I was watching one of the cat fights on The Housewives of Atlanta, and as much as I love all of my beautiful sisters, it reminded me of the need that we all have for forgiveness and release. If we let go of the past, we free up so much energy to be productive in the present. When we aren’t bickering and hating, we have a lot more energy to manifest the change that we need in the world. The irony was that the “reality” television show was juxtaposed by continuous advertisements about brown girls starving in Africa.
We have a lot of work to do, but everything that we give to others begins with ourselves. We have to start by loving ourselves. Only then can we share the powerful love that we need to give to each other.
The following is an excerpt from my book, Prayers for Those Standing on the Edge of Greatness. It’s about our need to let go and release the past, which is part of the journey that we will be taking at the God is a Brown Girl Too “Opening to Consciousness” Retreat (www.godisabrowngirltoo.com).
The most important lesson I learned in the past decade is that forgiveness is not for the person I need to forgive; forgiveness is for me. When we hold resentment against anyone, we bind ourselves to that person; we give that person power over us, so much that the blockage interferes with our spiritual awareness.
In Romans 12:2, Paul said, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” The more we change our level of thinking from being limited to what we believe we can do in the physical world, the sooner our prayers can be answered. There is no question that God can answer our prayers by God’s grace, despite our failures or refusals to center ourselves in Christ consciousness. But when we realize that Spirit is always allowing us to manifest our desires through the right state of consciousness, we relieve our suffering and begin to manifest our goals with greater ease.
In Jeremiah 29:11–14, the prophet tells us that God said, “For I know the plans I have for you … plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all of your heart.” True prayer, then, is the act of seeking God with all of our heart, which is seeking Spirit without the baggage of hurt or resentment that we all love to lug around. True prayer is the process of centering in divine love by releasing and letting go.
John said “God is love.” (1 John 4:16) True prayer or communion with God is the realization of the love that expresses as us; we are made in the image and likeness of God. When we truly pray, we embrace that image and likeness.
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To have the clarity to let go, we must open our eyes and see people, places, relationships, circumstances, and situations without denial or resistance. When we open our hearts with forgiveness rather than condemnation, we can accept that our spouses will not change simply because we want them to, that they are on their own path, learning their own lessons, which have nothing to do with us.
We can accept that our parents did the best they could and are doing the best that they can and their criticisms of us have nothing to do with us, but are reflections of their own struggles. We can accept the past, realize that past mistakes cannot be changed, and move forward.
We have to accept that people are in our lives only for a season, and when that season ends, we have to let them go. We cannot control the manner in which people make decisions, and we must respect them for who they are, regardless of our differences. We also have to recognize that sometimes people will not accept us for who we are; however, that is not a sign that we need to change.
Instead, it is a signal for us to go on about our Father’s business. We cannot change other people; they have to do that for themselves. But we can change how we allow other people to impact our lives and how we use our thoughts, gifts, and energies when we relate to them.