Saturday, July 12, 2014

The Power of Forgiveness

“The truth is, unless you let go, unless you forgive yourself, unless you forgive the situation, unless you realize that the situation is over, you cannot move forward.”
(Steve Maraboli, Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience) 

It can be challenging to forgive others but what about forgiving one's self? Although it is important to say "I'm sorry" to another person with whom we've had a disagreement or argument, can we recognize the bigger picture? Is it possible to see the mirroring of ourself in others and forgive ourself along with the other?

The sacred Hawaiian practice of Ho'oponopono teaches us that when we forgive another, we forgive ourself. Ho'oponopono is called the Hawaiian Code of Forgiveness, and it's an important practice because when we forgive others, who are we forgiving? Ourselves. We are responsible for 100% of our experiences in life and the memories we replay. The Hawaiian belief is that we carry inside us as parts of the Unconscious Mind, all the significant people in our lives. Ho'oponopono makes it "all right" with them and we can release the old memories that have emerged in the encounter with another. The intention of the process of Ho'oponopono is to align with and clean up our relationships and our genealogy.

Throughout my life there have been key people who have challenged me in this practice of forgiveness. I must admit that I am never comfortable with the feelings that surface - anger, betrayal, fear. My "little girl" gets triggered and I find myself back in a time and space that makes me vulnerable and uncomfortable, a space where I don't feel safe.

But I don't believe in accidents or that there are people and situations that do not have the potential to transform myself and others. So what are these trying situations teaching me?

If I go back to the Hawaiian Code of Forgiveness, I must consider that each person who challenges me is "inviting" me to reveal, release, and transform old subconscious limiting beliefs and patterns. I am usually able to forgive another person's actions but there are those who have been in my life for many years that continually challenge that. I believe that we're mirrors for each other.

Now that I am older, I have the gift of hindsight. I can look back over choices I've made and learn from them. I continue to have opportunities to practice forgiveness through my family and friends. When I see my children learning their life lessons through their marriages and children, I understand even more. Life is an amazing journey and we are invited to make choices throughout the adventure. Sometimes we wish we had chosen differently but regrets are vain. The value of age, and time, is perspective. We can always make a new choice that directs us to new outcomes. Continually we are encouraged to take responsibility for our actions and decide if we like the course our life is on or choose to set new intentions, altering our life's course.

What is being mirrored for you? Who do you need to forgive? Can you forgive yourself? What deep within your core is ready to be transformed if only you can dig deep enough to forgive yourself? That's the journey. That's the quest. May each of us be brave enough to ask our soul to show us the invitation in each situation. How does this person help me become my authentic self? Our master teachers are not those who make us feel loved and accepted but those who challenge us to surrender to something greater than ourself.

Life is an amazing journey that constantly changes. Recognize the people who offer you an invitation to heal and to forgive. Compassion is the key. When we can forgive ourself, we find the compassion to forgive others. When we can seek forgiveness we hold the key to transformation. 
"It is a wonderful day in a life when one is finally able to stand before the long, deep mirror of one’s own reflection and view oneself with appreciation, acceptance, and forgiveness. On that day one breaks through the falsity of images and expectations which have blinded one’s spirit. One can only learn to see who one is when one learns to view oneself with the most intimate and forgiving compassion." (Beauty: The Invisible Embrace, John O'Donohue)