Thursday, January 31, 2008

Forgiveness - A Journey To Freedom

by Dr. Trish Whynot

Forgiveness is a journey toward freedom from our past. It is a process that takes some effort and along the road there are plateaus that we reach. We may think that forgiveness is complete at these resting points and then something comes up to show us that there is more work to be done. These plateaus are where we tend to get stuck, to be hard on ourselves and to judge. The process of forgiveness is transformational; it is complex, not to be taken lightly and not something that can be done on command. Be patient and tender with yourself on your journey toward forgiveness. You will know you have forgiven when only love and gratitude remain in your heart for the person you desire to forgive and for the opportunity for personal growth and healing that was presented.

How often do we accept an apology without thinking twice about what we are really feeling around the issue and how often do we say the word, “sorry” without ever taking the time to understand why we did what we did in the first place? Are we practicing forgiveness here or attempting to avoid conflict? When we are on the giving or receiving end of someone saying “sorry,” if there is no attempt to understand the situation and to learn from it, we will find ourselves in this place again and after awhile “sorry” will have no meaning.

When we can resolve an issue and consecrate it with forgiveness we are free to move forward unencumbered by the past. We are able to move forward with a deeper understanding of who we are and with something we have learned. We will have let go of some emotional bondage and be able to move forward with a lighter load. Our unfinished business becomes complete and can be released, freeing up energy no longer needed to keep the unresolved issue and its emotional charge alive. Think about how great it feels when you complete a project. You no longer need to put any attention or energy toward it and now are free to put that energy elsewhere. Unfinished business, whether on the inside or the outside, is energetically exhausting and when we are giving away too much of our energy to all this stuff, it is not available for our use in keeping ourselves healthy and creative. You will merely be in survival mode, trying to keep all your stuff alive. We have cords coming from us to feed our stuff that is waiting for resolution and may wonder why we feel so tied down and drained at times. Completing unfinished business on the inside will free up space for unfinished business to resolve itself on the outside. This is also why we feel so free and full of energy and vitality when our unfinished business is completed. It is truly a rush; a rush of energy coming back into us and it feels great!

If we look at prison as a metaphor, we have criminals that are doing time to make up for what they have done and people awaiting trial. We put parts of ourselves in prisons of our own design, parts of ourselves that are awaiting trial, so to speak, waiting for us to give them a voice, waiting for us to take time to understand where they were coming from and waiting for us to forgive them and bring them back into our hearts. We also have parts of ourselves that we can’t forgive, that we have placed in solitary confinement. Those parts of ourselves that have done things that we can’t take back, that we have deemed unforgivable.

By putting these parts of ourselves out of our hearts we have put them in prison. We have scattered our light, separated ourselves from our Selves and are fragmented rather than whole. We may believe that locking up these parts will protect us from ourselves and make us more acceptable to others, but we are only fooling ourselves. In the process of resolving our unfinished business and bringing parts of ourselves back into our hearts we are able to move forward with more of our Self and a deeper understanding of life. We are lighter and able to attract more of what we want because we are becoming more of the beautiful, loving Being that we truly are.

Avoidance is a plateau on the forgiveness journey. Avoidance involves judging others. If we have not done the personal healing involved in the forgiveness process we may move forward in life attempting to dodge situations of like essence in the future. Perhaps betrayal is something you experienced in the past, if you have unfinished business around this event you may go through life seeing it through the eyes of betrayal, judging others rather than communicating your feelings, in order to avoid betrayal in the future. This takes a lot of energy to do and focusing your attention on betrayal will draw more opportunities for betrayal to you because what you put your attention toward is what you will create.

Forgiveness frees us from the past. Being freed from the past means that we have unlocked emotions and unfinished business, processed through them, learned from them, taken our power back and released them. Being freed from our past means that the issue or event no longer has a hold on us, we are no longer keeping it alive with our energy and no longer need to avoid the issue because we know that our energy is less likely to attract it. Because of what we have learned, if we do attract a situation with similar essence in the future, we now have the tools to handle it.

Being freed from our past doesn’t mean that we have forgiven and forgotten. We never have to forgive someone for what they have done. This is a place where people get stuck because there are things that people do that are just unforgivable. Forgiveness doesn’t necessarily mean that we forgive someone and invite him or her for dinner and it doesn’t mean that we need to contact the person in order to finish our unfinished business.

Necessary to the forgiveness process is being able to forgive someone for why they have done whatever they did. Forgiveness means that we have done the work involved to release ourselves from the emotional bondage that the event created for us. Forgiveness requires that we give ourselves permission to be free, to stop identifying ourselves with the event. If we are still talking about how we were wronged we are getting something out of it. We know that forgiveness is complete when our discussion is on what we have learned from it in efforts to help others who may be stuck here.

Sometimes we find ourselves having difficulty forgiving others because they couldn’t admit that they were wrong. When someone can admit that they were wrong the relationship has the potential of going to the next level of intimacy, bringing both parties closer through being vulnerable with their feelings. When the perpetrator can take responsibility for the feelings that fueled their actions and the victim can take responsibility for their emotions that attracted the situation there is the potential for growth and healing individually and in the relationship.

There is always a gift for us on our journey toward forgiveness but sometimes we have difficulty seeing it. Sometimes someone comes into our lives attracted by our energy, brings an issue to our awareness and then falls out of our lives. The issue that has been brought to our awareness is the gift. The situation is showing us something present in our energy field that is attracting this person and/or event to us. We all have free will and if the perpetrator is not ready to own his or her stuff then it may be necessary for us to let them go to figure it out with someone else. Fortunately they don’t need to own their stuff and apologize in order for us to be free to move forward in our lives.

We have all been the perpetrator and the victim at one time or another. When we come from a place of fear we can hurt other people. In being conscious of the place that we are coming from we can more easily avoid hurting others by being conscious of our feelings and choosing to come from a place of love.

Pretending to act from a place of love is another plateau on the forgiveness journey. We all long to act from a loving place, but we can’t pretend to do so. It is energetically impossible. You may be able to fool someone on the surface, but unresolved emotions will fuel your words and actions. When our emotions are not in line with our words/actions, we send mixed messages and our unconscious emotions can hurt the person on the receiving end whether they are aware of them or not. Our unconscious emotions are capable of pushing away those we love and can ultimately kill love over time. Unconscious fuel can leave energetic scars on the mental, emotional and spiritual levels of others. Pretending to act from a place of love on the forgiveness journey is really acting from a place of arrogance. Rising above the other person in an attempt to forgive is believing you are better than they are and that is arrogant. It would be more loving to be honest and let someone know that you had some feelings they brought up for you that are in need of resolution. Then at least they’d know where you were coming from rather than wondering and trying to decipher mixed messages.

Don’t confuse feeling sorry for someone with forgiveness. Forgiving someone because you feel sorry for him or her is arrogant as well. Feeling sorry for someone is judging them, looking down on them and assuming they aren’t capable of changing. Sometimes in our attempt to forgive a family member we may go through the feeling sorry for them phase in an attempt to keep them in our lives. This can serve the purpose of putting us back in control, but staying in this place will leave you on another plateau. It may help you to get through the holidays, but it won’t free you from your past. In feeling sorry for someone we aren’t honoring him or her or ourselves. Feeling sorry for someone can feed their self-pity, contributing to keeping them stuck.

Feeling an emotional charge is another clue that more work needs to be done in the process of forgiveness. When you note that talking about an event or person that hurt you in the past gets you heated or brings tears to the surface there is still an emotional charge. You may have cried or vented, but the roots of the emotion are still present. Healing at the root may involve peeling back layers that involve similar pain from past experiences with others, leading back to childhood events. Avoiding your feelings will leave you on another plateau.

If an issue affects us on a cellular level, it will be difficult to release and forgive and you may need some assistance in your process. If you feel like you should be over something and moving beyond, but aren’t able to do so, don’t judge yourself or fall into judgments from others, be honest with yourself and love yourself enough to get some help in your process. Chances are that there is a lot more going on than what is on the surface and that the processing could be transformational for you. It takes great strength and courage to ask for help. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness.

Rationalizing and intellectualizing feelings in our head and judging them as acceptable or not will not release them. We need to bring our emotions in so we can feel them. In feeling them we can begin to understand why we are experiencing them and trace them back to their origin for healing. Looking back on a childhood event, we may judge it as not such a big deal, but through the eyes of a child it was huge. It is necessary for us to feel through the eyes of that child. This is where meditative techniques can be very beneficial to our process.

We have been taught to disregard our feelings as children and therefore go to great lengths to avoid the discomfort as adults. The more we try to avoid our feelings, the more we bury them and the harder they seem to come at us from others. Once we have some tools to process and understand our feelings we realize how wonderful and powerful they are. There are feelings attached to everything we think, do and say.

We have an abundance of Divine assistance available to us when we ask. Often when we ask for help in forgiving someone the assistance comes through in the form of situations coming at us where people are triggering our emotions. People triggering our emotions are helping us to bring buried feelings from our past to consciousness. As adults, when our emotions are triggered, only 10 to 20 percent of what we feel is from the current situation and the other 80 to 90 percent is old stuff coming to the surface. Unlocking and releasing emotions that we didn’t have the maturity or tools to process through initially is an integral part of the forgiveness process. Our emotions must be felt one last time in order to release them. If emotions around the issue arise bring them in and feel them. These feelings hold keys to our freedom from the past and our ability to create an extraordinary future.

It takes some work to get to the place and the space of forgiveness. Resolving our unfinished business and forgiving others and ourselves for not being perfect can create space for more of what we do want to come in. Feeling and releasing emotions that were attached to our unfinished business and replacing the voids with self-love, forgiveness and understanding, we will be magnets for more love. When we can receive love we can receive anything. Like attracts like. If we harbor anger we will be a magnet for angry people or for situations that will trigger our anger. If we choose to be conscious of our experiences and to process through them we can learn to create our lives. We can create, not with force, fear, or at the expense of others, but by tapping into our personal power and creating with love, harm to none, and by clearing the obstacles that we have put in place so that what we desire can find its way to us.

Forgiveness is truly a journey to freedom. You never have to forgive someone for what they did, resume a relationship, or contact someone from your past for forgiveness to be complete. Being free from your past is a decision only you can make.

It requires some effort, but it’s worth the trip. Freeing yourself from your past enables you to live more, love more and be more in your future. Freeing yourself of emotional bondage, you are free to move forward with a lighter load and capable of attracting more optimal futures than were previously conceivable. When the emotional charge from the pain incurred has shifted to the memory of what you have learned from the experience and only love and gratitude remain in your heart for yourself and those you have forgiven, you will know that forgiveness is complete. A greater understanding for the deeper meaning of your earth experience and destiny will be revealed and you will probably choose to learn in a more elegant fashion in the future. Life will be more fun, love will be less scary and you will truly believe that it’s great to be you!

The forgiveness process teaches us to be tender with ourselves and with others. We are all capable of hurting ourselves and others when coming from a place of fear and emptiness, but the process of forgiveness helps us to love ourselves and to consciously express from a place of love toward others.

In order to give the best of yourself it is necessary to love yourself first; otherwise you are giving from a place of sacrifice, which is a very, empty place.

Fall in love with yourself.

Stumble Upon Toolbar

No comments: