Forgiveness comes in many packages but always from the Heart.  ~  Image by Kelly Chamchuk

Today I woke up with a long ‘to do’ list and at the top of that list was forgiveness. ForGIFTness. That was the word that came to mind. Because the other thing on my mind recently has been family photos after seeing so many beautiful photos pop up on Facebook posted by Friends; photos of them as young child with Santa, photos of them in their teens, in ‘Throwback Thursday” and so many beauty-filled images of families together or loved ones past that they are choosing to honor during this special Holiday Season and Christmas Time.

The top of my ForGIFT list is my youngest brother who shortly after my Fathers passing decided to destroy all the families photos my Dad had so neatly categorized for each of us and stored in his lower dresser drawer knowing this day would come. My outrage was not only for him intentionally destroying this lifetime of family history but also because I saw the packages there the day prior and decided to wait till tomorrow to gather them up and hold them as precious. Something was screaming at me to do so, my intuition, my soul; yet I choose not to listen because of the duties of the day and the rest of the clutter clearing I was involved in to prepare the home to be sold. Timing was everything and I learned that ‘lesson’ that hard way as I do most things in this lifetime.

Imagine my surprise coming back the next day and seeing the drawer completely empty and when asking my youngest brother where the photos were, hearing the simple emotionless reply “Gone.” I had no choice but to remain super calm even though my rage was burning through me like a wild woman; “Gone where?” I questioned hoping they were only relocated to another area but fearing the worst as his behavior at the time was erratic and unpredictable at best.  I still cannot recall his exact words but they were either ‘burned’ or ‘taken to the dump’ or both. I do recall it being an act driven from Anger and recall thinking how much he must hate what this represents; family, childhood, self, us, for him to not only destroy his package but all of ours too.

One of the greatest and most powerful healing tools ever is FORGIVENESS; what I am now calling ‘ForGIFTness.’ It is truly the greatest gift you can give yourself. It brings peace where there was once rage, calm where there was once chaos and where there was once hate, you can replace it with another great healer – Love.

What I usually do is get outside of myself and use empathy, compassion and understanding for the other person and try to see where they were coming from. What was he feeling that made him do such a harsh act? How angry and deeply grieving was he to lash out in this particularly symbolic way? Was he in total shock or had he snapped in to some Psychotic state? My love for my brother overshadowed all else and even though I felt so much anger, what won was the love. Yes, I was extremely angry, actually in a state of rage, but I saw a fear in him that was way bigger than us both and choose in that moment to let it go. I forgave him.

Yet something did stay with me all these years… I miss those photos terribly. I yearn for them. I want to look at those images. I want to see myself as a child and see my family when we were together and young and happy.  And I cannot. I noticed that although I am no longer holding any blame towards my brother I am however holding blame towards my self.

Today what I need to let go of is that I didn’t trust myself enough to grab those images in time. I did not listen to my self and my guidance.  Today my forGIFTness is aimed towards me. I choose to believe that I managed the best I could at that most challenging time under very stressful circumstances.  I was reminded of so much in that moment; you cannot control others, hold near what is precious to you, don’t put off till tomorrow what you can do today, love trumps anger, things are just things, and it is okay to let go.

So, how do you forgive? Great question asked by many and here are some things you can do for any people you are gifting this to including your SELF.

  • Realize that your hate or anger does not affect the other person; it only affects you and may even manifest itself in physical symptoms and likely will affect your life, your relationships, even your career and all you do. Anger and revenge are like poison in our systems.
  • Notice if you are the type of person who seeks revenge. Revenge is all about getting even. Find your peace in that there is no ‘even’ and that life is not always fair; lessons come to us for us to learn from them. Acting out towards another is again only harming yourself. Choose to be happy instead, choose peace instead.
  • Make a list of what you did learn, or what good came from it, however painful the incident or event was, there is a ‘positive spin’ you can put on it. Bottom line, you are here and alive and even if there is much work yet to be done, that’s a great start. You are precious. Be gentle on yourself and give yourself all the time you need for healing to occur.
  • Allow yourself the time to completely embrace all of the emotions you are feeling, even the ones we refer to as negative; they are just emotions and they are yours so therefore they are valid and should be honored. Once you allow them to bubble up, you can release them and be free of them. You do not have to agree with or condone hurtful acts, just feel how they affect(ed) you, feel the places in your body where you hold the emotions and let them go, then send in some soothing white light and sparkles to fill the space.
  • Send warm blessings to all involved so they too can experience peace, calm and forgiveness. All of this can be done ‘privately’ – there is no need to involve the other person(s) in your forgiveness unless you feel you want to and it is safe for you to do so. This is an exercise in grace purely for you.
  • If you are a person who seeks forgiveness from others for something you may have done or caused, all you can do is ask. Be genuine in your request and speak from your heart focusing on your concern of what harm may have been caused to the other person(s) involved. You may not always receive forgiveness when you ask for it as others too need their time to heal but you CAN forgive yourself and become a wiser more loving person at any given time.

Who is on your ‘ForGIFT’ list this year? Give them and your Self the best gift ever. The gift of Forgiveness, one of the greatest gifts of all.

In luminescence and Love,