Sunday, February 18, 2018

Seventy Times Seven

December 16, 2015 by  
Filed under Featured Posts, Practice

freeLike most people, I used to think that forgiveness was about letting others off the hook. I thought it meant telling someone that I forgave him or her. I thought it was something I proffered magnanimously to others, ensconced in my rightness. I thought it was something that I doled out to the deserving like tablespoons of water to someone dying of thirst. They would be so grateful for my benevolence, and I would feel so …. well, so right.

All this exploded when I came across this quote and realized that forgiveness is all about me, and no one else:

“Forgiveness is a selfish act that frees you from being controlled by the past.”

This was a life-changer for me. Since then, I have dedicated time and effort to forgiveness in copious and unimpeded amounts. Retreats, workshops, books, journaling, coaching, Archbishop Tutu’s Forgiveness Challenge – I have done them and done them again. Some things I have forgiven seventy times seven, as Jesus advised the apostle Peter who had asked how many times he should forgive. Yet things kept coming up. It seemed like forgiveness was the proverbial onion – you peel the layers, and peel and peel and peel some more.

Then one morning a few months ago, this thought came to me: “Whenever I have a negative thought, it means there is something to forgive.” I have numerous negative thoughts each day, so I certainly have many opportunities to forgive. Rather than tackling forgiveness as a massive, one-time event, I decided to add daily forgiveness to my morning gratitude journaling. Here’s what I now do each morning:

  1. I scribe in my journal: “Right here and right now I forgive.”
  2. And then I sit in silence and observe what comes up. Typically, a name or an experience will surface – it may be someone close to me, a stranger who barged ahead of me in the subway the day before or a member of the US Republican party.
  3. Then I write. I acknowledge the negative thoughts, writing extensively until I can find no more negatives. Once finished, I continue: “I now forgive and release.”
  4. If no one comes up, then I write: “I forgive anyone for whom I hold a negative thought.” This is my forgiveness insurance – just in case there’s anything at all that is lurking in my subconscious.
  5. But there’s always another person to be forgiven: myself. Somehow it always comes around to this: “I forgive myself”. Yes, the seventy times seven and more applies to me. At the least, I forgive myself for holding the negative thought. Many times there’s another bout of venting and release, until I feel empty and clear.

Upon completion, I feel light – I am free from the control of the past – at least until the next negative thought.

I have many more days to get to 490. And even when I do, I suspect that I will need to continue. But hopefully, I will be shedding less and less as time passes, until I am fully and completely free from the control of any past moment, experience or person. I will then be living fully in the now.


2 Responses to “Seventy Times Seven”
  1. Cecile Claayton says:

    Thanks for this Marguerite. It has inspired me and I now commit to resuming my daily gratitude journal which I had neglected for far too long . . .

  2. Marguerite Orane says:

    Thank you Cecile. Adding daily forgiveness to my gratitude practice has really upped my “free and laughing” quotient.

    Wishing you all the very best for Christmas and 2016.

    Blessings in abundance