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Releasing vs. Forgiving

Updated: Jun 11, 2023

I recently had the opportunity to serve on jury duty. It was an incredibly hard case and without a doubt, most people would have preferred never to be chosen for the case that was presented to us. The details need not be mentioned, but I will say this, the charges required 87 people to show up for jury duty and we went through everyone of those people before creating a jury of 14. That's how many people were triggered by the charges of the case. I have to admit, a couple of years ago, I also would have been one of those people who would NOT be able to listen to the testimony and facts of the case without being biased. I am a completely different person today. I am honestly able to deeply listen to a person, no matter what they have been through or done in their life and approach the situation with no bias, and no judgement. When questioned during the selection process, I disclosed that I am an Equine Gestalt Coach. I disclosed that I am a neutral life coach that deeply listens to a person and all that they have been through. I am there to guide them, not to make judgements. For whatever reason, the judge, nor the attorneys dismissed me from being a juror. The judge or the attorneys had already dismissed quite a few people because of random things, but most importantly, they did not have 14 jurors to fill the required number for a complete, fair, non-biased jury to listen to the case at hand. The charges were rough... The accused was charged with three, not one, but three counts of sexual misconduct against a child. The mere fact that someone would even be charged with something like this is heartbreaking; however, one thing I and everyone on the jury were very adamant about was the fact that our justice system is set up to protect a person who is charged with a crime. A person is innocent until proven guilty.

What does this have to do with forgiving and releasing you might ask... Well, looking back on the experience, the young woman who testified as the victim of these charges said something very powerful during her testimony. She stated that she hated this man who did such terrible things to her and her family. It was obvious to everyone on the jury that she had suffered during the time this person was in her life. It was one of the saddest things I had to endure... Honestly, because I couldn't help this young woman release the emotional pain that she was adamantly holding onto.

As the prosecuting attorney made his opening remarks, he asked the jury if we knew whether or not sexual abuse exists? We all nodded, yes, we knew that it existed. Then he asked us, "how do you know?" All of us answered that we had heard about it happening - someone said they were sexually abused. None of us had experienced it ourselves and none of us were witnesses to it happening. He then reminded us that the testimony of the witness was all that was needed to come to a verdict.

What happened throughout the following days was a complete blur of testimony, lies, emotional pain, more testimony, and a divide within the jury. I volunteered to be the foreperson and everyone thanked me more than they should have. The relief in their eyes was enough for me to understand that I was most likely chosen as a jury just so I could keep the peace during the deliberations. The foreperson keeps the jury on track and allows everyone to speak and won't allow one or two people to bully the group. We are also the only person who has communication with the judge. I was amazed at the arguments, and the deep rooted feelings from our jury about the case. I was amazed at how easily swayed a juror was depending on their own life experience. It was difficult for me to listen to some of the things that people said, but I did it without judgement or even comment. I merely reminded our group that we must hear everyone and think hard about the facts that were presented to us. I reminded everyone what Ben Franklin said many years ago, "it is better to let 100 guilty men go free than let 1 innocent man go to jail." I didn't want emotion getting in the way of what was actually happening. This man was on trial for his freedom, his life. What did everyone believe?

In the end, there wasn't any forgiveness going on. I knew it from the moment I witnessed the testimony of the young woman. I knew it when I witnessed the testimony of the accused. The most challenging part was allowing the rest of the jury to come to the conclusion that I saw immediately without bringing anything more to the table than the actual facts of the case.

There also wasn't going to be a release of this emotional pain for anyone that was in that courtroom, whether it be the defense or the accused. These things can only happen when we process the pain that actually happened to us. I would imagine this young woman will eventually forgive. I can only hope the forgiveness happens for both the accused and the victim.

What I find the most interesting as an Equine Gestalt Coach is the release. I was raised in a Christian family where forgiveness was very important. We forgave everyone of their trespasses. I learned that it is an important life skill to forgive myself and also others for the mistakes they make. What I find interesting is that I forgave everyone in my life who hurt me or caused trauma in my life. I forgave with an open heart. Unfortunately, it didn't matter. It wasn't the forgiveness that set me free. It was the release that I experienced through the Gestalt Coaching process. I was able to step back into that memory and speak my own truth, say what I wanted to say, and fully release the emotional pain from my body, mind and soul. THAT is authentic healing. It is one of the most powerful medicines on this planet and it doesn't require taking a drug. Do I believe my faith led me to this type of coaching. Yes, I do. Do I believe that release is necessary for a person to completely heal from emotional, spiritual, and even physical pain. YES, equine gestalt coaching opens the door for that type of release. Is it the only option? No, it is not. Is it one of the best? You better believe it.

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