(by Iyanla Vanzant)[dropcap]W[/dropcap]e are about to embark on an exciting and life-changing journey. For some of us, this trek will be as challenging as climbing up a steep mountain while carrying a hundred pounds on our backs. For others, it will be like having a tooth extracted without Novocain. For many of us—those of us who are ready to change, heal, and grow—we will be energized and sometimes shocked with joy over how much we learn about ourselves and how good we begin to feel in the process. We are about to dive headfirst, soul deep into the practice of forgiveness.
What I have learned during my 30-year sojourn through the science of personal and spiritual growth and healing is that forgiveness will cure whatever ails you. The other thing I am totally convinced of is that while forgiveness ain’t easy, it’s the most important inner work you can do within your mind and heart.
Most of us were never taught that any experience that comes into your life comes by energetic invitation. For this reason, it is imperative that you learn how to keep your energy clear. The practice of forgiveness is your ticket to clarity, vitality, and freedom.
Over the years, I have received hundreds of thousands of letters written by people from all walks of life. Many reveal excruciating stories of sorrow and suffering. At one time, I would write long responses, offering condolences and possible explanations for the tragedies people had endured. Then my daughter passed away, and I was inconsolable. I ended a 40-year relationship, and I was enraged. I was forced to move out of my dream home, and I was ashamed and degraded.[span3][margin_10t]“If you know anything about my life story, you know that I have been to some very dark places.”[margin_10b][/span3]
If you know anything about my life story, you know that I have been to some very dark places. Through every experience of my “life breakdown,” the only thing that made me feel as if I was still in possession of my right mind, with the capacity to make it through the darkness, was forgiveness. Now, I am sharing what I learned through those experiences with you.
Even when I didn’t know whom to forgive or why I should forgive, I said the words. I wrote them in my journal. I cried and screamed, pouted and sometimes I even stomped my feet in resistance, but in the end I learned to forgive everyone for everything, including myself. In the process, I discovered something extraordinary. I discovered peace.
This book is my loving challenge for you to come out of the darkness and into the light. This “21 Days to Forgive Everyone for Everything” practice is my formal invitation for you to join me in an intensive personal transformation process. It’s a multidimensional ritual that will clear the decks of your mind and heart to create the space necessary for you to live with more love for yourself and others. This practice will help you achieve a deeper sense of peace and wellbeing and gain increased clarity about the lessons and blessings available to you. It is my way of walking with you through the twists and turns of your life so that you can discover the hidden path to whatever your heart desires.
I can promise you that if you take this journey with me, you will learn a great deal about yourself, and that is always a good thing. I can also promise that if you hang in there with me, you will begin to see yourself, your life, your every experience, and every person in your life from a new point of view.[span3][margin_10t]“Even when I didn’t know whom to forgive or why I should forgive, I said the words.”[margin_10b][/span3]
Even though I will be with you every step of the way on this journey, I have also invited some friends to join us. When you walk with friends it can make a challenging or difficult journey seem a lot shorter and a great deal easier. At the beginning of selected day’s practice, you will meet a “forgiveness friend,” a contributor, who will share their story of transformation. From losing a mother in a murder to the reconciliation of siblings, each story reveals that as Reinhold Niebuhr says, “Forgiveness is the final form of love.” Forgiveness can do that. It can sharpen and broaden your vision. Then, the vision will pull you forward into a totally new way of being, seeing, and living. I promise you, we can do this—if we do it together.
We can do this if you make the commitment now. We can do this if you are ready to stop feeling bad; stop being wounded; stop wondering why this or that; stop holding grudges; and stop giving yourself reasons and excuses to be, do, and have less than you desire. We can do this if you are ready to experience a miracle in your life. Now remember, this is not easy, but it is doable. So get yourself a beautiful Forgiveness Journal and a special pen, and let’s begin!
Copyright © 2013 Iyanla Vanzant. Reprinted by permission of SmileyBooks. All rights reserved.
From welfare mother to New York Times best-selling author, from the Brooklyn projects to Emmy Award winner, from broken pieces to peace, Iyanla Vanzant is one of America’s most prolific writers and public speakers and among the most influential, socially engaged, and acclaimed spiritual life coaches of our time. Host and producer of the breakout hit Iyanla: Fix My Life on OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network, Iyanla Vanzant’s focus on faith, empowerment, and loving relationships has inspired millions around the world. www.innervisionsworldwide.com