Forgiveness.

Via on Jan 21, 2011

The other night as I lay my head on the pillow reflecting on my day, I felt a strong sensation in my body as a thought popped into my awareness.

It was something I said to my daughter while we were Skyping.  It was a negative comment, a judgment about someone else.  I instantly felt bad and thought I should get up out of bed, immediately, and email Jaime to tell her how I was feeling about it.  I thought to myself – that will make me feel better and I will be able to sleep and stop worrying about what I said!  Usually my M.O. would have included creating an entire storyline about what the other person thought about me and what I said, then I would move into serious reflection about why I said what I did and my mind would begin to spin, spin, spin – out of control.  I, instead, decided to be with the thoughts, forgive myself for what I said, send out positive energy to the person I made the remark about and email or call Jaime in the morning to apologize.  I, surprisingly, fell asleep rather easily.

I think I was able to get right to sleep because of self-forgiveness and the knowingness that as Maya Angelou says “When you know better, you do better.”  By forgiving myself, taking responsibility for the comment and stating out loud (to myself and my daughter) that I was aware I contributed to creating negative energy  - I made a mental note to try to catch myself sooner so I would decrease the likelihood of acting that way again.  As I said to Jaime – it is not how I want to be in the world.  I will, however, remember I am human and working on not sliding into old patterns.

Every moment, every action, every reaction is an opportunity to be present to how we can celebrate when we move away from old patterns that no longer serve us and celebrate how we are all connected.  This cannot be done by judging others.  By making a choice to not engage in negative comments, thoughts or stories about others, we are making a conscious choice to decrease suffering for ourselves and others.  I am making the choice to take responsibility in this way valuing the importance of being kind to myself and others as I continue along my path of self development embracing the spiritual journey – going with the flow of life’s ups and downs  – which I know are here to teach me valuable life lessons.

Pema Chodron writes about forgiveness in her book The Places that Scare You.  There is a simple practice we can do to cultivate forgiveness.  First, we acknowledge what we feel – shame, revenge, embarrassment, remorse.  Then we forgive ourselves for being human.  Then, in the spirit of not wallowing in the pain, we let go and make a fresh start.  We don’t have to carry the burden with us anymore.  We will discover forgiveness as a natural expression of the open heart, an expression of our basic goodness.

About Maureen Miller

Maureen is a yoga teacher, life/health coach and an aspiring writer. She teaches yoga and leads a yoga teacher training/develop your yoga practice program for students who want to learn more about integrating the body, mind and spirit. Maureen believes when we find balance in all areas of our lives, we live in alignment with our core values and we can live a life filled with intention and purpose.  As a yoga teacher and life/health coach, it is her intention to be with students/coaches on their journey as they investigate decisions that brought them to where they are today, examine options toward change and make choices to break through current challenges.  You can find Maureen on Facebook, Twitter and at her website: Living Life, Making Choices.

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10 Responses to “Forgiveness.”

  1. helene_rose says:

    Beautiful Maureen! I make the choice with you!
    Much love.

  2. yogiclarebear says:

    Ditto! I love that you included "taking responsibility." Often we might think of self-forgiveness as "allowing" the bad behavior. It is important to take responsibility for our actions if we are going to move past them. Great reminders!

  3. Thanks, yogiclarebear – I think responsibility is super important and many people think by saying they are sorry, that is enough… it's not… taking responsibility, to me, is about considering how I will change the behavior so I decrease the likelihood of it happening again – then the apology has meaning.
    Have a great day!

  4. Karen Maurer says:

    Thanks! This is a great reminder to forgive myself : )

  5. Kelly says:

    This article is a sweet, grounding reflection. Thank you.

  6. TamingAuthor says:

    Excellent meditation, Maureen. Self forgiveness can be one of the most difficult hurdles to clear. We tend to want to protect the inner sanctum of our identity and the cycle of repent and forgive tears at the foundations. Was meeting with a group of friends yesterday to discuss the Yoga Sutras by Patanjali. He lays out the journey of calming the mind so it appears as a smooth lake… your post picks up that theme in such a vibrant manner.

    • Maureen Miller says:

      Much gratitude for your feedback. As a yoga teacher and practitioner I appreciate the Yoga Sutras and use the teachings as a foundation for how I act when I interact with others and when no-one is looking.

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