Cover Title: Whale Dreaming
I’ve been painting for just over two years now. I began playing with watercolour whilst living in Hawaii and fell in love with its freedom and fluidity, I’d play music and watch the colours intertwine, I found peace whilst painting. I also liked the unpredictability of watercolour. About a year ago I started putting my works online via Instagram and have since began working part time as an Artist and have sold up to 200 pieces. I launched a successful Kickstarter campaign making Affirmation Cards and I am currently illustrating a Children’s Book called Namaste-Z.
You’re a peaceful person right? You don’t go picking arguments and fights, you don’t experience road rage, you even try not to yell when you get angry. You always do your best to be kind, thoughtful, loving and considerate. But … is there a thorn in your side? A wound within you where you hold a grievance? Is there something that happened, something somebody said, that you now hold against that person? Perhaps it was a friend, a family member, maybe even a stranger, maybe it’s even yourself?
A grievance, according to the dictionary is, a real or imagined cause for complaint, especially unfair treatment. And a feeling of resentment over something believed to be wrong or unfair.
So if you can identify a grievance within you, what next? How do you let it go? I’m reminded of a quote Nelson Mandala made famous, ‘Resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for your enemy to die.’ So you want to let go of these things as a gift for your own health and wellbeing, not for the other person.
I love that the definition above covers real or imagined, as so often my mind has come up with a story about why so and so has or has not done something and it’s just that, a story. Unfortunately many grievances are not even real, people making assumptions based on their story. They are a breakdown in communication and lack of understanding and respect for anothers’ perspective.
Forgiveness can be perceived as a weakness but in truth it is the greatest strength. I know on my journey through forgiveness, initially I was afraid to forgive feeling like it meant I was accepting that behaviour as ok. Forgiveness is not about condoning the behaviour or about trusting that person again. It took me a while and I’m still learning what acceptance really is and how to live it. To change your feelings and let go of negative emotions to the point of wishing the ‘offender’ well, no matter how legally or morally justified it might be to hold onto those feelings, is BIG! It’s transformational and is the real work for creating peace!
Give Yourself Time
Don’t expect to forgive quickly. I think sometimes we might think that a good person forgives and so I ‘should’ forgive and it can be worn like a mask, but the real change inside the heart is yet to happen. Allow the process of all the emotions to rise and fall away and forgiveness is a natural process. The time it takes varies on the intensity of the pain experienced and the consciousness of those involved. You can get help along the way to help you work through the emotions. Just don’t get stuck along the way.
To be able to express how you felt/feel and feel heard is an important part of the process. This can be to the person directly or it can be an indirect process, especially if it would put you in danger, or they are in the spirit world. Remain calm and speak respectfully, refrain from placing blame. A powerful ritual is to write it down and then burn it away, transforming it. Expressing your forgiveness is also very healing and powerful.
The Hawaiians have a very powerful prayer and process for forgiveness, a mantra of the heart if you will. Ho’oponopono: I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you, I love you.
The Hawaiian word ho‘oponopono comes from ho‘o (“to make”) and pono (“right”). The repetition of the word pono means “doubly right” or being right with both self and others. Through the practice of chanting this mantra it will assist you to clear any grievances you may hold with others or towards yourself. You might notice it is a four step process. 1. Repent – I’m sorry. 2. Ask forgiveness – Please forgive me. 3. Gratitude – thank you. 4. Love – I love you. This can be used daily to assist in the little things, like the negative thoughts that may come into one’s mind, to the big things, like domestic violence.
Go Beyond Your Self
On a deeper level, who is that holds a grievance? Is it not the ego? The ‘I’ that has been offended or hurt in some way? Sometimes people hold onto stuff for a very long time, so long they can’t even really remember why they stopped being friends etc. The ego loves to hold onto things, it makes it feel powerful. It lives on identification and separation. Our grievances are separating us and most strongly when the ‘other’ is an enemy. When I criticise or condemn another it makes me feel superior. This we know extends from individuals to cultures and can be carried through time.
Allow your spirit to be free and allow forgiveness to blossom in your heart. Take steps to pull those thorns out of your side, to forgive those in your life, to forgive yourself, and to inspire forgiveness in our community. Who will you make peace with on Peace Day?