To be considering forgiveness means you have something to forgive. It means you’ve been hurt, betrayed, upset, done wrong. It is the story of us as people: helping and harming, sometimes in the same breath, and so many of us walk through our days with battle wounds amassed over the years. From strangers. From friends. From family. From our spouses.
Holding on to the anger and sadness has been a heavy burden, so today our intent is to forgive. We understand that forgiveness can be complicated and take a long time. It can feel unfair and it can feel weak, but we hope to change our minds on that. Are you creating an intent to forgive as well? Here are 3 resources that helped us: Continue reading →
Why forgive? How can we move from anger and hatred to compassion, clarity, and awareness?
I made this video to share with you how I came to understand forgiveness:
Through a practice of powerful expressive meditation techniques I healed my heart and became more aware of my choices. I could put my energy into anger and resentment, OR focus on loving myself, and enjoying my life. How I came to choose the latter is explained in the video.
If this message resonates with you, please share! The world needs more forgiveness.
Let me know your thoughts on this topic in the comments below.
No, not that “f” word. The other “f” word: forgiveness! The Buddha compared holding onto anger to grasping hot coals with the intent of throwing them at someone else. You, of course, are the one that gets burnt. So, why is it that we often walk around holding onto resentment, grudges, and animosity? Sometimes for years or even a lifetime. Why do we recycle unpleasant circumstances in our minds and keep those wounds open?
Although counter-intuitive, the answer is to protect ourselves. Albeit going about it the wrong way, our ego mind wants to keep us safe. So, if a past situation has hurt us, our ego mind likes to replay it over and over, keeping the memory and feelings alive to prevent the same situation from occurring again. But, in reality, we’re not protecting ourselves at all. By holding onto the grudge, we’re actually keeping those wounds wide open, fueling the flames of the negative emotions, and causing even more pain. Even if we feel we are directing these feelings at somebody else, it’s really ourselves that is being hurt by living in the past with a closed heart and vengeful mind.
This is a subject that I continually practice to become better at myself – we all need to! Human nature is that people aren’t always good to each other, unfortunately. When you’re on the receiving end of some unkind treatment, it’s not always easy to just let go and move on – especially when you find yourself feeling hurt and angered by it. It’s in these moments that you grab onto those hot coals and start sizzling away from the inside out.
Forgiveness (of both self and others) is the most powerful spiritual tool we have, and it is accessible to all of us. Forgiveness is synonymous with freedom, one of the most important conditions for happiness. In the wise words of Thich Nhat Hanh, “If, in our heart, we still cling to anything – anger, anxiety, or possessions – we cannot be free.” But, while it is easy to say forgive and forget in theory, it’s not always so easy to put into practice. If somebody wrongs us, why should they be let off the hook for being awful? What about how they made you feel? You didn’t deserve that, right?
But, here is the thing. Forgiving somebody does not mean that what they did is okay or that you are going to be BFF and have them over for Sunday dinner. It just means that you are releasing them and are no longer going to let them have any control over you, your feelings, or your energy. You owe it to yourself to completely let go of any animosity so you can live your most peaceful and joyful life. Need a little help putting the “f” word into practice? Here are a few tips that can help guide you along your way:
Take it to your journal and just let it all out! Why are you are upset? How have you been wronged? How did it make you feel? Be completely real and raw. This is a private conversation, so don’t hold back. Venting to a friend has its merits too, but a well-meaning friend can inadvertently fan the flames even more by agreeing with you, making it even more difficult to rise above and let go. A journal gives you the therapeutic effects of venting, without the potential of making the situation even more volatile. As the words flow out of you, imagine letting all of the negative energy and emotions surrounding the subject being released out of your body with them. (In some intense situations, a journal might not be enough as outward feedback and guidance is needed. In those cases, I would suggest working with a therapist or other professional)
Try to put yourself in the other person’s shoes and empathize with them. Again, this doesn’t make them right or what they did okay. But, why do you think they acted in such a way? Perhaps they had a difficult upbringing or some pretty hard knocks in their lifetime. Maybe they are going through a rough patch and you were just in the wrong place at the wrong time and caught some of their shrapnel? Maybe they just don’t know any better and they’re dealing with the pain in their life the best way they know how. Practicing empathy and letting a little compassion flow is very healing. It’s a reminder that we are all from the same human family, none of us without flaws or mistakes. We’ve all needed forgiveness at some point in our lives.
Send them love and light. Find it in your heart to bless them and let go of the hurt feelings. Picture them as being happy and allow yourself to feel happiness for them. This one is the toughest of them all. It takes tremendous strength to wish joy on the one who has done you wrong. But, it’s also the most important step to freeing yourself. Everyone deserves happiness. If you can master this level of forgiveness and compassion, your heart will always be free of worry and full of love.
Forgive yourself, too! Sometimes you can be hard on yourself for what happened. Or maybe you are even beating yourself up over not being able to forgive and forget easily. If you do find your brain going back to that unforgiving place, just know that your mind is creating this thought, but that doesn’t make it reality. Your soul and spirit are above this. When you identify that a thought does not align with your spirit, just allow it to come without attachment and look at it from the “observer” role, letting it pass by. Practice being gentle and loving with yourself. You deserve happiness!
Be grateful for what they have taught you. Every situation in our life, but especially the negative ones, can teach us something. Think of these people and experiences as spiritual assignments. Especially in the case of not being able to forgive easily, that is an indicator of a potential major “a-ha” moment or awakening waiting to happen. Show up for these assignments and be ready to receive the lesson. Be grateful for the opportunity to learn and grow.
You might need to find yourself repeating some of these steps before finally getting it all out of your system and and moving on. Especially if somebody really got under your skin, you will need to dig deep into your heart to find the forgiveness needed to let go. In the meantime, remember it is only yourself that is hurting more, so try to go to that place inside where love resides sooner than later. Who can you practice the “f” word on today? Do it for YOU!
If you have your own forgiveness story, please feel free to discuss in the comments below.
Dawn Gluskin is a multi-passionate entrepreneur and author. Despite her experiences as the founder & CEO of a technology firm, her definition of “success” is not defined by these accolades, which have oftentimes come at the price of high-stress and misalignment. Instead, she believes in listening to the whisper of our souls which gently tug us towards our life’s true purpose. She finds much joy in her writing and coaching, sharing her journey and truth with others. She feels blessed to be “mommy” to two sweet little girls who teach her so much and she lives with her loving family in sunny Florida.
Imagine the person you love most in your life, the person you pour your time and affection into. Think about all the energy and care you put into your relationship with this person, the mistakes you’ve forgiven, the flaws you’ve come to cherish. What a gift it is to love. And what a gift for that person to be loved by you.
Now consider this… Do you love yourself as completely and effortlessly as you love this other person? Imagine having that immense reservoir of attention and care on hand at all times, available to dip into whenever you need it. In the latest episode of 30 DAYS OF INTENT on The Chopra Well, Natalie and Iman meet with counselor Alyssa Nobriga for a lesson in self-forgiveness, perhaps one of the most powerful tools of self-care.
Many think self-love is just a form of narcissism, but the purest love knows no conceit. From a spiritual perspective, loving the self communicates humility and gratitude to whatever force gives us life. From a pragmatic perspective, studies show that self-forgiveness reduces procrastination, helps us break negative habits, and promotes personal growth.
As Alyssa tells Natalie and Iman, we have at our disposal a peacefulness in our hearts that largely remains untapped day to day. It is a space of softness, free from judgement and criticism. People often describe the feeling of letting go of anger, resentment, or guilt as similar to taking a deep breath. A huge weight is lifted. In this vein, Alyssa leads them through a self-forgiveness exercise to tap into that space of peaceful self-love. Back and forth Natalie and Iman take turns saying “I forgive myself for….” And one after another layers of pain and self-anger peel away. The key is to choose healing, to choose wholeness and empathy. Feeling remorse is fine, in fact it can drive us to apologize and make amends when we’ve done wrong. But this is very different from clinging to our faults like a poison. We can decide, instead, to be our own best friend, the one whose desire and intention is perfectly aligned with our greatest good.
What would you like to forgive yourself for? With the year coming to a close, let now be the time. Try Alyssa’s exercise and let us know how it goes in the comments section below the video.
Subscribe to The Chopra Well and don’t miss the 30 DAYS OF INTENT finale next week!
“Valentine: a written or other artistic work, message, token, etc., expressing affection for something or someone.”
Greetings from Florida. We are here visiting Grandma and Grandpa, who celebrated their fifty-first wedding anniversary on Super Bowl Sunday. I guess they qualify as sweethearts. Over the years, they’ve gotten understandably good at the whole Valentine’s Day thing. They went out to dinner on Friday (to avoid the crowds and craziness) and loaded up on their favorite chocolates.
Happy Valentine’s Day, Mom and Dad!
While the origins of Valentine’s Day are rather murky – and not at all about romance – it has become something of a big deal in a handful of countries, including the United States, Canada and Mexico.
The most popular expression of love and affection? The valentine card, of course! Be they romantic or humorous; addressed to a sweetheart, family member, friend or school teacher; the Greeting Card Association estimates that one billion valentine cards will be exchanged in the US this year.
Now, I would not begrudge you a big, pink frilly paper heart (or box of yummy chocolates,) but I have something else to offer this year. Let’s call it a valentine of a different color.
In a quiet moment today, it came to me. Something that I knew just had to be shared. I offer it to you freely, because I like you. Please enjoy and pass it on to your sweetheart, and especially to your children.
My token of affection? One word: Forgiveness.
“Forgive: to stop blame and grant pardon.” Synonyms: absolve, accept apology, acquit, allow for, bear no malice, bear with, bury the hatchet, clear, dismiss from mind, exculpate, excuse, exempt, exonerate, forget, kiss and make up, laugh off, let bygones be bygones, let it go, let pass, let up on, make allowance, palliate, purge, release, relent, reprieve, think no more of, turn other cheek, wipe slate clean.”
When my children come home with stories about someone being rude, or unkind, we invariably have a conversation about how most people who act that way are really feeling sad about their own lives. Hurtful behavior almost always comes from someone who is already hurting inside.
Perhaps you’ve even noticed this about yourself. How often have you snapped at your spouse or growled at your child, because you were already unhappy with yourself? We perpetuate this cycle of hurt because we believe the remedy lies outside ourselves.
We are the only ones who can heal us. So let’s get started today. Let’s clear out the old baggage, release the old hurts and forgive the old mistakes. Let’s make room for our in-born beauty and divine love to shine through. Let’s be our own valentines and teach our children to do the same.
Here are some beautiful words from Sri Chinmoy, to get you started:
If I cannot forgive myself
For all the blunders
That I have made
Over the years,
Then how can I proceed?
How can I ever
Move, I must, forward.
Fly, I must, upward.
Dive, I must, inward,
To be once more
What I truly am
And shall forever remain.
You might even find that you are nursing some grudges and ill-will toward others. As we forgive ourselves, let’s be sure to also look around for others that we have neglected to forgive. Let it go. You are only poisoning yourself. Let it be easy.
Remember, we are all trying our best.
Wishing you joyful forgiveness and a happy, healthy Valentine’s Day. (Oh yes… and chocolate, too!)
If forgiveness feels like a real challenge for you – or if you cannot imagine loving yourself enough to be your own valentine – please, please read Louise Hay’s classic, You Can Heal Your Life. Because you really can.
As a divine being, a Soul, you bring spiritual light and love into this world.
You create a space for grace to be in your life. Dr John-Roger
Can we create the conditions in which we lead grace-full lives? And if so how? Is it even possible to expect to live gracefully, with the world in so much chaos? My view is that there has never been a better time.
To live in grace is surely to experience our burdens being lifted from us from time to time; that our passage becomes smoother and more enjoyable, even when conditions seem hard to bear.
From Dictionary.com, here are some definitions of grace: a.
the freely given, unmerited favour and love of God. b.
the influence or spirit of God operating in humans to regenerate or strengthen them. c.
a virtue or excellence of divine origin: the Christian graces. d.
Also called state of grace, the condition of being in God’s favour or one of the elect.
Here are some of the attributes that I believe can lead towards living more grace-fully:
… to a higher power
Let go of trying to control outcomes that may be beyond your sphere of influence. This is not so easy if you like to know what is going on, to make things happen exactly the way you want, and to direct the future. These days the future appears uncertain at best, so to try to control it is very frustrating. No wonder so many are suffering from sleeplessness.
A higher power you might see as God, or the Universe, or simply life itself. Years ago, travelling in India, I came to realize that there is much more to life than meets the eye. This "much more" is something extraordinary and life-sustaining. Grace seems to be part of it.
I do not at all understand the mystery of grace –
only that it meets us where we are but does not leave us where it found us. Anne Lamott
2. Sacrifice and forgive….
…. the negative emotions: fear, doubt, anger, resentment, guilt, blame, shame
To dwell in negative emotion is to drain your energy and leave you feeling depleted and discouraged. To unblock the drains has two meanings. One is to release the negativity that may be clogging your thinking and well-being. Another is to let go of attitudes, relationships or some commitments that may be exhausting you.
Forgive yourself, not always so easy. Forgive others you feel have wronged you. You cannot change the past. You can create the future you would like to enjoy.
You are so weak. Give up to grace.
The ocean takes care of each wave
till it gets to shore. Jalal ad-Din Rumi
3. Cultivate faith and trust
People who work in the arts fields – writing, painting, acting, music, sculpting – get used to a certain lack of security and develop ways to sustain their confidence and energy levels. A successful novelist friend uses these statements, which I love.
I am trusting and patient
I am calm
I understand that everything is happening perfectly
I have faith
Gracefulness has been defined to be the outward expression
of the inward harmony of the soul. William Hazlitt
4. Serve with compassion…
…. give to those who can benefit from you
Anguish and anxiety trap us in a narrow vision of what is possible, for ourselves and others. The good news about bad news is that it can awaken our sense of compassion for those who are in a worse state than our own. Expressing empathy through action can serve you as much as those you serve.
5. Be thankful…
…. for all of the good you enjoy right now
Gratitude opens a channel (and the heart) for receiving. However little you feel you now have, and the losses you may have had to bear, be mindful of those blessings which in the past you may have taken for granted. Even small things, taken into account, can help you to relax and feel better.
Gratitude and grace seem to go hand in hand. I have found that when I have been grateful in a less than pleasant situation, grace has extended a friendly hand to me, a gift of some kind.
Grace is available for each of us every day – our spiritual daily bread –
but we’ve got to remember to ask for it with a grateful heart
and not worry about whether there will be enough for tomorrow. Sarah Ban Breathnach
6. Be the blessings that you are..
… keep going!
It may just be one small step at a time, but each step you take will make a difference. It may not be the "perfect" step. If not, you will learn from it, so in that way each step will always be perfect.
Know that beneath the razzamatazz that is daily life, you are unique, and rich with many blessings in your innate nature. We all are.
7. Be prepared to be pleasantly surprised…
…. expect the best
As you stay open to expect the unexpected, you never know what good might be waiting for you around the next corner. Allow yourself to receive the best for you.
Grace is clear Spirit energy that comes to you without any conditions on it. Dr John-Roger
As we grow aware of and appreciate the smallest signs of grace showing up, more are likely to meet us. What we celebrate, we receive more of. May you be enriched and rewarded with many blessings of grace in this coming holiday season.
Hayley Westenra sings Amazing Grace:
Have you ever been aware of the presence of grace in your life? Who do you consider to be a grace-full or gracious person? How do you think we could experience more grace as a way of being? I would love to hear from you.
Once upon a time, there was a brash young woman who thought she had answers, the answers, enlightening answers. She considered it her responsibility to share her brilliant revelations with the people closest to her, even though she knew they would be deeply hurt.
“The truth is the truth,” she told herself. “They need to face up to it.” She squared her shoulders. “We’ll all be better off when we share the same truth.”
Sure enough, people were hurt. Some only a little, some a little more, and some were mortally wounded. (Or so it seemed.) The brash young woman watched it all and stood firm. She knew what she was doing. People were hurt by the truth only when they’d been living a lie, right?
She turned her back on the mortally-(or so it seemed)-wounded, those who insisted on embracing the old lies. She shoved them back, further and further, until they were tiny specks in the distance, nothing much, those people.
But she hadn’t factored time into her brilliant campaign of truth.
Time crept forward like a grey shadow, so stealthily and with such insinuating skill that she didn’t notice for a long time that her beautiful answers showed signs of wear around the edges. They’d begun to decay.
At first, once she saw what was happening, she panicked. She ran around and around protesting and yelling and trying to make everyone understand and do what she said and remember the original brilliant truth. But eventually even she noticed that she was running in circles. In the same tighter and tighter circle, in fact. And when the circle became tight enough, she saw that she was at its centre.
Not she and the truth at the centre of it all. But just she. Alone. With the actually-not-mortally-wounded people looking at her. After a few eons of standing alone in the centre of her circle, she lifted her eyes. But she saw only concern in the eyes of the actually-not-mortally-wounded. Then a hand reached out to her.
By the time the formerly brash, formerly young woman got up the nerve to pick up the truth and hold it, it was small. Tiny. Almost nothing. And she didn’t see any way to forgive herself for the damage she’d done, even though everyone around her, all the people she’d aimed her truth at so deftly and certainly and sharply and (she sighed) wrongly, forgave her.
In the end, she was saved by a falsehood. The becoming-wiser, rather-older woman pretended she forgave herself. She lied to herself. She walked around saying “I forgive myself – I forgive myself – I forgive myself” a thousand times a day, day after day. She faked it for so long she came to believe it as truth.
A few days ago, a friend who had been teaching in Asia called me, and we started talking about the fact that in just a few days, the United States will have a new president.She told me everywhere she went, when people discovered she was American, all they wanted to do was talk about was Barak Obama. She said the mention of his name seemed to invoke hope and a sense of everything being right with the world again.
How exciting this is!Yet … on the other hand, there is still so much rancor when George Bush’s name is mentioned.This has got to be healed.How can we move into this new era of hope and make the world right when we refuse to let go of the old?My heart goes out to him. He leaves the Presidency vilified and considered a failure.All that we blame him for has not been entirely his fault.We seem to forget that a President is not a King.They cannot make decisions on their own.They can veto something, but then it goes back to congress and their veto can be overturned.They can put something forward, but it has to be passed by congress.In Truth, the leader of any country is the outpicturing of the collective consciousness of its citizens.
The Master Teacher Jesus said you can’t put new wine into old wineskins.This weekend is the perfect opportunity for all of us to do the forgiveness work necessary to create a better foundation to the new consciousness we are all so excited about.If you are thinking, “I’m not American, I don’t have to do this work,”look into your heart – how do you feel about George Bush or what’s happening in our world?If there is sarcasm, a sense of betrayal, anger or resentment, do your forgiveness work.We are Global Citizens, and every country is our country.All people are our family.
Billions of people are looking at January 20 as a gateway to new life being breathed into our world.You who consider yourselves to be conscious, do your forgiveness work before that date! Do it for yourself, and your human family.Together we are awakening humanity to its spiritual magnificence.
SPIRITUAL MIND TREATMENT
Gratefully I celebrate the powerful presence of Life within me.I look around my world and see It everywhere. It is awakening our souls, nurturing our spirits, clearing our minds and purifying our hearts.This presence within and around me is The Divine.All powerful, all knowing, everywhere present.
I acknowledge that together we are opening to a new way of being. No longer to we blame and shame.No longer to we hold anything against another.We are ready to be lovingkindness in action, peace personified, Love made manifest.
I personally commit myself to the possibilities of this time, knowing it is Divine Time, and I declare that only the highest good and greatest joy for all is at hand.I pledge myself to my human family to live the very best life, to think on good things, to celebrate Life in all its forms. I promise to honour and respect The Divine in everyone and every thing.
Gratefully I release these words, knowing Divine Mind is assisting me in attaining and maintaining the consciousness I have declared.And so It is.