Forgiveness is a skill. Learning to forgive can liberate your heart and mind from internal prisons that perpetuate and intensify suffering.
Forgiveness as Gift
Forgiveness as Medicine
- Forgiveness As Medicine, by Anita Sanchez
Forgiveness is a life-affirming, conscious act of power, not weakness, because the forgiver holds and uses this power to free and heal all those involved, both victim and perpetrator, so both can become whole human beings again. This tremendous power to forgive the unforgivable is beyond letting go. It is actually a reintegration and formation of a new, healthy, and whole relationship with the self and others. The steps taken in the forgiveness process may vary, but its purpose is based not just on morals or ethics but also on the desire to not hold on to the anger and instead move forward and evolve.
Forgiveness can then be understood as a spiritual practice as taught by the Elders. We all have a choice: We can use violence, both physical and emotional, to control and exert power over someone or something, or we can choose another way. We have an opportunity to choose a way that brings harmonious development and the harmonious connection among all of us through spiritual practice, calling on our higher selves, our beliefs, and our actions in something greater.
For many indigenous people, that “something greater” is our Mother Earth, who affirms our place as part of a huge expanse of life. Taking the time to appreciate and be with nature is an important spiritual practice, opening our minds and hearts to forgive. Walking on Mother Earth, breathing in the oxygen, feeling the sunshine and the rain, you are receiving her grace and loving hug, the reassurance that we are part of something larger, that we are supported as we walk our higher spiritual path of letting go and forgiving.
Remember, medicine is anyone or anything that brings into alignment the spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical realm. The Elders are tradition bearers and healers with particular medicines to bring wholeness, and one of these medicines is the gift of the power of forgiveness.
You can approach anything unforgivable that you’ve experienced. It could be some unforgivable personal hurt, collective trauma, or transgression against nature, people, and spirit in the world. You can prepare to use the medicine of forgiving the unforgivable by choosing to consciously and deeply invest your energy looking toward what you most want, like the flower looks toward the sun for growth and nourishment.
Close your eyes and allow a vision to arise that paints a picture or a deep feeling of the way you want your world to be in the presence of heartfelt forgiveness. You can deepen this vision if you write it down, draw it, allow images from nature to anchor your vision, and fill your heart with this new, freeing possibility.
You imagine this ideal world and allow yourself to be drawn toward it, for it to light your way forward. The vision can become so strong that it pulls you into it, transforming the unforgivable and your relationship to it. As you practice, you will find that you are supported in forgiving the unforgivable by living in that vision of the wholeness of you and all your relations.
Author's Bio: Anita Sanchez, Ph.D., Aztec and Mexican-American, is a transformational leadership consultant, speaker, coach, and author of the international best-selling book, “The Four Sacred Gifts: Indigenous Wisdom for Modern Times” (Simon & Schuster). She bridges indigenous teachings with the latest science to inspire and equip women and men to enjoy meaningful, empowered lives and careers. The very first sacred gift is forgiving the unforgivable, with a powerful true story. For more information and to download the free song that is based on the book, visit www.FourSacredGifts.com. For information on Anita's diversity training, see consulting website www.SanchezTennis.com.