When I got married, someone made a scene during the ceremony. Small church. Thirty guests. Everyone saw it. It was embarrassing and hurtful. But what has made it even worse, is the silence that’s filled the space between us in the three years since. No apology on their part. No forgiveness on mine.
Last week, I heard that after four decades, Paul McCartney had forgiven Yoko Ono for breaking up the Beatles. During an interview with Howard Stern, McCartney recounted his dismay over John Lennon’s decision to leave the Beatles. Once riding the wave of fame and fortune as a key part of the world’s most popular rock band, McCartney was left as a solo artist, depressed and lost. He was also left carrying a fiery torch of resentment for Yoko Ono, who he believed fueled Lennon’s choice to break up the Beatles.
McCartney’s grudge lasted forty years. Forty years. And in that time, McCartney and Yoko went their separate ways, only engaging each other long enough to squabble over songwriting credits, stoking the fires of resentment even more.
But now it seems McCartney has turned the corner. At seventy-one years old, McCartney has relinquished the grip Yoko had on him.
Who’s your Yoko Ono? We all have one. Someone who hurt you. Said something mean about you. Stole your husband. Was your husband. Someone who betrayed you. Cheated on you. Made you look like a fool. Or made a scene at your wedding.
It’s nothing to be ashamed of – having a Yoko Ono. Subconsciously, we often believe we need our Yoko Ono. We walk around like a victim, portraying a false sense of valor for the pain that was inflicted on us. We’re heroes, in our own minds, sitting high on a perch passing judgment on our Yoko’s every move.
Let’s not be too hard on ourselves though. It took Paul McCartney forty years to forgive his Yoko Ono. And this is a Renaissance kind of a guy. He’s a prolific artist with twenty-four solo albums under his belt. A vegetarian and activist who tries to make the world a better place. A husband who loved his first wife so much that he made her part of his band even though she couldn’t sing. And let’s not forget that he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II. Which just goes to show you, an inability to forgive can cause a chink in even the most seemingly perfect armor.
Here’s the truth about forgiveness. It is never, and I mean never, about your Yoko Ono. Forgiveness has one face, one facet, one element that is the same for everyone.
Forgiveness is about you.
It’s about you choosing to let go. Choosing to free yourself from the hurt. Forgiveness is about you not letting anyone else run the control panel of your mind. You are in charge of your own happiness. You are the keeper of your energy. You are the protector of your soul.
In addition to the lesson of forgiveness found in these hurtful events, you’ll often find a secondary lesson. This is where the magic happens.
Look at Sir Paul. He was mister doom and gloom over the Beatles breaking up. But, had the Beatles stayed together, the world would never have had songs like, “My Love” and “Band on the Run.”
Sir Paul was forced out of his comfort zone. Where everything was fun and easy. Where he hung with his friends, made music, and pretty much printed money. He had to find his own artistic expression. His own voice. He had a gift to share with the world that might not have been fully realized had he stayed in the warm Beatles nest. Had it not been for, gasp, Yoko Ono.
Sir Paul’s Yoko Ono was a catalyst. An energy shifter. She was a piece of his Universal puzzle. A puzzle that had to be solved.
Trust me when I tell you that your Yoko Ono plays the same role in your life. Once you learn the lesson of forgiveness, your job is to uncover the other lesson and solve your puzzle. Take the person who made a scene at my wedding. In addition to forgiveness, I had a bigger, more magical lesson to learn. Grace.
When I chose to rise above the person’s antics, and not respond while the scene was happening, I discovered a calmness in me I had never felt. And when I channeled that grace, the love I had for my husband and the sanctity of our marriage rose inside me like a warm, eternal spring. Regardless of what was happening during the ceremony, I was filled with joy.
Just like Sir Paul and Yoko, you may never be best friends with your Yoko Ono, and that’s O.K. Forgiveness doesn’t require rainbows and butterflies. All that it requires is for you to let go. And if you’re lucky, the Universe will toss in a bonus lesson that will take you to the next level of your human experience.
So here’s to all the Yoko Onos out there breaking our hearts and giving us hell. Without them, we’d be lesser people.