Forgiveness

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Forgiveness came to me by surprise and when I least expected it. I believe that sitting with and working through the old grief that I had been clutching to, allowed the space within my heart for forgiveness.

Many years ago, my grandfather had phoned me up and expressed his angry opinion to me on how he thought I should handle the abuse I experienced. His words hurt me deeply and I felt betrayed,  unsupported and like somehow it was all my fault. It felt like I had been punched in the stomach and my relationship with him changed that day. I could not forgive him until recently after he had passed away. Something in me softened and I realized that this anger I was carrying around with me was only affecting me. What point was it to continue to be angry at him? I felt a sadness arise for all the years I missed out on getting to know him.

On the way to the funeral I listened to The Book of Forgiveness by Desman Tutu and Mpho Tutu for the whole 6 hour drive there. I had made the choice to forgive my grandpa and my heart felt more at peace and my love for him grew. I also knew that the man who abused me would be at the funeral, and what I did not expect or anticipate was the miraculous healing that incurred for me that day.

I walked in and he was the first person I saw. There he was standing before me and I could not avoid his presence. But this time, something was different. I no longer saw a monster looming over me, I saw a human being and man who was also holding pain and suffering.  A strength rose up in me along with a shocking decision I made, that it was time to forgive him. Never ever did I believe it would be possible to forgive this man who I hated, and wished pain and torment upon everyday of his life like I endured. But, I forgave him, for myself, to free myself from the suffering and resentment I was carrying around with me. I could see how it affected my life and that was not ok with me anymore. I was ready to let the story go.

From The Book of Forgiveness…

“What Forgiveness is not”

  • forgiveness is not easy-it requires hard work and a consistent willingness.
  • forgiveness is not weakness-it requires courage and strength.
  • forgiveness does not subvert justice-it creates space for justice to be enacted with a purity of purpose that does not include revenge.
  • forgiveness is not forgetting-it requires a fearless remembering of hurt.
  • forgiveness is not quick-it can take several journeys through the cycles of remembering and grief before one can truly forgive and be free.

And now to release all aspects of the abuse and free the pain and suffering that was hunkered deep down inside me, I turn to forgiveness for myself. I intentionally and unintentionally inflicted abuse, neglect, criticism, and suffering upon myself. I did not believe I was good enough, worthy or loveable and I hated myself. I forgive myself for these false perceptions and behaviours. It has been holding me back in trusting myself, living life and experiencing more joy!

Someone recently shared with me on what forgiveness meant to him and it resonates deeply with me now. He said “forgiveness is forgiving without forgetting” and “forgiveness was the path to his heart where he lived.”

What does forgiveness mean to me…

FORGIVENESS IS THE PATH TO MY HEART WHERE LYNNDEL LIVES.

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Taking things Personally

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I have been observing my behavior and reactions to situations and people around me, and that of others recently. I listen to my clients, friends, family, and strangers as they speak. I witnessed a common theme which led me to the question, why do we take things so personally and interpret others issues as being about us? Why do we allow the actions and words of others effect how we perceive ourselves and dictate our mood?

It wasn’t so long ago, that I also lived in this prison jumping instantly into defense in reaction to others emotions or words. I took things to heart. If I came in contact with someone having a bad day, angry and spewing it towards me, I gave it right back not even realizing what had happened. Ahhhh what a viscous cycle it was. Then I would spiral down into that deep dark hole, as the energy was sucked from me. What did I do to this person, I don’t deserve to be treated this way, what’s wrong with me, ect. ect. ect. Sound familiar? Then I would allow it to “ruin” my day and pass the nastiness along. I chose (without knowing it at the time) my reaction.

The inner work that I have done has changed drastically my perception, understanding, and how I view things now. The first step is knowing how and why you are reacting, so then you can make new choices! I’m learning to not let my mood be dependent on someone else. (Am I still affected? Yes… I’m still human, I still forget  sometimes to ask that question, Is this mine?) Is the anger, hurt, or frustration coming at me mine? If its not resonating from a place inside me, I allow the wave of emotion to wash over me, and I no longer cling onto it.

A strangers bad mood has nothing to do with me, what I have done, or who I am. I choose how I respond to it. If it stirs up great emotion within me I stop and ask myself, what is it that I am feeling from this interaction, what is it triggering in me? Why am I reacting in this manner? Then it is my responsibility (if we choose to, its always our choice) to own and heal that part of myself. What gets brought up for you? Maybe you feel bad because you somehow believe it is your fault? Do you feel helpless, because it reminded you of a time when you couldn’t help someone you loved that was hurting? Are you uncomfortable with anger because of your childhood? Does it remind you of an old unresolved trauma you have buried? What does your reaction say to you?

Sometimes with those we love, we feel a great need to fix, change, or react back to them when they are having an “off” day, and are in a less pleasant state. This used to make me feel worse, and it wasn’t usually helpful for me at all. It is not our responsibility to change someone else’s mood or fix the state they are in. When this situation occurs and it isn’t something that you have done (nothing you need to make right or apologize for ) don’t take it personally, it is not about you. If you react, sit with the reaction you have, acknowledge it, feel where it settles in your body? What emotion do you have? What is it telling you? Is there some belief that you are holding about yourself, your world?

Now, I am going to tell you to take it personally. lol But in a different context. If you react to it, it is yours to own and  work with, it is personal but let go of the blame to others for making you feel this way, or for doing this or that to you. Look within yourself and see what has been overturned in you and brought up for healing. This experience has been shown to you in reflection of what is stirring already within you.

Open to the possibility of a different interpretation of what is going on. Sometimes our belief of the experience may actually have nothing at all to do with what’s going on. Everyone is dealing with something. Have compassion for others, and most importantly, have compassion for YOURSELF!!

This concept of not taking things so personally has brought me such a sense of freedom. So how do you help others when you bump up against them in this ‘negative’ state? (emotions are just energy, our perceptions to them makes them good or bad in our mind) What I have experienced to be so profoundly helpful for me and what I now can do for others, is to hold a healing space for them. In short form, you become completely present within yourself, grounded, and open to all the energy around and available for all of us. Feel your own support, unconditional love, and that ‘still’ place within you. This is turn allows them  the space, feeling of safety, and support within themselves that they need to shake off whats built up in them. When you hold this space for someone they recognize this place also within themselves (at a very subtle level) and it gives them the energy they need to make a shift.

This is a much more empowering place to live from.