Forgiveness has long been the province of morality, virtue, and religious values. Psychologically, forgiveness requires the capacity to hold both the magnitude of the injury and the humanity of the injurer. There are doable steps toward this goal, beginning with acknowledging and mourning the wrong yet forgoing retaliation. Righteousness and anger provide only illusory power and can be chronic and corrosive.
Blame can thwart our ability to understand unconscious personal dynamics and prevent acceptance of universal human flaws and vulnerability. We can accept apology and remorse—especially if it has been accompanied by introspection and greater self-understanding. Forgiveness is less about the other than it is about liberation from victimization. Even when we can’t solve a problem with another, we can increase our inner resources and enlarge our hearts.
Here’s the dream we analyze:
“I was a shepherd carrying a sheep that had been born, but it was obvious it was not going to live. I was taking it to a pond to drown it, to put it out of its misery—but I knew this was actually an act of love. The pond was in a Botticelli ‘Elysian field’-like environment, and most of the water of the pond was frozen over—so much, so a horse was slipping around on the surface. There were other birds and animals all around me, like a Botticelli painting.”
Robert Karen. The Forgiving Self: The Road from Resentment to Connection. https://www.amazon.com/dp/0385488742/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_51MKHP5J0RNCC401GZDN
Edward Tick: Warrior’s Return: Restoring the Soul After War. https://www.amazon.com/dp/1622032004/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_CXPVMY2VVQBS66JD3T52
Hannah Arendt. The Human Condition. https://www.amazon.com/dp/022658660X/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_JNEGRBZWC01ND6MCKY5X
The Forgiveness Project. https://www.theforgivenessproject.com/
Robert Enright. The International Forgiveness Institute. https://internationalforgiveness.com/
Desmond Tutu. Truth and Reconciliation Commission. https://www.britannica.com/topic/Truth-and-Reconciliation-Commission-South-Africa
Learn to Analyze your own Dreams: https://thisjungianlife.com/enroll/
A powerful poem on forgiveness:
After 37 Years My Mother Apologizes for My Childhood
by Sharon Olds
In the show Joseph mentions a lecture by Marion Woodman regarding unresolved alcoholic family dynamics. I am on the hunt and wonder if anyone might be able to point to a specific resource.
I heard Marion Woodman discuss this in a live lecture at William & Mary University. She did not offer a citation. She seemed to be speaking from her own observations and insights. If I find it in print, I’ll share it.
Hello Lisa, Joseph and Deb,
Thank you for another great episode. A lot of what you discussed in terms of generational patterns reminded me of Michael Conforti’s work on archetypal patterns and it’s interconnection with Rupert Sheldrake’s morphic fields. Also, I just finished the first volume of Iain McGilchrist’s book The Matter With Things and it is really fantastic. I haven’t been able to put it down. I think it’s an absolute must-read. It is shocking, exciting, thought-provoking and illuminating to say the least. If you haven’t started it yet, make a cup of tea, turn off the phone, sit in a big comfy chair and take that wild ride. And be prepared to do it for a few days on end. You won’t put it down!!! Thanks again for your work.