The power of forgiveness

“Forgiveness when unavailable in the heart, erodes all trust and affection within us. There is no expanse greater to traverse than that.”

Forgiveness cannot be given by force. It is a journey, an invisible bridge, only reachable when the soul of connection is healed.

During the loss of my dear friend Djuna to MS in her 20th year, I found myself drowning in my grief. Our friendship was sparked from her remarkable unyielding commitment to a principle I knew as “ahimsa.” This is a yogic principle meaning non-harming. It is perhaps the ultimate pursuit of any yogi or seeker of peace. It was a principle she lived from her whole heart, uniting her openness, compassion and bravery.

If she suffered, or sensed her time was coming, no one around her knew of it. When she passed I found out on Facebook. She had lost the battle over summer break. I missed the funeral and was not there to witness the celebration of her life. I missed the chance to say how deeply her spirit touched me.

Without her presence, I felt helpless and lost. I failed to be a healer for those I cared for, my friend and now myself. It was like picking up a flower and in the forceful desire to know and understand it, I had somehow crumbled it apart in my hands. One teacher could see into my eyes the depths of my experience. She told me when her teacher sought wisdom, he would climb to the highest mountain to seek his answers.

I drove to the peaks of Eagle Rock. I’m wilderness trained but I barely spared a thought as I took only my sleeping bag, compass, crude provisions and a star-shaped crystal. There on the mountain I faced the crossroads of healing and self-destruction. I saw two marked paths before me – silently bury myself inside my pain, or lay to rest my burden and ask for some sign.=

Slowly, I felt into my heartspace. I noticed an extraordinary sensitivity to dampness, the light of dusk, the glimmer of starlight. Surrender, I heard a voice say in my heart. As I stood at the base of the mountain I felt the unseen presence of a guide. A silent thrumming urged me to search, seek further. I struggled to see into something beyond my perception yet still closed to me. Footsteps. A deer? I sent my willing surrender. Ahimsa. I held it in, contained it and allowed stillness into my every cell. I bowed silently, tearful to be with what was arising.

Just as quietly, it vanished. I found the humility of all the weight I had piled upon myself finally collapsing. I saw Djuna’s eyes in my memory, her face turned toward the sky as she laughed. How dare you. I thought. How dare you leave and suffer alone without telling anyone. I could finally face myself. Forgiveness poured through me like water through a river. I felt her presence, everywhere.

Then I felt something as powerful as the mountain beneath me rise up. Hope. Release. Deepest humility. I found the courage to speak my truth. In looking at myself with unwavering honesty, the ugliness in me transformed. At the bottom of the mountain I found a bed of reeds by a placid lake. Stillness moving the cranes in soft grasses. I held a feather that appeared on the path. As the unfurling indigo clouds drifted past me, I sent a whisper of gratitude above. In my open palm, I watched the wind carry the white feather to the sky.

Melissa V. Lampl
Contributor & Founding Member

My background in wellness begin with a BA from Scripps College in Psychology where I focused on the interconnectedness of health, positive psychology, yoga, well-being and mindfulness. My desire in promoting wellness, inner balance and harmony with nature led me to Frontier Co-op and Aura Cacia. I studied aromatherapy at the American College of Healthcare Sciences and am a proud member of Frontier Co-op’s team, serving as an Aromatherapy Educator for the Aura Cacia brand.

Share Your Thoughts

Carletta A

July 26, 2018 - 10:04pm

Beautifully said. I am whole I am healing I am free. A good place to be. Thank you.

Melissa Lampl

August 2, 2018 - 2:07pm

You are welcome. I give thanks to the divine in each of us.

Carletta A

July 26, 2018 - 9:59pm

I recognize this as the absolute truth. Very well said.

Caitlin P

June 26, 2018 - 7:07am

We cannot truly forgive another or be truly forgiven by another, until we have forgiven ourselves.  Forgiving ourselves is the first step on the healing journey of forgiveness.  Forgiving is synonymous with the word love.  We can place the word love in what was just stated.

We cannot truly love another or be loved by another, until we have loved ourselves.  Loving ourselves is the first step on the healing journey of love. Namaste

Carletta A

July 26, 2018 - 9:31pm

I found self forgiveness the hardest of all.  Also found I wanted approval and understanding from others that just wasn’t there.  They were not capable. I had to receive all of these things from myself only. Lonely but worked after a lifetime of bewilderment.

Debra J 2517354

June 24, 2018 - 6:44pm

I’ve recently had several similar experiences. But it’s the death of my paternal grandfather that haunted me for decades. I wasn’t quite 15 years old. I knew he was dying from cancer because my parents told me. One day I visited him & he criticized everything & everybody; I didn’t stay long because as an Empath, it was too draining on me. When I was leaving he said to me: why are you leaving so soon? I’m not feeling well & my family is supposed to stay with me, help me out & make me feel better.

I left the house, unable to express myself, feeling guilty as a murderer. My grandfather probably never remembered the comment, but I carried that burden long after he passed. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I was able to forgive him for saying something so inappropriate at the time. Had I been 10 years older, it would’ve worked ... but I wasn’t and it didn’t. Then I was finally able to forgive myself for being too young to understand the torrid of complicated emotions that were in play during that one moment in time. This experience happened about 44 years ago; too long to hold on to something that was never mine to begin with.

Carletta A

July 26, 2018 - 9:45pm

“Never able to express myself” hit me like a bright light turning on. I was never allowed to express my feelings without severe disapproval. So I kept everything inside.  I was controlled by a broken family that gave the appearance of having it all together. Couldn’t have been further from the truth. They continued this facade until the end.  Reality and truth was strictly avoided.  One sometimes has to go it alone to escape the phoniness such as was the case with me. It has been healing for me but still the destruction affected my life and those of my dear children tragically. I don’t believe there is any other way to deal with some people other than detachment with strength and determination to live ones life apart and building a life the best you can. If one is not able to do this they can destroy you completely.  Be strong and find forgiveness and love by your own creativeness.

Melissa Lampl

August 2, 2018 - 2:19pm

Carletta, I feel the resilience of your words and empowerment to those in the search of truth, love and compassion. “Be strong and find forgiveness and love by your own creativeness”. Yes. Thank you for sharing your journey of courage and healing, thank you for your message of hope.

Dorothy B 508409534

June 23, 2018 - 10:03pm

How does one begin to heal , so that she may forgive, not just those who have hurt her but also herself for not loving herself and knowing it wasn’t her fault for the shameful things others have done or made her do…

Carletta A

July 26, 2018 - 9:56pm

Continue to seek the truth and face it toe to toe and eye to eye. Just learn to accept it.  It took me a lot of time and self searching. But I no longer carry the guilt and shame that was placed on me.  Know that no one is blameless even though they cannot or will not accept their own faults and shortcomings. Probably never will but one doesn’t need to let them affect themselves over another person’s imperfections.  We all have them. Some people are just not aware simply because they are not compelled to.  Its easier to blame and shame otbers. Very sad but you can set yourself apart.  It will free you.

Melissa Lampl

June 25, 2018 - 10:24am


Thank you for sharing. Many women have been through such a journey. First of all, I want to say, you are not at fault so you are not to blame! To remind yourself of this loving say: I am whole, I am healing, I am free.

Shame is believed to be our most destructive emotion. For that reason alone, you do not deserve to carry it. So why does it persist? It is a complex process, but as Debra shared, the journey to forgiveness often begins with finding compassion, and letting go of what is not your burden. Find compassion for the part of you that was taking on these feelings which are not yours to carry. I encourage you to find a trusted healer to guide you in this process.

When you are ready, I believe if you continue to inquire into your heart with a compassionate guide, that when you find out what you are holding onto, you can then send healing into that place in your heart and be able to move forward fearlessly.

Remember: you are not alone. You deserve to be here, and your past hurts do not have the power to continue to define who you are. Even years later I still discover new ways to heal, and continue to find more power, joy and growth in myself than I knew was even possible. The fact that you are so bravely opening your heart to healing means you are well on your way.

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