By Taylor Tagg
Special to The Commercial Appeal
I recently attended a weekend retreat on forgiveness, led by Mary Hayes Grieco, author of “Unconditional Forgiveness” and director of the Midwest Institute of Forgiveness Training in Minneapolis.
Grieco asked for a volunteer to help her demonstrate what she calls “The Eight Steps to Freedom,” a reliable method of forgiving another person. I wanted to work on forgiving my mother for some of the pains of my childhood, so I stepped on up. So did others.
We all found our own spot in the room and practiced the steps while peaceful music filled the whole space and Grieco walked us through the steps.
As a teacher, Grieco is clear, gentle and considerate. She also is a master storyteller. She makes dealing with difficult issues so much easier. That’s what I needed.
In forgiving my mom, I got the feeling of resentment out in the open. I was able to really express how I felt without fear or shame. I looked at an empty chair, thought of my mom sitting there, and got my negative feelings out by yelling, screaming, crying, whatever it took. I had loving people in the room to support how I felt and cheer me on.
I changed the expectation that my childhood would ever be any different that it was. I let go of what could have been (a happier childhood, etc.) and gave the responsibility of the situation back to my mom. I literally took the “stuff” in my hands and gave it back to her image sitting in the chair. It was her situation and circumstances to deal with now.
I let God, Spirit, Higher Self, etc., meet my needs and replace what I let go of with unconditional love, light and forgiveness. I let light into my heart through Grieco’s guidance.
I let the light run throughout my body and filter out all the bad feelings that were left. Afterward, I felt like a heavy weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I felt light and very happy.
I saw the person I resented, my mom, in a new light and I intentionally found the good in her. That was hard, but necessary to change the way I saw the situation. I had a newfound love for her because I had changed me, not waiting for her to make a change.
In taking these steps, I realized I was holding on to the resentment, I was the one suffering, and now that was no longer the case. I was free of it, permanently.
Today, I have a valuable tool at my disposal to let go of anything or anyone at any time. Now, instead of holding on to situations or people, I move on a lot quicker.
Maybe the best part of the retreat was gaining the clear understanding that forgiveness frees me — not the other person. I feel healthier — physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually — because I can forgive.
My relationship with my mother has never been better.
Taylor Tagg is a forgiveness coach, instructor and speaker.