Doing our part to change the world

Fred napping in his "sleeping cube"

Fred napping in his “sleeping cube”

A number of years ago, I co-led a day-long retreat on forgiveness. A woman (who didn’t end up signing up for the retreat) wanted to talk about what it would be like before committing. As I explained the basic format, and how I imagined it unfolding, she kept saying things like, “How could anyone forgive the atrocities  ….” and then she went on to name notoriously horrible crimes, situations, and individuals. I kept trying to bring her back by saying things like,”What we will be dealing with, is who (or what) you are having trouble  forgiving”. I didn’t say this to put her off, but to keep her focused.

But she wouldn’t go there. She wanted an answer to a question that (at that moment in time) she wasn’t being asked (by the larger part of herself) to deal with. I don’t understand how people can forgive some of the crimes that have been committed against them or those they love either, . …but I understand that each one of us must forgive what has happened to us and to those we care about.

We are each given our own situation to “forgive” …it is as if we all have our own “corners of the Universe” to redeem, and when we do our work, no matter how small or insignificant our part seems to be, we help all of humanity.

As I think back on that retreat, I’m not sure it was very effective. I thought I knew a lot about forgiveness. I certainly had read a lot of books, participated in many retreats, and talked to many others about it. I just hadn’t finished my piece yet. I still struggled with feelings of resentment and anger at both of my parents and deep down (although I didn’t consciously admit this) I didn’t think it was possible to be free of these feelings. I witnessed what long-term resentments did to others, I just didn’t realize how much my own lack of forgiveness, toward my parents, was effecting my life and my current relationships.

The change came for me when I realized that time and age would not eliminate the resentments. I saw so many people around me at ages 50, 60, and into their 80’s, still carrying around resentments from childhood, and I could see what it was doing to them. Energetically, they looked like beings with huge, old, army duffel bags strapped to their backs, lumbering though life, weighted down, as the loads got heavier and heavier.

Sometimes it is easier to see in others, and  I just knew that it was time to do my work, if I wanted a life of inner peace and freedom.

How do we forgive? We  commit to do our part to clean up our own past. We make a commitment to ourselves, to stop blaming others for the way our lives turned out. We make a decision that nothing is more important than our own happiness. And then, almost like a miracle, something larger than ourselves comes in and helps us. We open the door by being willing to forgive everyone, and find out that the work is being done for us, and through us….and then we refuse to take it back again.

“I knew that my heart and mind would always be tempted to feel anger–to find blame and hate. But I resolved that when the negative feelings came upon me, I wouldn’t wait for them to grow or fester. I would always turn immediately to the Source of all true power: I would turn to God and let His love and forgiveness protect and save me.
― Immaculee IlibagizaLeft to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust

P.S   If you had asked for an affirmation (Monday’s post) and I missed your comment,  please comment again and I will choose an affirmation for you.

36 thoughts on “Doing our part to change the world

  1. Good Morning, Mary! Thank you so much for this post. It is the second reminder for me already today about the importance of forgiveness. The one biggy for me these past few months has been around my sister and I am finally, finally loosening my grip on anger. I am finally getting closer to real forgiveness. I’ve felt it in spurts, but nothing long-lasting, yet. And yes, I would love an affirmation! Sending Love.

    • Good morning Diana and thank you! Your affirmation is: “All things I seek are now seeking me” pg 169

  2. Good morning Mary and everyone. I’m about to take my morning walk in the glorious sunshine we have today in Cleveland. I will be taking along Mary’s words and think about the ways I need to forgive. One of the sentences that jumped out at me (upon my first reading) was:

    “Sometimes it is easier to see in others, and I just knew that it was time to do my work, if I wanted a life of inner peace and freedom.”

    I also wanted to share a book on forgiveness by D. Patrick Miller.
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/riw4z79ulb1imd7/the-way-of-forgiveness-letting-go-easing-stress-and-building-strength.pdf

    I believe that forgiveness is a very large part (if not all) of our life’s work.
    Ever onward…….

  3. Mary,

    Thank you for this lovely blog. As always it resonates. An affirmation would be welcome today. I could not get this message through yesterday (cranky computer) so maybe today is the day!

    Michelle

    • Thank you Michelle,
      Your affirmation is:
      “My supply comes from God. I have the magic purse of the Spirit. It can never be depleted. As money goes out, immediately money comes in, under Grace in perfect ways.” pg 205

  4. Mary – I love this post. In reading this it struck me that, if more people took these words to heart, many conflicts would simply be resolved or not even arise. This is a very powerful message for me right now. I’m tempted to share it with some fellow members of, ironically, a church committee, who are “festering” with their lack of forgiveness. Thank you – sending hugs your way.

  5. Dear Mary…thank you for this post today,as I needed to hear it! Forgiving is one of the most powerful awareness exercises…..especially forgiveness of ourselves. I love the quote and will keep it in my mind today.

  6. Good morning,Mary. I love forgiveness, it is so freeing. Doesn’t mean the harm was warranted , just means, I don’t carry around it’s sting. (your visual of older people carrying the bag) . A profound message I also received after working on forgiveness for a long time was (spiritual in nature), ” If I hadn’t first judged , I would have nothing to forgive” , we can’t know what makes another human being do what they do, so it is up to us to forgive and love them and leave the judgment to the powers that be. Reads easy, does hard!!!!!XXO

  7. Another something for me to share. This is from the recent Hay House Summit and it is an interview with Immaculee.
    [audio src="https://www.dropbox.com/s/wj5addqoby8pqeu/39%2039%20Immacul%C3%A9e%20Ilibagiza%20%26%20Nancy%20Levin.mp3" /]

  8. I always have a problem with the word forgive. I tend to think of forgiving as an expression of love outward to someone one who has effected me in a negative way. To forgive suggests that we have examined, and found a problem, and then have chosen the path to not be upset by it. We have decided that the perpetrator of the thing which we are to forgive, has made a mistake of some sort. We choose to not feel unkindly toward them – not to experience anger toward them.

    I don’t feel this way. For me, once I recognized that I am the creator of my life, then this notion that there is some event or happening outside of me that requires the sending of love, just makes no sense.

    I had a difficult childhood, but I feel no anger or resentment. I see us all in a play together – an agreed upon play. If the parts are played really well, there will be tragedy and comedy worthy of applause. But we players all love each other and understand that we are in a play. What is there to forgive? It makes no sense.

  9. “We are each given our own situation to forgive”. I love this context! Sometimes we seek to forgive another, sometimes we seek to forgive ourselves…all toward our ultimate goal of inner peace and freedom. Choosing to hold a grudge, choosing to not forgive gives me a ‘tight’ feeling inside. It kinda feels like a spiritual roadblock delaying and in some instances detouring me from what could be. And if you asked me Mary, where do I feel the tightness, it is right in my heart…so, for me, it makes the choice so much easier. Choose to let my inner flame dim from the burden of unforgiveness, or choose to let it shine brightly…

  10. Wow! spot on as always…you create such hope each day, simply and by sharing. Thank you so much for your blog. Hugs, Teri

    • Hello Pat and here is your affirmation,
      “I now catch up with my good, for before I called, I was answered.” pg 268

    • Hello Terrie and here is an affirmation for you, (oh, I had to laugh when this one came up, after what you wrote!…the Universal Spirit does have a sense of humor)
      “There is no loss in Divine Mind, therefore, I cannot lose anything which belongs to me. It will be restored or I receive its equivalent.” pg 135

  11. Last night was an especially difficult night for me. Just recently my own ability to forgive has been challenged. I’m positive the family members evoking this imagined feeling (on my part) of being abandoned were not aware of what I was going through as they were just so busy living their own lives and being happy.

    I tossed and turned and had images of getting up at 2 AM and making pancakes or maybe waffles with lots of butter and maple syrup. Finally I stopped tossing and realized where I was and exactly what was happening all around me.

    This worked for about an hour and then more images came rushing in screaming for my attention and energy. Finally I said to all those images that made me feel so inadequate and unworthy that I had enough of all their put downs. Maybe I am not perfect in their eyes, have enough money to be counted among the elite and articulate – then like a soft gentle voice these emotions were replaced by the lines of a song – “count your blessings – name them one by one”. Once I began the list I realized I had the right to have these blessings and a peaceful sleep started – that was until a very hungry cat started combing my hair to announce it was time to get up and create more blessings.

  12. I’ve kept a little folder with quotes on forgiveness for some time now. Here are two:

    As you notice anger or hatred forming in your mind, imagine it as a rock. See yourself holding that rock, poised to toss it into your mind. But instead of throwing it, picture yourself gently setting it down beside you. Take a deep breath. Let it go. (from The Tiny Buddha blog, not sure who said this)

    “Resentment is like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die.” ~Malachy McCourt
    ___________________

    “One thing I know” as Oprah would say, is that forgiveness is most definitely a process. It doesn’t just happen by waving the magic wand of words over another person, “I forgive you.” It takes time, but it is the most freeing gift you give, number one, to yourself, so that you may walk forward in life less burdened, and to the one who you perceive has harmed you in the past, you give them too, a measure of the grace and mercy that God bestows upon us constantly. Has to be a most important reason that it is included in the Lord’s Prayer, “forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors”. Thank you again Mary for your Affirmation Marathon – I have so enjoyed reading them all, – what a flock we are!

  13. Hi — I didn’t ask for an affirmation on Monday, but I realized that I really wished that I had. So thanks for asking again!

    • Your wish is my command!
      Your affirmation is:
      “Behold! I have set before you the open door of Destiny and no person shall shut it, for it is nailed back!” pg 102

    • Hello Kathy and here is your affirmation,
      “All that is mine by Divine Right is now released adn reaches me in a perfect way under Grace.” pg 168

  14. Thanks for another great insight and for the perfect affirmation! Colin Tipping has a great book, ” Radical Forgiveness”, which is very helpful for working through the process

  15. Mary, your insight this morning is profound and I cannot see any other way around the issue of blaming others, trying for forgiveness, letting go of the pain of past hurts and experiences than to turn to a Higher Power. I can’t do it on my own, I can let a lot more go now than I have been able to in the past but the old reactions rear their heads in ways that surprise me even now…so I wonder. Your site provides me with the spiritual fertilizer my mind needs, Mary, and that may not be a good way to put it…but it does allow me to grow.
    SandyP in Canada

  16. Forgiveness is a process for me. I work very hard on it. But I learned years ago the first person I need to forgive is myself. I have done this with God’s help. I still struggle at times with forgiving others. But as I also learned, recognizing the problem is the first step. Progress not perfection. 🙂

    • Good afternoon Maggie!
      Your affirmation is:
      “My heart’s desire is a perfect idea in Divine Mind, and it now comes to pass, under Grace, in a magical way!”

  17. I am having trouble forgiving my brother for not loving me or his daughter.I need an affirmation.Thanks so much for your blog.

    • thank you Vicky, Your affirmation is: “The tide of Destiny has turned and my heart’s desires now come to me, under Grace, in magical ways.”

  18. My dear Bro — sending you another excellent writing by our Mary Muncil….I think this is very good, and very fitting. I hope you can find something in here that speaks to you.

    All is well, we are enjoying this group of campers we are here with — the Granite Staters — some activities each day, visiting each other, meals done up by some, and so on…..and the weather has been wonderful, thank heavens! Guess it will be getting hot and humid from now on for several days….could do without the humidity!

    Hope all is well….thinking of you, love you – Pab

    On Wed, Jun 19, 2013 at 6:52 AM, White Feather Farm wrote:

    > ** > Mary Muncil from White Feather Farm posted: ” A number of years ago, I > co-led a day-long retreat on forgiveness. A woman (who didn’t end up > signing up for the retreat) wanted to talk about what it would be like > before committing. As I explained the basic format, and how I imagined it > unfolding, s”

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