In the late summer of 2014, as my old spiritual community life and relationships feel apart, I swung in and out of grief and bitterness. The grief I welcomed as natural. The bitterness troubled me. It sapped my passion for life and for giving. During that period I had taken to practicing karate katas under the stars, as a way of centering my energy and calming my nerves. One night, as I felt the bitterness temporarily dissipate, my attention caught on the kata closing phrase: “I ask for forgiveness.” In that moment, I knew that forgiveness was my next step forward. I just didn’t know in what way or how to begin.
When I returned to my room, I googled “Desmond Tutu Forgiveness”, as I recalled the archbishop’s revolutionary truth, reconciliation and forgiveness work in South Africa. What I discovered was the 30 Day Forgiveness Challenge. https://www.forgivenesschallenge.com/#
When I began the challenge (which took me more than 30 days to complete), I had no idea how emotionally difficult, liberating and beautiful it would be. I learned that forgiveness isn’t about white washing or denying deep wounds. Forgiveness supports honesty. It reclaims stolen beauty and innocence. Forgiveness frees energy to live more gracefully with the past and passionately with present Heart aims.
These days, as Winter Jasmine flashes her sunny color in my woodland garden, while spring whispers faintly and erratically on the Ozark Winds, my bitterness has faded. My life is sprouting new opportunities for giving and cooperatively creating. I feel emotionally fit and ready to give them my all.
I still have limited interactions with and news of individuals in my former life which occasionally frustrate me. But like the confident Winter Jasmine, the training I received in the 30 Day Challenge eventually rises vibrantly within the chaos. And then the choice is mine: to recommit to emotional fitness. To be compassionate, healthy, enthusiastic and free.
What is your experience with Forgiveness?