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  • michelle m. davis

A Clean Slate

For me, January is my “clean out” month – the perfect time to discard clothing that no longer fits and let go of unused items that have accumulated in drawers and closets. I’ll also purge unnecessary paperwork, clean up files on my laptop, and even recreate my physical environment – rearranging furniture, picture frames, plants... you get the picture. Somehow clearing the space around me feels good. It gives me a fresh start in the new year, promotes creativity, and permits me to see things from a slightly altered perspective.

Yet, we can all do more than just tidy up the physical items in our lives. Now is a wonderful moment to look within and see if there is any clutter which is stuck inside of you, you know, the stuff that keeps us from elevating to our higher selves. In a recent post,, I addressed ways to clear negative emotions. Today, I’d like to go further and discuss one more thing to consider – something that can be much more challenging. I’m referring to letting go of the heavy burden that we carry when we are unable to forgive. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to start 2020 with a clean slate by erasing those grudges?

So, who or what do you need to forgive? Maybe you harbor anger toward a loved one’s past actions, or perhaps you’re still livid about a life event that negatively impacted you. It can be extremely difficult to let go when we feel wronged. But whatever you’re clinging onto, it’s most likely weighing you down and keeping you from moving forward on your life journey. The sad reality is that the person you’re upset with may no longer be affected. They’ve probably already let it go, maybe even forgotten about it. And while the thought of forgiving them may seem impossible, consider the impact that storing this negative energy has on you. Quite honestly, refusing forgiveness causes physical, emotional, and mental anguish.

But how do you let go and forgive? There’s no perfect answer, but this process has helped me.

The first step is to be honest with yourself and identify the action or situation. Feel the emotion associated with it. After acknowledging the hurt, let it go… forever. Journaling can be helpful, as can writing a letter to the person and then burning it. Remember, all of this occurred in the past. Holding onto this memory will do you no good. In order for you to move forward, you must free this negative energy so that it can be used toward better purposes. Failure to release the emotion only allows it to bury itself deeper inside of you, harboring a stronger resentment and making it even more difficult to expel at a later time.

After you release the feelings attached to this memory, consider what you learned from the experience. Did you discover something about yourself? Or perhaps you realized a life lesson that if remembered, may prevent you from future heartache. Whatever message you received, hold onto that, not the anger.

Please note, forgiveness does not imply approving or condoning another’s low vibrational action. But what it does is releases you from the lingering pain associated with not forgiving. In essence, you forgive to benefit you, not necessarily the other person. That’s why it’s a letting go, a release, a clearing. It’s allows for more space inside of you, to be used for positive things.

Forgiveness has not been easy for me. But when I’ve been able to come to terms with others’ actions, feel the impact, and then let go of my ill will, I’ve landed in a much better space, feeling freer and lighter in spirit. And like any other habit, the more I forgave, the easier it became. While it isn’t a simple task, I now know that it is doable, and the benefits are definitely worth it.

But what if the “someone” you need to forgive is yourself? Most likely, that’s the most challenging of all kinds of forgiveness, at least it is for me. When our shadows appear, it’s much easier to push them aside, pretend they don’t exist, and refuse to alter our ways, thus feeding the shadows and allowing them to remain a part of us. It is only when we shine the light on these shadows that linger behind us that we can truly see the sides of us that need forgiveness. Becoming aware of our “less than” parts is the first step. Once we see them, they cease to be shadows, and then the forgiveness can begin. It sounds complicated, but it’s really pretty simple.

I would be remiss if I only wrote about forgiving other and ourselves. That’s only half of it. No doubt we’ve inflicted pain on loved ones, friends, and acquaintances. I have certainly done my fair share of hurting people. And, it is my hope that they have it in their hearts to someday forgive me. It won’t erase what happened, but it will be freeing in so many ways.

These experiences – when we hurt another or someone harm us – help mold us into who we are. And isn’t that’s what being human is all about… learning, growing, and evolving as we walk our journey here on Earth? While we can certainly proceed with heavy hearts filled with animosity toward those around us, it is a much more pleasant path when our spirit is light and we feel surrounded by peace, love, and joy.

Mark Twain once said, “Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds upon the heel that has crushed it.” What a beautiful description for how we could approach letting go and forgiving another. This is the image that I want to associate with forgiveness, not one of “letting someone off the hook.” So, if forgiving another or yourself is difficult, try again, but with a different twist. Do it knowing that you will feel more at peace. Life is too short to hold grudges. Begin 2020 with a clean slate – let go, trust, and allow the process of forgiveness to occur. It is then that we can smell the sweet fragrance of the violet.


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