I received the above quote from one of TKF’s board members as it reminded her of my story of forgiveness that led to establishing the Tariq Khamisa Foundation.
Upon receiving it, I was reminded of one of my favorite Nelson Mandela quotes:
“As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison.”
Yet we mortals find forgiveness a difficult challenge as we are very conditioned to judge the perpetrators who we deem have harmed us is an act of intrusion or an infraction. Sometimes they are violent, like the tragedy I was confronted with that killed my 20-year-old, promising son, Tariq, at the hand of a 14-year-old child, Tony. My forgiveness journey started there 25 years ago to deal with the worst nightmare of a parent. Yet looking back at the decision to forgive 25 years ago I can unequivocally state that it was the right decision for me.
Of course, I had no clue all that would manifest in my life as a result of that choice. For starters, I was able to find my life’s purpose in this tragedy by founding TKF. Additionally, I have been teaching the benefits of forgiveness, found the passion to publish 5 books, give over a 1,000 presentations to students, plus another 600 keynote lectures to adults globally, have had the honor of being involved with media interviews, and have even received a plethora of awards.
Most of us get the importance of physical health by adopting a healthy lifestyle of a good plant-based diet, regular exercise, inspirational reading, prayer, yoga, and meditation–which are important to adopt in living a balanced life. However, how much attention have we given to the baggage we accumulate in our lives as a result of suffering a variety of misfortunes? These unresolved areas can come from the loss of a loved one, being ostracized by family, financial hardships, half the marriages end up in divorce, health challenges, and other hard hits that are part of life’s journey. This baggage often is in the form of anger, stress, resentment, sometimes hatred, hostility, animosity, antagonism, and a plethora of other debilitating negative emotions.
We are not perfect human beings and that is why we have chosen to live this life so we can grow and evolve through our mistakes. At some level, we all have also caused harm to others in our journey and sometimes to those closest to us. This baggage comes as shame, guilt, disgrace, remorse, regret, and culpability. Often staying in these harmful states of emotions can lead to severe illness and depression. Just look at the huge amounts of opioids Americans consume as compared to other cultures.
So, the benefits of forgiveness as stated in the quotes above are HUGE. It is not about the perpetrator. I believe there is no escaping wrongdoing; karma always balances. Forgiveness is about good spiritual and emotional hygiene for you – it is a gift that you give to yourself for good health. The key is to separate yourself from the offender – leave the offender to the higher power. Forgive those that have harmed you and forgive yourself to create a different bridge to your future where you can enjoy living in empathy, compassion, kindness, forgiveness, love, and in service of our sisters and brothers. It is a joyful, happy life with untold health benefits rather than living in the above corrosive emotions that often manifest as terminal illnesses like cancer. If one really gets the individual benefits of forgiveness it would not be so difficult to do.
The question that comes up for many that cognitively understand the benefits of forgiveness of others and self, is how do you actually get there? Well, I have good news for you – for the last 20 plus years, I have been doing a deep dive in the process of forgiveness of others and forgiveness of yourself. These workshops clearly present the process and the milestone steps that I used to forgive the killer of my son and then had to look at my own stuff to arrive at a peaceful, healthy, and joyful life. The workshop is experiential and engaging and most of the participants receive a breakthrough. In the right column are some comments from previous participants.
Prior to the pandemic and for the past 20 plus years, I led these workshops in person. This September from 9/29 to 10/2 I am doing my second Master Class online for 4 days, meeting 4 hours a day for a total of 16 hours; a deep dive into the process of forgiving others, and forgiving yourself. I promise that you will emerge a different person at the end of the workshop ready to take on the world and live impactfully in manifesting your life’s purpose. It has for me and it can for you! All you need is courage and determination to live a better life. Please join – here is the link to register.
Peace and many blessings on your journey forward,