—from the 7 Pillars of Forgiveness
Forgiveness is a complex matter. Often people ask: Why should I forgive? How can I forgive? What is the relevance of forgiveness in a situation of on-going conflict? What is the relationship between forgiveness and justice? If I forgive, surely I am condoning wrongful actions and allowing them to continue?
‘Not forgiving’ has become enshrined in culture, tradition, ideology. It is called revenge; an eye for an eye; just deserts; tit for tat; payback; vendetta. As a result, we can end up cutting ourselves off from loved ones, family, friends. On a bigger scale, we can end up justifying murder on a small and large scale, settling scores that are hundreds of years old. It is considered the right, the honourable course of action. And yet, bereavement counsellors frequently reflect that when a person is approaching their deathbed, often their greatest terror is not the physical pain, but the emotional pain of what they have not been able to resolve, forgive, let go of. Seemingly, it catches up with all of us in the end.
We don’t have to remain locked in the past. There is a way – a way to restore ourselves to our inherent humanity, where we can find understanding, compassion, hope for the future, and a true release from the bonds of the past, whether we need to forgive ourselves, or forgive others.
The 7 Pillars of Forgiveness
The question that is often posed, is, “How do I actually start the process of forgiveness? Are there any practical things I can do?” Through the 7 Pillars of Understanding, Freedom, Remedy, Warmth, Enhancement, Hope and Continuance, Feminenza has created practical pathways, real steps that can be taken, to help people from all backgrounds walk the path of finding a better way. It recognises that forgiveness is a journey, and that the process is different for each person. It can be a short one or a long one. It can take a few days or a lifetime. You do not ‘have to forgive’. There are things you may never forgive. Feminenza’s programme provides tools, should you wish to walk that path. How does a person, for example, develop the ability to let go of the pain associated with a memory? Or how does one begin to understand that a person is more than their current actions and how does one therefore separate the person from the act, to enable both of you to move on? How is it possible, for real, to let go of the pains of the past and move forward into the future?
The 7 Pillars offer profound access into our ability to forgive, and therefore go beyond the path of pain, revenge or violence.
For further information about our Forgiveness programmes and how to access them, please email the Forgiveness Faculty.
From the recent Forgiveness Practitioner Training programme in Corrymeela, Northern Ireland, 2017
From the participants – community cohesion champions – in the Trauma Healing workshop for the Kenya Tuna Uwezo project, for Global Communities Kenya, June 2015
Reflections from the young women and adolescent girls who took part in the Trauma Healing workshop for the DREAMS Initiative, Global Communities Kenya, June 2016
From the Forgiveness course at the Teacher’s College, Israel
From the Young Women’s Leadership Program, New York
Reflections from participants of the Trauma Healing workshop in Nakuru, Kenya, 2017
we came here each soiled from rots in our souls
that refused to clean, clinging and stinking.
Feminenza came, Eileen, Mary and Peter,
the fragrance of freedom in your wake,
like magic dissolving even the toughest stains on our souls.
In humility, softly, gently you reached into the recesses of our souls
and gave us hope and self-belief.
We are forever thankful to you for this life-giving experience.
We were like wilting flowers, poisoned, slowly dying
but your words gave us the belief to wake up
and start pumping life into our dying veins.
An Elixir is what you guys are, a gift from God
with a simple message of forgiveness
yet with far reaching impact on our personal lives.
You have taught me to heal, I will teach others.
You have given me belief, I will propagate that belief.
You have taught me forgiveness, I have forgiven,
I will forgive, I hope I will be forgiven,
but it does not really matter because I have let go,
I’m a clean slate, I can write a new chapter.
Poem by Clive (after the Forgiveness process in Kenya, June 2015)