Releasing the Fragrance of Forgiveness

Lately, I have been writing about transformation, in particular the changes I am experiencing with my health. And this week, there is even better news. For the first time, my acupuncture physician felt all of my pulse points. For me, that is huge—to say it is remarkable is not an exaggeration.

It indicates more movement than stagnation. It is as if a way of life, a mindset, is dissolving, breaking up. There is still some stagnation but the decline is being reversed as my cell structure changes in my body’s attempt to balance itself.

Transformation offers what has never been. If not a new body, literally, then a body and a being “falling in love with life, again” as reader Val Boyko so generously offered in the comments on last week’s post.

That more life is pulsing through me accounts for my increased energy level; also, it seems accurate to say—now–that my pain level is also in decline, albeit a slow one.

Flying Away 0115

Transformation occurs in its own time—patience is essential–but the benefits are life-changing, literally. I find I am more present in each moment. I do not want to miss any of the unfolding of any day so I am less likely to pay attention to mindset. There is so much new to explore.

Still, the mind prefers calling up the tried and true of old, a series of steps followed again and again until they are, well, set, as if in concrete. Mindsets are the known, limited in effect and thus, predictable, perhaps even stagnant.

Yet, I do not believe that a mindset is without its worth. Not at all. Rather, it is our own bank of experience. Mindset makes us who we are.

Mindset is what we bring to the moment we meet transformation. Then, we have a choice: same-old, same-old secure or the unknown of transformation.

“Patience, grasshopper” is a line I have met many times these last months yet sit I did and do still. My impatience is less for I found that in being patient, one finds forgiveness, the ability to let go of the debt that accrues from all regret. It is the way to open one’s heart to all.

Not a Violet but a Petal

Not surprisingly, I returned to a favorite quote. Forgiveness is the “fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.” Though often attributed to Mark Twain (since the 1970s), it seems its present form is a compilation of phrases from centuries past.

No doubt the thought stays with us for forgiveness is such a struggle for humans.

There is a firm delicacy in a violet petal forgiving the heel that crushes the life out of it. Soon, the fragrance dissipates but it lingers just longer than life. That is forgiving the debt.

The fragrance reminds that in forgiveness we are transformed–a mindset shattered for what is yet to come with no regret of what has been.

Transformation requires we accept every step we have ever taken; it requires we acknowledge every action or decision, given or received. None can be undone. All steps are ours to own, to accept, and to release.

As always, forgiveness—a journey deep and often dark—begins within us. We cannot offer to others what we do not give to ourselves. In the moment we accept all that we have been, we release the fragrance of forgiveness.

We focus not on what crushes us but on what releases us.

18 thoughts on “Releasing the Fragrance of Forgiveness

  1. I cannot articulate how happy I am for you, Karen! You inspire many with your spiritual work and writing, me included. (That last line — beautiful! — could summarize my upcoming blog post. :))


  2. Thank you for another beautiful post and that quote about fragrance. This whole process of meditation, mindfulness, transformation (affirming and letting go, opening up to what ‘is’ rather than ‘expectation’), takes such discipline and courage. Yet we begin with smallest of acts.

    We just saw the movie, “Wild,” about a young woman’s walk on the Pacific Crest Trail, a hard journey to acceptance. But we all can benefit from facing our own possibilities — and cherishing what each day brings.


    1. It is a great quote, isn’t it? It always reminds me of the quote about risk, when the flower bud could no longer not blossom. It is, truly, in the small acts that the world expands. That’s lovely, Beth.

      Regarding, “Wild, I loved Cheryl Strayed’s book for the very reasons you state. What a journey hers was. I have read more about her and find her quite interesting. Thanks, Beth!


  3. I know a man who spends all is time on vengeance. He holds a perceived wrong to be the meaning of life. He has become the lack of forgiveness and it is eating him alive. Forgiveness is hard, and even harder is perceiving the world around you with a kindness that obviates the need for forgiveness because harm is the act of a moment and often unintended.

    And now for a word from the amateur botanist in me. The lavender flower pictured is a spiderwort.


    1. Thank you, Adrian, for identifying the lavender flower. Cooper and I discovered it some years ago at St. Mark’s.

      When I remember that people really are doing the best they can, I remember that harm, as you so poignantly write, “is the act of a moment and often unintended.” Beautiful, just beautiful.


  4. On the subject of forgiveness,. A Course in Miracles says: “To hold a grievance is to forget who you are. To hold a grievance is to see yourself as a body. To hold a grievance is to let the ego rule your mind and to condemn the body to death……It is certain that those who forgive will find peace.” This is a powerful concept. Thanks as always for a deeply thought provoking blog.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. These lovely words from “A Course in Miracles” remind me how similar all of the major traditions are in their core beliefs. Peace is always within our grasp. Thanks so much, Craig, for adding these thoughts (and yours) to this post.


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