Forgive it Forward: Clean-up Crew on Break

3 Blue Candles

When most people think of forgiveness they look to the past. Past events. Past people. Past gripes. Forgiving the PAST is a lot of work. Tedious work. Painful work. So, it’s easy to see why we tend to push it to the back of the closet to be sorted and dealt with another time.


When I think about issues of forgiveness, I think about clutter clearing and closet counseling sessions with clients. For those of you who don’t know, closet counseling is what happens after we unearth a challenge from a closet, attic, garage or basement. A deer-frozen-in-the-headlights gaze generally announces this challenge, at which point clutter clearing shifts to counseling with  “tell me about this” followed by  “how is this serving you?” and ending with  “are you ready to release or reactivate this?”

We can pack a lot into the darkened recesses of closets – and memories. Stuff attached to hopes, dreams, disappointments, frustrations, judgments, resentments, guilt, fear … That entails a lot of work and why many people cannot do it alone. It’s overwhelming.

So, I’m stepping out of the closet now. Lets talk about forgiveness.

What if we gave forgiveness a break from being the clean-up crew? If we let forgiveness scout the future for a change to trouble-shoot and clear our path – and avoided the pile-up? Sounds radical, but what if we could forgive it forward?

What would that look like, if we agreed to forgive the next someone or something that gets under our skin – right now – BEFORE it happens? The very next thing?

Just PLAY with this idea.

It’s okay if you need to qualify it with the very next SMALL thing. Just try it and see how you feel when you get “there,” to that moment you already forgave. Maybe a rude store clerk or waitress will be the recipient when the thought “I forgave you forward” hits. Maybe they’ll wonder why you’re smiling. Maybe you’ll make their day and yours – in ways that you cannot even imagine now.

It’s no secret that Ray and I are where we are today because we forgave. And, if you’ve read Bernadette’s Pages, you know about all the forgiveness work that he and I had to do to get here. What you may not know is that we also had to forgive it forward!

FIF: Earth boyDid you miss the Forgive it Forward video? Click here for the 3-minute video!

Curious how it ALL started? CLICK HERE for the 2-minute video book trailer!


©2010 Enlightened Ink – If you are inspired to share or quote from this article please share us with it. Together we grow.

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13 thoughts on “Forgive it Forward: Clean-up Crew on Break

  • June 16, 2010 at 12:42 pm

    Of all the roads we’ve crossed holding hands, and all the secrets shared, I learned to forgive the past with you…and now I learn to forgive the future with you!
    Love and Laughter Alway my dear friend!
    Lenora <3

    • June 16, 2010 at 12:55 pm

      A BIG hug coming your way, Lenora … with deep gratitude for ALL the forgiveness classrooms we have shared and witnessed … I look forward to our future forgiven in advance … WHEW!!!! We’ve done a lot of work dear friend! Love You! xxoo

  • June 16, 2010 at 12:58 pm

    An amazing number of people on I-20 east, heading out from Atlanta last night, took me up on my “I forgave you forward” offer. And you know what? I had to chuckle when I recognized that they were not doing that “to me’ but rather trying to “kiss my bumper’ in gratitude for the FIF.

  • June 16, 2010 at 2:07 pm

    Wouldn’t it be wonderful if before we got upset over something someone said (or we thought they said) or what someone does (or we think they did) we could just say that it doesn’t really matter and we Forgive them Forward? Then the rest of our day can be spent enjoying our lives and those wonderful people in it!

    It doesn’t come easy… I forgave everyone driving with me in Charlotte this morning… I almost was upset a couple of times when someone didn’t use their blinker to let me know they were turning… that is my BIG FORGIVE IT FORWARD… use your blinkers please… but if not that is okay… FIF

    • July 1, 2010 at 5:05 pm

      Traffic is a great place to practice FIF! Now, when I start talking to people who do not choose to communicate with their blinkers, they get a prayer instead!

  • June 16, 2010 at 3:19 pm

    Yesterday, a friend of mine asked what my understanding of this project is and why was I sharing it. This was my response: I think each person’s understanding will be a little diff, depending on what they are processing, as individuals – so, all of our experiences will also be somewhat diff. For me (which you will read about in a few days) Forgiving It Forward takes the love we talk about to another level. While many of us do our best to practice being loving, Oneness, connectedness, unity, etc… it’s sometimes with conditions (whether we intentionally have them or not). By making a commitment to forgiving it forward I feel that I have lifted any of those conditions that remained. Now, as something (or someone) comes up, hopefully I will take a moment to remember that it has already been forgiven. The most useful part to me is that more times than not I’m my own worst adversary and now, my intention is that I will remember that I don’t have to forgive myself for what I perceive that I’ve done… because I already have. Does that make sense? I’m sharing it because I believe, like I said, that it has the potential of taking the love energy/vibrations to a whole new level… it’s usually pretty easy to say I love you… and even most times I forgive you… but, to say there’s nothing to forgive because you’ve already been forgiven… to me, that’s just awesome!!

    I would love to read more posts about the experiences of those that are participating… <3

    • July 1, 2010 at 5:02 pm

      “By making a commitment to forgiving it forward I feel that I have lifted any of those conditions that remained. Now, as something (or someone) comes up, hopefully I will take a moment to remember that it has already been forgiven.’

      Brilliant, Michele! Well put!

  • June 27, 2010 at 2:26 pm

    I shared Forgive It Forward with my two English classes last week. As I was sharing the website and a brief history of Bernadette and Ray’s story, I had my “lightbulb moment.” I shared with them my experience of the difficulty in forgiving AFTER the event. I thought about how we ALWAYS do better when we are prepared for what is to come. Perhaps the difficulty in true forgiveness comes from the unexpected nature of the offense. We experience the anger and pain from the other side of the experience. The toll is more intense. When we Forgive It Forward, we are somehow prepared and we recognize and acknowledge that it is going to happen. The severity of the “blow” is not as harsh. We are prepared. When we KNOW we are going to have a fire drill, our initial panic is not as strong. It is like we are experiencing it from the other side. We see things from a DIFFERENT angle.

    One of students who sits in the back heard my suggestion. I knew that he was a preacher. English is his second language. He waited until the class left, and he came up to me and said, “You know, this gives a whole new aspect to the biblical teachings. I think some people may better understand Forgiveness when thinking about it this way.” He then vowed to share this concept within his message. I am reminded of the saying that when you change the way you look at something, what you are looking at changes. I am not sure who birthed that phrase; I think it was Byron Katy, but I am sure this concept applies to our view of forgiveness and its role in our lives. Forgive it Forward tends to lessen the effect of the transgression. We are prepared for the experience and miraculously are able to process and experience love in its truest form.

    • July 1, 2010 at 5:00 pm

      I love your “light bulb” moment, Maggie. Thank you for sharing it. I think it really illustrates the benefits of forgiving it forward on a practical level … and the fire drill example is great!!

  • June 29, 2010 at 9:49 pm

    The Forgive It Forward article mentioned the idea of being able to clear up conflicts with loved ones. Conflict with others is really only self-conflict. Clear up all conflict within you and outer conflict will cease to exist. People you have conflict with are only reflecting back to you, showing you what’s inside you. Anyway, it’s impossible to clear up anything with anyone because the only person you can change, the only person you have control of is you.

    Forgiveness is ridiculous! I know, what a wild statement. But, 95% of how we operate or behave is through our subconscious mind, our “program” if you will. In other words, we’re not really doing anything, the “program is running us, our behavior, practically everything. Understand that if someone hurts you in some way even if it appears that they’re doing it on purpose, they are still operating from their subconscious program. So, there is nothing to forgive. How do you forgive a subconscious “program”? Of course, there’s alot more to this…the whys, the wherefores and googobs of research…but it’s true and can be proven.

    By the way, remember the next time someone hurts you, when you find yourself in a situation where you think you might have to exercise “forgiveness,” ask yourself, “How did I attract this situation and why?”

    • June 30, 2010 at 10:09 am

      “Forgiveness is ridiculous!”

      Thank you! What a great shocker statement and invitation to consider the tool of forgiveness at a deeper level, Tanya. I find forgiveness to be the antidote TO the ridiculous. What IS ridiculous are the sometimes petty, sometimes horrific acts that stem from ideas and beliefs generated in a world that supports a ‘separation’ mentality. That any of us can partake in acts that ‘do harm’ to others – either directly or indirectly – and NOT, at the same moment, do harm to ourselves is indeed a misguided concept.

      In a sense, I think of forgiveness as a tool similar to a Swiss Army Knife. If we are going out into the wilds we want to be sure and pack one. Whether the situation calls for opening, digging, cutting … it will be there. Forgiveness is a tool that doesn’t care how or where we use it. It will open-dig-cut anything according to our ability to recognize its value. And sometimes it takes someone along the way to show us its other uses and advantages, as you shared in the invitation to look within when we are hurt! At which point, we then get to forgive ourselves for holding onto the ideas that sabotaged our peace.

  • June 30, 2010 at 11:55 am

    The “fact” that we feel there is something to forgive may come across as ridiculous; however, in this human experience we do or say things – often without thinking or the intention – that hurt others. And, the reverse is also true. When we carry around hurt – that sometimes turns into bitterness or resentment/grudges – it can become like a poison to our systems; and, is about as effective as us drinking a bit of poison everyday hoping the other person will be effected (or as I’ve heard said before – die). To me, EMPOWERMENT means that any programs you may have had no longer have power over you. You are no longer run by your “programs” – you get to delete the programs from your internal computer and reprogram. There is what’s “true” – the facts that can change depending on perspective, perception or new findings. And, there’s Truth – those universal laws that are unchanging – work for everyone, all the time, wherever you are (and you don’t even need to know about them!!). I believe forgiveness is one of those laws – and, how much better can it get then to have already released the need to forgive/? <3

    • July 1, 2010 at 4:57 pm

      “And, there’s Truth – those universal laws that are unchanging – work for everyone, all the time, wherever you are (and you don’t even need to know about them!!).” I’m with you on that, Michele! I call it GRACE … how many times did I NOT KNOW and yet here we are!

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