Forgive and be free

Today's Chopra Center's "Free to Love," Meditation challenge explored the topic of forgiveness, a universal theme so many of us grapple with. Left untreated, anger, hate, and resentment can cause physical illness and certainly create wars.

I love Nelson's Mandela's quote: resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies. Remember that next time you are seething with anger after being wronged.

Learning to forgive clears the way to love and brings emotional health and peace. Forgiveness is an essential to a happy life.

One of the most helpful books I've read on the subject is Colin Tipping's  "Radical Forgiveness." Tipping offers something compelling, he teaches that one  powerful way to let go is to refuse to be a victim. Reading Tipping's powerful message helped me heal from the long held anger I felt toward my father for abandoning my family. I was not his victim and I was tired of feeling like an abandoned child. I'd realized that my dad had reasons that had nothing to do with me when he left and in thinking so, I felt tremendous compassion for him since he missed many beautiful moments in my life as well as in the lives of my four brothers and sisters. After a good cry, I sent him a silent prayer and wished him love and light. I went to bed feeling free, lightness and joy.

The next day the most extraordinary thing happened, several  hours after releasing my anger, my dad died unxpectedly in my sisters's arms from a fatal heart attack. While we never spoke physically I know that father and daughter spirits did some talking in the space between New York and Pennsylvania! I was at peace that we'd resolved our earthly differences. He was able to transition peacefully.

Grace engulfed me the night I discovered the power of forgiveness--I realized then that forgiving is not something you do necessarily for the other person, you do it for yourself as well. Forgiveness clears the way to a rebirth and emotional freedom.

David Simon put it eloquently: "Life is too short to carry the burden of a heavy heart. It does not serve you or anyone else. Free yourself through the power of forgiveness and compassion. Let go, carrying hate and an unforgiven heart is poison to the spirit."

Forgiveness is a choice.  Choose it today. Your heart will love you for it.