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Posts Tagged ‘Radical Forgiveness’

Venia – Grace & Forgiveness

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

I came across the Latin word for forgiveness — “venia.” The direct translation means grace. I experience the gift of grace every week in my work with children who have an incarcerated parent. They write letters of forgiveness to their parents and are able to acknowledge their pain. In his work with prisoners Buddhist teacher Noah Levine writes, “Some actions may not be forgivable, but all actors are.” He goes on to say, “For this actor, the person whose own suffering has spilled onto other people, there is always the possibility of compassion.”

How does my pain spill onto others? My experience of looking at my past or current pain has led me to deepen my meditation practice — to go within and ask how my current actions are showing up based on past suffering. By sitting in stillness, I have become present to my own thoughts and can separate people from their past actions and this has made space for greater understanding and love.

Eckhart Tolle says, “You can acknowledge and learn from mistakes you made, and then move on and refocus on the now. It is called forgiving yourself.” By paying attention to the present moment, we allow ourselves the opportunity to release guilt, regret, grievances, and anger. As Tolle says, “Forgiveness happens naturally as soon as you realize that the past cannot prevail against the power of Presence.”

All forgiveness starts inside — by becoming still, by noticing your breath, by expressing gratitude — we expand deeper into our own hearts. By experiencing the present moment, we can release the past and step into the future with greater joy.

How has the pain of others spilled into your heart? What pain in your life is playing out with actions you are taking? If you would like to experience making space for more understanding and peace, please join me starting May 12 for Resting in Radical Forgiveness 4-Week Telecourse. All you need is your phone, pen & paper, and an open heart.

Venia,
Mary Anne

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Forgiving – Radically & Peacefully

Thursday, November 5th, 2009

ForgivenessIn one of my meditations this year I wrote the following: “How is not forgiving showing up in your body, your mind, and your relationships? Forgiveness is a means whereby ALL experiences and relationships happen FOR us. Forgiveness is the freedom of peace and the peace of freedom.”

Earlier this year I read Colin C. Tipping’s book, Radical Forgiveness – Making Room for the Miracle, and experienced a ‘radical’ way of looking at forgiveness. I contemplated the concept that everything happens FOR me and not TO me. I began to stop playing small, playing the victim, and began appreciating people for what they could teach me. As I became more open and available to life’s lessons, I was able to see relationship patterns and how I was responsible for all of them. Suddenly, I experienced an inner peace like never before. I was showing up in relationships with family and friends in peaceful ways. More of my relationships began to expand.

I began to deeply listen to shamanic and coaching clients I was working with and their struggle to forgive themselves and others in their life. Clients expressed how they were clinging on for dear life for an apology or to their anger over a situation. With this in mind, I asked how willing they were to look at forgiveness in a new and radical way. I invited clients to imagine all the energy it was taking to hold on tightly to the anger and hurt and instead imagine this space being used to create more joy, more peace, and more love. Upon reflection I have come to discover that forgiveness is a journey, a process, and a resting – of getting to a place within and just resting. As part of this journey, I have read some profound thoughts on forgiveness from many teachers. These quotes have helped me make room for more love and I am hoping they might do the same for you.

“Forgiveness does not mean that we suppress anger; forgiveness means that we have asked for a miracle:  the ability to see through mistakes that someone has made to the truth that lies in all of our hearts. Forgiveness is not always easy. At times, it feels more painful than the wound we suffered, to forgive the one that inflicted it. And yet, there is no peace without forgiveness. Attack thoughts towards others are attack thoughts towards ourselves. The first step in forgiveness is the willingness to forgive.”  Marianne Williamson

“Forgiveness is not an occasional act. It is a permanent attitude.”  Martin Luther King

“I could see peace instead of this.”  A Course in Miracles

“Forgiveness is realizing that what you thought happened, didn’t”  Byron Katie

Are you open to making space for more love, more peace, and more freedom? As Mother Theresa says, “If you judge people, you have no time to love them.”

If you are open to making yourself available to a radical way of looking at forgiveness, join me for an upcoming 4-week telecourse, “Resting in Radical Forgiveness”, starting Wednesday, November 18, 2009. For information & to register:  http://www.toningtheom.com/upcoming-events/#resting

“Forgiveness is the freedom of peace and the peace of freedom.”

Peace, Mary Anne

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“Living in Harmony with the Way Things Are”

Thursday, October 15th, 2009

HarmonyBack in May of this year, I posted a blog about a MTA mystical moment. I was able to turn around what could have been seen as an annoying long commute into a learning experience.  Each day I commute from the Bronx into Manhattan is an opportunity to learn more about patience, kindness, and the art of allowing. Every time I get on a subway for at least an hour I get to be present to what is happening around me. I watch fellow New Yorker’s trudge, push, shove, and curse their ways onto the train. I also watch as folks hold the doors open, give up their seats to the elderly, and help sick passengers.

I recently had another MTA mystical moment. I had been listening to Byron Katie’s book, A Thousand Names for JoyLiving in Harmony with the Way Things Are, on my iPod. This book takes excerpts of the Tao Te Ching and provides everyday pearls of wisdom by questioning any thoughts that keep us stuck. Every morning I play a few chapters, listen to it, and see how I can apply the lesson. If nothing else, the words are soft, gentle, and full of peace – a nice way to start any morning.

As what usually happens in a typical week commuting to the city, there was a delay on the subway.  Most days, I don’t even hear the garbled voice over the intercom announcing the delay. On this particular day, I had to be at work early because I was giving a workshop. I left enough time to get there, even if the train was a little delayed. The train came to a stop after going about five stops. The doors remained open and we were not moving. Then the loud booming voice came through the speakers. “We are currently experiencing a delay due to an unconscious passenger. We are waiting for EMT to arrive. Once EMT is on the scene, we will proceed. Sorry for any inconvenience and we thank you for your patience.” There it was – a clear message of what was happening and why we were delayed. I looked up and saw people grab cell phones to call or text their jobs about being late. People started mumbling and complaining to one another.

My first reaction was to say a prayer. As we waited for the ambulance to arrive, I was hoping the person would be OK. Off in the distance a loud emergency siren was sounding. I took a deep breath. My eyes were drawn to my iPod – “A Thousand Names for Joy – Living in Harmony with the Way Things Are.”  Here was an opportunity to live in harmony with the way things were. There was a passenger who was unconscious and waiting for emergency personnel.  Now was my chance to ask myself how I am unconscious in the world. Was there a part of me that needed tending to and emergency attention?

Thankfully, EMT arrived and the trained moved and I was much more conscious the rest of the day. Every delay is a chance to come to a MTA mystical moment and live in harmony if I am open to it.

How are you living in harmony with the way things are?

If you would like to make space for more harmony and more forgiveness, please join me for a 4-week telecourse, “Resting in Radical Forgiveness” starting October 27. http://www.toningtheom.com/upcoming-events/ – resting

Peace!

Mary Anne

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Resting in Radical Forgiveness

Monday, March 23rd, 2009

I have been reflecting on the notion of resting in radical forgiveness. It has come up as a theme as a student and teacher. Right at this time, my friend Joe Monkman recommended the book Radical Forgiveness by Colin C. Tipping. I thought it could help me understand on a high level about forgiveness. I wasn’t ready for the punch in the stomach when I began reading and realized all the ways I had not forgiven myself or others. Tipping says, “Radical Forgiveness occurs simply as a consequence of our opening up to the possibility that everything happens for a reason, and there are no mistakes. If we could see the spiritual big picture (which we cannot), we would understand that the situation was divinely guided and happened not TO us but FOR us.”

Tipping goes on to explain that our Spiritual Intelligence can actually call forth the experiences and people for our healing and our spiritual growth. It is one of those lessons about people being in our life for a reason, season, or lifetime. People come in and out of our lives to heal us, to hurt us, to open us, to challenge us, to teach us, but ultimately, to provide us with a lesson to learn.

When people annoy me, I find myself singing, “There’s a lesson to be learned.” I don’t always get the lesson right away and often have to sit in the emotional turmoil before the insight occurs. Part of that sitting is the art of resting in radical forgiveness. It isn’t just the act of forgiving; it’s getting to that place and resting. I have learned this personally and professionally.

About a year ago, I had a ticket booked to the Virgin Islands. I was hired to facilitate drumming and healing circles with young men in a juvenile facility and women and families in a battered women’s program. I had put a lot of time and attention into creating a safe and fun program. Plus, I was going to hang out with a good friend and hit the beaches. Then, the call came. One week before my trip, my sister called to say my father collapsed in Ireland. He had traveled there to attend his sister’s funeral, became ill, and was taken to Cork County Hospital. Someone needed to go check on him and travel with him back to New Jersey. “Do you want me to cancel my trip to the Virgin Islands and go get Dad?” I asked. The answer was yes as my sisters have children and couldn’t rearrange their schedules. I already had the vacation time planned so off I went to reschedule my workshops and re-book a ticket from the Virgin Islands to Ireland.

As I prepared for this emotional trip, I wasn’t really sure how ill my dad was and if he would be strong enough to fly home. I repacked my bags and took out all the shorts and t-shirts and packed wool sweaters and gloves. I arrived at the hospital seven days later, walking into a room that read “Men’s Ward.” I looked down the long corridor, pushed the double door open, and there before me I saw rows of cots. Irish men looked up and smiled at me; a few even gave a wink my way. There on the left hand side was my father lying in the bed in red and white pajamas, pale faced, coughing up a lung. He gave me a big hello, hugged me, and thanked me for coming.

A few days later, we took him back to my uncle’s house for rest before our journey back to New Jersey. That’s when it all went downhill. When we arrived at my uncle’s house, my father could barely hold himself up. He started making calls about going out to the pubs. The second night home from the hospital, he went to my aunt’s house for a family mass and said I couldn’t go, and to “mind the house.” What? I flew 3,000 miles and cancelled a trip to the Virgin Islands to help him and he wanted me to mind the house? It wasn’t until he returned at nearly 4am that morning that I became the angriest.

My father awoke the next morning looking worse than ever, skipped breakfast, despite that his medications are scheduled with his meals. When I saw him, I explained how angry I was at what he was doing. He laughed at me and said he was fine and would be going out to the pub that night. Needless to say, the hurt and rage running through me hit a boiling point and I told him if he kept abusing his body, then he could take care of himself. The rest of the trip was painful and all I wanted was to return to my house in New York City. I had enough emotional and verbal abuse and I began to count the days until I arrived home.

I tell this story because it has taken me almost a full year to realize the impact it has had on me, how it has affected my relationship with my father, and how I have not fully forgiven him. I realize I need to rest in the place of radical forgiveness. I need to really be in that place of non-attachment and listening deeply for the lesson.

I have learned that my father couldn’t really be present and wanted to socialize and that I wanted a father to see his daughter give up everything to be there for him. The lesson for me became an understanding of how to be more present when I am with people. My father gave me the lesson of learning how to be aware of kindness and really appreciate it. I realize that my father has never invested the time or energy to really know me and what I am about and that I cannot change that. I can only change how it affects me. I no longer seek his approval. The big spiritual picture that Tipping refers to was coming to the realization that I am enough just the way I am.

So, for now, I am moving towards radically forgiving my father for his inability to be present and consciously aware of the hurt he caused. Forgiveness is not an act; it’s a process. In order to forgive, there must be a journey of going to the place of healing. It’s coming to a place and resting – just resting.

What will it take for you to rest in radical forgiveness? I would love to hear your ideas and/or experiences of resting in radical forgiveness.

For more information on Radical Forgiveness, please go to https://www.radicalforgiveness.com/

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