(This post is in collaboration with Leigh Gaitskill, Not Just Sassy On the Inside, who came up with this brilliant idea of inviting bloggers to write about Forgiveness. A huge topic. Something that I am still figuring out myself. And this post is a step towards that.)
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Last year, I went through my most pivotal Chiron Return astrological phase. We experience it when we reach the age of 50, or thereabouts — 49 to 51. Chiron Return is the time when Chiron, the Wounded Healer, goes back to its original position (house placement) in our astrological natal chart. We wrap up the issues related to our core wound and determine how healing from the wound can help others.
The energies of this phase were so potent that there seemed to be no escaping, albeit unintentionally, revisiting my core wounds in relation to my family and country of origin. Oh, it was such an intense, emotionally painful time for me! Deeply cleansing and healing though, thankfully!
I had this seemingly insatiable desire — almost an obsession — to truly embody forgiveness and compassion, to get to the point when I can say,
It is done. I am done. I have truly and completely forgiven. I am no longer hurting. No more pain. Only Love, Peace and Compassion remain.
I wish that I could now say precisely that — that there isn’t any more pain and only Love, Peace and Compassion remain.
Sure, there is Love, Peace and Compassion — for myself and for others who have ‘wronged’ me or caused the pain. There’s also a deeper understanding and better appreciation for what happened. But, I do feel the pain and vividly remember some of the events — still. Now, does that mean I have not truly and completely forgiven?
Well, that’s what I had thought and believed for the longest time. I was getting so frustrated — even angry at myself — for not being able to arrive at that point where the feelings of hurt and anger would have completely disappeared. That point that I had thought is the ultimate measure of true forgiveness.
But I’m realizing that if my goal is to be at a point where there is no more pain, I may be setting myself up for failure and disappointment. Perhaps even more pain.
And why is that?
I’m realizing it may not be realistic or healthy to completely remove the pain or to even erase from my memory the event that brought the pain. Doing so may be a form of denial or repression. It may be brought by the [false] belief that to [still] feel such painful emotions makes me unspiritual. And if I follow this thought process, I could get trapped in spiritual bypassing, “the use of spiritual beliefs to avoid dealing with painful feelings, unresolved wounds, and developmental needs,” according to Robert Augustus Masters, Ph.D., author of Spiritual Bypassing: When Spirituality Disconnects Us from What Really Matters.
I’m realizing that the part of me who felt the pain and continues to feel the pain, the part of my being who remembers and will probably always remember the experience and the pain, is only one part of me who experienced it. It isn’t all of me; It is only one aspect of my being.
And that part of me is my little Nadine. My inner child who was wounded.
Now, let’s not get into the ‘but-they-just-didn’t-know-any-better-like-you-and-the-rest-of-us-who-don’t-know-any-better-and-we’re-simply-doing-the-best-we-can.’ Believe me, I so know that.
Yet, my wounded little Nadine, who felt hurt, cannot simply know that. She cannot even begin to grasp the concept. It is unreasonable and quite impossible to expect it from her. My hurting, wounded inner child simply does not have the capacity or the ability to do so, and she will never be able to develop that ability. And the acknowledgement of such limitation is not to further invalidate her.
In fact, the acknowledgment of my little Nadine’s limited capacity is expressed with nothing but compassion and respect — to honor her and acknowledge her experience. An acknowledgement simply of what is —that my little Nadine felt hurt.
To my little Nadine, what happened is real. Very real. And no one can take away from my little Nadine the truthfulness of her experience.
However, I get that the point of my healing journey is to not dwell on the remembrance of the experience and the accompanying feelings and emotions.
Rather, to tap into the part of me who can see beyond the pain and transcend the hurtful experience and feelings. To see the bigger picture. To make sense of it all and find a deeper meaning and higher purpose. To find the wisdom and extend compassion to the part of me who is hurting, my wounded little Nadine, as well as to those who have wronged that part of me. To take ownership and responsibility for what happened by remembering the spiritual agreement for which my soul signed up — an agreement that included going through the very painful experiences for which my little Nadine is hurting, and for which I am extending forgiveness.
My healing and my growth will then come from my perception and interpretation of the event. And the part of me who can do that isn’t and simply couldn’t be my wounded hurting little Nadine.
Rather, it is the Wise One within. My Divine Self. The Goddess Within. My Inner Crone. My Inner Chiron. My Inner Wounded Healer.
And it is the task of this Inner Goddess, the Adult Nadine, the Parent Nadine, to give all the love, respect and compassion to my hurting little Nadine. To have a dialogue with her. To re-parent her. Re-parent the Child Within.
I cannot heal what I do not feel. I cannot forgive unless I grieve. And the only way to grieve is to go through it — not around it.
There is no going around healing, grieving and forgiving. The process begins with that one most important step of acknowledging what happened. Of honoring my experience. Feeling the feelings associated with it.
Remembering is the stepping stone upon which I am able to begin the process of forgiveness. Remembering paves the way for me to tap into my Divine Self and integrate all of my experiences and take a step towards self-mastery. Remembering helps me to re-member — to piece together the fragmented parts of my being towards wholeness. Then, when I recall and retell my stories, it will no longer be from the point of view of the hurting little Nadine but the perspective of my Divine Self.
And that is the essence of this most pivotal and recently concluded Chiron Return phase of my healing journey — to realize and make peace with all that happened and find the gifts behind the wound.
So, when I recall, intentionally or not, my painful experiences, when I am triggered by them, when I feel the pain, still, or I remember vividly, still, all that happened, it does not mean that I have not forgiven. It does not mean that I have not transcended the pain.
It is simply my hurting little Nadine having an organic response and natural experience — the act of having the memory of her experiences. Something that’s inherent to the human journey.
When I can remember, but I am not attached to the experience or I do not identify with the pain, when I can remember while I extend empathy to that part of me that’s hurting and who felt offended, as well as to the offending party, when I can be a compassionate observer, and honor my experience and hold gratitude for it and appreciation for how I have grown and for all that I have become — because of all that happened — then, that is when I know I have truly forgiven.
Forgiving is not forgetting. To forgive is to remember what happened, at the same time, see beyond it and be grateful for the memories and the experiences. To transcend and include all that happened. To forgive is to remember and appreciate the gifts and the growth opportunities resulting from such experiences.
- Chiron Return: A Most Meaningful Rite of Passage
- How Does One Effectively Grieve?
- Round Of Forgiveness Day 6
- Are You Giving Yourself the 5A’s?
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