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Center for Action and Contemplation

Forgiveness: Weekly Summary and Dance Practice of Inner Peace

Saturday, September 17, 2022

When all is said and done, the gospel comes down to forgiveness.
—Richard Rohr

It is this knowledge of my own frailty that helps me find my compassion, my empathy, my similarity, and my forgiveness for the frailty and cruelty of others.
—Desmond and Mpho Tutu

We cannot sincerely love another or forgive another’s offenses inside of dualistic consciousness. In our habitual, dualistic way of thinking, we view ourselves as separate from God and from each other. We have done the people of God a great disservice by preaching the gospel to them but not giving them the tools whereby they can obey that gospel.
—Richard Rohr

Ubuntu peace is peace between us and peace within each of us. Ubuntu forgiveness is peace that heals.
— Mpho Tutu van Furth

Could it be that this earthly realm, not in spite of but because of its very density and jagged edges, offers precisely the conditions for the expression of certain aspects of divine love that could become real in no other way?
—Cynthia Bourgeault

Without radical and rule-breaking forgiveness—received and given—there will be no reconstruction of anything. Without forgiveness, there will be no future.
—Richard Rohr

Inner Peace Dance—80 Percent Stillness

Spiritual teacher Cynthia Winton-Henry finds dance a useful tool in making space for forgiveness and nonviolent conflict resolution. She writes:

Movement can help recenter you in your body and unlock your innate wisdom. This peace is the peace to be who you are without worry. It is not a staged or pious peace. It isn’t forced or controlled. It is a personal peace that loosens you and brings you back to the heartbeat of humanity. To develop peace in yourself makes you the best peace mediator you can be.

She offers this practice as a way of getting in touch with those spaces of stillness within ourselves:  

Take a deep breath. Let it out with a sigh.

With one arm or your whole body, make a shape.

Breathe into the shape, becoming present to it.

Shifting from one shape or posture to another, it is important to indulge the stillness.

Incorporating music, dance with 80 percent stillness (or whatever is the best percentage for you right now). Your shapes can transition with quick energetic shifts or slow ones.

It is essential to breathe. Sometimes sighing or “toning” while moving keeps the breath alive and the quiet energy flowing.

Dancing with gestures and stillness, invite forgiveness for yourself or others. Lift those you cannot forgive to your higher power.

If you like, imagine creating ripples of peace out into the world.

Experience a version of this practice through video and sound.


Cynthia Winton-Henry, “Dancing Peace and Forgiveness,” in The Forgiveness Handbook: Spiritual Wisdom and Practice for the Journey to Freedom, Healing and Peace, created by the editors at SkyLight Paths (Woodstock, VT: SkyLight Paths Publishing, 2015), 199, 201–202.

Explore Further. . .

Image credit: Katrina Lillian Sorrentino, Entelechy 4, (detail), 2022, photograph, Spain, used with permission. Belinda Rain, Meadow (detail), 1972, photograph, California, public domain. Katrina Lillian Sorrentino, Entelechy 11, (detail), 2022, photograph, Spain, used with permission. Jenna Keiper & Leslye Colvin, 2022, triptych art, United States. Click here to enlarge image.

This week’s images appear in a form inspired by early Christian/Catholic triptych art: a threefold form that tells a unified story. 

Image inspiration: Seeing what is. Acknowledging. Clearing the air. After the vines are ripped from the wall, allowing new growth.

Prayer for our community:

God, Lord of all creation, lover of life and of everything, please help us to love in our very small way what You love infinitely and everywhere. We thank You that we can offer just this one prayer and that will be more than enough,  because in reality every thing and every one is connected, and nothing stands alone. To pray for one part is really to pray for the whole, and so we do. Help us each day to stand for love, for healing, for the good, for the diverse unity of the Body of Christ and all creation, because we know this is what You desire: as Jesus prayed, that all may be one. We offer our prayer together with all the holy names of God, we offer our prayer together with Christ, our Lord, Amen.

Listen to the prayer.


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Radical Resilience

We live in a world on fire. This year the Daily Meditations will explore contemplation as a way to build Radical Resilience so we can stand in solidarity with the world without burning up or burning out. The path ahead may be challenging, but we can walk it together.

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Our theme this year is Radical Resilience. How do we tend our inner flame so we can stand in solidarity with the world without burning up or out? Meditations are emailed every day of the week, including the Weekly Summary on Saturday. Each week builds on previous topics, but you can join at any time.
In a world of fault lines and fractures, how do we expand our sense of self to include love, healing, and forgiveness—not just for ourselves or those like us, but for all? This monthly email features wisdom and stories from the emerging Christian contemplative movement. Join spiritual seekers from around the world and discover your place in the Great Story Line connecting us all in the One Great Life. Conspirare. Breathe with us.