I recently had a very personal and profound experience in forgiveness, one that continues to unfold. The experience was inspired by learning more of my mother’s early childhood experience, of being a ‘stolen baby’ as told in the fictionalized account ‘Before We Were Yours’ by Lisa Wingate.

Reading this book opened up a whole new perspective and understanding of the pain that my mother experienced and how that unresolved pain was passed down to her children.

This experience, among others has inspired a deep contemplation of the nature of forgiveness. Here are some things I am discovering:

  1. Forgiveness cannot be willed, forced or contrived because it does not come from the logic of the mind, but the understanding of the heart.
  2. Forgiveness happens on multiple levels and is often experienced in layers.
  3. At the deepest level, forgiveness is not something we ‘do’, but an experience of grace that we receive.
  4. Forgiveness is a gift that responds to a sincere request.
  5. Forgiveness releases backwards and forwards in time, affecting us personally, ancestrally and collectively.
  6. Forgiveness is a dramatic shift in perception, one that releases us from the role of victim, into a greater capacity to be response -able.
  7. Forgiveness releases us from shame, blame, guilt and anger because it reveals how we are all the same and worthy of the grace of forgiveness.
  8. Forgiveness reveals the gifts that come directly from the apparent injury and allows us access them in ways that benefit both ourselves and others.
  9. Forgiveness reveals and returns us to our essential innocence, and awakens our capacity for greater aliveness.

Partner Yoga has also been a gift of grace in my life and came as a direct result of the unmet needs in my childhood. It has been a pathway to forgiveness and a way to see through and transform limiting perceptions, particularly in relationship.

The practices reveal our essential sameness and shift our perception from one of judgement to one of compassion. In other words, it supports us to see through the eyes of forgiveness, allowing everyone and everything to be, just as it is.

The power of forgiveness is a rich and wide terrain in our human psyche. It has many dimensions, from forgiveness of a debt, to seeing that ultimately there is nothing to forgive, that our entire human journey is simply a return to the quiet clarity and contentment of our hearts.

Or in Ram Dass’s words ‘We are all just walking each other home.’