The Power of Forgiveness

purple flowers out front 1

“You are not too old

and it is not too late

to dive into your increasing depths

where life calmly gives out

it’s own secret”

― Rainer Maria Rilke

As I turned 40 a few months ago, I felt a call to “let go.”  I was carrying too much — too much of the past, too much responsibility in the present, and too much worry about the future.  I wanted to live with more ease. Carrying around too much was keeping me from embodying a sense of calm in my everyday life. Tied so tightly to the past was keeping me from delighting in this very moment.  Being so responsible about the present kept me closed off, scrambling for control, and reacting with harshness to those I love.  So worried about the future kept me from living TODAY without regrets.


And, to tell you the truth, mulling over the past, trying to control the present, and being anxious about the future are ways our minds keep us from touching what we THINK will be too difficult to heal.  Things like shame, regret, and where we feel “not enough” — those aren’t easy places to go to.  The busyness of our day, the “stuckness” of repeating habitual ways of avoidance keep us from going into those places within us to heal them.

So this Lenten season, I decided to take a courageous step:  practice forgiveness.  To begin and end my day with forgiveness meditations and practice “in the moment” forgiveness as I go about my day.

I dedicated myself to doing it with gentleness and tenderness.  I told myself I would force nothing.  And if shame would arise, I told myself, I will hold it, welcome it, and tend to it.  I dedicated myself to practicing tenderness.

she took a deep breath and softened lisa a mccrohan

You see, in order to live with ease and be at peace – we can exclude nothing.  Nothing. Everything must be welcomed with gentleness, tender honesty, mindful awareness, and compassionate presence.  Even the ego.  Even the shadow sides of us.  Yep, that means even the dark parts of yourself that you think, “no one would love me if they REALLY knew who I was.”  Those parts.  Nothing can be excluded from our tender care if we truly want to live with ease and abide in a deep peace.

So,ten days ago, I began to practice a forgiveness meditation and forgiveness “in the moment.”  I didn’t know how I’d feel or if there’d be any shift.  Well…it’s only been ten days.  TEN DAYS.  And…Whoa.  Slowly, sweetly and with gentleness, there is a clearing within me.  Layers around my heart are beginning to just unfold.  A deep quietness and peace are resting within me.

And it’s through denying nothing, but rather embracing tenderly.  It’s through doing very little.  Less trying.  More allowing.  And a willingness to be with whatever arises.

So what have I been doing?  What can you do?


Practicing forgiveness in everyday life.  If I speak harshly to my kiddos, close myself off from Brian, or start to judge myself or someone else, I put my hand on my heart and speak kind words of forgiveness: “It’s ok, Love.  It’s alright, Lisa.”  I tend to whatever hurt there is – in that very moment.  I extend forgiveness to myself and to others — in the moment.

** You can do this, too!  Throughout your day when you wake up and realize you’re about to be harsh with yourself or start judging someone else, pause.  Put your hand on your heart.  Speak words of kindness to yourself.  Even say, “Forgiven. Forgiven.”

Beginning and ending the day with forgiveness meditation.  I recorded a forgiveness meditation.  (If you’d like it, just email me lmccrohan {at} gmail {dot} com.  The file was too large to put here!)  It’s a beautiful meditation that gently grounds you and takes you through seeing the pain you’ve caused others, reflecting gently on the times you’ve caused yourself suffering, and extending forgiveness to others who have caused you suffering.

These practices empty us out, clearing space for new delights in our lives…and living with a deep sense of ease and peace.  And I’m just nine days into it!

But here’s the thing: while we can practice meditation on our own, we need community. 

We need each other to keep up the practice, to keep going into the places within us that we don’t want to see or think will be too painful to forgive and extend forgiveness.  Because forgiveness isn’t a “once and done” deal.  We have to keep practicing, keep being tender, keep softening.  And that takes courage.  And that takes community.

So…is something within you calling you to practice forgiveness in this season of your life?   Email me.  Comment here.  Let’s build community to support one another in this journey.  I don’t know where this will lead us.  I just know that we need community.

“The world is so empty if one thinks only of mountains, rivers & cities; but to know someone who thinks & feels with us, & who, though distant, is close to us in spirit, this makes the earth for us an inhabited garden.”  – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

“We have all known the long loneliness and we have learned that the only solution is love and that love comes with community.”  – Dorothy Day

Lisa A. McCrohan
Mom. Compassion Coach. Psychotherapist. Delight Passionista.

barefootideaslogo ** I hope you are nourished in your day and you are inspired to live with more delight, compassion, and connection in your everyday life. Visit the Barefoot Barn for more information on compassion coaching, psychotherapy and workshops – it’s in a state of “under construction” as my awesome designer and I work on a new site.  I’ve been told that when we move the blog over to the website that all the followers here will automatically come with us!  We’ll see!  So if you are new here, click ‘follow’ on this blog.  And everyone stay tuned for the big move!)

7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. jkocinski2013
    Mar 16, 2014 @ 09:28:18

    Your blog is insightful and close to my heart as I posted a similar blog ( The same title!) two months ago.
    Joyce Kocinski


    • Lisa A. McCrohan
      Mar 17, 2014 @ 13:39:08

      Joyce, I looked at your blog post about forgiveness the other day. Yes — really right on, dear friend. Thank you for your presence in the world and writing about it!!! I just keep on practicing. Even today here with the snow (in march?!) and everyone is home — just putting my hand on my heart and saying, “forgive yourself, Lisa” as I start to get anxious and react. Blessings to you! Lisa


  2. lorlinda
    Mar 16, 2014 @ 15:05:37

    Hi Lisa,
    I agree. We do need a community to keep up the practice. That’s why I follow blogs such as yours. So, count me in on that community that you’re building. I want to live in such a neighborhood. Lorlinda


    • Lisa A. McCrohan
      Mar 17, 2014 @ 13:41:36

      Lorlinda – how right on you are, sister!!! YES – we need each other. I believe that more and more, people are agreeing that the whole “doing it alone” thing doesn’t work – in ANY area of our lives. Thich Nhat Hanh talks again and again about community (sangha). I “struggle” with how to create/support community with folks online. But I guess it just starts like this — writing to each other and saying, “I totally got ya sister!” Love, Lisa


  3. Linda Gordon
    Mar 16, 2014 @ 15:26:40

    Forgiveness is very hard for me and I don’t like to admit it. I’m holding onto so much resentment and past hurts. My daughter keeps telling me to let it go but I can’t. My poor husband is one of the biggest resentments that I have – I feel he has caused me so much pain by doing things ‘his’ way and not considering what an effect it had on me or the family. He still does this……..

    How do I let it go instead of holding onto it? I know it ‘s not doing me any good- I’m wearing it on my body -too much weight!

    Best wishes Linda


    • Lisa A. McCrohan
      Mar 17, 2014 @ 13:44:00

      Linda, you are so right on! Most of us are like “forgiveness sounds great!” but then when we actually have to practice it, we’re like, “this is sooo not for me!” It IS hard. And yet…I’ve noticed that the only way for me to feel lighter, freer is for me to “go into” that resentment/anger and be with it in a gentle, kind and mindful way. Little by little, things begin to shift. Linda, email me and I’ll send you the meditation. It’s a place to start. Blessings, Lisa


  4. Jodi Aman
    Mar 18, 2014 @ 06:46:12

    I love this! I began practicing this a few years ago and I even forgave myself for what other epople did when I was mad at them. this was incredibly powerful for me! You write so beautiful! I miss you!


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Copyright. 2013. All rights reserved. No portion of any post may be copied without written permission from the author. The advice offered herein does not constitute a substitute for professional psychological treatment, therapy, or other types of professional advice and intervention. The self-help contents are solely the opinion of the blogger and should not be considered as a form of therapy, advice, direction and/or diagnosis or treatment of any kind: medical, spiritual, mental, or other. If expert advice or counseling is needed, the services of a competent professional should be sought.

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