” Forgiveness is not always easy. At times, it feels more painful than the wound we suffered, to forgive the one that inflicted it. And yet, there is no peace without forgiveness. ”
~ Marianne Williamson
For years, the act of forgiveness was elusive. I believed that staying unforgiving was a sign of strength and resolve, but then when my body could not hold the toxins anymore I understood that accumulating resentment didn’t work for health, peace, and happiness. I had to change. I had to learn something my mother could not teach me, at the time.
Forgive in a shamanistic way
So, I have learned to forgive in a shamanistic way: with guides, totem animals, and the medicine wheel. I learned to forgive in a Kabbalistic way: with angels, prayers and standing up to “The inner opponent”, leave Klipot [layers] behind and make room for more light. I learned to forgive with Theta healing and let source energy clean my heart. I learned to forgive with sound healing and created many healing chants for me and others. This week something happened that taught me a lesson in grace.
For years I had a long list of people, incidents, and situations I needed to forgive. I did that, always discovering more layers. Deeper layers of being a woman, a Jewish person in Europe, an artist and a peace lover on earth.
The last few years the answer to the question; Who do I need to forgive to be free? “ was very surprising to me. The answer was almost always: Myself.
I could not believe how many cases of wrongdoing I had against myself, how cruel and blaming I was for all my failures. How judgmental I was towards myself: for all my pain, for all my weaknesses, for all my faults and mistakes. Meeting my shadows one by one helped me release all that and bring more self- love to my heart, mind, body, and spirit. This journey has become a big part of the Goddessa Guide to Happiness.
Still, when my father called to say he was coming to visit me in my new house, I welcomed him and thought that it would be an opportunity to heal our relationship and forgive him some more.
The Father I Got
Little did I know that it was time to learn something new. The last time my father visited me was 26 years ago, so this was a special moment. The last years, as parts of me, became softer and with less resentment, I connected to my father with more wisdom. Since I raise a child with special needs, I started to understand my father Communication challenges and my own frustrations as a child. My father is also special. He has a bit of a problem with communication and being present and I mostly felt disappointment from “the father I got” and felt completely unacknowledged.
When my mother wanted to divorce, I supported her quest for happiness and choose her over him and lost him, as a result. But also my home, my family, my village and growing up with my brothers were lost.
The last years I took the role of the peacemaker between my father and parts of my family that had enough, had resentments or just ignored him. Now after a few years of our relationship warming up, he responded to my invitation and came to help me with the new house. Experiencing my father in the happy home I have created with my beloved husband and my kids were beautiful. I felt I got to know him outside of the structure and prejudices of our tribe. He was so patient, even “a bit Zen”, said my beloved. He gave me space, was happy for me, but he was still careful. He was surprised that my house is full of pictures of his parents and the wonderful childhood I had in the village and I realize that he thinks that I had rejected it, him – the life his family gave to me. I told him that for years I had felt broken, disowned, rejected and that I lost everything and that building a new life in Holland was the only way left for my heart to survive.
My daughter, who can feel unseen things, was dancing around my father and showering him with attention, aware that the situation is delicate. I was kind to him, warm, accommodating and felt the gratefulness of my deceased grandmother. I could feel her pain well. Raising a child who doesn’t fit into the mold of society is hard and full of worry. You hope your child finds kindness and understanding in the big wide hard world. Now I can appreciate how well my father lives with all his limitations.
On the fifth day after working in the garden together, laughing and eating dinner outside, I felt that he started to open up to me. I felt that he started to trust me and I was surprised. On Friday, a full moon, I arranged for him to go to the big city to have fun and sleep there. I went to my meditation chair outside and I felt my heart was full of pain and I almost felt sick. I asked what it was that I was feeling? And I got the answer right away.
In a flash, I could see all of the nasty words, ridicule, embarrassments and cruel suggestions that my father stuffed in himself. All the times he looked unresponsive to remarks, or that he didn’t care, did leave a mark inside.
I saw my part in it.
I thought of all the times that I became particularly harsh when I thought I didn’t get through to him. I saw that child in him that got wounded when my mother was shouting and realized his pain and my part in it. Then I saw two other incidents where I was unkind to the people of my tribe. In both cases, my mother just told me something that made me unforgiving to them.
I saw all this pain and my physical body was bending forward and visually I saw myself vomiting up years of pain. Years of the compressed unacknowledged suffering of myself, my father, my mother, the men in my family, the women in my family, my tribe, my people, the world.
Exhausted, I raised myself from the chair and did a Tashlich: a ritualistic gesture to surrender it, both to the water and to the earth to transmute and transform it.
Learning to Forgive My Self
So here I was, learning to forgive myself, learning grace, patience, and humility from the person I believed couldn’t teach me anything. Then I felt love and peace come and I sat under my fig tree to let it revive me. After an hour I felt fully alive and that evening hosted a group of women for dinner and a singing circle. The youngest was 11 years old, the oldest was 73 and we sang and sent forgiveness chants to anyone who needed it and all was well.