To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you. -Lewis B. Smedes
Usually when we hurt another person or ourselves it is unconscious, the act of forgiveness is always a conscious decision. The act of forgiveness allows unconscious actions to come into the light of awareness. Forgiving others does not fix their mistakes, we forgive them to release ourselves from the heavy burden of holding grudges and carrying bitterness in our heart. It accomplishes something even greater than that, it allows us each the space to let go of past mistakes while helping to cultivate a deeper sense of compassion for ourselves (and others). Take The Forgiveness Challenge initiated by Desmond Tutu, and start by picking one person or incident and offering forgiveness. World Forgiveness Day is the first Sunday of August each year. This year it falls on August 2 and you can learn more here www.forgivenessday.org
"With each act of forgiveness, whether small or great, we move toward wholeness." -Desmond & Mpho Tutu, The Book of Forgiving
Spiritual traditions around the world embrace the concept of forgiveness as a trait of virtue. Consider how many times your parents may have forgiven you in the time you were growing up? Making mistakes is part of our human journey, forgiveness allows the growing process to continue lovingly. It also alleviates guilt when we forgive ourself or others which allows us to open up and feel emotionally free of our past.
Ho'oponopono is an ancient Hawaiian forgiveness practice. Similar forgiveness practices were performed on islands throughout the South Pacific, including Samoa, Tahiti and New Zealand. The ceremony allows for everyone's feelings to be acknowledged and ends with a feats that allows for a releasing of the past. The prayer is very simple, it consists of saying these words, "I'm sorry, I love you, please forgive me, I thank you." How much could we heal just by taking the time to speak these words to our loved ones?
Unify.org is well known for their popular Facebook Page with inspiring quotes and articles, but their strength is in organizing globally synchronized initiatives. Globally synchronized meditations focusing on different themes throughout the year as well as community actions are central to Unify's mission. For International Forgiveness Day, Unify is inviting a global wave of forgiveness actions at 2pm in your timezone.
Post your stories of forgiveness here. You can also post to Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook using the hashtag #forgive.
Forgiveness image above by Jessica Key