October 11, 2022
Forgiveness Sets us Free
By Amba Gale
No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.
I’ve been realizing…
We think we live as a continuity, but we do not. Who we were yesterday may not BE the same person at all as who we are today.
Conversations can cause a transformation. You can enter a conversation as one person and come out as a different person.
Having just completed the first three days of leading The Heart of Leadership, for the leadership of Mary Bridge Children’s, an extraordinary healthcare system in this Great Northwest, I had the blessing and the privilege of witnessing such awakening, such transformation, such shifting: from resignation to recovering passion, from exhaustion to whole hearted living, from being a victim to being the creator of one’s life, from carrying wounds and burdens from the past, to being freed up from the past, allowing the past to be in the past, rather than still coloring our days in the present and the future.
What allows for such a shift, a releasing of the burdens of the past, a completion of the past, a healing of our wounds from long ago?
What is forgiveness? It is an exchange: the exchange of resentment and regret for possibility. It is a letting go. Of what? Of resentment, anger, the desire to take revenge.
Forgiveness yields the great healing. It does not mean condone or deserve. You can forgive someone and call the police. You can forgive someone and not continue to have them as a business partner. You can forgive someone and even fire them. But that conversation in which you do let them go, will go very differently once you have forgiven them than if you are holding onto your resentment and anger.
The Buddha compared the unwillingness to forgive to holding a hot coal in your hand that you can’t throw, can’t let go of. Who gets hurt is you do.
The withheld forgiveness, and the grasping onto the resentment poisons our body – mind.
As I was preparing for leading the course, I saw that I was still holding on to a story about a deep conversation I had had with a friend of mine, which had ultimately left her feeling disempowered.
I had worked hard on designing a lengthy conversation which was intended to empower her. And, at the end, I did not. I blamed her for being defensive.
While preparing for leading the course, I saw that I was suffering, and that there were profound costs from my not forgiving. Both costs – my joy, and the love and connection in the relationship – were not worth it. I pointed the finger squarely in my own direction, considering that I, myself, as hard as I worked on designing the conversation itself, had not created a way in which she could hear me well. I saw that I had had my own hand in the result of the disempowerment, AND that I needed to forgive myself. In the moment I let go of my resentment, and my blame, and I forgave myself, I got all freed up!
Forgiveness sets us free.
Forgiveness restores appreciation.
The Course in Miracles says, “Forgiveness is the key to happiness.”
Yes, it is. Except human beings show this amazing predilection for suffering. We, being human, would rather be right than forgive.
The cost of not forgiving is the loss of freedom, peace, health. The benefit? You get to be right! And we are addicted to being right.
However, you do have a choice.
Take your pick. Do the math.
In the space of freedom to choose that the participants created for themselves in this Heart of Leadership conversation, they each carved out a new future for themselves, by learning to love themselves, and by taking stands which gave them a new place to live their life from.
It was, you could even say, miraculous.
When I listen fro my heart to yours, and to your beauty your honor, your wisdom, your courage, and I listen from my heart, to my own, creating a space of belonging for myself, and stand for living a life that I say is worth living, I give myself new territory in which to BE, and to live. The participants in The Heart of Leadership did just that.
I invite you to check out this conversation. While our next offering is already full, new dates will be coming soon!
If you are a Heart of Leadership graduate, you are welcome to explore our next offering of The Joy of Being as a possibility. That conversation as well, provides a healing from the past, and a re-design of your life, giving you the opportunity to dive into Silence and create a future from the core of your own spirit which can serve as a magnetic pull into living a life filled with joy.
If you are interested in participating in either course, please let me know by contacting me.
By Amba Gale
to the sky
as Phoenix rose
from the clouds,
“I am free.
Follow me, if you will.
Here is a hint for the good life:
Give yourself the gift of forgiveness.
Let go of your righteousness, and resentment and get free.
Once free, declare your own future.
Do not let
the reasonableness and agreement and dis-ease of the day
from creating a life of joy.
let yourself fly,
from the ashes of your last life of yesterday.
Carry with you
that which protects
like a healing,
and a wholeness: your own song of joy.
Live a life worth living.
You, and only you,
this life to yourself.”
And, with that, the clouds broke apart
The words remained, deep in my heart.