you.