“Nothing ever goes away until it teaches us what we need to know.”
— Pema Chödrön
I have written a few times about forgiveness, here and here. The context of what I shared about forgiveness was the life and death of my Father and how to deal with painful situations as a vulnerable soul.
I have learned a few things along my journey on forgiveness: what worked for me and what didn’t. And why it depends on how to approach the forgiveness process and which intention to put into it. For me, it helped a lot to work with the end in mind (what did I learn and how could I grow personally). And that’s all about how I wanted to get out of this process. And that deepened my forgiveness practice.
Let’s have a look:
Put it on paper and write your forgiveness list
Forgiving incidents and situations that were very painful for your heart and soul that requires a holistic approach. In other words, forgiving is not an issue you can decide on with your brain only. It won’t work in the long run. Forgiving has to be processed by your heart and body. Then, your mind can do the rest of the work. For me, it all begins with writing down the things I want to forgive. It doesn’t matter if this is a list that covers your entire past life until today, or if this is a list that’s focused on a single incident, as you might practice forgiveness regularly. Write things down, all aspects you want to forgive, in full sentences. While you are writing, listen carefully to your heart to make sure that your mind doesn’t suppress things that are relevant to your heart. Your heart is where the pain is; this is where the need to forgiving comes from: from a wounded heart. Now, look at the list, and make sure that it’s complete for today. Be gentle with yourself and say thank you to yourself for this first step. It might already be a painful process to write these things down.
And then write your gratitude list
Not everything is bad. There are always positive aspects related to the person(s) and incidents you want to forgive. Again, listen to your heart and let the positive things flow on your next sheet of paper, your gratitude list. What is it you love about this person, what makes you smile, what makes your heart beating faster, what is it you are grateful for? If there are really more pain and negativity than positive aspects, focus on what you learned from this person, even though it was a painful lesson. Looking at the situations this way, you will find a positive aspect. For yourself and your future. After all, what we always should is learning from what’s happening to us. Because this is why things are happening. To help us to grow personally. Then, hold the forgiveness list in one hand, and the gratitude list in the other hand. How do you feel about the one and the other? Which has more weight, which one feels lighter?
Are you ready to burn the heavy list?
Burn one list and keep the other
Now, it’s time to manifest what you want to forgive. Light a candle, and position yourself in front of the candle. Have a bowl next to you to burn the forgiveness sheet. If you have a fireplace at home, even better. Then, use this one. Take a few deep breaths. Try to connect with the person, you want to forgive, try to build an energetic connection. It works, even if the person is no longer living. Simply focus your energy and call the person into the procedure. Look at your forgiveness list, read the sentences, and burn the forgiveness list. It depends on your preference if you want to speak it out loud, but it’s important that you process at the end these steps: “I forgive you” and “I claim my freedom back.” Most important at the end: “I wish you well.”
The procedure to burn the forgiveness list is so powerful because it manifests the things you let go in the physical world. It doesn’t mean that you should forget what has happened (why should you, as it has taught you lots of lessons). It doesn’t mean that you “approve” what has happened to you. Not at all. Forgiving simply says that what has happened has no longer power to control your future life from now on. This is why “claiming your freedom back” is such an important step in this procedure.
Put an intention into the process
That’s an aspect I have only learned a few weeks ago. It was the question “what’s next?” Is forgiveness just an isolated procedure for me to feel better, to remove the tremendous weight from my heart? Looking at forgiveness from a more holistic perspective, and from my own aspiration to grow personally with whatever happens to me, I learned that putting an intention in the whole process was the key to success for myself. It may come as a no surprise to you, but my ultimate goal is to achieve as much personal growth as possible, to lead myself towards personal mastery based on the assumption that we are all spiritual beings with a human body [please fill in whatever works for you…]. So, defining the intention should be focused on what you learned, how you could grow personally and on which level you what to connect or re-connect with the impacted person(s). Given the fact that what has happened, has happened to teach me something, my intention is to learn this lesson (finally) and to execute on it. For me, recent forgiveness needs had a lot do to with living my truth, and addressing issues that don’t work with my truth any longer. It was about pushing myself to the next level of connectedness and understanding of myself and others. And that’s like establishing the foundation for a new level of interaction. And that’s directly connected to the gratitude list: I’m grateful that I could learn this lesson.
That’s, of course, specific for each of you.
Forgiveness is not a one-way street, and don’t forget to forgive yourself
As I mentioned earlier, try to build a connection with the person(s) you want to forgive. And it’s equally important that the other involved persons can forgive themselves as well. It’s something that will circle back on an energetic level.
Often overlooked, but the key to your success that you can move on to your next level is the need to forgive yourself. You may struggle with yourself why and what has brought you in the situation that has hurt you in the first place. You may struggle with your vulnerability, or whatever it might be. Be gentle with yourself, accept the fact that you may have needed a few iterations to learn the lesson you had to learn. Make peace with who you are and allow yourself to move on. And we need the gratitude list again: add, that you are grateful for whatever you have learned from this situation and also from this forgiveness process.
And now, move on, and enjoy your life on a new level of consciousness. And you will see, this new energy will do the work and impact your environment.
Stay on your journey, and integrate the forgiveness process in your life’s routine. Whenever you need it, work with it, improve it, and feel free to adjust it to make it work for you. And don’t forget to gather your gratitude lists, and to enjoy what you are grateful for.
“No matter who you are, or what you do, the ground is always shaky. And the really good news is that shaky ground is really fertile ground for spiritual growth and awakening.”