You Will Laugh is perhaps an unusual title for June’s topic of Forgiveness. I had planned to share some ideas to help make this siddhi (spiritual superpower) easier for us. I was going to talk about my father and how he was my greatest role model. But then something unexpected happened today--making me really mad!--challenging me to take a look at the importance of laughter on our path of practicing forgiveness.
My dad was always looking for things to laugh at and was also one of the most compassionate, forgiving people I know. He was the first in his farming family to go to college, not to mention marry a non-Mennonite woman. I have an inkling that this is how he developed the capacity to forgive, for to leave the realm of what we know and what is expected of us is to invite scorn, disapproval and rejection. These types of experiences either make us bitter, and project our wounds onto other people, or they make us stronger and more compassionate. My Dad surely chose the latter.
This month marks four years since my dad passed away, as well as the month of Father's Day. Perhaps I should not be surprised that I began thinking about him when one of my students requested that I cover this topic of forgiveness from a yogic perspective. I did my usual walk in the woods, and during this walk remembered an experience that occurred soon after my Dad’s death. This happened during a time of great transition and struggle for me, at which time a healer shared a vision she received for me where she saw my father (who was very tall) pushing his way through a crowd of spiritual guides, his hands waving, saying “I’ll help!” “I’ll help!”
I trusted this intuition so much because that is just exactly what my dad would do. And it made me laugh. The one-word-message he had for me?
Release. I’ve been trying to understand that word for four years. Some of what I have experienced is how freeing and healing it is to release a relationship that did not turn out well. This helped me forgive myself, as well as others, regardless of the roles we played. This required a release of control, and a willingness to be open to a larger picture I couldn't fully understand.
Perhaps most profoundly for me was learning to release the need to feel good about any of it. The point is not to feel good. Which is why today’s mishap--the one that made me really mad!--happened. I was prepared to write this article and my husband messed up my plans. How was I to write an article on forgiveness when I was feeling this annoyed and angry at my husband?
That’s when I laughed. It took some major willpower, but I recognized it was truly a choice. Just like the choice my father had made to be a compassionate, loving person despite external circumstances.
I look forward to a deeper dive with next week’s Yoga Philosophy video on this topic!
I will share some perspectives from ancient and modern teachers to help us embrace opportunities to forgive, to see how the discomfort, vulnerability and courage it requires provide necessary steps toward uplifting the higher vibration of humanity that is ready to come in for ourselves and the world.
My decision to teach this guarantees I’ll have another chance to practice. I won’t lie. I’m a little nervous! May we all invite in the lightness of laughter, for ourselves and others, as we ease into this challenging practice of forgiveness.
Do you have a forgiveness story to share? Something you’ve learned that helped you along the way? Please share in the comments below and we will be grateful.
With Great Love, and Happy Father’s Day,
P.s. My Dad’s name was Wilson, often called “Will”, and I can hear him laughing at my punny title, ‘You Will Laugh’.
Content related to this months theme:
Guiding Theme | Issue #104 | You Will Laugh!
Yoga Philosophy | Issue #105 | Our Forgiving Nature
Our Yoga Nature | Issue #106 | Forgiveness Lifts Us to a Higher Dimension
Yoga Therapy Class | Issue #107 | The Light and Hum of Our Spiritual Nature