Galen Pearl

Galen Pearl

Galen Pearl

The Season of Forgiveness

To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.  ~Lewis B. Smedes

Fall was the season of courage and gathering energy. Winter was the season of stillness and storing energy. Now we arrive at spring. The light has been quietly returning since the beginning of winter, and now it surpasses the darkness as birds sing the day awake. Sap rises. Buds that have waited patiently through the cold months open timidly or boldly burst forth. Everyone comes out of hibernation. Kids are playing outside as neighbors greet each other. The stores of winter are almost depleted and now it’s time to plant. There is a sense of newness, of promise. We feel alive.

It’s funny in a way that our calendar new year begins just as winter settles in. The new year motivates us to begin new projects, set new goals. But winter’s energy is stillness and quiet, not action and accomplishment. Spring is much better suited for these undertakings. The Chinese medicine and qigong associations predictably express this energy of expansion and growth, but the association of forgiveness might not be so obvious. Let’s look at the various associations to see what they have to teach us this season.


The organ associated with spring is the liver. The liver is a busy organ, with detox, regulation, and production functions. The detox function purifies the blood and prevents stagnation and is perfect for spring, like perpetual spring cleaning! This function operates in our physical system, cleaning the blood, and also in our energetic system, cleaning our qi, or vital essence.

One of the points on the liver meridian is called the “great surge.” The Chinese character for surge is      . The short lines on the left side of the character stand for water. The rectangle with the vertical line through it means center. So this character suggests the center of water, like a spring bubbling up. We saw this same character used in chapter 4 of the Tao Te Ching to describe the inexhaustible nature of Tao.

This particular acupressure point on the liver meridian is located on the top of our feet, in the “valley” between the bones leading to our big toe and the one next to it.

Massaging this point on either foot is a great pick me up, helping to remove energy blockages so that the qi can move freely through the body. I’m told it can also help with headaches and allergies!


The element associated with the liver is wood. This is not surprising as trees blossom and produce new leaves in the spring. There is also an expansion quality of energy in this season, represented by the rings added around tree trunks every year. Indeed, this quality of growth and expansion is seen in all plant life. Whether it’s dandelions growing through cracks in the sidewalk, or fern fronds unfurling, or vine tendrils curling around porch railings, we see this great surge of life that will not be denied.


As stated before, the emotional associations are often categorized as positive or negative, but don’t think of this as good or bad, but more like a polarity, or a balance. The negative emotion associated with this season is anger. We sometimes feel anger when our plans are thwarted in some way, when our efforts to move in a chosen direction are blocked. When this happens we look for someone or something to blame, and when we find a target, our anger is reinforced.

The positive emotion to counter anger is forgiveness. This might not make sense at first, but think about what unforgiveness feels like. We often feel stuck in our righteous indignation. When we can’t “let it go,” we begin to stagnate in our inability or unwillingness to move on. When I used to lead discussion groups on this topic, a common stumbling block was the belief that forgiveness had to be warranted in some way. But this is based on the mistaken view that forgiveness is for the benefit of the forgiven, when in reality, forgiveness liberates the forgiver.  [The topic of forgiveness is vast, and certainly deserves more than I can include in this post, but here is a link to something else I wrote on this topic that might be helpful.]

The healing sound associated with the liver is “shhhh.” What a perfect sound to soothe the beast of anger and allow the angel of forgiveness to release us from whatever blocks the sunshine of our souls.

So this season is a perfect time to clean out the debris, plant a new crop of beauty, and watch it grow.

Spring is nature’s way of saying “Let’s party!”  ~Robin Williams

10 thoughts on “The Season of Forgiveness”

  1. I love that quote from Robin Williams, Galen – yes, let's party on! Spring is a time for renewal, and renewed strength in our convictions and aspirations, as we watch everything bloom to life around us, reminding us that forgiveness of others is the key to living a fulfilled and joyous existence here on earth.
    I was also fascinated by your advice about the acupressure point in our feet. I will definitely try this! As I've just recently emerged from being ill, and am now drinking pure filtered water, I'm already feeling so much better physically, but this could surely help things along.
    I love your wisdom shared here, my friend, and hope you will keep it coming!

  2. Thanks so much, Martha. If you try the acupressure, let me know if it helps. I like to apply pressure on that point on top of my foot with a finger on one hand while I massage the "bubbling well" kidney point (in the indentation just behind the ball of the foot) with the other hand. You can Google images of LV3 (point 3 on the liver meridian) to get the exact right acupressure point on top of your foot. I'm so glad you are feeling better. Using spring's energy of growth is a great time to expand that good health! Good luck!

  3. Wow, I could really relate to this one on more than one level. Also, I can use some of your thoughts in our missionary work. We are working with a young man who is stuck in anger and doesn't have an understanding of forgiveness. You are so right that when you forgive it does liberate the forgiver.
    I will defiantly try the acupressure points. I have allergies and I'm willing to give this a try. Plus I can use a pick up more often than not.
    It makes sense to me that the Liver would be the organ associated with the spring. What the Liver does is amazing. Actually, the body itself is miraculous in so many way.
    I love the spring and it always awakens in me deep gratitude for the marvelous gift of this beautiful earth and for it's magnificent creator. Blessings and hugs for this post! By the way, I am really enjoying your book. I try to read from it frequently because it is so uplifting and well written. Thanks you again for this gift.

  4. So glad you liked this one, LeAnn. And I'm so pleased that it has given you some ideas about your missionary work. If you click on the link in the post to the other article on forgiveness it will give you some specific steps to take to help that process which might benefit the young man you are working with. Also, the chapter on forgiveness in the book might give you some ideas. I hope so.

    Let me know if the acupressure massage helps your allergies. Sometimes these claims seem a bit far fetched, but the body is amazing, and when we help it along, then everything works together so much better.

    Our spring is still wet and chilly here, but we have had a few beautiful days, and I'm eager for more!

    Thanks for the kind words about the book. I'm so glad you like it.

  5. Your writings and thoughts of forgiveness have resonated with me deeply Galen. Thank you for this post and the one you linked to.

  6. Thanks, Vishnu. I'm glad you liked both posts. I still remember your telling me about sitting on the curb with my book reading about forgiveness. That is a powerful image, and a testament to your determination to embrace the gifts that forgiveness brings.

  7. You might enjoy the book Radical Forgiveness. It offers some very concrete steps to lead you from unforgiveness to joy. It presents a completely different concept of forgiveness than the one we usually think about.

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