Make Peace: Declare Your Personal Amnesty


By Mary Jaksch

Let’s establish our own program of peace and reconciliation, and grant amnesty to all the people we resent and have grievances against. Let us free our prisoners. Let us also let go of our regrets, our losses and failures, our hang-ups and mistakes and handicap, our bad luck and unfortunate experiences.
~ Elaine MacIness The Flowing Bridge

It’s quite remarkable how we can be all in favor of truth and reconciliation programs in the world. We are willing to stand up for world peace. We condemn countries that wage war. We are in favor of releasing prisoners from Guantanamo Bay.

Faced with your own prisoners, we are reluctant to set them free.


Our stories of grievances, of limitations and hard luck are part of our identity. If we let them go, it means letting go of who we think we are. That’s not so easy!

Let go of resentment

Do you hold resentment.? If you don’t know about your resentment, just ask your best friend what you complain about the most. Do you complain about your partner, or about how your boss treats you at work? Or about your family? Or about the government?

I don’t know how it is for you, but in the stories I spin for my best friends, I’m rarely in the wrong! It’s always the other person who is so unreasonable. How about letting go of your resentments?

If we let go of resentments, we also free ourselves.

Because, it’s not only the ones who have wronged us who are imprisoned, but we are also incarcerated with them. Let’s unlock the doors and throw away the keys!

If you feel a reluctant to give up your great story of grievance, ask yourself how long you want to go on carrying it. Another hour? Another day? Another week? Another month? Another year? For the rest of your life?

Let go of regrets

“If only I had…”  This is the ‘lost opportunity’ story that we all play in our mind at times.

Another favorite is: “If only I hadn’t…” This is the ‘I made a mistake’ story.

What about “If only she/he hadn’t…”. I bet you know one too!  It’s the ‘It was all her/his fault…” story.

Let’s declare our personal amnesty and let those stories go too!

As we go through our personal prison and throw open the doors, we come to the section where we hold our losses.

Let go of loss

Do you dwell on your losses?

I couple of days ago I drove past a beautiful house that I lost through a divorce. I noticed how tempting it was to go into that story of loss and wallow in it. But the great thing is that we have the choice to go down that track or to let go of such thoughts.

What are the great losses in your life? Are you willing to let go of those prisoners too? Or would you like to hold on to them?

Let go of failures

What are your stories of failures?

My own favorite one was when I planned a series of relationship workshops for couples on the back of my book “Learn to Love”. I spent a lot of money creating a campaign in New Zealand, Australia and England to publicize the tour of workshops. But it was a flop, because most couples felt unsafe about speaking about their relationship in front of others from their home town.

I could hang on to that story and retell it to myself over and over. Just like you maybe tell yourself about your failures.

The great new is that we can open those prison doors as well and let our failures go free!

Let go of limitations

Have a look at the section in your personal prison where you keep your limitations. What are they?

I noticed one of my prisoners yesterday. I had a first lesson in using a video camera and noticed how often I would say something like, “I’m not technical, you know.”

What about the limitations you hold captive? What are your stories of being handicapped?

Let go of hard luck

Have you had bad luck in your life? I’ve got a great story I could keep on telling myself. It’s how a rogue builder vanished with money I had paid him for building a house, and left the half-built structure degrading in the rain. Sob.

Do you also have a sob story? How about unlocking that cell and letting those stories go?

Please free all your prisoners!

Let’s have a conversation – which prisoners have you decided to free? Which ones are the hardest to let go?

About the author

Mary Jaksch

Mary is passionate about helping people create a happy, purposeful, and fulfilling life. She is the founder of GoodlifeZEN and also the brains behind, one of the biggest blogs for writers on the Net. Mary is also a Zen Master, a mother, and a 5th Degree Black Belt.


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