MAKING IT BETTER: Gratitude and Forgiveness

Real healing only begins when you start to accept the past

Happy New Year all! I have to say I am really excited to be in a forum that I trust can only be soul enhancing, empowering, provoking and most of all a space where like-minded women(maybe men?) can come together and have some fun even when we agree to disagree.

I have spent the best part of  twenty-five years of my life working in various fields in service to humanity. This has included Journalism, Broadcasting, Mental Health and more recently Spiritual Ministry. I hope my legacy will reflect this in some small way.

As I cautiously inch towards being on earth for almost six decades I do wonder where the time has gone and how much time I have left. I remember talking to an 80 year old woman several years ago while I was volunteering at a community for minority  ethnic women with mental health problems. She said to me that what she struggled with even over and above her  depression was watching people look at her  and treat her with a particular  stereotype with regards her age when in her mind and heart she still felt as youthful as ever. At the time, I felt empathy for her but didn’t fully understand what she meant. I do now! I still feel every bit as young in my thinking, my choice of music, my sense of humour as I was twenty years ago, and I feel affronted when I am expected to feel or act ‘my age’.

The last ten years have probably been the most challenging for me, but I now accept this has been where my greatest growth as a human being has taken place. I was forced to make huge career changes, I lost the only living sibling I had left and I developed some health concerns. I was left feeling betrayed, hurt, angry, disillusioned, but thankfully just fell short of becoming bitter.

In the last three years, while I was in the throes of what I can only describe as a chaotic state, in the sense that I was engaged in a variety of projects that barely left me a minute for myself to even think, I was suddenly forced to abandoned everything and I found myself in a seminary training to become a Minister. I kept very quiet about it because I did not understand how I had got there and what I was doing there; I only knew that was where I needed to be. Throughout my time in the seminary and even up until when i received my ordination I kept thinking what was I meant to do as a Reverend as I knew I had no intention of standing on a pulpit in a church. I fought against it, resisted and rejected the whole process. Finally, when I let go of all the mind chatter of the past, which included broken promises, memories, anxieties and fears, thereby looking past the beauty, simplicity and blessings of what was unfolding before me, I was able to see the gift I had been given. I also realised I had been ministering throughout the life of my career in the various choices of work I had been involved in. It became clear to me that my ministry was moving on to another platform as I realised there were so many other ways for me to minister and it was for me to figure it out with the new tools I had been given.

While I have struggled with forgiveness and letting go of hurts, I have also realised that when something happens, particularly if it is traumatic or impactful, we make up a story around the experience and we become committed to that story because the ego wants to be right, comforted or vindicated. Everytime we tell the story we impress it upon ourselves and everytime the story is told we get angry again, we get hurt again. We continue to tell it till we can’t hear or see anything else. Whereas it is quite possible that the facts of the event might be quite different

Real healing only begins when you start to accept the past, letting go, moving on, living more for the present and being full of gratitude, whatever the circumstances you find yourself in. Learning to accept the past is a process which should be respected and honoured for what it is. The past has to be seen for what it was. It does not mean denying or minimising the experience of pain, hurt which is healthy grieving. However, it should not become a life time sentence and kneejerk responses should be avoided. I am clear that any action taken from a hurtful place still ends up hurting.

I truly believe there is a shift happening in the world today. More people are beginning to recognise and celebrate the importance of being more aware of their environment and the part they play in the well being of this universal community which is indeed getting smaller. There is a need for us to be more mindful and pay more attention to what and how we feed our bodies, our hearts and our spirits. I believe this process is what will be taking place in this forum.

I feel hopeful and inspired going into 2016 and for me its all about developing, building and expanding my ministry and honoring the vows I took as a minister to support my fellow human beings where I can and to work at making things better. I look forward to engaging with others in this forum.

Gloria Ogunbadejo is a Life Coach, Psychotherapist, Spiritual Counsellor, Ordained Minister

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3 Responses to MAKING IT BETTER: Gratitude and Forgiveness

  1. Iwalenia Adelaja February 12, 2016 at 11:41 am

    I am very happy to see you are doing what you are very good at.

    “Real healing only begins when you start to accept the past, letting go, moving on, living more for the present and being full of gratitude, whatever the circumstances you find yourself in”

    This statement I will hold in my own heart. Thanks.

    Reply
  2. sope March 26, 2016 at 4:04 pm

    Thanks so much for this insight, found out it hurts whenever you remember or think bout past incidents, it’s just that letting go seems so hard, esp if you want vengeance. I really need to let go, because like you said it shouldn’t be a life time sentence! Will try to be grateful for what I have & move on from the past.

    Reply
  3. tope April 7, 2016 at 12:43 am

    What you wrote is so true. I also believe forgiveness is a process. Especially when the other party is not remorseful
    It helps when I remember that God forgave me too.

    Reply

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