MSIA Minister, Anne Naylor, is holding the focus for International Forgiving Day on March 15, 2003. The theme for this year is: Explore The Power Of Forgiving. Below is a Q&A with Anne Naylor about International Forgiving Day and how you can participate.
Q. How did International Forgiving Day 15 March begin?
A. On 28 February 1995, I gave an interview on Monte Carlo’s Riviera Radio program A Problem Aired on the subject of “Forgiveness: When it’s really difficult”. During our discussion on the value and importance of forgiving, we decided to declare one day in the year International Forgiving Day. We decided upon 15 March because it came two weeks later and gave another two Tuesdays to promote it. 15 March happens to be the Ides of March – the story of betrayal – but we did not think about that until later. Forgiving is the perfect ‘antidote’ to the experience of betrayal. Since then, I have held the vision of this global public holiday.
Q. Why forgive? What benefits does forgiving bring?
A. Firstly, forgiving brings peace of mind. There are also physical health benefits. People who forgive are less likely to suffer the effects of high blood pressure – forgiving lowers blood pressure. People who forgive are happier in their personal relationships. Recently, Dr Fred Lufkin at Stanford University has carried out research on the impact of forgiving on a group of American Express financial advisors. It was shown that forgiveness increased their performance and productivity. More studies are presently being carried out with two other groups in the financial services industry. I feel sure that forgiving has a positive impact on productivity and performance in the workplace. It is exciting that studies are beginning to validate that idea.
Q. Next year is the 10th year of International Forgiving Day 15 March – do you have any plans to celebrate this?
A. I have provisionally booked London’s Royal Albert Hall (www.royalalberthall.com) – an amazing concert venue – for the evening of Monday 15 March. The theme for that evening is: Catch The Spirit of Forgiving. I am inviting as speakers: His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Nelson Mandela , Archbishop Tutu, among others. Music will be complementing the talks that are given. The evening will be benefiting the international children’s charity, Save The Children Fund and its patron HRH the Princess Royal will be invited to attend. I hope that this evening will help to make the value of forgiving more real for a much larger audience and bring forgiving more fully into the cultural bloodstream.
Q. How can readers participate with Forgiving Day this 15 March?
A. The theme for this year is: Explore The Power Of Forgiving. So I invite everyone to do just that. Think about what forgiving means for you; have you had any experiences of forgiving that have been meaningful for you? Is there anyone in your life you could forgive now, including yourself? How do you think the world might be a better place if more people were forgiving?
Q. If anyone would like to know more about International Forgiving Day 15 March, how can they contact you?
A. They can email AnneNaylor@mac.com. And if anyone has a special experience of forgiving on or around 15 March, I would love to hear about it.
“That moment inside of you where you forgive what’s happened is the moment when you are enlightening yourself.”
From Forgiveness: The Key to the Kingdom by John-Roger.
FORGIVING – You know it makes sense.