We have all been hurt in our lives. No one is perfect. We have also hurt others in our lives. I have had pain that has gone to the deepest part of my being that I thought I could never forgive. My pain is not your pain and vice versa. We can’t even begin to compare, nor should we, how hurt we’ve been. It could be betrayal, the murder of a loved one, rape, war, you name it. There are many forms of torture. Trust me when I say I was tortured. It affected me deeply and profoundly. But I got to the other side of it. I can talk about it. I can help others now who have pain. There is truly a peace within me where there once was bitterness, sorrow, anger, resentment, sadness and despair. It brings me great joy to tell you that you too can get to the other side!
It doesn’t mean I never think about what happened. But now, when I think about it, I remind myself that I have forgiven that person. That person will never be a part of my life again. I have let them go forever. That may be something you need to do as well. Forgiving someone doesn’t mean condoning anything they’ve done. You may ask, “If she truly forgave, why is that person no longer in her life?” My answer to that is simple. Having that person in my life does not bring peace to myself or others. I choose to live my life skillfully. Meaning, if there is a person, place or situation that I know will cause pain or harm to myself or others, I avoid it. That is not wrong. It is a wiser and more skillful way to live one’s life. There is something to be said about the company you keep. Plus, I happen to know that person has not changed their ways. It is not for me to change them either.
I can tell you what worked for me. However, I have to preface this by saying something that will likely piss you off. I don’t say it to be offensive but it is said from a place of truth. A knowledge that you are lacking, if you are seeking an answer from an outside source to bring you peace.
You will never find peace within, if you continue to look for answers about how to forgive from another person. The reason you are seeking is because you have an ego (as ALL of us do, unless you are an enlightened being). You have likely already dissected to death the situation which caused you pain. You, as I have, probably looked at it from every possible angle that you could imagine. And still didn’t have any answers. But there may be a part of you that still thinks you are right and the other person is wrong. AND THAT MAY BE TRUE! Life isn’t fair. People don’t treat others the way they want to be treated. And it sucks.
However, once you realize there is nothing at all to DO in order to forgive, you will forgive. I know it sounds to simple but it’s true.
What has helped for me is meditating. Not praying to God. Not reading self-help books. Not seeking without, but seeking within. I had to do a lot of introspective work these past two years. It hasn’t always been easy. I remember when I first started meditating. I thought I would never be able to do it for more than 5 minutes. I could not go ONE minute without my mind wandering. Spinning, really. My mind was like a wheel that was spun and couldn’t slow down. But, over time, I was able to sit for 5 minutes, then 15, then 2 hours, then eventually even longer. I think I could meditate for as long as I want to now. I often totally lose track of time. I have been up all night long because I lost track of time while meditating. I have been able to reach different states of consciousness that I never in a million years thought would be possible. And with that comes insights. Really meaningful, life-changing insights that are for me and no one else. I don’t really know where they come from. I just know they come. And they will for you too. I don’t write this to boast but to let you know what is possible for yourself. If there is ONE thing I recommend it is learning what meditation is and practicing it. I cannot stress it enough.
You need to get to know yourself. And know that you can’t change others. Meditating helps you do this. At least it helped me. When you understand your human nature, your shortcomings and faults and can accept them and learn to love yourself despite them, you become far less judgmental of others. There is a saying, “Our darkness and our light need each other and we need them.” Everything in life has a purpose. We can learn to make the most of any given situation and be happy despite the bad things that happen in life. We don’t need to conquer any human being. We only need to conquer that within us that keeps us from loving ourselves. Sometimes that requires investigation into our own mind. A difficult but important lesson to learn is that when someone hurts you and you don’t forgive them, you have chosen to hurt yourself over and over again every time you remember it. Rumi said, “Why do you keep yourself in prison? The door is open.” So walk through it!
According to this site it is also important to understand what forgiveness is NOT:
“To learn how to forgive, you must first learn what forgiveness is not. Most of us hold at least some misconceptions about forgiveness. Here are some things that forgiving someone doesn’t mean:
- Forgiveness doesn’t mean you are pardoning or excusing the other person’s actions.
- Forgiveness doesn’t mean you need to tell the person that he or she is forgiven.
- Forgiveness doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have any more feelings about the situation.
- Forgiveness doesn’t mean there is nothing further to work out in the relationship or that everything is okay now.
- Forgiveness doesn’t mean you should forget the incident ever happened.
- Forgiveness doesn’t mean you have to continue to include the person in your life.
- … and forgiveness isn’t something you do for the other person.
By forgiving, you are accepting the reality of what happened and finding a way to live in a state of resolution with it. This can be a gradual process—and it doesn’t necessarily have to include the person you are forgiving. Forgiveness isn’t something you do for the person who wronged you; it’s something you do for you.”
Another thing that helped me is getting out in nature.
This is me! And below this is me with my husband!
Having someone to talk to helps a lot too. I am so lucky to have my husband who went through the ordeal with me and understands. HOWEVER, there is nothing that he, or anyone else, could say that could take away my pain. It is through the meditation and introspective work that I have been able to forgive and move on.
If you want to start meditating I suggest that you try YOUTube videos. There are some GREAT beginner guided meditations. I’m going to post a few here that I recommend.
Bells of Mindfulness. Short and sweet.
Daily prayer. Nice for morning and starting off on the right foot.
Letting go of thoughts that do not serve you. Spoken meditation.
I love Michael Sealey’s lovely voice. This is about clearing subconscious negativity.
Yoga Nidra– this one is longer but super relaxing and you do it lying down.
Another Yoga Nidra in a man’s voice, if that is more soothing for you.
I AM meditation (not for everyone but I like it). I find it very soothing and grounding.
46 minutes. Really relaxing. I love this Jack Kornfield meditation.
Just the sound of the sea. Waves crashing on the shore.
This is just the sound and video of a beautiful crackling fire.
Just wind chimes
I think that should get you started! I have a ton more in my playlist so if you want more let me know!
Shamanic drumming can be very powerful in achieving transendental states of consciousness. It is not for beginners but I post it here for those that have been meditating for a while and understand how to protect themselves prior to doing these kinds of meditations.
Shamanic Drumming. Very powerful. Ground and protect yourself first.
More Shamanic Drumming. I have entered deep meditation states with this.
How to ask for protection: Click here.
If you feel you want practical tips, this article from Dr. Wayne Dyer has 15 steps you can follow. I suggest that you work on each one for as long as it takes before moving on to the next one. Or re-visiting the ones you get hung up on. Click here for the step by step article.
Remember, it does get easier with time. So be patient with yourself. Keep loving yourself. Be kind to yourself.
I wish you happiness, patience in your practice and in yourself, peace and every success!
I have always had an interest in death. Ever since I was little. My little cousin, Vickie, tragically, unexpectedly died at the age of 2 when I was very young. It was my first experience with human death. I remember not really feeling sad, not understanding what was really going on… but starting to cry because everyone around me was crying. They were so unbelievably sad. I felt their pain more than my own. I didn’t know it back then but have come to understand that I feel what other people feel. Even when they don’t know what they are feeling, I feel it. Even when they fake it or try to hide what they are feeling, I feel it. Some people call this empathy or would call me an “Empath.” I don’t know if that’s what I am or not. I just know how I feel. At a tender young age I felt the deep sadness of so many people at once. It was the most pain I had ever been in, in my young life. I still recall it today.
I recall going to the funeral. I saw my cousin Vickie wave at me. I saw her hand waving as clear as day. I wasn’t afraid at all. I went to my father and sat on his lap. My dad is a strong man. I’m not sure how else to describe him. He is not one to cry. He is strict and stubborn. He was not very affectionate, in the typical sense, as I was growing up. But that day, he was soft. I sat on his lap and cuddled up to him. I asked him why Vickie was waving to me- because Mom said it was like she was sleeping but she wouldn’t wake up anymore. It didn’t make sense to me because she was awake, and waving. Dad said “Maybe she is waving goodbye.” I’m pretty sure that was one of those pivotal moments in my life. You know, those moments that you know will stay with you, and maybe are a sign to lead you to where you need to be? But maybe I just feel that too?
Many years later I became a wife and mom. More years passed and I became a nurse. Fast forward about 10 more years and I ended up in hospice. That’s where I have been for the past 8 years. I am pursuing other career options but in my heart of hearts I will alway be a hospice nurse.
Between the day Vickie died and today I have had many experiences with death. Some were personal to me (family members) while most were with someone else’s family member.
I have many wonderful moments and stories that I keep dear to my heart from those experiences. One thing I wanted to share with anyone who may be going through the hospice experience, whether it is a family member or friend who is passing, is this…
No matter what someone’s race, religion, occupation, status in life is, rich or poor, mean or kind, everyone experiences death the same…true, some deaths are quick and tragic while some linger on. Some folks seem to linger and tend to struggle (or get complicated for one reason or another) while others are more accepting of the dying process from the start. But basically, it is the same. Kind of like birth- each one is unique but the process is “basically” the same. Death is as natural as birth. The body knows what to do.
Once death becomes inevitable, layers start falling away. This goes fast or slow, depending on the person. People start letting go of things. Their job, their co-workers and aquaintences, their money, their house and belongings, their friends and eventually family. It’s like they go inward.
So many people want to “do” something for their loved ones who are dying. I have often had to ask the dying person to allow their family to do what they want because it is more for them then the dying person.
If you want to do something for your loved one who is dying, forgive them for any mistakes they may have made, ask for forgiveness if you’ve hurt them, love them, allow them to be the one driving the bus. This is their journey. Don’t put your own beliefs or assumptions about death on them. Continue to talk to them. Open the curtains and make the room pleasant. Keep it soft and light in their room. Don’t bring your baggage into their space. Sit with them. Just being there is nice. If you have a partner that you fall asleep with in bed at night, you will understand this next bit. Or if you are a parent. You know how you sleep better when your partner is lying beside you? Or when you know the whole family is home? Even though you’re asleep you can feel that they are there? I am sure that’s what it is like for someone who is unconscious. The presence is felt. And that’s comforting for some. And when I say that the dying person is driving the bus, I mean for everything. Sometimes they need to be left alone too. Don’t hover. Don’t bombard them with too much stimulation. I know everyone wants to say their goodbyes but, again, don’t allow everyone in there at once bringing their own baggage. That’s not comforting. Go in pairs and bring your positive, loving thoughts. At least do your best to try that. You’re better off not going if that’s all it is going to do is cause pain for you and that person. If you can’t forgive then don’t go see them. Because what’s done is done and they can’t do anything else about it now. Now it is about them.
I am all about pain relief and I understand that some people have a lot of pain that needs to be managed. But when the moment of death comes, 99.99999% of the time, the comfort medications are more for the family than the person who is dying. What appears to be struggling is not struggling when the person is unconscious.
I had an experience myself (twice) when I lost consciousness due to car accidents. One was a major car accident in which I almost went through a windshield and required plastic surgery twice. I was 15 years old. It wasn’t a near death experience in which my heart stopped. I didn’t see a light or anything like that (though I’ve heard many stories and have witnessed, in my career, people seeing and speaking to people who are not visible to anyone but them as they approached death). But what I experienced is this:
When the car accident happened I was awake but in shock. I saw the truck approaching us head on and coming fast. I knew we would be hit. I wasn’t afraid. The next thing I remember is coming to consciousness while lying on the road. I was told I crawled out but don’t remember that part. I remember my lip feeling funny (it was swollen and torn off at one end) and liquid going down my throat which was choking me since I was on my back (blood). I remember trying to pull my lip off (not knowing what it was- it just felt like it was in the way and the cause of the fluid). There were people looking down on me saying “Don’t move her. Don’t touch her.” I remember the paramedic telling the ambulance driver to hurry to the hospital. He seemed panicked. I remember that he held my hand. While at the hospital I was still in a daze. Nothing hurt. I did not care whether I lived or died. Nothing mattered. They transferred me, were taking x-rays, cutting off my clothes, talking to each other and making a plan. The first of my relatives to arrive was my brother. When he saw me he started to cry- a lot. He was saying “Oh my God” and “I love you, Chrissie.” I could tell then that I didn’t look too well. It wasn’t until later that I learned my face was full of glass chips from the windshield that shattered, my lip and nose were torn off on one side and my face was swollen and full of blood. That was another pivotal point. It was then that I realized that what we see (when a person is dying for example) is not necessarily what the person is experiencing. I have often told family members that story in hospice and it seems to help a lot of people. Inside, I was at peace. Truly. I had no pain until the following day, after surgery.
So when all those layers slip away, what is left? A deep knowing that this life is ending. A slipping away from all of our possessions and our relationships too. I believe there is contentment. Peace. A final closing of the eyes as if in sleep. When we go to sleep each night, we don’t worry about whether we are going to wake up or not. I think that’s how it is. People just go to sleep. Like my mom said a long time ago. The body goes to sleep but just doesn’t wake up anymore. I think right before a person dies they feel tired. Like they are just ready to close their eyes down. It is my opinion that when we shed our bodies, we truly wake up. Refreshed from this long life which was but a dream.
May you be happy and well and have many more days and years ahead. May you accept what comes your way holding on only to the thought that you have done you’re very best this lifetime. May you be able to let go when the time comes and thank this life for what it was.
I’ve been doing a lot of inner soul work. Working on self-care and self-actualization.
It is hard work. It takes time, energy and a whole lot of patience. Everyone will achieve their own results based on how much time, energy and determination they have in cultivating their own mind.
I am starting to see results but have been working on it for over 2 years now (Since something traumatic and painful happened in my life). Sometimes I hit it hard and other times I get caught up in this world, the daily grind, and don’t spend the amount of time I should on it.
I wanted to share some things I’ve learned. Not necessarily about myself, because that wouldn’t mean anything to anyone reading this, but about the process. And maybe a few ways I’ve benefitted, generally speaking.
1. Cultivating the mind takes a lot of time. Something most of us don’t feel we have enough of these days. And even if we do, quite frankly, there may be more exciting things to do that result in faster gratification. Those other things, whatever they may be, won’t bring long term, life-changing results though.
2. Cultivating the mind takes an extreme amount of patience. You won’t see results immeditaley. Sometimes it feels like there is no benefit at all and that’s all you are doing is dragging up old memories. Sometimes it feels like it would be easier to just keep pushing those memories aside. But that doesn’t really ever get us anywhere. We can’t advance past them if we can’t even look at them. Then, those memories come up anyway, when we least expect it. And they do affect us. They affect our well-being, happiness and overall health. They shape decisions we make and who we are as people. Have you ever heard of people putting up walls? Or not being able to trust again? That stems from not addressing the true issues. That’s not a happy or healthy way to live.
3. Cultivating the mind is painful. We are looking at ourselves in a totally different way. Asking ourselves why we react the way we do. Not just blaming someone else for our misery, sadness or anger but really asking ourselves “What is it about me that brought about that reaction? ” Remember, no one else is responsible for our happiness except us. No one can “make” us react or behave a certain way unless we allow it.
4. Practice makes perfect. In order to keep going with this inner mind/soul work, it is important to remember that there is a goal. If it takes so much time, the results are slow and it is painful – why do it? Well, after the tears, hours of meditation and investigation of what brought up certain thoughts, reactions or feelings, there is a sense of peace that cannot come any other way. It might only be for a moment but it is wonderful. There are insights, little ones and big ones, that we gain from this kind of work that can’t be learned any other way. The Buddha said that we alone must walk our path. No one can and no one may walk it for us. Only we can, through this kind of work, dig deep within ourselves, to learn about our nature and begin to change it for the better. Self reflection is so beneficial and rewarding. I used to think that looking at past hurts or digging into our childhood was psych-mumbo-jumbo. It’s not.
One general thing I learned recently is this: We can forgive someone for hurting us in the past, even if they were truly wrong and cruel. If we dig deep within and work on it, it can be done. However, even when we get to that point of truly forgiving them 100% and even wishing them well, it doesn’t stop the memories of what happened and how they hurt us. That part sucks. So here is where the insights come in. This is how we can bring what we’ve learned through that introspective work into real life. We consciously remember that we have forgiven them. We realize that this is just a memory, painful as it may be, and we choose to not relive it. We choose to not let that anger us or make us sad. The more and more we do this we begin to let it go and see it for what it is. It is a memory. That’s all. It is done. We have moved on. We have forgiven. We aren’t there anymore and do not need to relive it over and over again. We don’t need to drag those heavy memories around with us for the rest of our lives. That is us doing that. Not that person who originally caused us pain.
In Buddhism that’s called Double Dukkha. Someone hurt you which is the first dukkha (dukkha means suffering) but then we relive it. That’s the second dukkha. And guess what? Over time we relive it, that’s another dukkha in top of it. Yikes. Think of all the times we have caused our own suffering!
It is foolish for us to hold onto those old feelings. The Buddha also said that a fool is one who doesn’t ask forgiveness for something they’ve done which is wrong. A fool is also someone who, when asked for forgiveness, doesn’t give it.
So to me that means this: Even if that person who has hurt us has not asked us for forgiveness, that is on them. They are the fool. And we are not to associate with fools. If they have asked us for forgiveness, it is our duty to do so. Or we are the fool. So there is no reason to NOT forgive them. It is never right to hold a grudge. It is never right to continue to recreate the pain we originally went through over and over again. However, we need to get to the point of forgiving and ultimately ketting go, is worth spending the time on.
I hope that this has helped someone in some way.
In this blog, I am going to give examples of my personal self-care practices and ideas in case you don’t know where to start.
Oftentimes, we hear people say, “Just let it go” or “Forgive and forget. ” I believe there is something in us all that wants to do that. Maybe there is someone out there who can read those words, have them click snd automatically be able to do that. I doubt it but I guess it is possible. Most of us need more than those words. We need to know HOW. That’s what I would like to share. I’m not a psychologist. I am not a psychiatrist. I’m not a counselor. I am not a spiritual adviser. I am just a person who is getting through it myself. I am a work in progress also.
If something resonates with you and you can relate and wish to try any one of my methods, go for it. If not, that’s ok too. It is working for me though. If you have your own methods that work and you’d like to share, that would be wonderful also!
May you be happy and well.