Friday, May 23, 2014

FORGIVENESS: Embodying an act of compassion for the self and others

CONSTRUCTION OF FORGIVENESS. Let's imagine constructing forgiveness can be a creative act, like assimilating the statues of the four seasons here at the Atlanta Botanical Garden. (photo by Hallelujah Truth)
Hallelujah for the ability to shift our emotions, to leave the negative and embrace the good of which so much exists on this beautiful Earth. Hallelujah for the act of FORGIVENESS--forgiving ourselves and others!

The "idea" of FORGIVENESS is elusive. As a mental construct, we understand how useful it is to transform the hurt and anger that we feel as a victim of an unkind act.
SEASONAL FORGIVENESS. What does this image of winter summon for you when thinking of forgiveness? Do our emotions mirror the seasons? Are there times when feelings "die" and "retreat" for a period of rest, just like plants in nature? (photo by Hallelujah Truth)
Just like a garden, I believe our emotional terrains need tending, mending, and rest. FORGIVENESS is a wonderful garden tool to implement in this process. I have been exploring the topic of FORGIVENESS with my friend Cecelia Kane in our curriculum, "A Year to Live." In Piero Ferrucci's book, The Power of Kindness, his chapter on FORGIVENESS begins with a question to a survivor of the Holocaust: "What is the important thing in life?"

The survivor's answer? FORGIVENESS! But what is FORGIVENESS? It is the process of closing out the PAST and living in the PRESENT. And yes, releasing the negative emotions from the body spirit, the entire self, and finding peace.
WHAT IS FORGIVENESS? FORGIVENESS is an irrational act because accounts don't balance if you try to reason yourself into FORGIVENESS. The pieces don't add up. (photo by Hallelujah Truth)
FORGIVENESS is an act of spirit, faith, hope and generosity. To release resentment is a step toward one's total health--emotions, intellect, spirit, and body. But to release that resentment, each one of us, first, must be willing to fully embrace the damage done. The anger needs to be expressed, explains Ferrucci, and then it might be possible to empathize with the person who has harmed us. Really? Yes.
FORGIVENESS CAUSES RADICAL TRANSFORMATION. To be able to see from another person's perspective--the one who harmed us--allows us to relinquish judgement and to embrace compassion. Our compassion transforms hurt, resentment, and anger into something new and brings us into the PRESENT. The PAST is completed. Released. Over. (photo by Hallelujah Truth)
EMPATHIZING with the offender allows us to practice flexibility and humility--that is a radical change from anger and resentment! We become present to the NOW. We become the the FORGIVENESS! What a magical action compassion is! We embody it for ourself and others.

WE BECOME THE FORGIVENESS. I am so thankful for the four seasons which provide a symbolic way of understanding ourselves. In order to be healthy, whole, and healed--to flourish and bloom--we need to tend to the garden of our souls. What of your emotional past is ready to be forgiven? (photo by Hallelujah Truth)
ABOUT THE SCULPTURES. Philip Hass, an American artist and filmmaker, designed these sculptures. He was strongly influenced by Renaissance artist Giuseppe Arcimboldo’s paintings. To read more about these sculptures go here. (photo by Hallelujah Truth)

That's Coffee With Hallelujah! SOUL BLOG with me about FORGIVENESS. How do you let go of the anger, the sense of injustice, the hurt that you experience?

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS: Immense gratitude goes to Cecelia Kane, with whom I am in the sixth month of a 12-month curriculum we call "A Year to Live." We have been meeting since December on almost every Monday to discuss readings from various texts (A Year to Live by Stephen Levine; Making Friends with Death by Judith Lief, and Dying Well by Ira Byock to name a few). One of our topics to discuss in the month of April was FORGIVENESS. 

I also want to thank Angela Bennett and her Goddesspell workshop on March 30, 2014. The afternoon was rich with meditations and reflections on forgiveness facilitated by Anahata Iradah. 

Then there are the forms of InterPlay! I am so grateful for the way in which InterPlay offers movement, story telling, and voice as a way to embody such complex ideas as FORGIVENESS.


  1. Forgiveness starts with you. Forgiving your self for all the things you are and wish you weren't and all the things you wish you were and aren't. When you can forgive yourself for that ultimate misgiving, you're ready to forgive everyone else for all they are and aren't. Hallelujah!

    1. You are absolutely right Carol! Yes to self forgiveness and self love!

  2. Dear Ruth, I read your blog and it causes me to be guilty of the sin of envy. Envy for you for being able to discuss such weighty matters as forgiveness and empathy. To know we have seasons of the mind and soul as well as the body and to respect the seasons, to live and thrive, flourish and bloom from the nourishment of spirit, faith, hope and generosity. What a better world we would live in if we would learn how to empathize and forgive. The garden of our souls...what will we grow and cultivate? The choice is ours...great blog!

    1. As always it is so wonderful to connect with you Darlene. Your honesty always touches my heart. I know that the garden of your soul is rich and fertile. Forgiveness is one of the ways of being that we can all cultivate a little more.

  3. One of my favorite posts Ruth.
    I experience the process of forgiveness as you have described by acknowledging the hurt, verbalizing it, if possible with another person (not the person involved in the hurt) who can witness with compassion my experience. Then for me the work is to withdraw the projection of 'judgement' of making 'wrong as human being' on the other person. Its tricky but our behaviors are not all of who we are in my view, so I may still feel the act/behavior is wrong. The human being is not wrong. I believe we are all One and if I create another 'splitting off' of another person, in my heart and mind,I have only added to the darkness in the world. Of course choices may be made to have less contact or none depending on circumstances but I use my meditations/prayers to keep extending Love to them, AND, myself. Ironically, I think ultimately it is self forgiveness that is the most difficult.

    You gave me a prayer which I love & use daily:

    I am sorry I made you suffer.
    Please forgive me.
    Thank you.
    I Love You.


    1. Callahan, I feel so fortunate to have you as a friend and one with whom I can discuss these very meaningful topics in person. Thanks for sharing the prayer that I learned in the Goddess meditation workshop with Angela Bennett.