“Forgiveness is key. Forgiveness sets me free.”
Or, how about this one:
“Forgiveness isn’t something I do for the other person, it’s a gift I give to myself.”
Yada, yada. Okay. Thank you for the bumper sticker wisdom…
Sometimes it’s easier said than done!
I know I’ve struggled with this one. A lot.
Still, if you want a truly abundant life (inside and out) it IS important to work on forgiveness.
I’m not saying it’s easy. Just that it’s important.
Because, abundance is like an energy flow that thrums and pulses through the arteries of your life. When that flow gets blocked, the first place to look is into the dark corners of unreleased resentment in your heart.
Recently it was the third anniversary of my father’s death, which is a time that always has me feeling a bit melancholy.
There were a lot of things about our relationship that needed to be forgiven. Things I needed to forgive him for, things I needed to forgive myself for, and things I needed to forgive others for.
Everyone played their parts.
I like to believe that after this life is over, our souls will gather together and we’ll applaud each other’s performances. Like actors in a play.
“Oh, you played that part so well!” perhaps, I’ll say…
“What you did was so hurtful, but also so important to my character’s development. She imbibed an important lesson. And you played that to a tee! Bravo!”
What if this realm is nothing more than the stage we chose to play on, for our own spiritual evolution? What if we’re here for the sole (or soul) purpose of learning and growing spiritually? And what if our souls made spiritual contracts to play specific roles in each other’s life stories?
Just like the actors in a play…
If you looked at things through that lens, would it change the way you feel about some of the players in your own life?
I mean, in a good movie the villain’s just as important as the hero. Sometimes, without the antagonism of one… the other doesn’t move forward, or grow beyond their comfort zone.
In our evolution, I do believe that forgiveness is key.
By forgiveness, I don’t mean denial. I don’t mean wall-papering over difficult feelings and declaring “I’m fine!” when that’s not really the case.
Forgiveness has its own pace. And certainly, it has its own grace. It’s a process. And that process may look different for everyone. But it doesn’t start until you’re willing.
Working on forgiveness is one of the cornerstones of abundance. Because its opposite will poison the beauty and wonder of life. No matter how materially wealthy or otherwise lucky you may be, a blackened heart taints everything.
I know this.
I had a lot of inner work to do around Dad’s death. He’d disowned me after all. But that act, as shocking as it was at the time, was true to form. Both his, and mine. The final pluck of the daisy petal in the game of “loves me, loves me not”…
I have a habit of speaking truth to delusion, and that can come with a cost. Which is probably why I wasn’t permitted to speak much at his funeral. A bit of paper with some sonnet or other was shoved into my hand and I was instructed, firmly, that was all I’d be delivering at the pulpit.
Someone else’s words, in order to cover over and silence my own.
(As the youngest child, I did what I was told. And anyhow, I never would’ve chosen a moment like that to air out dirty laundry.)
It was a couple of hours after the funeral – at the pub – that my brother and sister told me, as gently and kindly as they could, that Dad had disowned me.
Oh yes, it hurt. I actually wailed loudly for several minutes… and I never thought I’d be the wailing type. But I couldn’t help it. The pain was raw, and deep, and too much to hold in.
Once the wailing stopped, I just sobbed. For over 24 hours, pretty much non-stop. I sobbed at the pub. I sobbed at a cafe. I sobbed on the plane home. I sobbed in the taxi. I sobbed myself to sleep. I woke in the night and sobbed some more. I sobbed the next day.
It took a good while for the sobbing to stop.
Then I fell into an exhausted sleep. And then I woke up. Angry.
It’s not a coincidence that after Dad died, I faced a tough year in my business. There was a little black nugget, around which everything orbited that year. And until I’d dealt with it, well, nothing would go quite right.
My flow was well and truly blocked.
In my forgiveness process, I reached a deeper acceptance of the way that my relationship with Dad had never been easy. And how neither side was entirely blameless on that score.
He disappointed me, often. I guess I disappointed him too, because he sure did deliver me a nasty blow on his way out. That’s not something he can ever go back and make amends for. We can’t talk it out now. The conversation is over.
I had to process it without him. I had to find my own way to forgiveness so that what he’d done, and how I felt about it, didn’t become a festering wound of anger and regret that would poison my entire abundant life.
One of the ways I process my feelings is by writing songs. So, below I share the lyrics of a song I wrote a few months after Dad’s death.
Of course it’s just my perspective. Of course it’s baked in my own grief and disappointment. But if you’ve ever struggled to figure out what’s your own ‘stuff’ and what’s someone else’s ‘stuff’… or if you’ve ever struggled to hold in your heart a love that’s on the one hand strong and beautiful, but on the other hand full of contradictions, pain and confusion… then perhaps these lyrics will resonate with you. Because they’re full of contradictions too.
A bit like life.
Forgiveness / Reckoning
I know why you were hurt
Truth is hard to take
I know why you couldn’t stop
Excuses we’ll all make
But I won’t be your whipping post
So you can pass it down the line
You won’t push your pain on me
Not this time.
It’s funny how it all repeats
The patterns and the crimes
Will I let it get to me?
That choice was always mine
Oh I won’t be your whipping post
You won’t pass it down my line
You won’t push your pain on me
Not this time.
… I will pray you’ll find peace,
And God will heal your wounds.
That if you find your way back here,
You’ll play a different tune.
You’ll play a sweeter tune …
Now it’s time to let it go
No changing what’s been done
Let love and light, forgiveness flow
‘Till we shine bright like the sun!
No one can be your whipping post
You can’t pass it down the line
Because in the end, there’s a reckoning …
And it’s that time.
Thank you for reading, and as always, let me know in the comments if this post has helped you in any way.
To YOUR Abundance,
Julie Ann Cairns