I know that I have been neglectful in posting this week. I apologize that it took so long, and apologize that it’s a bit lengthy. Please forgive me.
This was written by me a few years ago, when I did my first Fruitful Summer Challenge. I’m sure it will be new to many who read it; if not, maybe you will gain something new.
During some online searches for information about gardening I stumbled upon something new to me. It is the creation of the Garden of Forgiveness in Beirut, Lebanon. The Garden of Forgiveness is designed to be a place of contemplation and reflection. The idea for the garden came from Alexandra A in 1998. It is inspired by the great human struggle to forgive, particularly in light of historic cycles of violence.
A Garden of Forgiveness is also being planned in New York near the site of the WTC.
I have read about college campuses and individuals creating their own personal Forgiveness Gardens, as a place of healing as well as a place of reflection.
While this is not the kind of gardening I have been learning about or writing about during this 100 Days to a Fruitful Summer Challenge, it does lead into a very important topic: Forgiveness. Forgiveness is a key element in peace building. When I read that sentence, which was part of a larger sentence and paragraph about the Lebanese war, and forgiveness being a key element in post-war peace building…
I pulled out what screamed at me from the page: “Forgiveness is a key element in peace, building.” Forgiveness is a key element in peace and re-building. Forgiveness is a key element in inner peace and re-building the YOU that needs to forgive and be forgiven.
A couple of years ago I was upset with someone for something they had done. It was just eating at me and making me miserable. I had been doing some personal growth work and had listened to a Tony Robbins CD about forgiveness. I was still upset with ‘the thing’ and ‘the person’. I tried talking to The Hubs about it and he was very supportive. He told me that I needed to forgive and (not forget) get over it. Move on. He then explained to me that I hold on to things that I should let go of. I was pretty well convinced that he was absolutely incorrect and tried to tell him as much. He very quietly and politely told me that I am the only person in the world who holds a grudge against a piece of gum that ruined her shoes over 10 years ago. To my credit, they were really nice shoes.
I immediately started working on forgiveness with great passion. I contacted a pastor about how to forgive. His recommendations were things I had tried in the past, yet I tried them again. Write down the “thing” or the name of the person that has hurt you, or that you want to (need to) forgive. Then burn the paper, or shred it in the shredder, or bury it in the yard. Announce forgiveness of the person or thing (if it’s a piece of gum). That was a good start in the forgiveness and healing process for me. It was not the ‘fix’.
I came to realize that there is more to it than forgiving the other person or the acts or things that hurt me. I realized that I also needed to forgive myself. I spent a good part of a week doing a major forgiveness cleanse. I went through my life and thought of the things that I have done that were hurtful and the people I have done them to. I then thought about the things that have hurt me and the people who have hurt me. I listed them out. I talked to Source, God, Spirit, Universe about the things that I have done that hurt others. It was a painful and humbling process. I asked forgiveness from the Universe (et al). I then gave myself permission to forgive myself. Then, I was able to forgive others.
The next step was meditation. I found some guided meditations that aided me in this process. http://www.oprah.com/spirit/Audio-Meditations-for-Interacting-with-Others
Once I had forgiven myself, it was so much easier to let the other stuff go!
That was several years ago. Forgiveness is still an ongoing process. When I read about the Garden(s) of Forgiveness and the words screamed at me from the page…the true link came to me. Forgiveness is just like gardening. It is an ongoing effort. It takes all of the thoughtful planning, care, and nurturing that a garden does. It takes vigilance to keep the pests out; bugs, weeds, bunnies, and more. It takes the deadheading and pruning. It means getting up in the morning and turning on the water. It means plucking the ripe fruits and putting them by for later use. It takes doing the work even when it seems too hard, or too time-consuming. Continue digging in even when the ground seems so hard, and the rows too long.
Remember this: Not forgiving does not usually hurt the other party (or the gum). It hurts US, the unforgiving. It eats away at pieces of our souls. Let it go. Forgive yourself and forgive those who have hurt you – to rebuild your soul and restore your inner peace!
As for me; I am going to start weeding the garden of forgiveness. I might also start a Garden of Forgiveness of my own, so that I can work in it and work on me at the same time.
Today’s Challenge: Forgive yourself, and then work on forgiving others, for past hurts.
“Forgiving is rediscovering the shining path of peace that at first you thought others took away when they betrayed you.” ~Dodinsky