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The Power of Forgiving

Posted: 08/15/2012 5:10 pm

I had something happen that I think will change me forever, and I felt compelled to share it with you even though it is pretty embarrassing and personal.

It's a somewhat lengthy story and if you stick around until the end, you might get a lot of value and you might think it's really funny.

So, Here goes... I am at a retreat doing a seven-day liver, galbladder and colon cleanse. (I will spare you the details of this; this is not what this is about...) Each day, we do yoga in the morning here for an hour and a half.

One of the other people here for the liver cleanse is John. John is a 55-year-old, very successful business owner from Wisconsin. A few days ago, John had shared in one of the sessions we had that he would get irritated when people didn't send him thank-you cards when he did something for them.

Yesterday, the teacher of our yoga session told us that we were going to be doing very aggressive deep breathing and that we would probably want to clear out our sinuses with a tissue before we got started.

So, John jumped up and volunteered to pass out the tissue to everyone. After John handed me a tissue, I commented to him, "Don't worry John, I am going to send you a thank-you card for this."

John had no response and appeared to me to be very angry at the comment. I felt really bad, as I really like and respect John and immediately regretted opening my big mouth and saying something so offensive that made him mad.

The yoga session started, and as we were going though the different poses, I couldn't get out of my mind how I had upset John and I continued to punish myself with regret, wishing I wouldn't have done what I did. I was miserable and not enjoying the experience of the yoga at all.

After about an hour and 15 minutes of going through the yoga session, I thought to myself, "This is crazy, I am in nature, in a beautiful place and I am torturing myself with regret because of this comment to John at a time when I should be really enjoying this experience."

So, I thought to myself, "What can I do to fix this, because I don't like it at all..." So, I tried something.

I closed my eyes, I visualized John, and I sent him my deepest apologies and I wished him white light and love. I sent him positive energy, loving energy, in a very intense and real way. I also sent myself positive energy and forgave myself in a really real way.

Immediately, I felt night-and-day different. I went from regret and sadness to being full of love and energy.

Then I thought, "Hey, that worked really good, let me try this with some other people."

So next, I searched my soul for anything in my current and previous relationships, both business and personal, where I had either been offended or hurt by someone else's actions, or offended or hurt someone else with my actions.

I kept bringing these people to mind, one by one, people who had done things that crushed my feelings, people that have said negative things about me, and I also thought of people that I had harmed because of my actions, and peoples feelings that I had affected, and wished them love and forgave myself.

After each person, I kept feeling better and better, feeling more and more powerful with each person -- I was radiating with positive energy and felt incredible.

What I realized after the yoga session was that I knew intellectually that forgiving myself and others was important, and I thought I had forgiven people and myself because in my head I knew that holding resentment was detrimental to making money, having a great marriage and everything else in my life.

But the truth is, I had not forgiven others and I had not forgiven myself despite the fact that I thought I had.

When I truly wished them well and wished them success and love, even the really bad ones, it changed everything.

So, here comes the part that is really funny. I walked back from yoga and I was nervous to approach John. I could tell he was still angry by the way he was walking and the expression on his face.

Five or six times I began to walk up to him and pulled back because it was so uncomfortable. Finally, I grabbed the courage and went for it. John was sitting down on a couch. I walked up and sat down next to him and said, "John, I want to apologize and I want to tell you that you gave me the greatest gift."

John's response was, "What did I do?"

I told John, "When you were passing out the tissue at the beginning of yoga, I said to you, "Don't worry John, I am going to send you a thank-you card for this."

His response was priceless -- he said, "Oh, I didn't hear you say that"

I was so amused I almost cried. I thought about how much I had abused myself over this comment and how it was all made up in my head. It was completely untrue.

Lesson number one that I got was that true forgiveness from the core -- not intellectual forgiveness -- is very powerful.

Lesson number two that I got was that I wonder how many times I make up a story that isn't true and allow myself to be in fear because of the perceived event.

The reason I felt compelled to share this story with you is because one of the things I have learned over time is that you can't create bad things when you feel good, and you can't create good things when you feel bad.

By forgiving others, and more importantly yourself, you will feel better and thus, make more money, have better relationships, maintain a healthy weight and stay in shape.

If you try this, please share what your experience is in the comments, we would love to hear it.

For more by Lanny Morton, click here.

For more on forgiveness, click here.