An Exercise in Forgiveness
Submitted by: Dawn Sinnott
I was writing an e-workbook for a teleclass I was going to give on the topic of forgiveness. As I always approach this type of writing project, I wrote down my thoughts about where I’ve been, how I moved forward and where I am now in regards to the topic. Forgiveness is one of those areas that bring up a lot of emotion, justification, awareness, stubbornness, hurt feelings, etc. But as I sat writing down my thoughts the following visual exercise came to mind:
Exercise – Imagine you have been given an all expense paid trip to an unknown destination. You are told to arrive at the airport and go immediately through the security check. You are asked to leave the things in the bins on the conveyor belt that won’t be good for your trip; things that will weigh you down; specifically the resentments you’ve been carrying.
First you are asked to take off your shoes – they represent the need to kick someone that has hurt you, your desire to run away from your feelings or the images of stomping on the people you feel deserve it.
Next you are asked to empty your pockets of things like your ex-spouse who betrayed you, your ex mother-in-law who made you feel unwelcome, your friend from 8th grade that spread untrue rumors about you, the person who cut you off on the parkway, your boss who treated you disrespectfully.
You are then asked to take off any outer covering you’re wearing that represents the heavy weight you’ve been carrying as you’ve traveled through life with these resentments.
The security guard tells you that you must leave your “old baggage” behind; that you have to start this journey packing only hope, optimism and gratitude.
Next you need to go through the “MENTAL detector”. This device scans your body and will be able to tell if you are still holding onto resentments in your heart, mind or soul. You are told you’ll have to keep going to the back of the line until you leave your resentments in the bins and the mental detector senses forgiveness running throughout your body.
You have to return to the back of the line a few times, but you have finally released your resentments and have embraced forgiveness. You are given your boarding pass.
You quickly look at the destination on the ticket. It’s a destination that you’ve never been to but always hoped for the opportunity to visit. You realize why you needed to pack lightly, why you needed to leave your resentments behind and why you needed to embrace forgiveness. The destination on the ticket reads “FREEDOM”.
I once read that “Resentment is the poison I take, wishing the other person would die”. I literally felt that saying in every cell of my body. I knew it to be true in my own life. The only way I would get to earn the ticket to freedom was to leave my old baggage behind, forgive old resentments and move forward with hope, optimism and gratitude.
- For one day or one week keep a tally of the time you take feeding on resentful thoughts and feelings. What else could you be doing with that energy?
- When have you practiced a behavior that has caused someone else to be hurt? How can you break the cycle?
- Forgiving ourselves can clear the path to forgiving others. What have you not forgiven yourself for?
Author bio: Dawn Sinnott been a CPA for 22 years however her life experiences have empowered her to become a divorce recovery life coach. The interesting thing about Dawn’s story is that she was recovering from her ex-husband’s addiction at the same time she was recovering from her divorce and was able to use the same Spiritual tools to recover from both difficult situations. Dawn is passionate about sharing her experience, strength and hope with anyone considering divorce, in the midst of divorce or post-divorce and asking “Now what?” Her message is “If Marriage is a Spiritual Union of two people’s lives, why has divorce become only a Legal Separation?” In Dawn’s experience the Spiritual Dissolution of her marriage was even more important than the legal dissolution. The legal dissolution did not help her with the acceptance of my situation. It didn’t help her with fear of the unknown or the changes that were brought about by her divorce. She believes that divorce can be a catalyst to live a more authentic life with new hope and possibilities; She knows this to be true in her own life and loves empowering people and helping them to see that they’re not alone.