"Our suffering, our pain, and our losses have the power to transform us. It does not always feel just, nor is it easy, but we have seen that with time, great good can come from great sorrow" Desmond and Mpho Tutu, "The Book of Forgiving".
Last week I was privileged to meet Mpho Tutu at the Auckland Writers' Festival. She and her father Bishop Desmond have written a healing and practically helpful book about how to resolve our lifelong burdens, called simply "The Book Of Forgiving".
In light of recent tragedies involving children, both with the Manchester bombing, and the April bombing of a bus in Syria which led to the death of 68 children, it is easy to give up hope that we humans will ever be able to end the cycle of violence and revenge.
And no one said it would be easy, but forgiveness is the pathway to healing. This book encourages us to "break our forgiving down into bite sized pieces and begin from wherever we are standing. Tell you story for as long as you need to. Name your hurts until they no longer pierce your heart."
Naming or hurts and telling our stories of pain take great courage. It is important for us to spend time with our hurts and to understand them for the teachers that they are. And it is just as important for us to tell our stories, and to be heard and acknowledged.
We are part of a shared humanity and the work that we do to understand the pain and injustice that we feel in our own lives will help in healing the larger world, as we are all so intimately connected to one another.
It is also good to remember that in another circumstance, we could have become the bad guy in the story, and to keep remembering that we are all human beings, comprised of good and bad impulses.
The Book of Forgiving is a gentle and wise book with practical tips on how to make forgiveness a daily practice.
Along with this valuable book I like to use the ancient Hawaian practice of Ho'oponopono to offer forgiveness for myself and my world. It is very simple but at the same time deeply profound.
Think of a person or situation that needs healing, then recite these four sentences, in any order...
Please forgive me
I love you
I pray that you can find some time every day to think about forgiveness for yourself and for our aching world.
Thank you Mpho for your beautiful book and I am so happy that my stone that says Humility/Compassion has found the perfect home.