Heart Opening Moments

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A Forgive-ful Christmas


Peace rests within Forgiveness

In Aikido, we always say Arigato Gozaimashita (ありがとうございました) when bowing at the end of class. The meaning roughly translates to “thank you for what we just did together”. In a way by bowing to one another we thank our partners for training with us, for the lessons brought to our attention, and forgive any physical pain we might have inflicted on one another. It is a ceremonial gesture to conclude the lesson.

During our tanto practice a few weeks ago, a senior student accidentally stabbed me on the leg during a throw. I tried to walk it off but the pain lingered as we continued our lesson. At the end of class I found myself wondering why he didn’t pay more attention when holding a blade. Thin wisps of resentment clung over me as I bowed to him at the end of class. I knew he did not mean to hurt me. It was an accident. Just a meaningless accident. I took a deep breath and told myself it was good learning for us both. If he was able to control the blade better he would have. I forgave him quickly. Within minutes we ended up laughing at ourselves for each of our unique clumsiness.

Other times I was unable to forgive quickly. Clinging onto the past can certainly make one heavy load. Especially when I carry it with me day in and day out. In Buddhism Upādāna describes such clinging results in suffering. This is exactly how I’ve suffered this year. Last December someone’s careless remark wounded me deeply. For most of December and January I cried in secret wondering why he wanted to hurt me. I realized that perhaps I have wounded him deeply once upon a time. It was easy for me to forgive him no matter how many times thereafter he cuts into me knowing the pain he must go through. I had tremendous compassion for him and my love grew stronger. On the other hand, it was not so easy to forgive myself. I thought since I played a part in his suffering therefore it was rightful for me to suffer. In a way I secretly wished that my suffering could take away his pain. This self-loathing went on for nearly a year as it took on different forms. Unconsciously I found ways to torture myself and felt it was needed for me to learn my lesson. My self-punishment got worse and worse and forgiving myself was never part of my agenda. While bleeding on the surgical table one early October morning, I knew I can no longer go on this way.

Only if I could let go the past and start anew… Only if I can forgive and be forgiven.

In Luke 23:34 – Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.” When we did not know how our dishonesty, our careless remarks or our insensitivity can deeply wound another, we go on repeating our old behaviors again and again. Only by truly experiencing and understanding our own pain and hence someone else’s pain, we then learn the suffering we all share. This is when compassion arise and we humbly ask God to forgive us and release us from the past.

Only if I could let go the past and start anew… Only if I can forgive and be forgiven…

In the night before Christmas, a star was born to guide us from darkness into light. As we gaze into the sky finding our own guiding star, a miracle is released for each of us – gently flowing toward our hearts and expanding throughout our bodies and flowing towards others around us… We shall let go the past and keep the learning forward. We shall keep our lantern lit to guide the path of those who follow… As we travel forth, I pray for love to return to our hearts, I pray for peace to dwell our minds, and I pray for a forgive-ful Christmas for all.

December 24, 2010 - Posted by | Aikido Wisdom, Choices, Tears | , , , , , , , , ,


  1. Wonderful stuff. You truly are awake.. 🙂

    Comment by Fausto | December 25, 2010 | Reply

    • Thank you Fausto for sharing the journey!

      Comment by Flo Li | December 28, 2010 | Reply

  2. […] Click here to read entire article. […]

    Pingback by “A Forgive-ful Christmas,” by Flo Li | January 15, 2011 | Reply

  3. […] from a reader of my blog. Seemingly confused, he wanted to clarify what he had read in the post A Forgive-ful Christmas. At first I laughed to myself because forgiveness is such a simply yet difficult concept that most […]

    Pingback by A Follow-up on Forgiveness « Flo's Heart Opening Moments | February 16, 2011 | Reply

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