I have grown up with Pat Conroy, living through the horrors of his family life in The Great Santini, The Prince of Tides, The Lords of Discipline, and Beach Music. Copious tears have accompanied the reading of each saga of abuse and dysfunction in the Conroy family. In the spaces between the words I knew that it was not really fiction. Now that I am reading this year’s publication of Conroy’s autobiography, The Death of Santini, I know not only that the sagas are true, but that they are only half the story. This is a story of reconciliation. Pat forgave his father, and himself. This, I am in awe of.
So, forgiveness is on my mind today. My meditation led me into those realms of forgiveness and I share the practice that came from it. My intention is to slowly review my life in stages and let the people who have consciously or unconsciously hurt me, gently stroll through my mind. These are hurts that have been healed, some already forgiven, some still waiting. It is not a time to use my ego to freshly analyze each hurt; rather, for me it is a process of the spirit, wherein, being truly present to it, I choose to let it go. If I feel it is not time to forgive, I just move on to the next person, knowing that I will return to analyze and pray about that hurt again at another time. In this practice, I remember to forgive myself as well.
The first time I used this practice the experience was both powerful and gentle. When the two most poignant hurts came into awareness I felt pain and cried, but it was quickly healed. I think we have to forgive more than once, and at each forgiveness, we let go of more resentment and it is easier. As I write, I have become aware that I forgot a hurt that rivals the hurts doled out by Santini! No wonder. It has a layer of nearly impenetrable scar tissue protecting it….Been there, done that. In these few days before the dawning of the New Year, I intend to repeat this practice daily.
Practice: Center yourself in a way that is meaningful to you. When you feel ready, name a person from an early memory who hurt you, and say while inhaling and exhaling:
Breathing in, I forgive you, ___________________(name)
Breathing out, I release resentment.
Breathing in, I forgive you, _________________(your name)
Breathing out, I release resentment.
Repeat this until you know that it is time to move on to the next person.
May peace be yours in this New Year!
9 thoughts on “A Spiritual Practice For the New Year”
A book I found really, really useful on the subject of forgiveness is Radical Forgiveness by Colin Tipping. I read it years ago but just the first chapter illuminated patterns in my life which helped me start the process of forgiveness.
I’ve heard of it and will be sure to pick. It up. Thanks Mo, and Happy New Year.
Weel done, Rita. We are in a season of healing, and shedding the past. I love this meditation practice…and will use it. Thank you.
Thank you, Carrie. I’m glad it is helpful. I think it touches into your concept, that we are the leaders of our own lives. When we are chained to resentment we are being led by it instead of leading our own lives. Happy New Year!
Hi Rita, I’m so glad to have reconnected with WordPress today, particularly this offering from you – I sorely needed this reminder about forgiveness, so thank you, thank you, thank you! Blessings for the New Year, Nic
It is my blessing to you Nic. I assure you, it came from a place in me not entirely my own so it belongs to all of us. Thank you for reblogging. I have a sense that it should be out there at this time. Happy New Year!
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Reblogged this on dancingwiththebeloved and commented:
Thank you Rita for sharing the grace of this reminder about forgiveness!
Rita, this book and Pat’s “story” was so poignant for me also! Forgiveness, reconciliation, and really true Redemption! Pat’s ability to reveal the deepest, darkest, is really a spirituality for him, and obviously, a real healing. Thanks for sharing the book and insights.
I feel sad reading about Pat’s own series of demise. He certainly has not emerged unscathed.
On Tue, Dec 31, 2013 at 7:27 AM, Spirituality Without Borders: Reflections