The Art of Forgiveness – my own personal and recent journey within!
Image from: pychologytoday
Those walking the spiritual path will have come across the ‘art of forgiveness’ and how powerful this is in moving forward and overcoming personal obstacles and blocks in our movement forward to a healthier, happier and more enlightened life. This of course goes hand in hand with love – and love of course is the most powerful and beautiful emotion on earth. It’s what most humans long for, strive for and look for. It’s also what I believe will save our planet. However as will become clear, I am not advocating unrealistic goals as I’m fully aware that people cannot love everyone around them because of a myriad of factors – however respect and understanding that others are ‘different’ is love in itself.
From reading this long blog (and please take the time to do so) you will see there are MULTPLE levels of forgiveness that I needed to learn, to move forward in a positive and constructive manner. All the words that follow are my ‘truth’ and my ‘lessons’. I am not without fault by any means; however I am not responsible for the entirety of the situation either. No names are used to protect personal privacy.
I’ve never hidden or shield away from my past – where I worked in Australian prisons and the immigration centres. I’ve never hidden the absolute terror/horror/grief that I went through when dealing with a certain ethnic group within these confines – where I was bashed, hurt, hit with rocks/stones and threatened on many occasions, whilst witnessing others go through the same. If you’ve never had your life threatened then it’s very hard to describe the anger/resentment and bitterness that builds towards the people who have physically and psychological hurt you. At that point in my life, well and truly over ten years ago now I wasn’t even thinking of love and forgiveness nor was I even thinking of respect and understanding. I was thinking, “How on earth am I going to get out of this alive.”
I’ve had over a decade of absolute anger and resentment towards this group of people because of my injuries and the change in me as person. My inability to forgive that ‘group’ only affected me because I allowed the past situation to control me this caused me to plummet into a 12 or 13 year struggle with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Depression and Anxiety. Had I realised the power of forgiveness back in the early days, how differently my life may have turned out (although I don’t regret my journey because obviously it was meant to be this way, and this is just one of the many lessons along the way).
Last year (in 2013) I was home in Brisbane visiting with my parents. It was whilst down here that I was again exposed to some ‘triggers’ to the past. Wow how far I had come!!! Mum sent me what I considered at the time a ‘funny’ email regarding this group of people who had traumatised me beyond anything most people will ever experience in a life time, and I was amazed I could watch the clip without smashing the computer apart or swearing at it or plummeting into a comatose state of depression. I forwarded this email to about 3 friends who I considered close enough to understand me and why I was sending it, despite it being somewhat controversial. Everyone but one person accepted it for what it was; Tammy demonstrating how far she’d come as there was no rage involved whatsoever.
Yesterday, I wrote a huge six page account of what occurred between this tarot student/friend of mine, after her reaction to that email where she accused me of not being spiritual and promoting racism, and the massive, massive fallout with her and how other people who had nothing to do with it, also stopped contacting me. However on re-reading it, it was more cathartic for me and solidified for me that I have forgiven the people involved – who never did ask my side of the heartfelt story. So I’m writing a shortened version today of how I overcome the judgements and hurt and pain from the people who tried to take my life; and the lack of understanding and judgements of people I thought would know better.
From reading this shortened blog, can you see what forgiveness was required, for me to move forward? There are a myriad of things going on here and something I’ve worked on so very much and so hard since last year.
When someone is in a whole lot of pain ‘forgiveness’ is not something I was thinking about and yet I had a number of people to ‘forgive’ so I could walk forward in life in a constructive and happy manner, minus the feelings of anger, resentment, bitterness and rage. Nearly 12 months later I am so very, very grateful for the entire scenario and learning from it and how I can now love, love, love and forgive everyone who has hurt me including myself.
The big one was forgiving ME for being the way I was and how I am. I’m not perfect but that makes me Tammy. I had to forgive myself for holding onto the pain for over a decade. Yes my life was in jeopardy and threatened however this did not mean I have to react with fear/anger/bitterness and rage for all time. For my peace of mind and sanity, I had to be gentle with myself and KNOW that I was not a horrible and terrible person, nor a racist, simply because my reactions to things had been out of proportion. I was safe now, so time to forgive myself for holding on for so very long.
Then I looked at this ethnic group and realised that they, like me, are human. We are all HUMANS regardless of where we come from and what we do. We are all the same. No one is better and no one is worse. YES they hurt me beyond comprehension, however I am alive and I am breathing and if I’m still breathing than life is good. Holding on to that resentment, hurt, anger and bitterness was not helping me in the least. I had to let go of it for real!!!
I also had to forgive this tarot student/friend of mine for her insensitivity towards my plight and questioning my higher self and spirituality and basically saying I was a racist. I then had to forgive the others this student spoke with, who say they come from love, and demonstrated none of this to me because none of them spoke to me about any of it and yet cut me off based on what?
So how did I do this almost impossible task of forgiveness? I came to the conclusion that forgiveness is a choice. I am in control of it. I talked and cried with other spiritual people (without naming names). I analysed and looked deeply within myself. I wrote diary entries. I processed and processed. I called upon my angels and spirit guides to help me and I utilized my Reiki practices to reach a place of inner peace and tranquillity. Meditation was a wonderful tool that I used daily. I also utilized crystals to help me to release my emotions in a more constructive manner and I realised that for me to become a more content person I had to forgive, really forgive from the heart and from the soul. I had to forgive everyone involved in my pain and relapse into PSTD/Depression/Anxiety, if I wanted to have a fulfilling life, so I withdrew from the world whilst I did this as I was not in the frame of mind to be socialising, whilst learning to forgive; and I did the hard work of looking within and forgiving myself FIRST!!! That’s most important thing, is to forgive yourself first for any perceived failings, then it’s much easier to forgive others, who sometimes simply don’t know any better. How can anyone whose never had their life truly, truly threatened and nearly taken, understand why people don’t particularly like the perpetrators.????? Its understandable they go straight to the word ‘racism’ when they know nothing about it. Forgiving people for ignorance and not knowing any better is very helpful as well.
There is no easy way to fully explain how I totally forgave people/situations. I just realised for me to keep blossoming there is no room in my heart for anger. We are all on the earth trying to do the best we can. I’m certainly trying to be the best person I can be and these huge, huge lessons, have taken quite some time to FULLY and COMPREHENSIVELY overcome. It’s been worth every moment.
Forgiveness of something or someone who has profoundly hurt you may not happen right away but please, please keep at it – because the inner peace and tranquillity, when you do forgive, is so worthwhile. The hard work and effort is nothing compared to the beautiful feeling of bliss once you let it go. Please let it go for your own sanity and for your own movement forward.
As I said at the beginning of this blog, I’m fully aware that people cannot love everyone around them because of innumerable factors – however respect and understanding that others are ‘different’ is love in itself.
Acceptance of “difference” is probably a basic and yet powerful tool. Accepting that others have different experience to your own can also help in forgiveness and love.
So I have forgiven myself for lashing out and being reactive rather than proactive. I have forgiven the ethnic group who hurt me terribly all those years ago. I forgive those who did not show me love, understanding and compassion to my injury/illness and reactions to the entire ordeal; and I am only speaking about this ‘situation’ now to pass along that that forgiveness is possible. This was a biggy for me at the time, and so it’s a great example to use.
Now I can actually thank everyone for the beautiful and powerful lessons I’ve learned by their behaviours and reactions, including my own. It speaks volumes and shows me what I do and do not want to become, in the quest for spirituality.
Magical blessings to you all, especially those on the quest of forgiveness and overcoming hurt.
Those suffering PTSD/Depression/Anxiety please if you need help call:
Life Line:13 11 14
Beyond blue:1300 22 4636
Much love, always.
Tammy (Reiki and Tarot Master/Teacher)