Raised in the church as I was I often heard of forgiveness and it was frequently mentioned in many of my studies. It was a concept and on some level I am sure I forgave or thought I forgave many. However, in the 4T class I was forced to focus more on forgiveness and set out on an inner search to find those I had not forgiven. And of course the biggest lack of forgiveness was for me. This class and others that followed showed me how I avoided forgiveness and how it blocked my spiritual and human movement.
During this period I saw that I had not forgiven someone at work for what I saw as betrayal and pure meanness. I thought this person was a friend and left the job with feelings of disappointment, anger and sadness. Although this did not involve racism I see now the connection between this and the experience in middle school. I believe it called forth some of those old feelings. As I began to look at her and the situation I saw a person much like me needing control, afraid of not being good enough and determined to not really connect.
One of the most helpful exercises (and I apologize to whoever gave me this practice as I have forgotten) was imagining the two of us walking along talking and each of us had an angel walking with us. As I repeated this day after day a change came over me. I realized that I allowed myself to be consumed with anger and self-righteousness. It did not change how I felt about the unjust and unreasonable way people where I worked were treated. However, the blaming began to lift and I forgave her for what I saw as betrayal. I also realized she may have seen my actions as betrayal. The biggest admission which I try never to forget was that she was doing the best she could at the time given where she was in her life. This experience assisted me in seeing clearly that the heart must be the primary focus in forgiveness rather than the mind. I could feel my heart expanding as forgiveness occurred.
However, there was still the matter of forgiving myself for walking away from the job in anger with no plan. I can laugh now as I see myself as some righteousness knight marching off to show that place how sorry they would be without me. What a hoot! Of course they survived without me.J One of the practices that helps me in forgiving myself is visualizing my higher self as a separate being filled with light. This self walks with me, talks with me, embraces me reminding me that I am here to do the will of God and have a purpose to fulfill. I also am reminded that because I am human mistakes will be made but in order to move forward I must release the blame and love my weaknesses as well as my strengths. For me this is an area I must periodically revisit. I am still human and have moments of reacting without thinking or beating myself up about something that floats through my mind. Vigilance is needed to remember the peace that is at my core and to keep focused on that peace.
What is your experience with blame and forgiveness? Is there someone you need to forgive? Do you need to forgive yourself? What action will you take? Can you get out of your head and emotions and into your heart? Are you willing to seek assistance to do it?