the book of forgiveness.

‘Like all explorers we are drawn to discover what’s waiting out there without knowing yet if we have the courage to face it’

Pema Chodron

There are quotes on each page of the journals I kept, words to guide the way to somewhere I believed others had found. The elusive graceful space of calm and light.

On each page, a place I had lived, and the journal prompts to capture my days there. And that one hidden place of what I didn’t want to write. It seemed clear in the pattern that emerged that it wasn’t what I didn’t want to write about, it was who I didn’t want to write about. Each page, each place, a name. Someone I had talked into forgetting, a person who lost their personhood in my casting of them into the stone of their worst self.

I wrote the names down. And started another, smaller grey moleskin journal, to write the first letter that I didn’t want to keep. I still have that meant to be burned journal. Because the first letter I wrote wasn’t to the first person who I needed to write to. It was to the one that hurt the most. The most recent.

From the first page of that smaller journal: As I journal the places I have lived, the things I loved to do, books, movies, food—there are things I don’t want to write about. People I don’t want to give any space to—as if pushing them out of the experience erases something. My intention with this forgiveness is to release those dark areas that are stuck where I’ve left them. I’m going to start with the one I need to forgive the most…it’s time to go back and let go, once and for all, release them, release myself.

I knew that traveling back to the first place I lived couldn’t be done behind the ice of the last person I blamed. At the end of the letter I wrote her were these words, ‘I forgive you and I hope you forgive me too. I love you—I still do.’

I didn’t burn that letter. But even so the fire of the truth of it melted the cold enough for me to keep going.

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