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A Ceremony for Forgiveness and Release

Rio Grande river Taos Pilar New Mexico water Orilla Verde Recreation Area
Rio Grande, Orilla Verde Recreation Area, Pilar, New Mexico

I've been a practicing ceremony celebrant for over a year and a half now, and it's a more fulfilling vocation than I could have imagined. It's really confirmed for me the value of ceremony and ritual as a tool for transformation, as well as celebration.

The Orilla Verde Recreation Area on the Rio Grande, just outside of Taos in Pilar, has become a "sacred spot" for me. I've now done five ceremonies there, beginning before I was even a celebrant when I scattered my brother's ashes there. In a significant way, that was the beginning of my journey into celebrancy, although I didn't know it at the time.

Since then, I've performed two weddings there (both same sex), a baptism (the bride in the second wedding I ever did requested it), and a personal ceremony that was one of the most transformational things I've ever done.

My ex had begun a new relationship almost a year earlier, and I had a very hard time dealing with that. But I had to find a way to accept it, if for no other reason that we have a child together, and there was now a new mother-figure in her life.

He agreed to do a ceremony for forgiveness, healing, and closure with me. I'd found a resource online for us to use called 6 Steps to Completing Relationships. It entailed writing down lists of resentments, apologies, things you forgive the other person for, things you're grateful to the person for, and things you appreciate about them and will miss; and then expressing all those things to each other.

The ceremony I built around this was an incredibly powerful thing to do. When we were done reading our lists, we burned them together and threw the ashes into the river. We cried and hugged and knew without a doubt we had moved into a new way of relating with each other, a rebirth of a relationship that was not just about raising our daughter, but was based on a love and willingness to grow with each other, and that now included his new partner. I felt expansive, clean, whole. At peace. Full of joy and acceptance.

I highly recommend this type of ceremony for anyone who's struggling with forgiveness. If it's not possible to do it with the person in question, it can easily be adapted to do on your own. Because, as many wise people have pointed out, forgiveness is ultimately for your own freedom and healing.

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