What better time to blog about forgiveness than now… the time between Valentine’s Day—the day designated to take special care and recognize our loved ones, and Easter—the day Christians celebrate our belief that Jesus died on, and resurrected from, the Cross for people all around the world…to bring about forgiveness.
I was never a fan of Oprah’s version of forgiveness; or more to the point, I never quite understood what it was she was trying to convey. Back in the 90’s I couldn’t just forgive someone who betrayed my deep-rooted trust, get over it, and move on without an apology. Some people are better at that than others…that wasn’t me. However, a few years after my cancer protocol ended, after I married my husband and found out I was pregnant with our son shortly thereafter…my perception of forgiveness became much clearer.
Anne Garcia McCullough and Maura Ellis Youle, guests from my 1/31/2011 ONWARD AND UPWARD radio program at www.blogtalkradio.com/ErinLey, were able to eloquently explain our mutual understanding of what forgiveness is…one I am able to accept and extend. During our program, Anne and Maura clarify how forgiveness benefits the person wronged. They spoke in detail about how it wasn’t about making the situation(s) more baggage for the one who was hurt to carry. No. Instead, they explained, and have CD’s demonstrating, how forgiveness is about “for giving it up” and moving on, with or without an apology. Lighter load…lighter life! Moving on would depend on how someone decides to respond (not react) to being mistreated. Every individual has their own personal reason for how they forgive someone and move on…incredibly personal…and not to be judged.
Anne’s approach, with the care of Maura, Anne’s neighbor who teaches Yoga and Reiki, helped Anne go from being a legally blind mother and MS patient needing a walker, ingesting an incredible amount of medications, and dealing with multiple medical conditions, to a Black-Belt Kick-Boxer with eye-vision better than 20/20, and no meds! WOW! Together they created “Hopeology” at www.infusionofhope.com and have helped countless people with their remarkable work and findings.
On a personal note, I base my relationships—personal and in the workplace—mainly on trust. It’s difficult for me to have a solid relationship with an individual once that foundation has been cracked. However, there have been a handful of times in my life whereby my relationship with someone has actually *improved* because our relationship temporarily derailed.
A recent example of this is regarding someone I’ve been best friends with for many years…one of the kindest, most loving and generous (in every sense of the word) friends I’ve ever had. Upon hearing what I was blogging about during this season of Lent—the season for “giving something up”; or, doing more to help have a constructive impact on our lives and the lives of others—my friend asked that I share our experience with the hope it will help others who feel the need to turn their back on themselves, and those who care for them, out of anguish and despair.
My friend was under tremendous pressure over the last few years financially, at work, with family…her “world” in general was turmoil in her eyes. As her best friend, I did everything I could to help…until one day she decided she didn’t want my help and let me know she wasn’t speaking to me anymore. I was shocked, confused, and incredibly hurt. We were each others’ confidante. Nevertheless, I understood my friend truly believed, and reiterated over and over, that she should be punished for what she saw herself to be—(in her words) an “unsuccessful spouse”; “unreliable source for her children”; and, “lowest form of human walking the planet”—a HUGE misconception! It was upsetting to watch as she distanced herself from everyone she loved and who loved her. She turned into someone unrecognizable and began to commiserate with other sad souls. According to her, they validated each other’s misery making things that much worse; although, at the time, my friend thought she was fulfilling her needs—the need to validate she was a terrible person. Heartbreaking! After about a year of distance, just recently, I ran into my friend at a place we used to go to for a cocktail and some laughs. She grabbed me and begged for my forgiveness. As I looked into my best friends’ eyes, I caught a glimpse of the “real” soul I knew and love. She spoke openly about her self-inflicted pain while traveling her proverbial fork in the road. She made clear how there was a pivotal point during her rock-bottom existence that caused her to scream for help and snap out of it. We both believe divine intervention had a lot to do with it. She still cannot fathom the road she chose prior to her awakening; didn’t realize how depressed she was; feeling contrite; repulsed by her decision making during her mental escape; and thankfully, began therapy just a few days after we spoke. Based on our conversations and confessions thereafter, our relationship is cherished even moreso than it was prior to her lengthy spiral…a new powerful foundation. She’s my best friend, someone I can count on when things hit the fan…and I’m there for her as well. Forgiveness offered and received for the both of us. As Anne Garcia McCullough and Maura Ellis Youle would say, my BFF and I are all “for giving it up.” That was then and this is now.
It takes an incredibly strong person willing to share such feelings with the hope it’ll help others who may not believe they will be forgiven by those who matter most in their lives. My friend is amazing and I’m incredibly blessed to have her in mine.
We’ve all gone through our own personal struggles and have had to ask for forgiveness at times. We’re human…not perfect. Over the decades, a wise woman, Marianne Muldoon, has said to me on occasions when I’d find myself scratching my forehead thinking, “What the hell was that?” she’d say, “Whenever something goes wrong, Bless it and release it to its rightful place…only God knows where it’ll land.” Another extremely wise woman, my mother, also says, “Erin, there’s a cross behind every door and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. It’s those who want you to believe everything’s perfect in their lives who have the most problems.” I’m 47 years old and based on my life experience nothing can be more true.
“The act of forgiveness is the act of returning to present time. And that’s why when one has become a forgiving person, and has managed to let go of the past, what they’ve really done is they’ve shifted their relationship with time.” ~ Caroline Myss
Wishing everyone a very Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!!
Live ONWARD with great character and a smile!
Onward Productions, Inc. Announcements:
The ONWARD AND UPWARD radio show hosted by Erin Ley at www.BlogTalkRadio.com/ErinLey:
“FORGIVENESS, FITNESS, AND FUN!”
Date: March 22, 2013
Len Saunders www.LenSaunders.com is an award winning author, motivational speaker in the fight against childhood obesity, and nationally recognized for his innovative wellness events. Most recently, you may have seen Len on such media giants as CNN, Good Morning America, CNBC, The Today Show, ESPN, Nickelodeon, MSNBC, The Fox Channel, as well as the front page of The Wall Street Journal. Most recently, he has authored and published four books.
Karen Goeller www.KarenGoeller.com has educated thousands in the fitness & gymnastics arena with her work. Karen is the author of more gymnastics books than anyone in the USA. She enjoys helping athletes return to competition shape after an injury, and regularly includes “injury prevention exercises* in her conditioning programs. Karen has been featured on many media outlets for over 20 years. Before earning her BA Degree, Karen’s education included training as an EMT, Physical Therapist, and Nutritionist. She has certifications such as EMT-D, Nutritional Analysis, Fitness Trainer, many USAG certifications, and the NSCA-CSCS.
Erin Ley’s Books:
Maggie The Magnificent character-building book series for children (ages 4-12) “Maggie’s in the Driver’s Seat” and “Maggie Unmasks Planet Pumpkin”
www.MaggieTheMagnificent.com and www.ErinLey.com
“The Will to Live: The Perks of Cancer Though the Eyes of a Survivor” (inspirational/empowering memoir for ages 17-117) – Erin provides individual cancer coaching sessions over the phone for cancer patients across the country. Contact her any time for a free 30 minute session. If you decide to schedule additional sessions with Erin you will receive her memoir, “The Will to Live”, as our gift to you. www.ErinLey.com
Erin is available for interviews, media, book signings, special events, and more. Please feel free to contact Erin anytime at www.ErinLey.com or email@example.com. Have a great day!