Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Day 226: Forgive them father...

Last night I went to a talk at the University of Santa Monica (USM) about forgiveness.

Learning and implementing the practice of forgiveness is like taking an escalator to spiritual growth. The higher we travel in our spiritual growth, the less we get triggered and the less fear we have in our lives. Those triggers and fears are replaced with feelings of love, compassion, joy and gratitude.

The format of the evening is Q&A. People ask questions about how they can forgive someone who did something wrong. Or the ask how they can be forgiven and forgive themselves for something terrible they themselves did wrong. Then Drs. Ron and Mary Hulnick help these people work through these issues with the soul-centered USM communication skill called Compassionate Self-Forgiveness.

As I sat there, I thought of situations in my own life where I could do some work with forgiveness.
  • I can forgive corporate America for vacation policies, which I have, in the past, lamented about ad nauseum. The truth is that offices do the best they can do to give people time off and be responsible stewards of the bottom line.
  • I can forgive myself for buying into the belief that I made mistakes that led me to where I am today. The truth is that I was a full participant in every aspect of my life and I made the best choices I could for myself under the circumstances. 
  • And a few other things that would "out" a few people reading this blog so I'll just leave it at that.
And that was just one day's worth of forgiveness work.

I biked home from USM feeling lighter and more calm, which is all I've been really craving lately.

Forgiveness is a big deal. It's the one thing that truly releases you from your hang ups, resentments and negative things in general. Well, forgiveness and grace. With forgiveness, you let yourself and others off the hook. With grace, it just sort of happens magically.

A few of my favorite quotes on forgiveness:
Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned. - Buddha
Always forgive your enemies — nothing annoys them so much. - Oscar Wilde,
Forgive them, father, for they know not what they do.'" Jesus (Luke 23:34)
Then I believe Michael Bernard Beckwith said something like, Forgive everyone the day before you die. Of course, no one knows the day they'll die. Read and use this other phenomenally powerful forgiveness prayer from Michael Bernard Beckwith. He also writes, in his book Spiritual Liberation that evolved people "Race to forgive."

USM does a workshop called Freedom to Choose at a woman's prison. Here is a clip of the documentary about this workshop where Dr. Ron Hulnick talks about forgiveness.

When I was a student at USM, I did a lot of work on forgiveness. I forgave my dad for not being the father I thought he should be. I forgave myself for not being the daughter I thought I should have been. I forgave my mother and sisters for this and that. And for my role in the this's and thats. I forgave my ex-boyfriends and forgave myself for the parts I played inside those relationships. I forgave my friends and myself.

USM creates a sacred space for us to forgive anyone and everyone. By the end, we let our family, friends, ourselves and even God off the hook.

Even God?

Even God.

And then?
"If you could clear out all that space in your mind, you'd have a doorway. And you know what the universe would do? Rush in. Everything else will take care of itself."
- Richard from Texas in Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert.
For me, the universe rushed in... for a brief time. And I've been trying to get back there ever since. Now I'm Gillian on my spiritual journey. I wish there were words to describe the feeling of having the universe rush in, but... from that place there are no words.

Race to forgive.


  1. How is it that you always wow me? Sheesh. It really does require a lot of energy to carry around grudges. I may have to buy Dr. Beckwith's book - he's such an amazing man.

  2. what a beautiful post... thank you Janice

  3. Forgiveness. Grace. I think you forgot revenge. That makes me feel pretty good too. You know, levels the playing field. Spiritually speaking...

  4. Everytime I read one of your posts, I think, "how could she possibly top yesterdays post?"

    Then you do.

    I love that you quoted Jesus. He does rock doesn't He? Can He be a better role model?

    Forgiveness is hard but you're right ~ with it comes grace.
    You have a lot of grace, dear Janice. You're the type that would have helped Jesus carry the cross instead of throwing stones at him. I just know it. :)

    Your blog is becoming my new "suspense kick" (forget bachelor pad ~ I've got aftertheartistsway). Can't wait to read about your life in Italy ~ its gunna happen ~ I just know it. :)

  5. Beautiful post, Janet! I was there on Tuesday as well. Wish I had seen you... It was a powerful evening indeed! 4 years away at USM and I realize so much has left my mind. There are tools that can assist, and forgiveness truly is the key to the doorway of healing. Thank you for this beautiful reminder!

  6. I am applauding that I found my way here...

  7. I'm applauding that you found your way here, too. Yeah!!!!

  8. Bonnie, There were so many people at the USM event. They are growing. Great community events. See you (maybe) in the crowd at the next one.

  9. Greg WavellAugust 23, 2010

    I have read a few of your postings and all I can say is WOW pretty amazing.


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