So what is forgiveness anyway? For me, like many of us, forgiveness has become an evolving journey. Growing up in the Catholic Church, my evolution started when I went to confession for the first time in the second grade. It was just days before we made our First Holy Communion, and in preparation, we needed to receive another sacrament for the first time – the Sacrament of Penance. To me, it was about getting God’s forgiveness for yelling at my brother ten times, and for being mad at Sister Kevin Michael for giving us another hour of homework because Kevin Sweeny misbehaved yet again. It was about admitting I was bad for not picking up my room twice, and for any number of other things I probably did, but didn’t exactly remember doing. If I had done them though, they were wrong, and they were black marks on my soul. And because of them I was not worthy of taking communion until the priest said I was forgiven.
So, at that point, forgiveness was about doing what I was told, even if it didn’t make sense, and avoiding punishment. To me, at age seven, forgiveness was about compliance.
Years later, we got a day off of public school to go to the eighth grade retreat at the Catholic parish our family belonged to at that time. By 13 I’d had it with this idea of making up a list of bad things I had probably done to round out a shorter list of things I knew I had done, just to meet the expectations of the priest in the confessional so that I would be forgiven and able to take communion. And Maureen Blessington agreed with me. So, in we went to the confessional, me behind the curtain on the left, Maureen behind the one on the right, and lucky Father Brown got to hear this argument twice in about ten minutes.
Frankly, I don’t remember what Father said to me in response, nor what Maureen reported he’d told her. I just remember that I was done with this approach to forgiveness that felt more like a sham than a sacrament. Maybe I would spend more time in purgatory for sins that would have been forgiven before I died, if only I had gone to confession. And if that turned out to be so, somehow I was OK with that. But at least I was no longer making up little white lies in the confessional to be forgiven for a list of things that weren’t necessarily true.
And amazingly, either Father Brown or Pastor Schmidt continued to give me communion every Sunday, no questions asked, as if nothing had changed about me in the eyes of the church. I might not have known what I thought forgiveness was at that point, but I’d starting saying no to what I wasn’t willing to do. So, at that stage, forgiveness was about rebellion and standing in my truth.
Moving into adulthood, I learned to forgive more as I realized that none of us is perfect, and if we are forever held to account for every “bad” thing we’ve ever done, life becomes miserable quickly. Forgiveness in my 20s and probably my 30s was more about overlooking things. Eventually it evolved into accepting people as they are and trying hard not to judge.
And while I don’t think I gave it any conscious thought at that point, I was far more open to forgiving others than I was to forgiving myself. Even though I would have told you that I didn’t believe I needed to be perfect, I was pretty hard on me. So while by and large forgiveness had become about acceptance to me, it had yet to include much acceptance of me.
Reconnecting to Our Soul’s Power
But it wasn’t until I was well into my 40s that I came to understand that at its core, true forgiveness has nothing to do with who is right or who is wrong. I could see that acceptance did not mean condoning. Instead, acceptance stops the energy-draining score keeping. Yes, when we set ourselves free of judging, be it another or ourselves, we have the energy to reconnect with our authentic power, the power of our souls.
And that’s how I saw that forgiveness is something we do for ourselves. That’s how I saw that forgiveness opens us to spiritual growth. That’s how I realized that if someone’s actions have resulted in my deepening my connection to my soul and to divinity, that person has done me a favor.
The Magic of Forgiveness
This is the magic of forgiveness that we find in our Akashic Records. And, as the Records have told us in this space before:
“Forgiveness is the magic that turns tragedy and trauma into growth. It does more than simply set us free. It opens us up to more. Rather than allowing us to stay small and hurt, forgiveness transforms darkness into expansion and light.”
This is the magic we have been sharing in Akashic sessions, and in our classes, all these years. It is the foundation of our “Prayer of Forgiveness” which ends with the words, “I bless and release all illusions of wrongness. I lift up my eyes and see myself and others as pure reflections of Divine light and love.”
Until last week, I wouldn’t have had much more to share on this topic. Until last week, this blog post would have stopped right here, and happily so.
Then, as a participant in the new online version of our Akashic class that Deborah Hellman and I are teaching, our dear friend Grace Wormwood expanded forgiveness for me into some additional spiritual territory. In an email to our class, she shared how she’d used the magic of forgiveness to stay present in the face of significant grief.
Grace described her experience as her beloved dog Marley was dying, “Each time grief tugged me out of presence, I was able to use the ‘Prayer of Forgiveness’ to release the binding, collapsing energies and renew myself to wholeness of spirit.”
Was Grace using the prayer to forgive her dog for dying? Without asking her I can promise she wasn’t. She had accepted Marley’s impending transition back to the light. She saw no wrong done, no injustice.
Nor was this about reclaiming a soul connection she’d let go in the presence of death or some other trauma. No, this was more preventative, or even pro-active, if you will.
Staying Present, Staying Connected
Grace used the magic energies of forgiveness to stay present to her spirit in the face of loss and grief. Therefore there was nothing to repair later. There was no “If only I,” or “If only Marley…” There was never anything to forgive.
Grace has helped me recognize something important I have long sensed about forgiveness, but couldn’t quite articulate, and that is this: When we are connected to our soul/spirit we are far less likely do, or be, or perceive anything that precipitates the need for forgiveness. And this is why I so appreciate my ability to connect to my Akashic Records. They are helping me connect more easily, more strongly, more automatically to my soul.
Did the “Prayer of Forgiveness” help Grace connect to her Records? I don’t know, and I don’t thing it matters. She described how it helped her connect to her divine presence, and that, of course, is the core intention anyway. Maintaining our continual connection to soul or spirit is the whole point.
Experience the Prayer of Forgiveness for yourself.
Are you curious what the Akashic Records may reveal about your life?
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