Friday, June 01, 2012

A Circle of Forgiveness

By Lenore Flynn

Three years ago on the day after Memorial Day, I lost my job. I wrote about it in this blog on June 9, 2009 and entitled the blog “Free Fall”. I just finished reading it once again. For the past 2 years on Memorial Day I experience flashbacks to that day, a rainy stormy day like the one we are having today. As my husband and I sat out  Monday night this year, I felt fearful at thinking how lucky I am again this year. Three years later I have a job I like very much, doing work that matters, I live on less money but I have a small business teaching mindfulness to people who may or may not be in a situation similar to the one I found myself in then. I have landed safely from my free fall. 
One of the most difficult things that happened when I lost my job was that the person who offered it to me was also the person who took it away. He was part of a family business that needed the special skills I had to offer and he convinced me to come to work with them. It was a challenging task they had hired me for but I was successful in bringing them where they wanted to go. The family entered into a acquisition deal about a year in but I was assured my job was secure. I had to work closely with the man who hired me and we became good friends.

So when he came to tell me I was laid off I felt twice the pain, I had not only lost my job but I had been betrayed by a friend. Last Friday we spoke to each other. Through the Internet we had contacted each other and let each other know we were willing to talk. When he came to tell me I no longer had a job I felt such anger. It took a long time for me to stop feeling anger toward him. When we spoke Friday, we were once again friends. So much had happened and he, too, was no longer working for the company. I could only imagine what it had meant to him to have the plans and hopes he had for a future for himself and his family not materialize. It was good to tell him I had forgiven him long ago when he said how sorry he was the way things went. As we ended our conversation, there was relief on both ends of the line. 

Things had come full circle. In retrospect, losing that job three years ago led me to a place where I feel more whole and happier than I have in a long time. I learned so much about anger and forgiveness. Anger is a deep emotion; the deeper the wound the deeper the anger. Forgiveness is a process; it took a great deal of mindfulness practice and loving kindness for me to forgive myself for something I often could not name and to forgive my friend. Losing my job generated feelings of worthlessness, sadness and loss. Losing my friend, the same. 

My meditation practice was the anchor; seeing the healing day by day kept me going. Self compassion and kindness for what I was going through was soothing every day. Each time I would slip back into deep feelings of anger I could reach for that thread, sometimes fragile, but always there. When I spoke with him last week I could feel the good both of us experienced. We both had done some work and learned a lot. He is a good man and I always thought that; he just was led astray. He knows that now. He told me he came to learn that both he and I were fodder for the wood chipper when greed takes hold. 

Not every broken relationship can be mended nor will be. But anger can always be transformed. An open heart feels so much better than a hot, closed one. We can choose; we can give ourselves that gift. I am grateful now to him for what he forced me to learn about my own worth, the gifts I have to share and the importance of healing. Up until recently I wanted to still be mad at him but found myself less able to generate that emotion. The phrases of the loving kindness kept pushing out the anger:

May you be filled with loving kindness,
May you be well,
May you be peaceful and at ease
May you be happy.
The meditation begins with you extending these same phrases toward yourself first. Try it; it can heal you.
Writer Lenore Flynn teaches meditation and mindfulness in Albany; this is the second year she has taught mindfulness to UAlbany students as part of the Happiness class; for information on Lenore's classes, go to This piece appeared first on the Times Union's Holistic Health blog, a blog worth bookmarking!! 

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