Good day there and welcome to the midweek point. It seems many of my chats of the past few days have needed to have the subject of "forgiveness" injected in to them. In the arena of leadership and personal responsibility, this is a subject that we address often.
Oh yes, we all know that lack of forgiveness is a bit like us taking the poison hoping someone else suffers the consequences. And yet still, many great folks are cobbled by their unwillingness to embrace the truth of great rewards that must come with forgiveness.
Our friend and Full Spectrum Leader, Mark Nepo, reflects on the issue in one of the most profound ways I have ever read. You appreciate what he has to say:
By Mark Nepo
This is what has kept me from forgiveness: the feeling that all I’ve been through will evaporate if I don’t relive it; that if those who hurt me don’t see what they’ve done, my suffering will have been for nothing. In this, the stone I through in the lake knows more that I. Its ripples vanish.
What it really comes down to is the clearness of the heart to stop defining who I am by those who have hurt me and to take up the risk to love myself, to validate my own existence, pain and all, from the center out.
As anyone who has been wronged can attest, in order to keep the fire for justice burning, we need to keep burning our wounds open as perpetual evidence. Living like this, it is impossible to heal. Living like this we become our own version of Prometheus, having our innards eaten daily by some large bird of woundedness.
Forgiveness has deeper rewards that excusing someone for how they have hurt us. The deeper healing comes in the exchange of our resentments for inner freedom. At last, the wound, even if never acknowledged by the other person, can heal, and our life can continue.
It is useful to realize that the word forgive originally meant both to give and receive – to “give for.” In keeping with the original meaning, we can see that the inner reward for forgiveness is the exchange of life, the give and take between our soul and the Universe.
It is hard to comprehend how this works, yet the mystery of true forgiveness waits in letting go of our ledgers of injustice and retribution in order to regain the feeling in our heart. We can only hope to begin this exchange today, now, by forgiving what is broken in each other and imagining through love how these holy pieces go together.
Mark Nepo is a poet and philosopher who has taught in the fields of poetry and spirituality for over thirty years. A New York Times #1 bestselling author, he has published twelve books and recorded six audio projects. Recent work includes a new book of teaching stories, As Far As the Heart Can See, (HCI Books, audio book by Simon & Schuster, Sept 2011), Finding Inner Courage (Conari, 2011, originally published as Facing the Lion, Being the Lion, 2007), audio books of The Book of Awakening and Finding Inner Courage (CD Box Sets, Simon & Schuster, 2011), and Staying Awake (CD Box Set, Sounds True, February 2012). His most recent book of poetry is Surviving Has Made Me Crazy (CavanKerry Press, 2007). As a cancer survivor, Mark devotes his writing and teaching to the journey of inner transformation and the life of relationship. You can get to know him better at: http://www.marknepo.com