The Freedom of Forgiveness

Forgiveness Is The Cash

Is the cash you need. 

All the other kinds of silver
really buy just strange things. 

Learn from those addicted lovers
of gold and opium - 

they cannot jump high or
laugh long. 

Forgiveness is part of the treasure you need
to craft your falcon wings. 

Everything has its music.
Everything has genes of God inside. 


I’ve been reading The Lotus and the Lily: A 30-Day Soul Program by Janet Conner, which draws from the wisdom of Jesus, Buddha, and the mystics to help you “unveil and create the life you really want.” The book is divided into weeks with different themes: first you look at your past and work on letting go what might be holding you back; then you look toward the future.

On the first day of week three, which focuses on forgiveness, the author quotes the poem above by Hafiz. It really struck me. I want falcon wings! I want to be able to soar high above, unencumbered by anger, resentment, and regret. I’ll be honest—week three, which I’m currently in, is kicking my ass. I never thought of myself as one who holds a grudge, but I’ve come to see that I’ve retained a lot of anger over things that happened in my past, and I’m finding some of it very hard to let go.

Conner talks about having a “dungeon” deep inside us, where we’ve imprisoned all of the people we’re angry with. One of the exercises is to visualize this dungeon, to descend the cold, dark stairs, see who you have jailed, open the cell doors, and let them out. Then fill the space with white light so that it is no longer a dungeon. I was amazed to find who I had trapped down there! People I hadn’t thought of in years! Some were very easy to release. Others, not so much. And then finally, I came to the last, worst cell—and in it was me. Of course! Because at the heart of all I can’t forgive is my own actions, or inactions. All of my judging, criticism, regret, and resentment starts at home, in my head, directed against myself.

If you’re anything like me, you criticize yourself constantly, without even realizing it. We’ve internalized the voices of external figures in our childhood, and now they berate us all the time. I’ve talked about this before, and the need to show yourself compassion and love. Now I really get it. If I can’t stop criticizing myself, I can’t stop criticizing others. If I can’t love myself, I can’t fully love others. If I can’t forgive myself, I can’t forgive others. Conner talks about this in depth, and has some wonderful ideas for achieving self-forgiveness.

It is my goal to get through this week in the book and finally be able to completely forgive myself, and then to be able to forgive everyone else I need to. Because I can feel it holding me back—all this anger, and frustration, and resentment is like a giant black vampire inside me, sucking up my energy. I’m tired of lugging all of that around. I’m ready to release it, to forgive, and to earn my falcon wings so I can soar into 2018.

How about you? Do you have prisoners stashed away inside you? Have you imprisoned yourself? Perhaps it’s time to open those doors and free everyone. I wish for you unconditional self-love, self-forgiveness, and self-compassion. I wish for you the most glorious, healthy, happy, abundant holiday season and New Year you could possibly have. Here’s to the freedom of forgiveness!


You Are Not the Only One

Your fear, your pain, your secret shame—whatever wakes you up at 2 a.m. or keeps you from falling asleep—you are not the only one to experience it. If you were to share it, someone else would understand. Someone would say, “Me too.” It may not be your spouse, or your parent, or even your best friend—it may be a stranger whom you’ve never met face-to-face. But rest assured, they are out there.

Yes, they, because there’s probably more than one. This burden you carry feels all the heavier because you think you carry it alone. That is not true. If you speak the secret in a safe place, others will speak up too. They will say, “I feel the same way,” or “I’ve done that too, and I’m so ashamed.” The relief you will all feel when you find each other is enormous. Sharing the load makes it easier to carry, and sometimes bringing it into the light makes it disappear.

I’ve witnessed this recently on a private forum for a class about writing through your pain to the love on the other side. These women—complete strangers at first—have gradually begun to share their most secret secrets, and the acceptance and understanding is overwhelming. One will post a gut-wrenching admission of something which has smothered her in shame and guilt for years, and within minutes, others are posting. Forgiving, commiserating, sharing their similar experiences. Each one feeling like she alone had done that or felt that way—until the dozens of others spoke up.

It is powerfully uplifting to witness the healing that happens when you share what you think is the worst part of you and it is met with compassion and love. It opens the way for peace and joy. Feeling afraid, ashamed, or guilty blocks joy from entering your life like a clot blocks blood flow—and it can be just as life-threatening. Dissolving that clot by sharing your truth will clear the path for all the goodness that is waiting for you.

If you are suffering, I encourage you to seek out a safe place to lay your burden down. Look for support groups, classes, or organizations that might yield a space for you to share. Your tribe is out there, I promise. Online classes are great because it can be easier to be truthful when you’re not actually in the same room—or city—as the other people.  I have a special love for Martha Beck’s classes because I find they tend to draw people who are either also in pain and seeking to transform, or those who are or want to be healers. Be cautious about the group you choose—speaking up only to be met with judgment can be devastating. I’m not a huge fan of most religious groups because judgment just seems to be built into organized religion, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t wonderful congregations out there.

If you aren’t ready to share yet, you could try reading memoirs by authors who have had similar experiences. Maybe start a journal or write a letter to an author you feel a connection with (you don’t have to send it). Sometimes getting everything on paper helps you release it, and imagining a sympathetic response can help you feel understood.

Whatever you do, know that there are others who feel like you, who have experienced what you have. What I am learning is that none of us is truly alone. We are part of a collective love, if we will only open up and welcome it.