by Dawn Fulton

To the workshop facilitators, Amy Block & Sally Bullas. Thank you. Your workshop on forgiveness far exceeded all my expectations. You know you’ve stumbled upon something fundamental to well-being, to our humanity and social connections, when you know the conversations (and inner dialogue) will continue long after a workshop has ended. 

The workshop began with a community circle, where participants introduced themselves and a thought about forgiveness. Amy and Sally both presented ideas on forgiveness from varied Jewish and Christian perspectives. There was a lot of thoughtful dialogue throughout, with people of different walks of life offering amazing insights on the concept of forgiveness and atonement. There was guided meditation, a gathering of participant “teardrops” expressing “For this I am sorry” on paper, a shared song, then a walking meditation and collection of peoples’ “tears”. We closed with personal reflection: “How did we do?”.

If you are like me, the word forgiveness conjures more questions than answers. In the weeks leading up to the workshop, questions, like small seeds began to germinate. A call for self-knowledge, on cue, inner dialogue emerged. Discussions between friends and family unfolded. I/we asked many questions about the meaning/act of forgiveness. Some daunting…some heart-wrenching…some encouraging… What does forgiveness mean to me? What does it mean to you, to others? How does it feel…mind/body/soul? Why? Why not? How? When? What if…? Is there a word more charged with meaning, complexity, and power? I think not. Wow! It’s big.

I shall be thinking about the value and meaning of forgiveness for evermore. Thank you for planting such fruitful seeds, bringing us together to “dialogue in community about forgiveness” as a practice and life affirming process.