Forgiveness: Part 2
Have you ever tried a detox?
Yeah I did too about 11 years ago. I have to admit, it kind of sucked. I was hungry and I felt tired and grouchy. But by the end of it, I felt damn good. I rid myself of unhealthy eating behaviors and an unhealthy relationship to food.
Forgiveness is kind of like a detox - for your heart + soul.
And, sometimes detoxing isn't all that easy. Habits become a part of us. We identify with them. They're part of our story.
Some habits (mainly old beliefs) disempower us and create what I and many call, a 'victim consciousness' - that voice inside that says something like: “the world sucks", or "nothing works out for me", or "the whole world is against me”, "I have the worst luck".
Well I have something to say about all that: poo-poo on that mentality! For real. We are powerful creatures. We create our realities based on our perception. Let’s start owning this truth already.
I’m going to take this a step further and say something that might ruffle your feathers a teeny bit more: claiming you’ve forgiven someone or something doesn’t mean you’ve actually done the dirty work to really released all of that baggage. It's like saying your clothes are clean but they're still sitting in a laundry basket on your bedroom floor. They need to be put away.
It's not just that I am a neat freak, because the thing is I get it - forgiveness doesn’t happen overnight. Often times, forgiveness is a healing process. And like many healing processes, some pain may be involved, which makes us approach everything a bit slower and with more hesitation.
It's understandable. When we open our eyes to look closely at our wounds, all the old stuff (feelings) we've avoided may rise to the surface. Yet taking a good look at this hurt and recognizing how it doesn't serve us is how we can let go of the story and the habitual belief that we are a victim.
You may already know this, but the act of holding on is always more uncomfortable than the act of letting go. Think of holding onto a rope that is digging into the palm of your hand - when you let go, there is this sense of relief - even if you can still feel the burn of the fibers reverberating on your skin.
When we let go, we feel free.
Here's another analogy I thought of: holding a grudge or resentment is like keeping rotting garbage in your kitchen. It stinks the whole place up and permeates everything and gets in the way of you enjoying your food.
We wouldn’t keep trash in our homes, so why do we keep it in our hearts?
Hence, why forgiveness is such a big deal to me. It's healing balm (or the garbage truck) for our hearts.
But so what's the big deal – why should we forgive people anyways? Because I'm a huge fan of self-care and forgiveness is really and truly the ultimate gift in self-care. If you know something makes you feel like crap, you quit doing it, right? I would hope so anyways - because whether you're aware of it or not right now, holding onto a grudge will make you feel like crap on some level.
I'd choose feeling love + compassion over anger + resentment any day.
But enough jibba jabba about why I think forgiveness is great. Here are some practices that may help you build your forgiveness muscle. And since building muscle is kind of a pain in the butt, get ready to be a little sore as you get stronger with these exercises. I've done all of these at different points in my life for different reasons and I have to say, I feel a whole 'lotta love in my heart. And, like coming off a detox, I feel damn good.
1. Write letters or poems to people that have hurt you.
Write everything you hate about people in your past (or present) and how much they hurt you. Be as mean and vicious as you'd like. Express in words how it felt to be hurt by them. BUT! I highly recommend you don't send this version. You don't need more karma to deal with my friend. Ritualize your release by burning it or rip it up and throw it in the trash.
Then, take out a new piece of paper and write all of the blessings they have brought into your life. Ooooh, I know - this one is a toughy. Well give it a try and make an attempt to see how the pain you experienced by their hand or mouth has helped you to grow. Tell them how much you learned to realize what you won’t accept, and how you know you deserve so much more as a result of your experience with them. Practice what it’s like to be grateful for the experience because it is helping you to evolve and grow. The aim here is to begin to see that every wound brings with it a gift. Really and truly it does.
2. Re-write your story the way you would want to read it.
This is a very empowering and effective practice. It’s kind of like tricking your unconscious mind to start seeing things differently. Because ultimately we get to decide how we want to see and understand our life. Change your perspective and the world around you will change. Try it on for a day. Here is your grand opportunity to recreate the most badass version of your life story that you can come up with. Give it a happy ending, make it super cheesy, allow it to bring you to tears of joy. Go for it! Relish in how far you can extend yourself out of your comfort zone. See what it would feel like to forgive someone (or multiple someones) for all of their wrong doings and how different your life would look as a result of your forgiveness.
3. Take a shower + say the Water Runes aloud. Ancient water rituals are documented in so many historical stories. Water is known for its ability to cleanse us anew - just like our tears release emotional toxins from our bodies. Try using the Water Runes as part of your ongoing forgiveness practice:
I say these everyday. Even when I’m feeling like a serious struggle muffin, saying it aloud eases my resistance. I imagine all of my negativity and anger being washed down the drain. I’ve made this pretty so if you want a copy, email me and I'll send you a version you can print out and hang in your bathroom, preferably in a place where you can see it while you’re in the shower.
4. Cord-Cutting Visualizaton. This might feel a little woo-woo to some folks - but not to me, this is a powerful practice that allows you to take back any power you gave away to another person by allowing them to hurt you. When we release ourselves from the energetic cords we create with others, we create more space in our lives for new energy and new relationships to come in.
Cord cutting is pretty simple. Sit quietly with your eyes closed and in the center of your forehead begin imagining you and the person you hurt you standing across from each other on a bridge. Imagine there are cords connecting the two of you and just notice where they are on your body and how big or small they look. There may be several all over your body. Now imagine you have a sword or some type of device that will allow you to cut these cords. If you must, ask Spirit or whatever beings you call upon for assistance to help you cut the cord.
Let the person know you are cutting the cord of energy between you two and that you release them from their power over your life. Tell them you give them their power back by forgiving them. Wish them the best as you bow in honor of their divine presence in your life. Now, imagine the place on your body where the cord was and envision complete healing taking place. Sense into the emotions that arise as a result of this practice and notice if you feel any lighter, brighter, or more at peace. Before opening your eyes, thank your Higher Self for releasing the cord and for taking back your power. Open your eyes and smile.
5. Say the H’oPonopono prayer. This is such a beautiful and sweet Hawaiian prayer that in short means, “I’m sorry, and I love you”. Super easy, super powerful. It acknowledges that your Soul invited your wounds as a way of becoming more aware. You are both forgiving yourself for attracting harm and releasing the other person for any responsibility you have given them over your life. Similar to the cord-cutting exercise, but with words. You can simply say, "I'm sorry and I love you" when you think of anyone that bothers you or brings up anger and resentment.
6. Pray. If any of this feels too challenging for you, ask Spirit or Mother Earth to take the burden of trying to figure it all out and trust that any residual negative energy will be transformed into love. I usually say the following at the start of every day:
I ask that any negativity or karma be removed from me today to be transmuted into pure, white, Divine Light + Love. Thank you.
That feels really good.
However, despite the ideas I’ve laid out for you, forgiveness isn’t necessarily cerebral. It’s more cardiological – which is a word I made up that means, having to do with the heart’s logic. Or better said, thinking with your heart.
Forgiveness is about surrendering and trusting what happened was perfect for your journey. It’s about realizing that all humans are wandering souls trying to find their way home.
Have compassion for people that have hurt you. It's likely they are just operating out of their own hurt. Call me naive, but I believe humans have a generally kind disposition. The fact that we have limbic brains suggests that we care about others and want the best for each other.
But here’s the ultimate kicker, we all have the potential to be awful, disgusting, mean people that do terrible things too. No one is immune to this possibility. It's how we deal with and respond to our life circumstances that paves the way to how we wind up approaching life. Do we make decisions from a loving space or mean space within us? It really comes down to our awareness, and the truth is, some people don't have the awareness that will allow them to choose how they want to respond to life, so they act from a hurt place and thus hurt other people.
So, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, right?
You can incorporate the preventative care of your soul by forgiving your past, releasing blame, and stepping into a brighter, more loving future. When you forgive the past, you are not just doing it for you. You are doing it for the person that hurt you as well as for your ancestors. You are doing it for the whole of humanity.
The less people walking around with hate in their hearts, the healthier and more harmonious our lives on Earth can be.
We're all part of the ocean of consciousness and your ripple of love will spread throughout the world - you are that important.
So take out the papers and the trash, and rid yourself of resentment for good. You can do this!
If you need further support with this, let me know. I’ve helped numerous people push through blockages around forgiveness. And, I’ve had a lot of people to forgive throughout my life – the toughest person being, myself.