Finding Peace through Forgiveness

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Forgiveness begged to be learned the year I quit my job. I had been struggling with my boss, my mother entered rehab and my best friend and I grew apart. I didn’t want to hold on to resentment but I was drowning in my anger and I didn’t know how to forgive. I felt hurt, disregarded and realized that despite my pain, I had to forgive them. I knew the lesson was coming, I just wasn’t ready for it in triplicate.

The lessons began in January when I was called into a meeting with my boss. The goal was to find a middle ground so working together could be amicable and productive. The meeting didn’t seem to resolve anything and I left in tears and frustrated. I realized that my time there was coming to an end.

After the meeting, things continued to get more difficult and strained and then the day came when I was no longer his employee. I felt free. All of a sudden the stress and resentment started to melt away and I was able to begin the process of forgiving him.

I finally understood that we both had different levels of understanding and that was where all of our problems stemmed from. Neither of us was willing to budge, standing our ground firmly. I was grateful for this lesson and vowed to remember it when I disagreed with another person. I released my resentment and sent him thoughts of success and happiness and closed the chapter on that part of my life.

A week later, I was on a plane to Bali. I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to write, relax and renew my soul. A few days into the trip, I received a call from my mother telling me she was entering rehab. I was shocked and angry. I felt like a dark cloud immediately covered my trip and it did, literally, in the form of incessant rain during the usual dry season.

The rain did not help me process and I cried just as much as rain poured down. I could barely write and peacefulness was nowhere to be found. I had to deal with a lot of anger, hurt and resentment in one of the most significant relationships of my life and I was on the other side of the planet. I tried my best to overcome my sorrow, but my mind stayed fixed on the issue.

Then one day, she called me and asked for forgiveness. I thought about my mother’s pain and a wave of compassion towards her came over me. I decided that I needed to find a way to forgive her. It wasn’t easy at first but I decided to write about it and allow time to heal. Through compassion and writing, I was able to see a clear path to forgiveness and restoration in our relationship.

With time, I have been able to restore and even strengthen my relationship with my mother and I am so grateful. The bitterness that I had harbored dissipated with the practice of forgiving and letting go. I was amazed at the healing that came after I resolved to surrender to the process.

As one relationship began to be restored, another started to crumble. It happened unexpectedly. My closest friend and I started to grow apart. We had shared everything for years, including world travel. After I left Bali, our relationship began to unravel. I went home to start a new chapter in my life where I went inward and continued to work on things that I had been ignoring for years. She continued to travel and with each destination, our relationship slowly fell apart.

This realization was tough for me. It is hard to realize that someone you have been close to for a long time starts growing apart from you. It was like a branch splitting in two creating two new trees. Each of the trees growing and blossoming, but separately. It hurts. Anger, resentment, confusion and sadness all happened at once. I knew in order to heal, I needed to release the relationship and forgive.

Once I moved forward with the process, I felt an immense sense of peace. I felt a sense of spaciousness, ready to be filled with something lovely. Letting go always creates that beautiful void where what is begging to grow has the space it finally needs to evolve. I learned that to forgive does not always mean to restore. Sometimes forgiving means releasing and letting go completely or for a time to allow healing to occur.

The most important lesson in forgiveness is the peace it provides. There is no peace in holding on to a hurt emotion. Whether letting go completely or restoring a relationship from a healed place, forgiveness offers peace of mind and clarity. There is a lightness that can only be felt once the weight of resentment, hurt and bitterness is lifted. Forgiveness heals and restores the lightness and replaces the weight with immense peace. It is a way to say “Peace be with you, peace be with me.”

Making Dreams Come True in Bali

leo

I met Leo on my first trip to Bali in 2012. He was a barista in my favorite coffee shop, Kopi Desa, and we became friends during my stay. I returned last year to stay for a month and was so happy to see that he had started his own restaurant, Cupit BBQ. Cupit is located in Penestanan right outside of Ubud, the cultural center of Bali. The dining room looks over a river bank with lush tropical plants growing down the hill; such a lovely place.

Leo beams with positivity and greets everyone with a smile. His place specializes in BBQ and is a family run operation. You can tell that the food is made and served with love. It was one of my favorite spots to stop and hang out after a warm walk into town. He serves amazing homemade ginger ale and his beer is kept very cold.  Leo will even play guitar and have a sing-a-long with you if you ask nicely; one of my favorite memories from Bali.

I am inspired by Leo’s story and wanted to share a little bit of his spark. My hope is that this will inspire others to go after their dreams and not be afraid of the work they sometimes require.

What made you decide to go after your dream of opening Cupit BBQ?

Leo: Well since I had lots of experience in many restaurants as a barista, waiter and cook, I wanted to make something small like Cupit so I could do all the stuff I have learned. I wanted to have a restaurant before. When it all works, I want to travel to see the world.

What does “dream come true” mean to you?

L: The thing that we really wanted to have and we get it after the hard work we have done.

Are your dreams coming true?

L: I have Cupit but I have other dreams that I need to work out. I really want to travel as you know I tried for a U.S. visa before and that didn’t work. I want to try again and I want to travel to Europe. I know its going to be hard but I believe there are always ways to make it happen. I know I will get it. Cupit was my first dream and it came true.

When you were a little boy, what did you want to do when you grew up?

L: Honestly, I have know clue what  I want to be. Since we have a difficult life (poor) before, my family was always working. I started working the first time when I was 6 years old. I helped my mother sell her ice cream and part time I went to school. So, most of the time, I worked hard as a kid. Then I went to tourism school and I worked on better jobs and learned a lot of things.

Like English? Because you speak lovely English.

L: Yes! I learned English in university for 4 years. But before, I learned it a little bit as well in high school. I also learned Japanese as well in high school.

How many languages do you speak?

L: Bahasa, Balinese, English and a bit of Japanese now since I never practice. I am still learning Dutch and German.

That is amazing! Are you proud of yourself?

L: Yes! I had a big dream to make come true. “I am a dreamer, and I am not the only one” that’s written on my arm so I can see it and work on my dream.

I love that! So, I teach people about living an intentional life. It is basically not just working towards goals but having a reason (intention) behind everything we do. What would you say your intentions are?

L: Well I think for me its simple. I really want to change my life to be better than before. I want to see the world. By starting Cupit, I think I can make it happen.

Terima Kasih, Leo!

I greatly appreciate Leo for his openness and willingness to share with me. Most of all, I am grateful for his friendship and inspiration. Relentlessly pursuing a dream works with the right intentions. Leo wasn’t afraid of the hard work and I admire him for sticking to his dreams. When I returned home from my trip, his story inspired me to be brave and start my business. Bali continues to teach me lessons, even a year after I’ve returned. If you get a chance to visit this enchanted place, make sure to visit Leo’s restaurant and say hello. You won’t regret it.