The Freedom of Forgiveness
Images of Peace
A Miracle of the Heart that Heals the Forgiver
The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong. ~ Mahatma Ghandhi
Sometimes, the hardest thing to do is forgive a person who has hurt us deeply. It is easier to remain attached to resentments. They are our armadillo armor against the pain of vulnerability. They are something to hold onto when the rest of our life may be turned upside down by a heartbreaking loss.
Forgiveness does not mean we say "that's okay" to the offense. Forgiveness acknowledges that something bad has happened, but we choose to move on with our lives. How we relate to the offender after the crisis depends on the nature of the deed. We can keep the person in our lives but restructure the relationship to protect ourselves from further pain, or we can end our relationship with that person. No matter what we do with the relationship, we must choose to heal from the hurt so that the rest of our life is free to move on to meeting new friends, and embarking on new adventures that will bring us peace and joy.
Forgiveness is Life-giving
Holding onto the memory of an event that has caused us pain takes so much energy that there is little left for accomplishing what we are meant to do with our lives. We often hold ourselves back from realizing our dearest dreams because we are derailed by resentment, anger, even guilt if it is ourselves we need to forgive. Such tenacious clutching blocks our energy from making a positive impact on the world. We are stuck thrashing in quicksand and it is possible for us to keep sinking until the end of our lives. We become alienated from the sources of friendship and love that could help set us free from despair. Anger and resentment only separate us further from others, breeds unnecessary loneliness, and gives the offender power over our lives. But, forgiveness is the act of taking back our lives. Like the phoenix, the forgiver rises up from the ashes of a broken heart overcome by dark brooding and rises again to a new life, free to be happy again. Forgiveness makes us stronger because it gives us the power to be there for others, and thus enjoy the interdependence of a community of friends.
Radical Forgiveness is the Road to a Brighter Future for Humanity ~
Forgiveness is Radical and Revolutionary
The future of our planet depends on the advent of the global path toward forgiveness. Such forgiveness adds to the power of choice we have as humans. The less we are able to use our brains for deep thought, the more evil and intolerance have a foothold in our lives. and the lives of those around us. because we fail to see our connection to our fellow humans. The less we think, the more hate lives because we may begin to listen to others' words over our own hearts. Resentment clouds our thoughts and diminishes our ability to reason, and drives us deeper into despair. But if we let go of the darkness that has touched our lives, we have room to enjoy the world we live in and our place in it, and have the energy to bring beauty into the lives of the humans who inhabit our corner of the earth. Instead of wishing an event turned out differently, we have the energy to put toward solving a problem that could improve our own life and the lives of others, be they human or marine life displaced by an oil spill. We leave behind futile fantasies of being rescued from our misfortune in favor of making a positive impact on the reality of many who need our voice on their behalf in the world.
The problems faced by the human race today will steadily grow worse until our world implodes with the violence wagered by war, street gangs, and abuses of authority, unless such trends are stopped. The power to stop them begins with a choice made by each individual not to cooperate. A smile seals that choice within our hearts and brings hope and courage to others who are inclined to do the same. With a smile, we can clasp the hand of fellow humans in unity instead of division. Violence has a way of moving out of the path of mirth as it approaches, and the song "We Shall Overcome" echoes in our collective memory, a song that is timeless and as pertinent today as it was in the 1960s. Yes, we can forgive an evildoer their actions, but we need not allow them to continue. We can stand with suffering brothers and sisters against oppression, whether local, national, or global.
Forgiveness Heals the Forgiver and the Earth
The person who forgives a wrong done to him or her lets go of the need to retaliate, and is free to make real and lasting change in the world, both on a personal and a universal level. The forgiver looks for ways to bring greater beauty and peace to the world. Instead of bringing more violence to the world, the forgiver treads more gently upon the earth, and is able to treat all sentient beings with respect and love. Gratitude leads the forgiver to find more joy in the ordinary events of each day, and the people connected with those events. Healing happens because the forgiver is free to give and accept love.The world is a more beautiful place when we are able to do that. We are able to move around in the world with greater integrity when forgiveness rules in our hearts. We feel our power more and thus move and relate to the world with more courage and hope, for our deep humanity prevails, both within and around us.
Forgiveness is a Creative Endeavor, a Work of Art
The web pages for which links are provided below are meant to be sources of inspiration and comfort. They lead to time-tested ideas about love and forgiveness. You are invited to read through and/or listen to them. Through them, let forgiveness light up your spirit with love, as they did mine. Forgiveness adds years to our lives and takes premature wrinkles away from our faces. It changes our perception of the events and people moving in our corner of the universe. The palette of colors experienced by a forgiver is much brighter and richer than that of someone who holds onto resentment and hate. Creativity itself comes more naturally and fluidly to those who practice gestures of gratitude and forgiveness. Creative problem-solving that produces win-win situations for everyone involved is approached with more patience, and is implemented with more success. The world of the forgiver is merry, filled with music, art, laughter, and good food to eat. It is the feast of all souls who seek to pass on a healthy, vibrant world to the next generation of earthly inhabitants.
Links to the Art of Forgiveness
- Forgiveness Retreats Blog
Currently there is a calendar of Forgiveness Retreats being offered around the country by Fr. Frank Desiderio, CSP, a Paulist Priest who recently closed his tenure of directorship of the Paulist Center in Boston.
- Home - Forgiveness Project
The Forgiveness Project uses the real stories of victims and perpetrators to explore concepts of forgiveness, and to encourage people to consider alternatives to resentment, retaliation and revenge.
- Pete Seeger - We shall overcome - YouTube
Civil rights song composed by Pete Seeger. Its effect is hope, courage, and unity among many people. The video displays the words to the song so that the viewer has a chance to sing along with Pete and company.
- Joan Baez - We shall overcome - YouTube
This video was chosen over a more recent video of her singing the song because it reflects the leadership of youth and vigor of the peace and justice movement of the time.
- We Shall Overcome - Martin Luther King, Jr. - YouTube
A wonderful speech about overcoming adversity, forgiving our oppressors, and moving together to manifest real and lasting change in the world.
- 20/20 Creativity Solution
The freedom of creativity is linked to a sense of peace in relationship to our world, and that means forgiving ourselves and others so that there is room for new energy. Follow this link to renewal and inspiration!
- Catholic Worker Movement
Description of and links to principal websites about the Catholic Worker Movement founded by Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin in NYC.
- Forgiveness quotes
Quotes of thoughts shared by influential people about the nature of forgiveness.
- Phoenix Rising ~ the Mythology of the Phoenex from a variety of traditions
"A mythical bird that never dies, the phoenix flies far ahead to the front, always scanning the landscape and distant space. It represents our capacity for vision, for collecting sensory information about our environment and the events unfolding with
© 2010 Karen A Szklany