By Kristin Masterton
I wanted to talk about forgiveness, because I have found it to be such a powerful way to transform my world.
Of course, like most everything, forgiveness can’t be forced and for most of us it is a process, a back and forth interconnected web of healing that we either participate in or choose to block. Intention is the key. If we intend to forgive, if we open up to the possibility, life will not refuse us.
I want to share part of my process of learning to forgive. I wasn’t sure I should share this because it isn’t really over yet. I do know the ending. I know how it must end – if not in this lifetime, in some future place and time. But I am not so sure of the middle. I am not so sure of what is next for me. Still I want to tell you a bit about what brought me to the place I am now, this place of incomplete completeness, where although I know everything is constantly changing I also know that in my heart I have forgiven.
This part of my story has to do with my stepfather who sexually abused me when I was a little girl. It’s awkward to mention because it tends to stir up shadows and fears and make people feel uncomfortable and also because I wouldn’t want anyone to feel sorry for me. That would be embarrassing. We all have our own past pain, our own trauma to release, and compared to a great many my challenges have been nothing. Besides I am no longer that child. I am no longer confused and wounded by that old betrayal of trust and violation of my boundaries. It was so long ago, it might have been a dream. In fact, there are many times when I am sure that was all it was. Just a dream experience. Yet that dream experience was one of the most significant of my life, shaping me in a way that no other has. Ultimately that experience has led me to discover my wholeness and has taught me that love is real – and that I am that love. And so is my stepfather. And so are you.
Isn’t it strange that something that was dark and shameful and created agony within my body and mind could end up bringing so much light? Of course, the deeper significance wasn’t always clear to me. There were years when things were muddy and dark and I had no idea who I was or what was happening inside of me. I bet you have had times like that. We all have.
I know I haven’t really said much. We all know that along with happiness life brings pain. Still, on some level we must have chosen life and so chosen the pain along with the pleasure. At least that’s how I see it and from that standpoint forgiveness becomes natural, for who is there to forgive? Forgiveness becomes a personal matter, something between me and my Maker, and a means of personal transformation. Forgiveness opens my heart. Forgiveness will not close off and hide no matter what the consequence – and so forgiveness makes me free.
I haven’t seen my stepfather since I was 12 or 13 years old. Yet now, sometimes out of nowhere I have this desire to find him, to see him face to face again. It feels odd to say but I want to put my arms around him and tell him that I love him. Is that the craziest thing you have ever heard?
I think it must be crazy. And yet it is a very real part of the story.
When I imagine that hug I start to cry. Not because of anything that has ever happened to me. I realize that nothing has ever really been done to me. My tears are for the misunderstanding – the misunderstanding that causes me to forget that the same God that is within me is within you and all the suffering that comes because I have forgotten. I think this is why these days the person I struggle most to forgive is me. I want so much to be better at remembering and I need to forgive myself for not being better. I need to forgive myself for the times I have thought I could be more or less special in God’s eyes than anyone else.
As I said before, intention is the key. And so, if I intend to forgive myself, if I am open to the possibility, life will not refuse me. At least that is my prayer.
I hope you will forgive me too.
PS. Please follow this link to read a poem from me: “Please Accept this Love.”
Kristin’s background includes a BA in communications, former martial arts instructor, in depth training and certification through the Chopra Center for Well Being as a meditation instructor, yoga instructor certification and over five years actively teaching meditation classes. Kristin is also a published poet and writer with experience in business and management. She currently teaches weekly meditation classes as well as more intensive meditation clinics/seminars, offers business presentations in stress reduction and co-facilitates a meditation certification for meditation teachers.
Since becoming a Certified Meditation Instructor in 2002, Kristin has had the opportunity to share meditation with hundreds of people, including groups of teenage girls in a local detention center. Kristin’s vision is that one day meditation is understood, comfortable and readily available to anyone.
Kristin Masterton lives in Minnesota with her husband, Scott, where she enjoys teaching meditation and yoga, writing and caring for their children. More information about Kristin and her husband can be found at http://www.meditationbliss.com
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