Forgiving is not condoning

1. Announcement

Seishindo Embodied Presence Workshop
“Calm and Confident in times of stress”

with Charlie Badenhop
Washington DC Metro Area, 24-26 June 2009

This stress-management workshop is meant for coaches, consultants, and leaders. It will be a good fit for you if you’d like to:

• Better manage your health, awareness, and well-being.

• Help teach your clients to do the same.

• Come away with a new set of tools, especially helpful in troubling times.

• Increase the scope of conversations you’re able to have with clients.

• Develop a deeper connection and more participatory relationship with your clients, then words alone can offer.

2. Forgiving is not condoning

I’ve just spent ten days with my 89 year old parents, preparing them to move to a senior citizens home. Wow, what a roller coaster ride!

My father was angrier and more abusive than I’ve seen him in ages.

When he wasn’t lashing out at me he was giving a hard time to my mom, the dog, and the neighbors, who had come over to walk the dog.

Needless to say, it wasn’t easy being around such behaviour, but I definitely extracted some high quality learning from the experience.

It didn’t take me long to realize my father was frightened.

Frightened of dying? Yes, that’s likely.
But more so, I began to realize he was terrified my mom might die first and leave him on his own.
No small fear for a guy who after sixty-three years of having the same bureau, still doesn’t know which drawer his clean socks reside in! And don’t dare ask him to operate the washing machine. He looks at the dials as if they’re written in a foreign language.
On one hand he’s a despot.
On the other hand he’s so helpless.
At times frightening, and even revolting
But then again, he can also be so “cute”

By seeing, and to some extent feeling, my father’s fear, I was able to generate a deeper level of compassion for him. Compassion for a man who knows he’s losing control, and uses anger as a way to keep himself from feeling.

As a child, I was beaten many times by this very same man.

It’s forty-three years now since the last time my father physically punished me. Yet this is the first time I’ve had a clear realization of just how scared he was, and has been his whole life. This is the first time I realize that even then, he was afraid of losing control, and used anger as a way to keep himself away from feeling.

Beating me was his strategy for transferring the fear he felt, onto someone else. His strategy for exorcising his fear.

It’s no small point to note that exorcising and exercising are two very different activities!

Today, I could see my father’s trapped in the jail he’s built.
Unable to admit to himself what he did, he’s unable to admit to others.

Unable to forgive himself, he’s unable to say he’s sorry.

Unable to rationalize what he did, he remains stuck in a state of denial.

Being both prisoner and guard.
He’s in possession of the lock and the key.

With little idea of what freedom would be like,
And unsure that he deserves to be set free.

So I’ve decided to take the initiative, and truly forgive him, for the both of us.

To give him that much more of a chance to free his soul, before he passes.

To give myself that much more of a chance to free my soul before he passes.

Forgiveness and freedom go hand in hand. The more you forgive, the less of the past you’ll need to drag along with you, into the present.

When you’re able to “only be here” you wind up discovering life is everything you’ve always hoped it would be!

Do I condone what my father did to me? No way!. I would never want to condone any parent beating their child.

It’s important to remember though, that “forgiving” and “condoning” don’t at all need to go hand in hand.

Forgiveness is a selfish act. The more you forgive, the happier you’ll become. Believe me, it’s well worth the effort!

Yours in freedom,
Charlie

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