Oysters and Pearls
I’ve been thinking about forgiveness lately. What it means, where it comes from, where it leads us, and why it’s so stinking hard sometimes.
Resentment has many manifestations. It feels like an undercurrent of discontent, a feeling of ‘when will it be my turn?’ Occasionally it comes out in more active forms of anger, rage, aggression and self destruction. People who haven’t been able to forgive often self-medication using alcohol, drugs, sex, food, or other numbing activities (TV, etc.). Those feelings of disconnect stem from a traumatic event or energetic vibration that was set in motion before your could consciously agree to it.
Let me clarify ‘trauma’ because there is a wide spectrum of events that it encompasses, and all categories of abuse fall under this. The final category is spiritual trauma. We all have the capacity for delightful and immense connection, especially as children. Children are able to access realms and beings beyond the sensory, but are often shut down for those experiences. Children who are taught to reject their experiences of unity, spontaneity, and community in order to live in one small view of reality experience trauma by being cut off from a loving source of spiritual guidance. Do you have any childhood memories of deeper knowing and spiritual understanding that you were told were shear fantasy?
The process of forgiveness begins when we become aware of the fact that we are living life by someone else’s rules and agreements, and we decide we are ready to renegotiate the terms. The steps of releasing trauma are similar to going through the steps of grieving. In order to call something to us, or send it way, energy moves more quickly when called by it’s precise name.
First step is denial– we don’t want to feel the pain of the trauma—we don’t want to look at it closely and find out how bad the wound is, or how deeply the scars go. We say ‘yes yes, that happened to me, but see? I’m fine – I’m totally over (______).
Secondly, when it becomes obvious that our experience wasn’t deserved, we become angry that we’ve experienced this shifting event – abuse, death of a parent, poverty, emotional starvation—and we learn how to call it out.
This next step is the one where I find that healing begins – bargaining. This is the stage where we begin to realize that we have a power in the situation. We begin with clunky negotiations, before we realize that we do have the inherit right and power to ask for exactly what we want, without giving up anything but judgement and shame.
Step four is commonly called depression, but I would choose to reframe it as convalescence. This is the point of the process where people experience all that has been lost, and are able to assimilate and absorb the possibilities. It may look like depression, but most often it is a mourning process of saying goodbye to familiar ways, and the acknowledging infinite possibility.
Acceptance. This is another word that I would challenge – this word I would change to abundance. Abundance is our jumping off point. Abundance is where we realize that we are not our stories. Abundance is where we find connection, well being, and divine grace and humor. Abundance is the point where we thank the events, people, and pieces that have led us here, but we not longer carry them with us into the future.
So, when you are ready to forgive, remember it’s never about being heard by other people, and waiting for events to change. Forgiveness has everything to do with finally hearing yourself, and honoring your own wisdom.