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My Three Favorite Forgiveness Practices

When I am in a state of unforgiveness, my insides feel like a damned up river. I can feel balled up energy acting as an impediment to the flow. The impediment is my perception of how things ought to be and the disappointment within me that they are not that way. That disappointment then is directed toward another person in the form of blame. In other words, I have created the entire internal mess by wanting something to be other than it is or someone to be other than they are.

My first favorite practice for deconstructing the damn is pulling out my mala beads and on each 108 beads speaking the following words: “I release ______________________ from bondage. I am free. _______________ is free. I choose love.” The repetition of chanting or affirming these words opens within me a space for love to creep in.

Contemplate the word “willing.” Once I am damned up, I often can’t unwind my own mess. To sit with the words “willing to…” means that although I don’t know the ‘how’ my energy is saying ‘yes.’ I am choosing a YES to letting go. I may even say out loud “I don’t know how to forgive or let go, but I am willing and trust it is done.” I see myself and the other in the story whole. I may even send Light to myself from myself and to the other from me.

The Hindus have a ritualistic burning bowl. Regularly they burn what they desire to let go. They see the smoke as a form of transformation and the process of burning as a physical representation of letting go. Since I lived most of my life in the Pacific Northwest I took to the practice of burying for transformation. I figure since Mother Earth transforms poop into manure, it can take whatever story or emotion I have and transform it into something useful.

My favorite of all practices is to allow what is to be (mindfulness) and to practice loving what is. I’ve learned that acceptance provides peace and loving provides bliss. This to me is the PhD in Love. To be willing to Love in the midst what appears to be so horrific is an advanced practice.