Thursday, July 19, 2007

International Forgiveness Day

To my surprise, one of the guests at the Marin Interfaith Council Annual Meeting last month was an old friend of mine I haven't seen since 1965 (no, that date is not a typo), an attorney named Bob Plath. Bob has founded the Worldwide Forgiveness Alliance. WFA sponsors International Forgiveness Day on the first Sunday of August each year.

I asked Bob what was behind his founding this group. He said it was a lot of things, but much concerned his relationship with his father, his anger at his father after father's death. He says forgiveness can be hard. I can attest to the truth of that.

Forgiveness doesn't mean we forget. It doesn't mean that we expose ourselves again to sources of potential hurt or harm. Without working towards forgiveness, we drag along all kinds of old, cumbersome, unnecessary emotional baggage that impedes our forward momentum. Our growth. Forgiveness benefits the forgiver more than the forgiven.

Between now and August 5th, think of someone or something you are willing to forgive, including yourself. Write a message of forgiveness -- a letter, prayer, or a simple statement -- and send it to the Temple of Forgiveness at These messages will be taken to Nevada's Black Rock Desert where a magnificent "Temple of Forgiveness" is being built this summer as part of the Burning Man Festival. The messages will be placed in the Temple and consecrated for individual and planetary healing. As is the custom, on the last night of the Festival, the Temple and all of its contents will be ceremonially burned.

Please consider joining others around the globe on Sunday, August 8, 2007, in a ceremony of your own creation or by simply gathering and talking about the value of forgiveness. I know I will -- in Amherst, Massachusetts at MerryMeet.

1 comment:

Laura Stamps said...

Great post about forgiveness! And you're right, forgiveness is more for us than the people we need to forgive. I think of forgiveness as a wakeup call of sorts. We are generally upset with others because they aren't acting the way we feel they "should." Forgiveness makes us let others be who they are, for better or worse. But also like you said, that doesn't mean we should allow these people to continue to harm us (if that is the way they are). It just means we have to make good choices and to surround ourselves with a close circle of "nourishing" friends. And allow everyone else to do their thing without us. :)

Also LOVED the photos of your cats. I have been involved in feral cat rescue for many years. At the moment I have 6 housecats (all ferals or abandoned strays) and a feral colony I care for. Two years ago there were 21 cats and kittens in this colony, but I slowly got them all fixed and started finding homes for them. Now I only have 7 left. Also just found homes for a litter of kittens that an abandoned stray delivered on my porch in May. They all went to very good homes. The Fey and Bast have really been helping me out this summer!