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I received a message in my email today. The message was short; only 6 very powerful words:

I forgive and experience joy--now!

I was immediately impacted by those words in two ways. My first reaction was an internal knowing that they are words of truth. A knowing that forgiveness is one of the steps to being free of past hurt and pain including forgiveness of myself. My second reaction was that of anger and denial. I have suffered through some of the darkest moments in life because of the beliefs and actions of others. One particular person that comes to mind has been particularly difficult for me to forgive...and yet I now realize that I am the one that is suffering because of it.

Resentment is like sipping poison and waiting for the other person to die - Malachy McCourt

I first heard those remarkable words more than a decade ago and they still resonate strongly. Resenting this person does not harm them nearly as much as it harms me. I have been telling myself for years now that while I have released the pain and darkness of the situation that "I am not ready to forgive this person for what they have done to me." 
To be blunt, this has been nothing but a lie to myself. All of the pain and darkness cannot be released until I am able to forgive. I am still carrying around the posion inside of myself. Perhaps, I may have stopped sipping it...but the effects of the poison still continue.
When the student is ready...the teacher will appear - Buddhist Proverb
The brilliance of this statement is that it is absolutely true. I have learned  it means that when you are ready for something you will be presented with "teachers" or resources to show you the path. The path has always been there for you, but now your awareness is fertile and ready to absorb the information to make it more real to you. Now you can take advantage of and use this information.
The teacher appearing is in reality a block in your life dissappearing, your mind opening to the possibility of its existence. When you are in alignment with something you start to "see" it and align with what you need to grow. When you are ready to forgive someone, you see the opportunities in the messages that come your way each day.
I could have looked at the words "I forgive and experience joy--now!" and thought "yea, whatever" and stayed in my space of anger and denial. Apparently, I may be ready to seek another path. The opportunity to look at this situation differently is indeed ripe and fertile for me. I am exploring my forgiveness of this person as an opportunity for my growth. Up until now, this situation has left me stuck in the past and unable to be in the present moment with this person.
Your opportunity this week is to look at a situation in your life that needs your forgiveness. Understand that you are doing this first and foremost for your own good. Which situations of "heaviness" from the past are you carrying around that could be causing challenges with your mental and physical health? Are any of those situations, including your failures of the past ready to be seen and experienced differently? 
Perhaps, you are ready today. When you are...your teacher(s) will appear.
Andrew Sanderbeck
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