A Fierce and Forgiving Presence
by Jeff Foster
You have to fall to fly, you have to break to heal, and when it comes to forgiveness you have to feel the hurt, the sorrow, the anger, the rage, before it can pass into love. You have to validate the part of you that burns, stings, aches, feels bruised and abused and abandoned now, drench that part of you with loving awareness, hold that vulnerable and precious child close.
You cannot 'do' forgiveness, no, you cannot jump to it, fast-forward to it, you have to allow yourself to forget about forgiveness and SLOW RIGHT DOWN and hurt first. You have to open your heart to your hurt and closed heart, soften into the hard protective place, tend to the beautiful injured self, grieve the shattered reality and slowly sink into this new and present one.
Only then, perhaps, as the heart digests the pain in love will the heart begin to open by itself. When it is ready and not a moment before. Open your heart to yourself and, in time, you may be able to open your heart to the one who hurt you.
Without condoning what they did, without making excuses for their unconscious behaviour, you may be able to find compassion in time, see the unloved part of them that just didn’t know how to live, understand the pain they were not able to feel, know the feelings they were not able to digest, comprehend that they sought relief outside of themselves and their violence was only self-violence, alienated, projected.
They know not what they did, even if they knew. It was a sickness of the soul.
Do not try to forgive them now. If you cannot forgive, forgive that instead. And do not shame yourself in any way for your “inability to forgive”. Forgiveness will happen in time only as you drop into the depths of yourself and find the wholeness that was never taken from you, the power that is yours and yours alone.
Forgiveness is primarily self-forgiveness, this love that burns inside and radiates outwards in time.
I love when I forgive and I love when I don’t, and this fierce and forgiving Presence holds it all.