Finding Forgiveness on Everest

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“As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn't leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I'd still be in prison.” -Nelson Mandela

It’s no shocker if you’ve been following along that this last year kicked my butt. Climbing and Trekking around in the Himalayan Mountains up to Everest Base Camp solo in January gave me hours upon HOURSSSSS to sit and be with my own thoughts. I learned three great lessons while trekking and the first one is this:

Forgiveness.

I’ve always leaned on great teachers like Maya Angelou who says,

“It's one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself, to forgive. Forgive everybody.”

And Louis Zamporini who quotes,

“I think the hardest thing in life is to forgive. Hate is self destructive. If you hate somebody, you're not hurting the person you hate, you're hurting yourself. It's a healing, actually, it's a real healing...forgiveness.”

But the statement that really grabbed me was the first one by Nelson Mandela....About letting go of bitterness to find freedom.

I believe after my trauma the emotions of anger and bitterness were masked by anxiety, depression, ptsd and depression. I honestly didn’t realize that bitterness over the trauma and those who turned their backs to me was an issue until I had all those hours alone to ponder. And then I realized that the emotions of bitterness and resentment were holding me back and I wasn’t going to have that anymore. I’m coming up on a year of therapy and doing the HARD WORK. I’ve confronted and spoken up despite the fear. I’ve done the damn things needed to heal EXCEPT let go of the bitterness.

This point on the trek. This EXACT point...was when I let it all go. It was that simple. Let it go. With a few deep breaths I let go of anger, bitterness and embraced total forgiveness. It was the greatest gift I could give to myself. Since this moment, I have felt so much peace and calm deep in my soul. Forgiveness doesn’t mean I ever want to invite the abuser or the betrayers to my home or for a coffee...it simply means “I am done with you.”

It’s SO freeing. There’s so much lightness. This moment was worth the entire adventure. It changed me SO deeply. I know now whatever I face next, I am doing it with the purest of soul. One that has learned once again that forgiveness is the only true was to freedom. Even in the most horrible, disgusting situations that we are faced with in life. My power comes from being able to forgive those who hurt me. They may have tried to take my power though assault and words ... but my power is stronger than their actions can ever be. My power is peace. My power is letting go. My power is forgiveness. My power is my voice. My power is my TRUTH.