Tag Archive | healing

Give Yourself the Gift of Forgiveness

Several years ago on this blog, I shared about a profound forgiveness experience I had with my Dad who had been very abusive when I was growing up. My Mom had died on this December date when I was 10 years old, and he became my sole guardian.

However, the purpose of this post is not to focus on all the negative accounts of my upbringing but to focus on the healing power of forgiveness, which is the best gift we can give ourselves.

That said, back in 2000 when I first got the call that my father was dying, I had a lot of concerns about the whole situation. We hadn’t seen each other for quite some time, and I wasn’t sure seeing him again was in anyone’s best interest.

However, my wise mentor and coach at the time encouraged me to see him, and said that I’d be going to heal myself and not as a favor for him.

So, I hesitantly went to where he was hospitalized, and upon arrival, I saw a man I didn’t recognize. He was no longer the big and tall man I remembered but actually looked quite frail, and was uncharacteristically, not in control of his surroundings.

Over the course of several months, my siblings and I took turns visiting with him, so that he was never alone. Then, on one particular day, when my sister and I were on our way out of the hospital, I got this extremely strong internal push to return to his hospital room.

So, I quickly turned around and headed back toward his room with my sister following behind. Once inside, I approached his bedside, which she said was like a scene from a movie, with the director calling out, “action.”

I walked right up to my dad and said, “Hi dad just wanted to come back and tell you that I love you.”

He said, “I love you too,” which are words I never heard from him before.

My sister, who was in the back of the room silently observing the whole scene, said that the nurses in the room had stopped in their tracks while these unplanned and unexpected words were coming out of my mouth.

Soon after that he died.

My mentor had been right about my going to see him, and how healing it would be for me, and I suspect it was for him as well. I would have missed out on this great opportunity, if I hadn’t taken the action and gone to see him, in spite of my misgivings.

I would have missed out on the internal freedom and good feelings that resulted from the experience, as it helped me to heal through much of the emotional charge and pain surrounding my past.

Forgiving another is not about condoning, reconciling, minimizing or letting the offending party off the hook, but letting ourselves off the hook from carrying around the pain that resides in our minds and hearts.

Forgiveness is a process and not an overnight matter but continues to be the best cure for resentment, anger and all other forms of internal suffering.

Therefore, it is extremely important to courageously take the necessary steps to release ourselves from the negativity and grief that may be keeping us stuck.

A few methods that can assist us in this process are:

  1. Writing a letter to the offending party and expressing all the hurt that we have inside but not mailing it.
  2. Praying for the resented person in order to get the spiritual help, and courage to release the potent anger within.
  3. Being willing and open to follow the guidance, opportunities and situations that present themselves toward our healing.
  4. Learning and understanding that hurt people tend to hurt other people, and their behavior isn’t because there is something wrong or unlovable about us.
  5. Talking to a professional or an understanding friend to discuss and process the negative feelings we have about a particular person, memory or situation.

We learn that it is up to us to ask for help and come to terms with our experiences. No matter what our relationship is with our fathers or anyone else, let today and this holiday represent the healing power of forgiveness.

What processes help you to forgive?

Action Step:

If you are struggling with unpleasant feelings and thoughts about someone in your life; ask in meditation that you be shown the way to forgiveness, and be given the courage to follow the actions you are guided to take.

Let Nature Restore You

beach-therapy

As the holiday season comes to a close, many of us may feel the need for some rest and relaxation from the busyness we just experienced. Sometimes the best cure for regaining our peace is found in nature itself.

For me, taking long walks on the beach, watching a sunset, or starring at the stars can instantly provide a therapeutic alteration to my state of mind.

There is something undeniably beautiful, powerful, and spiritual about the exterior gifts from nature, that can elicit such a peaceful, contemplative effect on our internal environment as well.

One cannot underestimate the importance of introspection on a regular basis, as it has a profound impact on the way we think, act, and operate in our relationships.

Therefore, the more we make room in our lives for stillness and reducing the noise level around us, the more we are able to hear the messages from within us.

Unfortunately, the busyness in our lives can pull us away from noticing the lovely settings which surround us, and allow them to fade away unnoticed into the background of each day. This lack of connection can prevent us from the serenity we long to experience.

boogie-board

Fortunately, it is never too late to begin focusing on all the beauty around us, and reap the benefits of its rehabilitating power.

What nurtures you?

Be a Victor Not a Victim

be-a-victor

In honor of author Louise Hay’s recent 90th birthday, I thought I would share some of her teachings below, which originated in her book entitled You Can Heal Your Life.

She has been an advocate, and teacher for helping people to love themselves during much of her adult life. She didn’t come from a privileged background or an adoring home, but managed to create a loving life, in spite of her situation.

Many of us come from similarly unhelpful upbringings, and know the internal challenges or insecurities that can result from that experience. However, instead of becoming a victim, she and others have become victors, who are changing their lives, and inspiring those around them as well.

Her example, and nurturing methods helped inspire the writing of my own book too.

In reviewing all the self-care reminders listed below, which has been your greatest challenge or greatest success?

Do Mirror Work.

Look into your eyes often. Express this growing sense of love you have for yourself. Forgive yourself while looking into the mirror. Talk to your parents while looking into the mirror. Forgive them, too. At least once a day, say, “I love you, I really love you!”

Have Fun.

Remember the things that gave you joy as a child. Incorporate them into your life now. Find a way to have fun with everything you do. Let yourself express the joy of living. Smile. Laugh. Rejoice, and the Universe rejoices with you!

Love Yourself . . . Do It Now.

Don’t wait until you get well, or lose the weight, or get the new job, or find the new relationship. Begin now—and do the best you can.

Stop All Criticism.

Criticism never changes a thing. Refuse to criticize yourself. Accept yourself exactly as you are. Everybody changes. When you criticize yourself, your changes are negative. When you approve of yourself, your changes are positive.

Forgive Yourself.

Let the past go. You did the best you could at the time with the understanding, awareness, and knowledge that you had. Now you are growing and changing, and you will live life differently.

Don’t Scare Yourself.

Stop terrorizing yourself with your thoughts. It’s a dreadful way to live. Find a mental image that gives you pleasure, and immediately switch your scary thought to a pleasure thought.

Be Gentle and Kind and Patient.

Be gentle with yourself. Be kind to yourself. Be patient with yourself as you learn the new ways of thinking. Treat yourself as you would someone you really loved.

Be Kind to Your Mind.

Self-hatred is only hating your own thoughts. Don’t hate yourself for having the thoughts. Gently change your thoughts.

Praise Yourself.

Criticism breaks down the inner spirit. Praise builds it up. Praise yourself as much as you can. Tell yourself how well you are doing with every little thing.

Support Yourself.

Find ways to support yourself. Reach out to friends and allow them to help you. It is being strong to ask for help when you need it.

Be Loving to Your Negatives.

Acknowledge that you created them to fulfill a need. Now you are finding new, positive ways to fulfill those needs. So lovingly release the old negative patterns.

Take Care of Your Body.

Learn about nutrition. What kind of fuel does your body need in order to have optimum energy and vitality? Learn about exercise. What kind of exercise do you enjoy? Cherish and revere the temple you live in.

 

 

Be a Good Listener

good listener

The most basic of all human needs is the need to understand and be understood. The best way to understand people is to listen to them.”  Ralph Nichols

On a scale of one to ten, how good of a listener are you?

The value of listening cannot be overstated enough, as being one of the most effective ways to help another, and heal ourselves as well. Offering a nonjudgmental listening space can work wonders when someone is struggling.

Rarely, can we talk someone into wellness, but we can listen our way into helping another feel heard and understood.

Giving our undivided attention is not always easy; as we can get distracted and unintentionally short-circuit a conversation, by giving a one size fits all solution to what we think we heard.

Unfortunately, this can cause many problems, and misunderstanding in our relationships.

Therefore, I have provided a brief listening self-assessment inventory below, which I shared several years ago. It is a great personal growth tool, for gauging our current listening abilities and bringing attention to areas we might want to improve upon.

It is not meant to be used as a way to beat ourselves up, but rather, as a way to take an active role in improving our listening skills, so we can really hear what others are saying.

Hope you will look through the following 15 items, and congratulate yourself on all the ‘rarely’ responses you discover.

Enjoy!

Listening Self-Assessment Inventory

(Frequently, Sometimes, Rarely)

1.   I interrupt people when they are talking.
2.   I multitask at the same time I am listening.
3.   I am uncomfortable being silent during a conversation.
4.   If someone pauses to think of a word, I give it to them.
5.   I wait for the other person to pause so I can jump in and make my point.
6.   I listen for the “gist” of what’s said rather than to each word.
7.   I stop listening if someone is too detailed or verbose.
8.   I am easily distracted while I am listening.
9.   I convey resistance, disagreement or non-interest with my body language (arms folded in front of my chest, looking around room).
10.     I fake listening.
11.     I decide the merits of the other person’s message based on his/her appearance, status, age, race, etc.
12.     I think about what’s wrong with the other person’s point/idea as I listen.
13.     I don’t give feedback to the other person about what he/she has said.
14.     I listen impatiently (fidgeting, looking at watch, etc.)
15.     I don’t make eye contact when I’m listening.