For me to know something viscerally, I have first to see it, experience it, and feel it all the way to the core of my being. That is true embodiment. I know this about myself. I am here to experience all that life has to offer and to know true joy, I have to be willing to know pain. Maybe this is why I have had a very intimate relationship with suffering.
Forgiveness was something my soul must have wanted to embody. I wish I could say forgiveness was a simple experience to walk through, but I would be lying to you if I said it was. You hear people say, “You need to forgive. Just let it go.” I think that’s easier said than done. Betrayal takes on many forms, and when someone lashes out at you because they want you to feel their pain, it sets off an internal war between your ego and their unconsciousness.
My spirit has been bruised and beaten too many times to count, especially in light of my divorce. I had built up resentment with a laundry list of people. It’s hard not to when you are constantly defending and proving yourself worthy, and you are surrounded by people that can’t support your decision to leave.
But there was one particular experience that I had that I believed was worthy of taking to the grave. It was the kind of betrayal that I felt was unforgivable and unjustified if there ever was a reasonable justification for betraying someone. It fueled poison through my veins. It threw my whole family into a tailspin. It was the ignitor for a battle I wasn’t going to surrender to—EVER.
He declared war, my brother. He turned his back on me during the most painful time of my life; at a time, I needed my family the most. He took it personally, my divorce. As if it were him, I was divorcing. My ex had confided in him; he became the victim and me the assailant. I get it; to them, I lost my damn mind, little did they know I actually found it.
I started hearing damaging things that my brother was saying about me, about my choices and the kind of mother I was. Much of which landed on the ears of my children. It was one thing to want to hurt me, but to involve my children was a whole other level. It was what put the wheels in motion for my son moving out of my home to live with his dad full time. The rage inside of me exploded. It was then I decided to remove him from my life. In my eyes, HE WAS DEAD TO ME.
The family tried to mend the broken pieces, but I didn’t want to entertain any of it. Over a year had passed that we didn’t speak to each other, except for the one time our immediate family tried to have a counseling session. Not even the counselor was going to fix this. The energy in the room was so thick you could cut it with a knife.
All five of us were in the session. We constructed walls so high we couldn’t even see each other anymore. Energy will tell you everything words could never articulate. I could taste the anger, fear, control, and hostility. My soul left a marriage so that I could experience freedom, and it wasn’t about to put itself back in the cage I once built.
I was pregnant with my youngest son, and in a relationship with a man who saw me, the real me, and he had no desire to contain who I was. I was about to give birth to our child. There was a life inside of me that I wanted so desperately to protect from this madness, and still, throughout my entire pregnancy, I was calloused to fixing this, and everyone felt the consequence of that.
Here I was getting ready to bring life into this world, yet a part of me felt a deep sense of grief. I never wanted things to be that way. I only wanted to live my truth, and I couldn’t control how others received that truth.
I didn’t want my children to feel the heavy burden that grief left me. I thought maybe I needed to see a counselor myself to have me sort through my emotions. It amazes me how a miracle can happen in a fleeting moment. They say a miracle is just a change in perception from fear to love, and at that moment, that’s what happened.
In one of my sessions, my counselor put me in a meditative state. In minutes I was brought back to a time when I was six years old, and I was in Italy with my family on vacation. During the meditation, my older brother and father were walking behind me, and they were talking. My older brother and my dad were very close. My mom and I were walking in front of them, holding hands. I’m the baby of the family and the only girl. And my other brother that I had been estranged from was jumping around the side of us trying to get everyone’s attention. It was almost as if he were a ghost. Not one of us stopped to look at him, not even my parents.
In that meditation, I somehow was feeling his feelings, as if I was in his body having the experience. I cannot describe the sadness that I felt for him at that moment. It was an emptiness of a child that felt unseen and unheard as if he didn’t matter. Tears were streaming down my face as I imagined this being the feelings of my own son.
When I came out of the meditative state, I didn’t know how to process these emotions. I was still so angry for what he did to me, yet I carried so much sadness for having experienced his deep, unhealed wounds. I did nothing for a long time. I wasn’t ready to put anger down just yet.
Several months had passed, until this one day, I was sitting in my office, and I heard the word “NOW” echo deep inside of me. I knew what that meant. I resisted. “What do you mean now? I’m not ready to let this go.” But I knew deep down when you get a call to action from a power that is much bigger than your simple-minded ears can hear, you act on it.
My heart raced. I was called to get out of my own way. I was here for a purpose, and my only job was to trust what that was. It was time to put my ego and pride aside, to put down the victim story, and to trust in the power of forgiveness, because this wasn’t about me anymore.
I wasn’t about to call my brother after a year, but I was ok with sending an email. I still had my guard up because I was terrified of being hurt again. I started writing from my heart, and the email went something like this:
I don’t expect you to respond to this email, but I feel like there are some things I need to say. I was in a counseling session, and during the session, I was in meditation and (I proceeded to write the entire experience). I need you to know that I am so sorry if you never felt seen or heard in this family. I’m sorry if you never got the unconditional love you deserved. And I’m also sorry if my divorce took any attention away from you.
Minutes later, he called after reading my email, and I didn’t answer. He left me a message, as he tried to hold back tears. He broke, and I felt his sincerity in his tone. As I listened to his message, I felt the poison I had been carrying leave my entire body as my tears washed it all away. We put the pieces back together, and I never looked back since.
Now, I realize that not every situation can reunite in reconciliation. Forgiveness is not about having to let the person back into your life. Some people, no doubt, need to be removed and have no place in your world. But it is about removing the poison that is coursing through your veins so that you can live a happier and healthier life.
You have to be willing to ask yourself, “What has holding this grudge cost me?” Does it cost you your health, relationships, your peace of mind? Holding someone energetically hostage is like using up prime real estate in your mind and body, and that kind of energy is holding you back from living your purpose.
My experience with my brother showed me how people walk around as wounded children when they are unconscious of their wounds. He and I grew up in the same family, raised by the same parents, yet we both had a very different internal experience.
As an adult, I believed that he should know better, but seeing him as a child still carrying these wounds, made me see things from a whole different view, a perspective that my ego could never understand.
I leave you with this internal knowing, “You cannot do what I need you to do if you continue to carry what isn’t yours.”—What are you carrying that isn’t yours? Whatever is it, it’s getting in the way of your purpose.