There have been moments in my life when I have entertained unkind thoughts. I have also said things in my life that I do not feel proud of. And I can remember times when I have acted in ways that contradicted my best intentions. I suppose each and every one of us can remember at least one time in our lives when our thoughts, words, and actions were not in alignment with our Highest Self, instances when we functioned from a place of fear and not from a place of love, moments when we knew at a very deep and certain level that we had stepped off the path of clarity.

However, fortunately for most of us, our mishaps, intentional or otherwise, were not instantaneously broadcast on national television, shared feverishly across thousands, if not millions, of internet websites, blogs, Facebook and Twitter pages, or published in countless newspaper and magazine publications around the world simultaneously, as they have been in recent days for Paula Deen.

Ms. Deen is being sued by a former manager at her restaurants, Lisa T. Jackson, in Savannah, Georgia, for sexual and racial harassment. Jackson’s lawsuit alleges that Deen and her brother, Bubba Hier, committed numerous acts of violence, discrimination, and racism that resulted in the end of her five-year employment with Deen.

During a deposition in the legal proceedings, Paula Deen admitted to using racial epithets, such as the “N” word, tolerating racist jokes, and condoning pornography in the workplace, candid forthcomings that have landed her smack dab in the middle of a firestorm of sharp criticism and vilification from both the media and the public at large. Ms. Deen’s candor ultimately led to the swift decision by The Food Network to cancel her cooking show on their television station only one hour after she publicly offered her heartfelt apologies and begged for forgiveness from all those who have been affected by her choices and actions.

I would like to be clear that I am not here to judge what Paula Deen did, or did not do, as being good or bad, right or wrong, defensible or indefensible. What I am interested in having a conversation about is: What happens now? How do we, individually and collectively, show up now in relation to this event and this experience? Do we attempt to drain and deplete Paula Deen of every ounce of goodness and joy that she has given to our world as a trade-off for the moments in which she forgot who she was? Do we punish her? Do we support her? Do we forgive her?

Is forgiveness even necessary?

In the book The Only Thing That Matters, we are offered the invitation to consider a radical new way of thinking: Forgiveness Forgone, a concept which says that forgiveness is not necessary when it is replaced, rather, with the more powerful energy of Understanding. If this concept is held as true, then the question becomes: What are we being asked to understand here? Are we willing to see through the thick layers of distortion – anger, fear, judgment – to understand that anything Paula Deen has said or done is truly an expression of love? Do we need to see to it that Paula Deen “loses everything” in order for us to feel as though we are “made whole”? Is that how it all works in this game of life?

Perhaps the notoriety of situations like these offers us an opportunity to peer into our own personal relationships and notice where we are holding on to grudges or allowing tightly held resentment to dominate our choices. Is there anything in life that is unforgivable? Is there a “point of no return”?

Perhaps the woes and sorrows of another famous face are unimportant to us as we move through the day-to-day affairs of our own lives. As with everything in life, we all get to decide for ourselves what it means. But for me, I can’t help but notice the many way in which these types of defining moments continue to appear, calling me, beckoning me, and inviting me to once again choose, declare, and ultimately experience who I really am.

Who will you choose to be?


(Lisa McCormack is the Managing Editor & Administrator of The Global Conversation. She is also a member of the Spiritual Helper team at www.ChangingChange.net, a website offering emotional and spiritual support. To connect with Lisa, please e-mail her at Lisa@TheGlobalConversation.com.)

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  • Michael L

    Hi Lisa,

    “Is there anything in life that is unforgivable? Is there a “point of no return”?”

    I believe, no, everything is forgivable and of course with higher consciousness not even of need, of forgiveness. As God’s love is unconditional, always and in always.

    I will say though,,, not being of the highest self being all the time, annoyance does creep in when folks continue to hurt them selves with their actions, for even though there is no right and wrong, but oh… there are consequences, as Paula is finding out.

    Thank you Lisa for bring up this event and a chance to remember Who I Am, to this subject at this time right Now.

    • Thank you, Michael. I appreciate you being here and adding your observations and insights about consequences and forgiveness. I see her willingness to be transparent as part of the movement towards a more loving, more accepting, more aware society. I believe we would be well-served to honor her path.

  • Christopher Toft

    Just watched the video. Very sad. I feel strongly that “forgiveness” is unnecessary. If there are truly other civilizations out there somewhere, perhaps what happens in their cultures when someone publicly apologizes for an error is that thousands publically join them in mass confession as a means of love & support. It’s horrible that in our societies truth is met with condemnation. No wonder everybody lies:(

  • Terri Lynn

    Another great topic, Lisa. My view is that there is nothing that is unforgivable. Love is all forgiving. Some of the best lessons I’ve learned in my life came from major mistakes I made in the past. Learning to frogive myself was more difficult than forgiving someone else. The pain we suffer from our mistakes helps us grow to become better people. My love goes out to Paula as she deals with the consequences of her words and actions and I hope she receives the support she needs from the fans that she gave so much joy and happiness to over the years.

  • Therese

    I believe that this is yet another case where a greater consciousness is being examined through the actions of one prominent person. Although the U.S. no longer institutionally sanctions racism, sexism etc, it does still exist. There is no doubt, given Ms. Deen’s age, that she grew up in a place and time in the south when the “N” word was still common place. There is little doubt in my mind that, in order to be successful in a man’s world, she had to out-man the men, and fell into some of the behavior.

    There is also little doubt in my mind that her apology probably had two levels. One to try to rescue her career, and one that was genuine. Both are understandable.

    We sometimes, as human beings, remember who we are on the fly, so to speak. We have those slap ourselves on the forehead, oh crap! moments…only we don’t have to have them as national news events. I actually commend Ms. Deen for admitting to what she said and did! She could have done what so many politicians, celebrities and preachers have done, and played the deny, deny, deny game. I think it actually says that she has been paying attention and saw that that always backfires in the end.

    I vote for understanding, Ms. Lisa! I have never seen anyone sincerely change their minds while getting beat up…they only give lip service, tell people what they want to hear. Protect themselves. How about moving an inch closer to a world where who we are is okay, warts and all, because it moves us one experience closer to…anyone, anyone…our next grandest version…

    She, and all of us, are products of our lifetimes, and all that influenced us. When we are caused to examine that life, and whether it works or not, things can change, and do.

    I vote for believing that Ms. Deen’s soul agenda brought her to this moment, so that we could all decide who we are in relation to her experience.


    • Therese

      In response to myself, let me be very clear that I agree that Ms. Deen doesn’t get a free pass here. Her behavior, if allegations are true, clearly isn’t working. However, that does not mean that she must be condemned to food queen hell either!

  • Sophie Lise Fargue

    I believe also in always giving another chance, not so much a free pass, as an opportunity to choose otherwise.
    Isn’t that what God is constantly giving us after all?
    Thank you for a thought provoking article Lisa 🙂
    Love and Light,