Forgiveness is one of the key components of A Course in Miracles and living a peaceful life. I heard a great definition of forgiveness on the Oprah Winfrey Show years ago. Forgiveness is giving up the hope that the past will be different than it was. That one really struck me and I use it often with my coaching clients. This past week I heard another great perspective on forgiveness while listening to the HayHouse World Summit online. In his talk about forgiveness, Kyle Gray asked this question. “Are you willing to continue carrying someone else’s pain?”
It reminded me of that old exercise where one is asked to carry a stone for every person with whom they have a grievance. The more grievances you have, the heavier that satchel is to carry around. And that is exactly what we are doing. When someone hurts us, it is because they are in pain and making choices from fear. So if we continue to think about what they did or didn’t do, we are actually perpetuating that pain. Now we are the ones carrying the burden and feeling the pain, not them. All we need to do is set them down, and sometimes ask a higher power to help lift them from us.
Kyle’s question struck me so profoundly, that of course, life gave me an opportunity to ask it right away. I travel to Miami every Monday afternoon for work. On my way home I often visit the Busy Bee Carwash in North Miami for a $5 “quickwash.” Last week the carwash broke while I was inside. It spit some suds on my car, but none of the twirling brushes or swaying strips of fabric were moving. Even the conveyor belt stopped so I eventually had to drive out. It was closing time and the attendants told me there was nothing they could do except rinse the suds off with a hose. The managers had gone home for the day and attendants were not authorized to give refunds. I accepted this as my only option in the moment, thanked the attendant for rinsing off my car, and set my intention to speak to a manager the following week when I was back in Miami.
That was this Monday, and things did not go well. Apparently the managers leave at 6 pm every day, two hours before the carwash closes. I arrived at 7:30. But when I saw the two attendants who were there last week, I felt certain they would remember what happened and let me get the carwash I never received. No. They were convinced I was trying to scam them because a whole week had passed. My explanation of living in Fort Lauderdale and only being in Miami on Mondays was not sufficient. Again they told me there was nothing they could do since the managers had gone home. It honestly never occurred to me that they wouldn’t practice good customer service and allow me to get my car washed. I left the Busy Bee mad as a hornet and ready to sting someone!
My first thought was to call and leave an angry message on their voice mail or write a bad review on Yelp. Then I remembered Kyle’s question. Was I willing to carry their pain? Their choice came from fear. Was I willing to perpetuate it? More importantly, wasn’t my inner peace worth more than $5? I answered “no” to all of these questions. Continuing to think about how wrong the attendants were and how right I was would never allow me to feel peaceful. I imagined myself laying down the stones my ego wanted me to throw at them. I asked for divine help to see the situation differently. Eventually I was able to send them peaceful thoughts. The chain of pain stopped with me. I will simply find another place to wash my car!
Yes, I understand some events have cut much deeper wounds than a $5 carwash. The good news is the forgiveness process outlined in A Course in Miracles works no matter how big or small the “offense.” The very first miracle principle states, “There is no order of difficulty in miracles.” I would be honored to assist you in finding that peaceful place again no matter what has happened in your life. I base both my Life Coaching and Family Constellations on the principles of A Course in Miracles. Visit my website for more information. Until next time, I invite you to stop the chain of pain, set down those stones, and feel how much lighter you feel!