The Freedom of Forgiveness

As Jupiter comes up to its last square with Neptune, the word forgiveness keeps coming into focus for me. Have you heard the saying “to err is human, to forgive divine”? For me it sums up the essence of this transit. The confidence of Jupiter can help us face a painful situation and its wisdom allows us to take a higher view. Add in Neptune’s empathy to understand we all make mistakes, compassion to allow water under the bridge, allow the pain and suffering to dissolve into the past. Both offer a pathway to something higher, and place of freedom, though the square brings a tension that requires work to be done or choices to be made.

What is forgiveness? Why is it important? Let me share a personal story with you – I was once deeply hurt by a friend, someone I was very close to and had shared much with. I became so indignant and angry. For months I stewed on it, raged about it to my husband, spoke about it constantly to a few trusted friends, how much it hurt me and how horrible the behaviour had been. It took over my life and affected my other friendships because I couldn’t get past it. Until eventually, one wise friend said to me “It’s time to forgive”. My angry response was “How can I forgive what was said and done?” and she asked me “Haven’t you punished yourself enough? Now it’s time to forgive yourself”. And she was right. I gave my power away, allowed the drama to take over my life, to take me offline – mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Those words were like a silver key to open the prison of bitterness I had locked myself in.

So I went through a forgiveness process, of examining the part I had played in the whole drama. I gave my power away, allowed someone else to tell me how I should think and behave and willingly took the part of the victim. Yes, it was horrible what happened, and yes, the friendship is beyond repair. But by examining my own role in it all, taking responsibility for what I did, it allowed the lies and illusion to clear away. I could recognise ways in which I created the situation, and by forgiving myself, the heat and anger died away. I was then also able to work on forgiving the other person and moving beyond it all. For here the lessons became clear – to know my power is only ever mine, my deep trust is precious and can’t be given to everyone, and also that we ALL make mistakes, and having expectations that another human is perfect is not fair to them either. All this a wisdom I wouldn’t have known without forgiveness.

All forgiveness starts with ourselves, as we create the reality in which we live. Do you wish to be connected to anger, fear, resentment? As Cheryl Strayed has said, “You have to say “I am forgiven” again and again until it becomes the story you believe about yourself.” It isn’t an easy process at all, but the freedom, understanding and wisdom that comes you can never lose. Forgiveness is a quality, a cooling balm from a higher place, and the more we open up to it in our lives, the more its magic lives with us. So as Jupiter creeps closer to square Neptune over the next few days, I invite you to think about how you can connect to forgiveness, and bring it into your life. And you never know, by bringing forgiveness into your own life, you may also be opening a channel for others to more easily do the same. And the world could definitely do with so much of this today!

Here are some ideas to connect to forgiveness:

  1. Watching movies which have forgiveness as a theme – Invictus, Goodbye Bafana, and In My Country are all wonderful, and both Shawshank Redemption and Molly’s Game examine self-forgiveness.
  2. Reading stories about Forgiveness can inspire new ways of thinking on our own situations.
  3. Books such as “I Shall Not Hate” or “No Future Without Forgiveness” also help us understand what a life with forgiveness can look like.
  4. Journalling about your own part in the process is a great start.
  5. Later writing a letter that never gets sent to the other party.
  6. Seeking support in counselling or psychotherapy can help us process our experiences in a deep way.

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