Dear Ones –

This weekend's Oprah's The Life You Want Tour in Houston was incredible. THANK YOU to all who were there, for your energy, your passion, your open hearts.

As usual, I was in the front seat during the all the talks and workshops, leaning in hard to catch all the wisdom I could.

And as usual, it was Iyanla Vanzant who got to me — as in: She made me weep.

This is a photo of me clutching a scarp of paper upon which I wrote something she said — something that, if I can put it into practice, could truly change my life.

Yesterday, Iyanla was telling the story about how her husband of 40 years recently left her for another woman — for a friend of hers actually. She was talking about the anger, the indignation, the grief, the shame, the humiliation of this event. All completely understandable, of course, for such a large-scale betrayal.

Then she spoke in detail about all the steps she took to try to work her way out of her anger and back into grace — because she knew that if she held onto her rage forever it would only burn a hole of bitterness through her soul.

In the end — after all the crying and fighting and suffering, and after working hard to arrive at some model of forgiveness for both her ex-husband and the other woman — she had a revelation of love. She decided to love them. She decided to actually BE IN LOVE WITH THEM. Not just to forgive them, but to LOVE THEM — for their humanity, for their weakness, for their own strange grace, for their intimate role in her destiny.

She said that at first she thought she was going crazy, with this idea of loving them. ("Are you out of your mind, Iyanla? You're in love with the woman who took your husband?") But she knew in her heart that love was the only way out of this emotional hell for herself. Huge, holy, magnificent love, And she said this, about her husband and the other woman, which I wrote down (through tear-filled eyes) on this scrap of paper:

"My love of you — it's got nothing to do with you. I'm trying to save myself. So I love them. I get to choose my relationship with them. Doesn't mean I will invite them for Thanksgiving. But I can love them from my altar and from my prayer table IF IT MEANS MY FREEDOM."

I wept when I heard this.

Your forgiveness of people who have harmed you has nothing to do with THEM.

Your forgiveness is about YOU trying to achieve liberty from the prison of your own suffering, your own anger, you own grief, your own darkness, your own obsessive thoughts, your own indignation.

Love is the only way out of that prison. Radical, outrageous, nearly impossible, superhuman LOVE.

Please understand that — even as I write these words — I do entirely understand how to get there.

But I really want to get there.

Because I want and need this kind of love and forgiveness in my life so desperately, I can't even tell you.

And I believe in it, even if I don't always know how to do it.

I'm gong to cling to this scrap of paper for a long, long time.

(Actually, I'm going to more than cling to a scrap of paper. I should tell you that I just signed up already for an e-course that Iyanla Vanzant is teaching on forgiveness. Because I really need that shit — and there's something about the way this woman speaks and teaches that goes right through the spine of me and really works for me. I don't even know what an e-course is, actually, but I signed up for it, anyhow. Because all I know is that her e-course is called HOW TO FORGIVE EVERYONE FOR EVERYTHING, and that's exactly what I need to learn how to do in this lifetime. What we all need, maybe. Here's a link to the course, if anyone wants to do it with me: https://bit.ly/1wdp8mf)

I just want to be free.

If anyone out there has had this experience — working through your anger and into forgiveness…and then even further into LOVE — please share it here. I want to learn all I can about it.


via Elizabeth Gilbert’s Facebook Wall