What does it really mean to forgive?

“To forgive is not just to be altruistic. It is the best form of self-interest. What dehumanizes you inexorably dehumanizes me. [Forgiveness] gives people resilience, enabling them to survive and emerge still human despite all efforts to dehumanize them.”
– Desmond Tutu

Hi everyone,

LIving Ubuntu Retreat

Living Ubuntu Spring Retreat in Idyllwild, CA (April 29 - May1). Click here for more details.

The above quote is posted on our web site as part of Desmond Tutu’s description of what Ubuntu means.  Ubuntu was a big part of what South Africa relied on after apartheid in order to figure out what to do with the horrific wounds of the past in order to be able to move forward together into a better future.

Yet, in our society, do we really understand how to accomplish forgiveness?

My own observations include that sometimes people rush into it Pollyanna style and it doesn’t feel genuine.  After all, the past is the past, right? Due to our own limitations and impatience, we often urge people to just get over it!

On the opposite end of the spectrum, there are those who with jaw-clenching determination insist on holding on to a grudge, justifying the pursuit of revenge, and sadistically savoring punishment.  (I don’t think we really like to peer into our dark side as a society very often, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t there.)

The theme of the next Living Ubuntu Retreat is Forgiveness and we will explore it from many angles.  While intellectual discussions can be very stimulating on these topics, the retreat will be more experientially-based.  The emphasis will be on exploring how emotional wounds get stuck in the body and what it takes to achieve genuine healing and acceptance.

All details are on our blog.  I hope you will join us.

Barbara English
Executive Director, Living Ubuntu
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