Last year, I had the privilege of joining a group of people for a Forgiveness Coaching Course with Rev. Dr. Michelle Wadleigh. Since developing a forgiveness practice is a large part of spiritual growth, I knew I wanted to pursue the program.
Rev. Michelle took us through a detailed practice on how to forgive. She told us we could not coach others if we had not gone through the process ourselves.
Thankfully, she summarized her teaching in an article in the November SOM Magazine. Her article, Forgiveness: Breaks the Chain of Pain, describes forgiveness as a secret power that enables us to transform our lives and relationships. She even says,
In many ways, forgiveness is a synonym for freedom… With focused intention to be free, you can begin the process of finding your freedom. This might seem like a soundbite, but it is so much more, if you want your freedom more than you want to be right, angry, or righteous, then you have paved your own path for your forgiveness to take hold and opened the fates to possibility. Your intention is as powerful as your attention on it.
Rev. Michelle’s Three Elements of a Forgiveness Practice
- Set your intention. To do this, establish your why. Knowing what you want to gain clears the path to focus on the outcome rather than the condition. Sometimes that means walking through the fire of your emotions to find your freedom.
- Practice non-judgment. Typically, forgiveness is needed because you have judged someone for their actions and behaviors. One of the ways to avoid this is to turn judgment into curiosity. Learn to have a sense of wonder about the world and people around you.
- Look to understand rather than to be understood. Most of us make mistakes and errors of judgment in an attempt to get our needs met. Sometimes we are clumsy and hurt other people. The same goes for others who, like you, are just doing their best.
When you apply the principles above, you cease needing to constantly condemn yourself because you are more understanding, compassionate, and loving towards yourself and others.
Rev. Michelle has written an excellent workbook on the subject of forgiveness which was recently published on Amazon.
Get your copy of Forgiveness: A Path, A Promise, A Way of Life.