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Posted on 08-01-2017

IGNITE YOUR LIFE: “Be of Service”    by Sarah Gish (AUGUST)

“Allow forgiveness” is the 8th way to ignite your life in my “IGNITE YOUR LIFE!” art project and community campaign (www.IgniteYourOwnLife.com) and the word associated with this concept is “FORGIVE.”  Of all my “12 Ways to Ignite Your Life Daily” concepts, this one is the hardest for me personally. And it must be hard for others too – I sell bracelets with the words on them and the “forgive” bracelets move slowly!

I was listening to the soundtrack for the wildly popular musical HAMILTON one day and heard this line: “Forgiveness, can you imagine?” It was in the song “It’s Quiet Uptown” and the reference is to a sultry affair and a son’s death. I like it because it asks you to imagine. Sometimes forgiveness can only live in the imagination. I have had times in my life when there was a situation that needed to be healed, but I just wasn’t there yet so I had to ALLOW it, imagine it, and not do it. I was open to the possibility of reconciliation but wasn’t ready for it.

However, I have learned that the thing about not forgiving someone is that you stay chained to them because of your anger. As they say in the rooms of AA, “Resentment is like swallowing poison and waiting for the other person to die.” It’s not healthy and it doesn’t ignite any positive change. In fact, it kills the person holding on to it.

A personal tragedy with friends inspired Dr. Shawne Duperon to start researching the healing power of forgiveness and to create the nonprofit Project Forgive (www.ProjectForgive.com), a global resource advancing forgiveness education. I got to spend some time with Shawne last summer and she told me that courage is the key to everything: not only for solving global issues but also to create personal change and to effect forgiveness on a local level. It takes courage to start the conversation and to be willing to change.   

An important thing to note about forgiveness is that it doesn’t have to go hand-in-hand with forgetting. As the Dixie Chicks sang “Forgive, sounds good. Forget, I'm not sure I could.” They were still mad as hell and not ready to make nice! Sometimes it’s just that way. So, what to do when you’re angry at someone and not ready to forgive? I have two recommendations: one is to do what they say in recovery circles: pray or send good energy to the person whom you resent for at least 30 days. The second is to repeat over and over again the mantras of Hoʻoponopono, an ancient Hawaiian practice of forgiveness. This is the order I say them in: “I love you. I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you.” I believe that forgiveness begins with love and ends with gratitude. And if you’re not ready yet, here’s a handy quote-of-the-day from Shawne: “Forgiveness is a process. Sometimes the first simple step is forgiving yourself for not feeling very forgiving.”

“Allow forgiveness” is one of my 12 ways to ignite your life daily – ways that, if followed, will stave off addiction, depression, anxiety, and isolation. Being ignited for your life does that!

Sarah Gish is an igniter, a connector, an artist, a mother – and much more! See her work at www.GishCreative.com, or contact her at sarah@gishcreative.com, 713.492.1173.

She produces a weekly blog highlighting unique cultural activities for adults and kids in Houston: www.GishPicks.com.

IGNITE YOUR LIFE art project: www.IgniteYourOwnLife.com. The complete list of her “12 Ways to Ignite Your Life Daily” can be accessed there. Sarah also does private intuitive guidance sessions on Mondays at Body Mind & Soul. To schedule one, please call 713.993.0550.

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