Thanks to Crowd Wellness and Yocale for these kind acknowledgments!!!
I encourage my clients and students to develop their own daily spiritual practice so they can work on healing themselves and connecting with Spirit each and every day.
What is a daily spiritual practice and why is it important?
A daily spiritual practice is a number of activities you incorporate into your daily routine that helps you feel connected, supported, and helps you to have perspective on life’s ups and downs. It is something very personal. It should resonate and work with you. What works for another won’t necessarily be what works for or fits you.
Ideally these activities are spread out throughout your day – say one in the morning, one at lunch, and one right before you go to bed, so you are reminded you are connected, grounded, and supported throughout the day. I also note that I use the term spiritual in a loose way. In that something that is a special spiritual experience for you might just be an ordinary task in another’s day.
Here are some examples of activities you can include in your daily routine that allow you to connect:
- spending time in nature in a very present way. Walking meditation is a lovely way to learn to do this
- treating a bath or shower as a sacred experience where you tune your senses into what you are experiencing and quiet your inner chatter
- doing a Reiki self-treatment
- doing yoga
- any daily self-care ritual that is done with love
- listening to music that inspires you (this doesn’t mean that has to be spiritual music – lyrics can be meaningful and move you regardless of the genre)
- gratitude practice (giving thanks for 10 things/people/moments in your day that vary in importance)
- cleansing yourself and your space
- shielding yourself and your space
- reading a book, poetry, or articles that inspire you
- looking at images, something or someone that inspire you
- having a sacred beverage (e.g., tea) in absolute presence
- taking some calming full belly breaths
- doing inspiring visualizations (e.g., seeing your body filled with loving light)
- practicing forgiving on a daily basis (what do I need to be forgiven for today and what can I forgive another for today)
- letting go of fault-finding (criticizing and judging ourselves or others)
- connecting with and being kind to other people and animals
- any acts of service done with love and compassion
I think two key elements of any daily spiritual practice should include cleansing yourself and your space as well as shielding. Preferably this is done before getting out of bed in the morning and before falling asleep at night. The cleansing helps remove any negative residues or energy and the shielding helps keep your positive energy intact. Smudging is a great way to cleanse yourself and your space. It can be done with a tiny stick of lightly scented incense and even unlit incense or sage (just by intention). You can also cleanse with a visual exercise even from your bed. Picture your outer four walls being cleansed and covered with divine indigo or white light, then the floor and spaces below, the ceiling and spaces above, and then all of the spaces between the four outer walls and floor and ceiling being filled and purified by this light. Then you can do the same for your aura, picturing this light filling you and cocooning you. For shielding, which follows cleansing, you can do a simple visualization of seeing yourself surrounded by white light that deflects any negative energy and keeps your energy intact. You can read more on shielding on my post: https://justbreathereiki.com/2014/09/16/the-importance-of-shielding/
Try to include 3 to 4 activities including the cleansing and shielding. So a routine could include going for a walk at lunch and then making a 10-item gratitude list in your head before bed. This daily practice practice helps remind us that we’re safe and okay, that there is peace in the present moment, and we are in control of our thoughts and how we see the world.
Tailor your daily practice to suit your loves and what inspires you. What makes you feel bliss? What makes you feel connected to this world we live in and the other people and creatures that we share this space with (realizing oneness isn’t abstract)? Play around with adding different activities until you find the right mix. Then stick to it for a month and see how you feel. Check in with yourself and see do I have a more balanced perspective when I experience a surprise or down turn in my life? Am I more grateful for all that I have and experience in my life? Do I feel more love for myself? Do I feel more love and compassion and less judgement for others? These practices help you feel connected to Spirit, the Universe, God, whatever terminology you prefer and bring you calm and peace and love.
Do share if you have anything you use in your daily spiritual routine that inspires and heals you.
I am excited to announce I have added a new healing modality to the services I offer – Arcturian Healing. I have studied Levels 1 and 2 of the Arcturian Healing Method with Gene Ang, Ph.D. Gene Ang is a truly gifted teacher and healer who is based out of California and travels around the world giving workshops and sharing wisdom.
I first came across Gene a couple of years ago in Vancouver when he gave a short talk where he demonstrated spoon bending, talked a bit about his transition from the world of science to the world of healing, about Arcturian healing, and gave a powerful guided meditation. Gene holds Ph.D. and post-doctorate degrees in neurobiology from Yale University. He now uses that same scientific rigour to study spiritual wisdom traditions and in his work as a healer. Gene has travelled the world and studied various healing modalities including Pranic Healing, Reconnective healing, the Reconnection, Shamanic Healing Practices, and Vortex Healing. After that workshop, I remotely joined in on a couple of evening workshops Gene conducted in the US. I kept in touch with Gene and every once in a while would ask when he was coming back to Vancouver (hoping I could study Level 1 with him). Last year he asked me if I’d be interested in helping organize a workshop on his behalf and I was finally able to study Arcturian healing with him.
Arcturian healing is a quantum-based healing approach. It is energy that is channeled through me. Techniques that can be used in Arcturian Healing sessions include:
- Arcturian Healing Light Treatment – this can be sent with or without a specific intention. This is often combined with other Arcturian healing techniques including symbol and spin techniques.
- Specific healing treatments focused on physical body including:
- Nervous System: Arcturian Neural Net technique is used for issues with brain and nervous system function including degenerative conditions (Parkinson’s, MS)
- Endocrine System: Arcturian Endocrine Activation technique is used for issues with adrenals (e.g., stress), pineal gland (e.g., sleep disorders), ovaries/testes, parathyroid, thyroid, and pituitary gland (e.g., menstrual issues)
- Cellular Systems: Arcturian Repatterning of Cells technique is used for any type of cell-based disease, injury, or issue with cells and structures of physical body. This treatment can be focused on specific cell types as well.
- Arcturian Blueprint Activation Treatment – focused on clearing any limiting beliefs adopted that are obstacles and then opening you to divine will. This treatment requires a total treatment time 240 min of treatment (split into multiple sessions). Can also be used for emotional and psychological healing.
I can tailor an in-person treatment to your needs and if you like combine it with other treatments I offer (e.g., Reiki treatment or Angel Life Coaching). I also perform distance treatments like I do for Reiki if you can’t make it to my office or want to send healing energy to friends and family in a different location.
I will share that my experiences working with this energy have indicated that Arcturian energies are more celestially-based than those used in Unified Reiki, which is more earth-based energy. I find when I run this healing energy it moves in many directions in a more complex pattern than the Reiki energy. In comparison to Reiki where information comes through all my senses, Arcturian energy offers dense clairvoyant information to aid in healing. This makes for a powerful session when combined with Angel Life Coaching. When it is flowing it also appears to be linked to the element of water.
If you’d like to give this new healing modality a try the next time you come for a session let me know.
If you are interested in studying this healing method, I also organize workshops for Gene when he comes to Vancouver.
I was inspired to write this post based on a Reiki share I hosted recently. Before we started the share the idea was to discuss the spiritual practice of using mantras and practice chanting some Buddhist mantras.
Mantra by definition means a sacred utterance, sound, syllable, word or group of words believed to have psychological and/or spiritual power. The power of the mantra comes from us saying it out loud or in our mind, reading it, or just having it present in our thoughts throughout the day. Mantras are most often in Sanskrit but can be in other languages or may even be in our native tongues in the form of an affirmation we repeat.
Purpose of Mantra Recitation
Adding mantra recitation to your daily spiritual practices is a lovely way to connect to spirit and feel that calmness and support that comes from letting go of the mind and just being. Repeating a mantra allows you to enter that state where it is your sole focus and you can see what comes for you on a sensory level. You can repeat a mantra in silence but I personally prefer listening to recorded mantras. I liken this to an doing a spiritual exercise video, it allows you to just follow and go with the flow and you don’t have to pay attention to the number of times you repeat the mantra, or develop flow, you just repeat with the person or people reciting the mantra in the recording and be really present in the moment.
There is great power in repeating a mantra. I personally find great power in repeating it aloud as opposed to saying it in your mind (but we aren’t always in the setting that allows us to do this). There is some sacred power of letting these sacred words roll of your tongue when reciting a Sanskrit mantra. Letting these ancient sounds come out of your throat and activating your throat chakra. I recommend trying to get to the point where the mantra feels like it is coming out of your heart chakra rather than your mouth. You can try moving it so it is coming out of your throat and then further through your heart chakra.
Now the first time you listen to some mantras you may be astonished at how quickly the mantras are recited and feel like you will not be able to repeat them as quickly. The third recording I provide below is an example (Nam Myoho Renge Ko). You have to do a bit of practice to master these mantras. First, you would write down the mantra and practice repeating it very slowly. Then you would try and listen to the recording and get your tongue used to saying it quickly, not judging your performance; if you lose your pace, start over the next time the mantra starts. Over time you will be able to say the mantra more quickly and experience the magic of getting lost in a mantra. You will come to appreciate how these faster or more complicated mantras that take time to memorize or master really take you out of your mind and bring you to the present.
Having mantras playing in your space is also very relaxing and healing. I often have mantras playing in my treatment room when giving Reiki treatments. It can be especially powerful if you repeat the mantra silently while working on your clients.
In Buddhist and Hindu traditions dating to 10th C mala beads are used to empower repetition of mantras as a physical way to make a connection with the mantra. On a practical level the mala beads allow you to count your mantra repetitions. Malas aren’t necessary for mantra recitation but it may add to your practice if you use them. A traditional mala bead necklace, which is comparable to a rosary or other prayer beads, has 108 beads plus one extra bead often comprised of different material or being unique in some way. This unique bead is known as the Guru bead. The mala bead necklaces are made with 108 beads because spiritual this is a sacred number. For Reiki practitioners it represents the number of energy centers in the body, but there are many other representations of the significance of this number in spiritual wisdom traditions. So you start at top of mala and with each bead you touch and turn the mantra is repeated until you reach the last bead, known as a guru bead, which represents your connection to the divine. Ram Dass has the following to say about using malas (https://www.ramdass.org/use-mala/):
“Doing a mantra doesn’t require using a mala; the mala is just there to add another dimension to the practice. Besides speaking the mantra, and hearing the mantra as you speak it, the process becomes tactile as well. If you want a psychological analysis of the use of a mala, you could say that it is a “kinesthetic cue device.” Without it, you could be doing the mantra and get lost in doing it mechanically. But if you suddenly feel the bead between your fingers, it wakes you up again. Bead by bead – it’s like the steps of a ladder, walking you straight into the Brahman.”
Mantras to Try
Now what type of mantra is right for you? If you belong to a particular religion or are drawn to a particular religion or deity that is a great place to start. I highly recommend the 21-day Mantra Meditation Journey put together by Deva Premal and Miten on the Mentors Channel. They did two series like this and each day for 21 days you would listen to a new mantra. At the beginning of the recording, you learn something about the mantra. Perhaps you learn about the meaning of the words used or the use of the mantra itself or a story behind Deva’s and Miten’s experience singing the mantra in a sacred place. It exposes you to different styles of mantras and educates you on some of the sacred words and use of mantras. I loved this series and hope they repeat it (when it was originally run it was free). It is currently available for sale on their website (http://store.devapremalmiten.com/) ($43 USD) or on Mentor’s channel site (http://www.mentorschannel.com/DevaPremal/21-DayMantraMeditationJourneyII/Online/) (if you choose the live streaming option it’s 28 USD!).
Below I have provided some of the Buddhist meditations I like which are available for free on YouTube.
Compassion: Om Mani Padme Hum by Deva Premal and the Gyuto Monks (from Deva Premal and Gyoto Monks recording Tibetan Mantras for Turbulent Times )
One of the most popular or well known Buddhist mantras
- Om – a sacred syllable described as the “sound of the Universe”. There is something transformational about a full prolonged humming of this syllable and letting it reverberate through your body.
- Mani – jewel
- Padme – lotus flower (a sacred flower in Buddhism as the lotus flower)
- Hum – the spirit of enlightenment (pronounced hung)
The Sankrit symbols Om and Hum are actually used in Unified Reiki attunements. It is track 2 on this recording.
Nam Myoho Renge Kyo
The purpose of chanting this Nichiren Buddhist mantra is to attain perfect and complete awakening. I have pasted in a 6 minute version below. You can look for videos as long or short in duration as you like. See my notes above on getting the hang of repeating a quick mantra like this one.
- Nam (or Namu) – devotion to
- Myoho = supreme law of Buddha
- Ren = lotus
- Ge = flower
- Kyo = sutra
Healing: Teyata Om Bekanze Bekanze Mahabekanze Bekanze Radza Samutgate Soha
Invokes the Medicine Buddha. You can picture the Medicine Buddha in the room with you and connect with him. I picked up a card with the Medicine Buddha at a Buddhist meditation class ten years ago. At that point I was still practicing as a scientist. Little did I know then how big a part of my life healing would be and what an impact chanting this mantra would have. I found when doing the Deva and Miten meditation series a couple of years ago that when I was midway through chanting this mantra I channeled a monk and my voice transformed to that like the monks on this recording. It is track 8 on the YouTube recording provided above. Very powerful healing chant.
Some of my other personal favorites are posted below. Happy Chanting!
Krishna mantra (another one of my favorite Deva and Miten recordings):
Update: Gene Ang will be returning in late January and late July of 2016 to offer more advanced Arcturian Healing classes as well as the classes detailed below. He will also be giving introductory and advanced talks at a couple of metaphysical bookstores and offering private healing sessions.
I am delighted to announce two upcoming workshops that I am organizing that will take place in mid-October of this year. The workshops will be given by Dr. Gene Ang, who has a Ph.D. in neurobiology, and include an evening workshop on Quantum Spoon Bending and a 2-day workshop on the first level of Arcturian Healing. Gene Ang is a truly gifted teacher and healer who is based out of California and travels around the world giving workshops and sharing wisdom.
I first came across Gene a couple of years ago in Vancouver when he gave a short talk where he demonstrated spoon bending, talked a bit about his transition from the world of science to the world of healing, about Arcturian healing, and gave a powerful guided meditation. Gene holds Ph.D. and post-doctorate degrees in neurobiology from Yale University. He now uses that same scientific rigour to study spiritual wisdom traditions and in his work as a healer.I remember him showing a video during his talk filmed in an all white room at a healing facility in the US using an infrared camera. The camera showed energy moving around, in and out of Gene while he performed a healing session. As someone who had made a similar transition from science to healing, I thought it was amazing he was using his scientific background/skills to help validate what he was experiencing on a spiritual and sensory level as a healer.
I have since remotely joined in on a couple of evening workshops Gene has conducted in the US. Gene has travelled the world and studied various healing modalities including Pranic Healing, Reconnective healing, the Reconnection, Shamanic Healing Practices, and Vortex Healing; I love that during his talks he shares little bits of wisdom from the modalities he has studied including stand-alone techniques that you can use afterwards. I kept in touch with Gene and every once in a while would ask when he was coming back to Vancouver (hoping I could study Level 1 with him). He recently asked me if I’d be interested in helping organize a workshop on his behalf and I jumped at the chance! On Gene’s website (http://www.geneang.com/www.geneang.com/Presence_Healing.html) he’s described as:
“Gene does not see himself as the healer but simply as part of the interconnectedness that occurs when facilitator, client, and Source/Love/God interact to bring healing forth. He sees his teaching engagements and seminars as an extension of this interaction that occurs on multiple dimensions to bring wholeness and understanding to all involved.”
I think that accurately captures how Gene brings a higher wisdom combined with zero ego, scientific objectivity, and a pure childlike enthusiasm and joy into his workshops. There’s a lightness in the workshops that I just love.
Here is an overview of the workshops Gene will be giving in October. I have taken the online spoon bending workshop and found it really surprising which techniques did and didn’t work for me (I had assumed certain ones would work and they didn’t and vice-versa). The spoon bending workshop is a recommended pre-requisite for the Level 1 workshop (given you’ll learn some energy-related techniques).
1) Quantum Spoon Bending: a Model for Healing and Transformation (October 16th, 6:30 to 9:30 pm, Cost $55 USD)
Gene uses spoons and forks to demonstrate new quantum healing techniques, which clearly prove the ability of those techniques to alter physical reality. To get an idea of how difficult it is to bend a fork, you can get any ordinary fork and attempt to bend the tines. Even the strongest person will have difficulty bending most tines on forks. Using these techniques, the metal becomes easily bent by anyone particularly children.
So why hold a spoon bending class? It is not about bending spoons and forks. The change in material reality as demonstrated by the bent forks is a model for change. The mechanisms tested are energy and quantum mechanics techniques. Because the worldview of energy and quantum mechanics is relatively new to modern life, it is sometimes difficult to demonstrate to people this reality; however, when people directly change their reality when they bend spoons and forks, their minds have direct physical proof that something changed in physical reality. Not only do they have direct proof; but, the proof happens to be what is considered one of the most “solid” aspects of physical reality. However, not only are the results cool but these same principles can be used for major shifts in healing and change. Some healers have been shown to mend broken bones instantaneously. Now people can get a direct experience as to how this might be possible and also how they can perform miracles in their daily life too. The principles demonstrated in this class access the same field of information as these miraculous healers.
This technique plus at least nine more will be taught in the all new class called Quantum Spoon Bending. The class will include the following techniques:
- Accessing the Field
- Torus of the Heart
- Time Travel
- Embedding Intention (ie. Talisman Making); and,
- The original technique – Accessing the Ligh
It is a “quantum” shift above the original class called the “Alchemy of Spoon Bending” which still contains important concepts in energy medicine. The original technique taught in the Alchemy class will be shown in the new class, plus the wonderful concepts of quantum mechanics as applied to healing and transformation. Each technique will be taught so that participants will have time to use the technique to bend the utensils. Then ample time will be given to show how each technique can be used in self-transformation and healing and to demonstrate the larger implications of each quantum concept.
2) Acturian Healing Level 1 (October 17th and 18th, 9 am to 5 pm, Cost $350 USD)
This divine healing method is a set of new healing tools and cosmic energies inspired by higher beings from the star system Arcturus. It is Divinely guided through the form of the Arcturians. In this training you will be attuned to the Arcturian Healing Light (AHL). This is a form of light, energy, and information meant to accelerate a person’s evolution. In particular, the attunement will place an energetic Arcturian Golden Star and Purple Sphere in each participant’s heart center that will allow them to transmit the AHL for others.
Some of the issues the AHL can address are:
- life path alignment,
- life functioning upgrade,
- physical healing,
- emotional healing,
- mental healing, and;
- spiritual healing.
In this training, you will both give and receive a full Arcturian Healing Light treatment. In addition, the training will go over the Arcturian 10 Healing Principles meant to augment the AHL in a formal session or to be used as techniques in their own right. Some of the possibilities that these principles can do for you and others are: learn to shift a condition’s dimension to a more optimal one; download past and future lives’ information for health and healing in clients; create a spin torsion field to manifest or de-manifest conditions; learn to change a conditions timeline to a more beneficial one; apply Arcturian Symbols for health and healing; learn to create information transfers with healing images and symbols; be given a specific Arcturian symbol for healing and meditation; be given a specific symbol to allow one to journey trans-dimensionally in consciousness through Arcturian stargates; learn to work with specific Arcturian Healing Guides; learn to create healthy energetic boundaries.
These workshops will be held at John Braithwaite Community Centre, which is located in North Vancouver, conveniently close to the SeaBus terminal at the Lonsdale Quay. If you are interested in registering, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can pay for workshops in advance via PayPal (you will be invoiced by Gene for the workshops directly).
I host a Reiki share once a month for my students so thought I’d write a post on what happens at these shares for students of mine who haven’t attended a share with me before of for anyone thinking of studying Reiki with me.
You can attend Reiki shares throughout the Lower Mainland. The Canadian Reiki Association (CRA) provides a list of shares that take place across Canada on their website (http://www.reiki.ca/exchanges.htm). There may be non-CRA shares in your community; attending a CRA share means there will be a Reiki Master present. Attending a Reiki share gives you an opportunity to both give and receive a Reiki treatment regardless of whether you have experienced or studied Reiki before. If you are just looking to experience or learn more about Reiki this is a great way to try it. The cost of the shares is usually quite low compared to getting a treatment from a certified practitioner. If you are attending a CRA share, a Reiki Master may perform an empowerment attunement to help open you to the Reiki energy.
For my students, I host this exclusive share so they have an opportunity to practice the Unified Reiki they learned in class with me and to share their healing energy. I don’t charge my students for my share but do provide a list of charities they can make a small donation to if they’d like to share their gratitude. This share gives my students an opportunity to practice their new skills, regardless of which level of Reiki they have, connect with other like-minded individuals, find out how their energy is received or how they receive and sense energy from different people, and gain practicum hours for their Canadian Reiki Association certification as a practitioner. This also provides a safe, positive, and non-judgmental environment for students to share what they sense and experience when they give and receive Reiki energy and learn more about gifts they may have.
The share has a minimum of 3 and maximum of 6 participants. Each person receives a treatment during the share and will give treatments to 2 to 5 people (depending on the number of participants). Each person gets a chance to play a different role during the share. For example, they may be leading a treatment during the share, which includes providing the invocation for the session, leading the session, and then closing the session; or perhaps, they may be the timer for the session keeping track of time and letting participants know when it’s time to change hand positions.
The monthly share I host is 2 hours long. The first half hour of the share consists of a short round of introductions or if everyone has attended the share before catching up a bit with each other. Then we listen to a guided meditation. My current favorite for the shares is a Doreen Virtue cleansing meditation, where everyone is cleared and energized before they start the share. There are specially themed shares throughout the year. For example, during an equinox, we may do a different meditation or activity. Then for the remaining 1.5 hours everyone takes turns at both giving and receiving Reiki energy.
What people experience at the share will vary with the group of people present and what issues they bring to the session. Typically, as people go up in Levels of Reiki, continue their self-treatments, and continue to raise their frequency and open to the energy, they find what they experience at the share changes over time.
You can attend the share regardless of whether you are studying with me on an ongoing basis or if you stop at Level One. You sign up for attending the share; however, if maximum attendance is reached, the people who are actively trying to complete their practicum with the CRA are given priority for spots in the share. It truly is a lovely and special evening each and every time. If you have any questions about the shares or studying with me, feel free to contact me.
I just finished the six-week online course on forgiveness given by Iyanla Vanzant and hosted by the Oprah.com website. She is one of the amazing life coaches/spiritual gurus Oprah Winfrey has introduced to a wider audience through her old network TV show and more recently through the OWN network. I have completed my own work on the topic of forgiveness and developed my own forgiveness practice, and have used what I’ve learned to help clients struggling with this same issue. I have a couple of forgiveness meditations I play during life-coaching and/or Reiki healing sessions to help open clients to this topic and to open this door to healing. One of the meditations goes through a series of visualizations and towards the end of the meditation, calls for you to breathe out forgiveness. I was surprised to notice with a number of clients that as soon as they were asked to do this – breathe out forgiveness – they stopped breathing. That their body, mind and spirit locked down their breathing…like they were saying “forgive you, no way, I’m not breathing out forgiveness, forget that, I am holding on with all my might “. When I asked these people after the session was complete whether they were aware they stopped breathing when they were asked to breathe out forgiveness, each and every person was not aware they had stopped breathing. It’s an amazing testament to how tightly and closely we hold our hurts, our stories about what has happened to us in our life, and unforgiveness inside of us. When I saw the opportunity to learn more on this topic through a six-week online course with Iyanla I jumped at the chance, thinking it would be beneficial to use with my clients who really struggle with letting go of their hurts and opening to forgiveness.
My understanding of forgiveness has evolved over time. I can remember reading the Dalai Lama’s book the Wisdom of Forgiveness many years ago and struggling to understand how Tibetan monks could feel compassion and forgiveness for the military personal who harmed them and their fellow monks. I wondered how you get to that place. I later realized that forgiveness had absolutely nothing to do with the people who hurt you – it was all about you. It was not about blaming or being vindicated but about acknowledging, releasing and finding your peace independent of anyone else. As I developed my own forgiveness practice and discovered a healed and neutral state of mind with old hurts, I also came to understand that you really had to be ready to surrender and be tired or sick enough of your story in order to be ready to forgive. That you had to get to that point where you really were so very tired of reliving the past, the hurts, the pain, going back there again and again, and defining yourself by your past and story, and that you were truly willing to surrender and change. Forgiveness work ventures into some uncomfortable territory dealing with an unearthing old feelings, memories, and triggers your ego, so in order to be willing to go there and be in that space you have to be sufficiently motivated by your goal of healing and learning to see your life through different eyes.
With my healing practice, I encounter people who cling strongly to their stories of what happened to them, defining themselves by their wounds and their past, instead of who they currently are. It’s our ego’s way of trying to protect us from similar hurts and taking us out of the present moment and getting us to believe that our past is more important than where we are right now. Of course what is interesting is how despite the seemingly protective nature of this mechanism, we end up repeating the pattern of our hurts over and over again when we hold onto unforgiveness, attracting the same hurts or types of people into our lives, allowing the same unhealthy behaviors into our life, and reliving and re-experiencing the same emotional hurts again and again.
So I embarked on this course believing that this work would be of benefit to me as a healer and life coach when working with my clients. I am a pretty self-aware person and have done quite a bit of forgiveness work and wasn’t at Stage One but of course found I had more uncovering and releasing to do to let some old wounds heal. As someone who has completed previous work and guided clients on this topic, I thought I would share my perspectives on forgiveness after completing this course. I would also like to share some of my favorite messages from this course that may inspire you, a reader looking for more on this topic, or one of my clients who is starting to work on or just struggling with the task of forgiveness.
My Viewpoints on Forgiveness
I have always loved Oprah Winfrey’s definition of forgiveness:
“Forgiveness is giving up the hope that the past could have been any different.”
That I believe is at the heart of forgiveness. Letting go of the mental, physical, emotional and spiritual anguish and torture of thinking about why did this happen, how could this have happened to me, how would my life have turned out differently if this didn’t happen to me, how could have I prevented this, or why didn’t anyone help me, and so on..”. Those thoughts just deepen the pain we experience.
In the forgiveness course, Iyanla shared the Byron Katie principle that “to deny reality, is to create suffering”. Byron Katie’s book “Loving What Is” helps guide the reader, by sharing many examples we can relate to of how when we project our beliefs and ideas of how people and the world should work or how we were wronged or treated unfairly, we create suffering for ourselves. Instead we can choose to love what is and understand that other people have different values and different ways of viewing situations and the world than we do. What unnecessary struggle and pain we create when we deny who people or situations really are or were . This concept also ties into Oprah’s definition of forgiveness, that to not accept what happened or wish it would have happened differently, just creates suffering….for you. Not for the person or people who hurt you, but for you.
Now forgiveness work is not for the faint of heart. The C.S. Lewis quote above is so true. To do this work you need to be brutally honest with yourself and not deny the reality of what happened in your life, your role in things, your beliefs, judgments, and decisions that led you down your path. If we are just starting this work we may be in denial of what we experienced not wanting to label people in our life as “bad”. Often, we have a strong tendency to grasp tightly onto our hurts and upsets in our life, filled with a fear of letting go of them and also with a fear of facing them head on. We think that if we let go of our upsets that it will lessen or invalidate what we experienced; or, we think that if we are giving in and giving up our feelings and beliefs of being wronged, that we are somehow condoning what a person or people did to us. There is also an internal struggle with our ego – a perceived risk that we will have no idea who we are anymore if we let go of our hurts and upsets because we (our ego) defines ourselves so strongly by them . Why is it that we think by holding onto and defining ourselves by our hurts, waving it like a flag proudly, that it affects or has any impact on the people who hurt us? After they hurt us, they moved on, while we go on to continue with suffering from what happened and re-experience the hurt. We seek outside validation, sharing our story, feeding off of reactions and validation that what happened to us was horrible, gaining sympathy, or resonance. But what if instead you just released your story, took the lessons from it and saw how they molded you into the person you are today, this strong, resilient person (even if you don’t see that) who survived their past, and started living in the present as the you of today – not who you were yesterday. How exciting and freeing that would be to start to embrace life from a point of excitement of not knowing what was around the corner and being delighted rather than scared of that – trusting the Universe has positive things in store for you. What about just starting a new narrative of who you are now and throwing away that old story? Letting go of the negative emotions and energy that weigh you down and starting to feel the positive energy of life and emotions you’ve forgotten. Starting to see yourself in a loving and forgiving light instead of beating yourself up for your self-imposed shortcomings, limitations, or flaws or things you could have done differently.
Forgiveness is clearly not about saying whatever happened to you was okay, acceptable, or right. People experience some horrific things in their life. It’s not about saying that you are alright with the people who hurt or wronged you. It’s about freeing yourself from old beliefs and judgments so you can start to let your wounds heal instead of keeping them open, and reopening them again and again, and experiencing those negative emotions again and again. It’s about seeing you can change by embarking on a healing journey of forgiveness and truly let your past be the past and seeing yourself and others in a new loving light. Starting to unclasp your hands from your story and open to just being present and just being you.
The process of forgiveness followed by Iyanla’s course allows the participant to review the upsets in their life and emotions with them, to forgive others and themselves for their part in the upsets, their judgements, beliefs, and to liberate themselves from their stories. It has a strong spiritual basis, which I love, including content from the Course of Miracles, and connecting with Spirit, shifting your energy, and trusting the Universe and your guides on your healing path. Much thought and effort went into the course content, format, videos and supporting materials provided in the online course. They definitely had some top-notch people working on the content and presentation. Taking the course, I was awed how I could accept the Buddhist concept that a thought is just a thought and can create suffering or eliminate it if you release it, but I never thought of major upsets in my life as simply thoughts that I could choose to let go of. What a liberating concept. I also love that there were six weeks dedicated to this concept and that it wasn’t glossed over. There is online access “forever” for this course, so for those who are just starting to scratch the surface, you could go back again and again and peel those layers of your “onion” (a great analogy for healing) and get more and more out of the process, as you develop and release on your healing path. Another amazing observation I and friends or clients who took the course made is that upsets from totally different facets and times of our life, which seemed absolutely and completely unrelated, created the exact same emotional response – it was the exact same type of upset. Kudos to Iyanla and her team for creating such an invaluable healing tool. I know some of the concepts I’ve learned will be of great benefit to my clients and valuable additions to my daily spiritual routine.
A quote of great truth from the first lesson was that unforgiveness is an act of violence against yourself. That is not an exaggeration. It seems shocking but think about it. What does unforgiveness do to you, your heart, the way you see yourself and the world, and what mind space does it keep you in? Start working on forgiveness if you are holding onto hurts from the past, through a course like this, by reading a book (Iyanla has published a book on this topic), getting a forgiveness-based treatment (like a Reiki ties-that-bind session), or seeing a therapist or life coach to help you work through and release your upsets. This kind of work raises your frequency to a higher level so you can manifest more love, happiness, and peace in your life. You can start simply with just making it a daily practice to forgive those in your life and yourself for little daily annoyances or things that happened in your day so you start to learn that forgiveness really isn’t that hard and let the healing begin.