FORGIVENESS: THE PATH TO INNER PEACE…
Feb 4, 2014
Early this year, I marked my 71st birthday - when I turned 70, I had notice a reluctance to tell people how old I am. Previously I had freely shared my age with anyone. Now here I was in my 8th decade and clearly I was old and there wasn't much hope of me contributing in the way I imagined!
Then I learned that Nelson Mandela was 71 when he was released from prison and look at all he accomplished in his remaining 24 years! Wow, what a paradigm shift - a completely different way to view something!
Co-incidentaly I had begun a daily forgiveness practice about a month prior to my birthday - I'm now on day 53, and each day I ask forgiveness from my children and myself, each day this stirs up so much grief that I cry and sob. Each day I release a small portion of 71 years of pain, shame and heartache and suddenly I realized that in doing so, I'm releasing myself from prison - a prison of my own creation, with the help of the society I grew up in.
As I release myself from these decades of bonds and shackles of the past, I'm excited to be venturing out into the world - as when I was a child - full of curiousity, joy and love!
In 1998 I spent 4 months driving around Canada and the US in search of labyrinths; it was a mystical journey during which I had many blessed experiences. On my journey I walked many labyrinths and had gotten into the practice of asking for guidance about my purpose on planet earth.
Even prior to this journey, I had become quite accustomed to something I called THE VOICE which guided me in my life. When the voice suggested something, I usually resisted strenuously at first then eventually I’d surrender and generally the outcome would be much more fabulous that anything I could have imagined. THE VOICE spoke to me a lot more frequently during that journey………
By mid September, I had made my way to a spot near Kansas City, Missouri where a woman has cut a labyrinth into native prairie grasses. The labyrinth is about 200 feet in diameter with a 14’ center. Walking the labyrinth as the sun was setting enhanced the whole sense of being enveloped and cradled in the warm sweet fragrance of the grasses which were now 7-8 feet high. I had walked enough labyrinths to recognize this as an incredibly powerful one.
That night it began to rain, a downpour which continued unabated for more than 24 hours. The rain deterred me from walking during my second day’s stay. So the following morning while meditating, I was quite surprised when THE VOICE told me to go and walk the labyrinth. I objected “but I don’t have any questions to ask” to which the voice responded “there’s something you need to do on the labyrinth”. My next objection was about prairie grasses being very wet given all the rain. Needless to say the voice’s response was that it might, therefore, be wise to wear appropriate attire! I knew from past experience that “resistance is futile” so off I set wearing my water sandals and rain suit.
The prairie grass was indeed very wet. As soon as I began walking I received further instructions………I was to allow the grasses to brush against me rather than moving them out of the way. I was told that I was here on the labyrinth to do forgiveness work. Words began rolling off my tongue and I began to cry “Gerry (the father of my children), I forgive you”, “Mum I forgive you”, “Dad, I forgive you”.
At this point THE VOICE interrupted; it seemed the phrase was “______, please forgive me for all the judgements I have made of you”. And so I made my way through the labyrinth asking all the people in my life to forgive me. Very soon I was sobbing, my body racked with the release of 50+ years worth of held in judgements, grudges and resentments. Tears were now streaming down my cheeks and then down inside my rain suit. Raindrops from the prairie grasses and the clouds overhead were now running down inside my rain suit as well. The path is long in that labyrinth; the whole way was filled with “______, please forgive me for all the judgements I have made of you”.
When I finally arrived at the center, everything shifted: my list was complete, it stopped raining, I stopped crying, the sky began to lighten. I looked up at the alter in the center of the labyrinth; there stood a huge geode studded with hundreds of amethyst crystals. Above the geode, gently draped across it was a particularly delicate branch of prairie grass. On every lacy tendril of this prairie grass hung a drop of rain……..thousands upon thousands of droplets of water now reflecting the light. It was a vision of great beauty and I stood amazed at this image. I proclaimed aloud “that is so beautiful” and THE VOICE said “and that is what you are and your work on planet Earth is to shine all that light inside you out into the world!”
I began sobbing again in my attempt to actually take this in! Thank you VOICE I said quietly!