Today we are going to tackle blindspots from a different perspective. Today, is about forgiveness. Forgiveness is a topic that is pertinent to the time of year on the Jewish calendar but not a theme I encounter openly and deeply elsewhere. I have encountered forgiveness on a more superficial level as a child but not as a spiritual practice. Ready? I am not sure I am, it feels edgy writing this, because I have a hard time wrapping my mind around the potential of forgiveness, espeically about forgiving myself, but let's do it!
There are many different relationships that require forgiveness. A lot of times, ego gets in the way. I don't want to admit to someone that they hurt me, hello ego. And, I feel guilty that I hurt someone and I'd rather pretend it didn't happen, hello again, ego. Let's see how we can tackle this!
Brene Brown has some powerful insight on forgiveness, that has given me a whole new meaning. Interested to hear what you think. "In order for forgiveness to happen, something has to die," she says. Forgiveness is about death and rebirth for something new...She shares the idea of shifting to a place where you believe people are really doing the best they can, and if you want to be in relationship with that person you may have to forgive and grieve and start anew. She goes on to say that that's "it's hard work and its not work we are great at [in our society] because we don't live in a culture that supports it."
Overall, American culture does not support it* but teshuva, forgiveness, or returning to self, is a central theme in Judaism. Judaism believes that God [replace with your word/connection] forgives and any time a person can do teshuva, admit, repent and choose new action, becoming a more whole self. There is even a day, Yom Kippur, that is set aside for forgiveness where every individual gets a clean slate. If Judaism is not your practice, where does forgiveness play a role in your life or where do you want it to?
Rabbi Jonathan Sacks profoundly explains the beauty of teshuva, returning to self. "...It also allows us to grow...classic element of Jewish faith, that when we can change what we think, we change the way we feel. And when we feel differently, we live differently. What we believe shapes what we become. At the heart of teshuva is the belief that we can change.... In the Torah, we see Judah grow from an envious brother prepared to sell Joseph as a slave, to a man with conscience and courage to offer himself as a slave so that his bother Benjamin can go free. Judaism holds such a high view of human possibility.
Now it is your choice, what do you want to do with forgiveness? How can you shift to a place of forgiveness from love and compassion? We are in community here, let's hold each other high and try to shift our language to "they are doing the best they can."
Experience Day 6: The Power of Pardoning.
Post-its in hand- check!
Designated spot for your storyboard- check! Don't stop playing!
1. Take 3 post-its and write #6 and Forgiveness on a corner of each post it.
2. On post-it #1 Write a person's name you 'wronged in some way' someone you want to clear the air with. [it's your choice if you want to elaborate on the post-it or just write the name.]
3. On post-it #2 Write a person's name who wronged you in some way, someone you want to clear the air with.
*This is huge because even if we think that person doesn't "deserve" our forgiveness we are giving them so much power by holding onto that hurt, resentment, anger. How can we surrender, let go and forgive so we can heal and become stronger and more whole selves.*
4. On post-it #3 Write your name and what you want to forgive yourself for, how did you wrong yourself?
[there could be many things, but for right now, in this moment, focus on a couple]
*Alternatives: You are welcome to take more post-its and write reasons or other people's names or if you are inclined and connect to the idea of God or Hashem or Divine or Higher Power and want to write one from the Divine to you about what he/she is forgiving you for, that could be powerful too. Have fun mprovising!*
As we enter into our last reflection prompt tomorrow, I want to thank you for going here with me. As Brene Brown said, forgiveness takes effort and has painful parts to it but we have free will and the opportunity to start new, so here's to surrendering and creating a more whole universe.