A Key to the Heart

Forgiveness is hard. But you're a beautiful work-in-progress.

— Life is a Recipe

Sometimes it seems like the happy ending will never come.

As a part of my regular schedule, I have a recurring hiking session with one of my good friends.  I always enjoy these get-togethers because I love the adventure of the outdoors, but also because with him friendship comes easy.  He’s like a brother to me and we have so much in common that we never run out of things to talk about.  But the one downside to these sessions is that, without fail, he will inevitably bring up problems he’s having with his mother.

Don’t get me wrong.  It’s almost a requirement for friends like us to talk about family issues.  But this topic dominates our time every time we get together. He has been complaining about his mother for years.  It is clear to me and everyone around him that their relationship is toxic. They have never seen eye-to-eye and as he gets older the rift continues to grow.  There is so much resentment and history between them that it doesn’t seem like they are ever going to be able to resolve their issues.

My friend is holding a grudge.  And I don’t judge him for this. We’ve all been in situations where we’ve been wronged.  And sometimes the hurt runs deep.  I’ve been there, and I know that it’s hard to get over it.  When you’re hurt and angry the last thing you want to do is forgive the person that hurt you.  Holding a grudge can seem like it feels good.  But if you’re honest with yourself, grudges are quite silly.  Are you really getting back at them by not forgiving them?  You are the one that still thinks about it and are hurt by it.  

There’s an old saying that states, “Holding a grudge is like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die.”  At the end of the day you’re the one that’s being affected the most.

Forgiveness takes courage.
Forgiveness Tulips
A Key to the Heart
A Key to the Heart is Forgiveness

Studies have shown that when you forgive someone that has hurt you, you are able to have healthier relationships with others, raise your self-esteem, and even lower blood pressure.  Studies like that are enlightening.  But they also shed light on the opposite: if you hold grudges and are steeped in bitterness, it could have hidden but damaging effects on your life and well-being.  My friend didn’t think his relationship with his mother affected any other area of his life, but the people around him knew differently.  He was trapped and couldn’t live in the moment.  He related each one of his past and current experiences to something that his mother did or said.

Forgiveness isn’t easy.  Sometimes it feels like the toughest thing in the world to do. But like most things worth doing, it takes effort and being honest with yourself.

My friend has a hard decision to make.  If he doesn’t reconcile with his mother, he’ll be miserable for the rest of his life.  But if he is going to continue to go to family events and be involved with his mother in any gratifying way, he is going to have to forgive her.  If he does, it could unlock the connection he’s always wanted with his mom.

We can all grow in our compassion and empathy.  In our lives, we all have a relationship or two that needs tending and maybe some reconciliation.  Can you think of one in your life?

Pumpkin Soup in Mini Pumpkins
Pumpkin Soup in Mini Pumpkins

Life Recipe:
A Key to the Heart

  1. One of the keys of being able to forgive others is having the ability to forgive yourself. We all have regrets and failures that can secretly haunt us. Sometimes the hardest person to forgive is the person in the mirror. Take some time to understand that life is a journey, that no one is perfect, and that you are a beautiful work in progress. And so are the other people in your life.
  2. Think of a relationship in your life that is unresolved. Consider taking the initiative and humbly leading the way towards repairing the hurt feelings. By having the courage to address it, you may create the space where you and your friend/spouse/child can regain the common ground you really want. Even if you can only muster a small step, consider being the first to “lean in” to the relationship.
  3. Try to take that step today. Time is too precious to spend it negatively. :-)

Lunch Recipe:
Pumpkin Coconut Bisque Soup

  • 1 large pumpkin pie pumpkin
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 small shallots (chopped)
  • 4 garlic cloves (chopped)
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme (chopped)
  • 4 cups of chicken broth
  • 1 cup of coconut milk
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 ½ tsp Life is a Recipe® Garam Masala
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper (more to taste)
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • Red pepper flake (to taste)
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Pepper (to taste)


  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

  2. Slice your pumpkin into fourths. Remove seeds and clean pumpkin. Place on a baking sheet.

  3. Drizzle on the olive oil and spread evenly. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.

  4. Bake for 45 minutes.

  5. Take a large pot and add in garlic and shallots. Saute over medium heat until shallots are soft.

  6. Add in thyme. Next, add in pumpkin and 1 cup of chicken broth and puree with a hand blender.

  7. Add red pepper flakes, nutmeg, maple syrup, cayenne, coconut milk, remaining chicken broth and water.

  8. Stir well. Let soup simmer for 15-20 minutes.

  9. Serve garnished with roasted Garam Masala pumpkin seeds.

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