Last year I had dinner with my ex-husband.
I feel it’s so important to talk about the power of forgiveness.
People tend to make a lot of assumptions about my story of why I stayed in a toxic marriage for 10 years. The truth? I loved my husband. We had many moments of joy, but not enough required to outlive the pain we would manifest emotionally.
Sometimes I wonder if anyone stops to pause and wonder how I feel about being so public about my story of domestic violence and the impact that it has had on the lives of others involved in their own version of the story.
I have tried my best to be very careful and protective of my ex husband’s identity. I told him over dinner last year that our story would be going public to help others.
At the time, I didn’t realize how public, exactly.
It was the 31st of July, 2018 and I decided to join him and our children for dinner the night he arrived in Las Vegas from Australia. It had been three years since we had all been together. My two oldest children – Thomas and Olivia – felt extremely nervous to have their parents in the same space sitting across from one another at the California Pizza Kitchen.
Most people would close that chapter behind them if they managed to “escape”. I’m sure he might have felt that way too, but I can’t assume. Most people would leave and never look back. Despite a decade of pain together, unfulfilled emotions which lead to my infidelity, I chose to get curious and explore the present moment with my ex-husband. I was interested to understand who he had become. I also wanted him to see who I had become too. I was no longer a timid, voiceless girl. I was the exact version of the person I had intentionally grown to become.
I wondered if he realized the strength it required to build my life after leaving. I'd often wondered how he felt in the process too. Did he understand that I have forgiven him, and I honor him for our experience together? There were so many questions, and not enough space for answers.
For the first time in many years we sat together eating dinner. It was a little weird at first. I sat across from him and we chatted about life and other tiny details. I asked about his brother and his parents.
Then I told him that I wrote a book called Dear Universe which wouldn’t have been possible without him and our marriage.
I did it, I went there.
“Names have been changed to protect the innocent, I hope! You know I’m guilty!” – he said jokingly.
We laughed. Enough time had passed to share a laugh. It felt good.
I explained to him that Dear Universe was born and written from my loneliness, and my desire to take responsibility for my own happiness and to heal my emotional pain. That a tiny moment on New Year’s Eve in 2008 was the very beginning of my empowerment.
Then he said genuinely:
I never would have thought in a million years that I would be sitting peacefully at a dinner table with my ex-husband exchanging pleasantries. The energy that fuelled our mutual violence for so many years had vanished – like dissolving a spoonful of sugar in a glass of water.
I had forgiven him. I had forgiven myself. The blessing was also the opportunity to express to him that there was a divine purpose to the pain. That beyond just creating two beautiful children together, that The Universe had actually worked through us to inspire millions of people. I expressed the deep honor of the pain – the divine plan.
More often than not, we can’t see the lesson and the purpose when we’re in the midst of the emotional distress. We tend to always get so wrapped up in the wrongness. We’re blinded by blame, entitlement and judgement.
The famous Sufi poet, Rumi, once wrote:
“There is a field beyond all notions of right and wrong. Come, meet me there.”
In this moment with my ex-husband, in the restaurant in Las Vegas, I was sitting in that field. I was no longer carrying the label of “adulteress” and he was no longer a “wife beater”. We were just two people in the surrendered state of forgiveness because enough time had passed for us to become different people.
Don’t get me wrong – it was still super awkward! However, there was a full circle layer of completion that was in the process of unfolding.
Today, as I write these words. I wish my ex husband nothing but happiness, joy and fulfillment. Our path together completed a very karmic circle. There was love, and there was loss – loss of ourselves and then a magnificent rebirth of possiblity.
The power of forgiveness is transformative. It heals you on every level of your being and allows you to create your future from a space of clarity, stillness and joy without the burden of the past holding you down. Obsessing about the wrongdoings of others will make you sick.
The power of forgiveness is the manifestation of your ultimate freedom.
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Do you have someone to forgive? Do you perhaps need to forgive yourself? Please feel free to leave a comment below…