Arrived in Albuquerque today.
This day a year ago, I was watching Israel’s bombardment of Gaza while sitting in Gilroy, CA. My eyes glued to CNN. My heart very heavy. No one knew when the killing might end. Forty days and forty nights seemed endless. I felt hopeless. There was nothing I could do for my friends in Gaza but call, email and write Obama, Kerry and members of Congress. I also wrote letters to the newspapers. Never sure if any of my letters made any difference.
Today, I attended a book event for a new author, Megan Feldman Bettencourt. Her book — Triumph of the Heart: Forgiveness in an Unforgiving World (Hudson Street Press, 2015) — has a pretty sappy title actually. My reading list is too long already. I didn’t need to add another title.
But I did. An hour later, I purchased the book and the author signed it. How can a successful pilgrim carry so many books on her journey?
FORGIVENESS = GIVING UP RESENTMENT
Bettencourt talked about her journey to figure out the contours of forgiveness from the individual to the collective. She connected forgiveness to the practice of mindfulness, something my friend in Baltimore has been teaching me. She shared stories of some of the people she’s met along her journey, but when she mentioned Israel & Palestine, my ears really perked up.
The take away message for me —- forgiveness is a process, a continuum, that can benefit both sides (the person forgiving and the person who is being forgiven). You can be angry and forgive. Self-forgiveness and self-compassion are just as important as forgiving another.
I haven’t read the book yet, and I’m not sure if there’s relevance to Israel/Palestine. Honestly, I found the author’s answer to a question about forgiveness in the context of the Middle East a bit unsatisfying.
However, she’s clearly given alot of time and thought to forgiveness, and so I’m going to read her book.
Her 10-minute TedTalk summarizes what she shared today at the Center for Spiritual Living in Albuquerque.