01/18/2012 08:40 am ET Updated Mar 19, 2012

The Freedom of Forgiveness

Lately, I've been on a mission to heal my past. Perhaps it's the looming 50th birthday (Gack!), but I don't want to head into my sunset years with dark clouds chasing me. And a funny thing has's been fun and freeing and lovely! Just this week I had breakfast with a woman whom I hadn't really seen and talked to in 10 years, but I had been very close to for decades before that. Things happen--especially when work is involved--but at some point I realized it was up to me to say I was sorry.

And so I did. Just an email (isn't email wonderful?). And now we are back to laughing together again and sharing stories of all the things that happened while we went our separate ways. With the distance, we could both look back and see things a bit more clearly and more deeply--but literally, water under the bridge has now flowed and cleansed the memories, and I can see the past so much more clearly than I did before. Most importantly, I don't have a pang of pain every time I think of what happened. Now it's a little pang of happiness.

The list of people whom I might need to forgive or ask forgiveness from is getting shorter and shorter, and I can honestly say that each effort to reach out and let go of the pain has been rewarded with pleasure. Sometimes, it's just been a quick email that says I'm sorry for what happened and hope that we can let go of the pain. Other times, I have let people know that I do not hold any grudges for things they might have done to me that seemed awful at the time. Because what often happens is that in darkness, those wounds can fester, and they need sunshine to heal properly.

And in the process of healing, I see that everyone needs and wants to grow and change and evolve, even if it's frightening. But if we replace that fear with love, growth happens joyfully and freedom follows.

So if there is anyone out there who thinks I owe them an apology for something, just let me know.

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