Forgiveness for many can be harder than pulling teeth, when we think about forgiveness what comes to mind is “they did x, so why should I have to forgive them” — and most frequently we could think that way and go on living our lives without changing our perception. Today, I want you to understand a new perception of forgiveness and the quote goes like this, “Unforgiveness is like drinking poison yourself and waiting for the other person to die.” It is a slow, painful withering from the inside out and it is detrimental to growth. I am here to tell you, there is a process to forgiving and I will keep it short:
First, show up… come with a pen and paper and write down the things that are bothering you. This could be about yourself; it could be about someone else. Make sure to write every emotion, feeling, context and event that comes with the notion that you need to forgive. When we allow ourselves to be vulnerable and write down every detail then it is no longer in our head festering and growing to be something larger. After you are finished writing, walk away. Give yourself a brief 5-10 minutes or even the next day to notice your body as you release all that you know to something other than your mind. Then, with clear eyes, and a decluttered mind come back to that journal and process the information. Find the lesson, build courage to take responsibility for your actions or lack thereof and speak to yourself a wholehearted apology and if need be, reach out to the other.
And here is how it goes, an ancient Hawaiian word called ho‘oponopono meaning, “to make right” is the example I am using to help you through this process. To make something right means that you must let go of the ego, CHOOSE to see the teaching, and ask for forgiveness. Ho’oponopono is (1) I am sorry (2) Forgive me (3) Thank you (4) I love you; so, there is essentially four parts to this one practice. As an example: I’m sorry Hali for mistreating you when I didn’t honor your highest Self, please forgive me as I learn today that I cannot bear the weight of other’s problems but rather listen and release, thank you for embodying a woman with grace and ease and a woman who can be counted on, I love you. This practice is not meant to be perfect, but rather about connection — when we seek forgiveness it is humbling, raw but utmost relieving. It truly comes down to a choice.
Now, I did not say this would be an easy process, in fact, this might cause you to tremble. But a heartfelt trembling forgiveness is much better than a slow death of bitterness and resentment. Much of our unforgiveness is habitual or a pattern of not processing our emotions as they come. If we have a body full of unprocessed emotions it wreaks havoc on the body as a whole and eventually, we have other underlying problems down the road such as: short tempered, weakened immune system, unsettling thoughts, or coping mechanisms. The good news is, at any point in our life we can choose to stop the habit and correct the course of our life. This all begins with connection, with yourself and our loved ones.
Finally, be consistent with forgiveness. Know that it is not a one and done practice, it is a daily responsibility that we courageously choose and slowly over time it will get easier because you are getting comfortable with the discomfort. And if you do not have a daily practice of solitude, enjoy the Belly Breath exercise I have provided to begin your healing journey.
Belly Breath for Healing
- Create a safe space by first clearing whatever space you will use with a sage smudge, lighting candles, putting on light music, and gathering blankets and pillows for your comfort.
- Lying comfortably on the ground or in your bed, supported and warm, relax into your body.
- Begin with natural breath, at which point you may feel into where your hands want to be – perhaps next to your body with palms facing up, perhaps one hand on your belly and one on your heart.
- Begin by inhaling deeply into your belly, then a secondary deep inhale through your heart. This should feel like you are flooding these areas with oxygen. Bring your awareness to any thoughts or feelings that come up, noting them, inviting them to flow freely.
- Exhale out of your mouth, bringing awareness to trusting in love and connection.
- Moving in this way – belly, heart, mouth – repeat for up to 30 minutes of active breathing, maximum, followed by 15 of regular, relaxed breathing.
Be mindful to stop if you truly feel uncomfortable, slow down when necessary, and tune in to your body. Allow yourself to cry. Scream. Vocalize however you need to. If messages – sentences, affirmations, mantras – come up for you, repeat them silently out loud as feels appropriate.
When you feel that you are finished, stay in a resting Savasana position, and return to natural breath. You may feel tingling, tightness in your hands, or a sense of mild physical exhaustion. These are all temporary and are signs that you have really moved some things around.
Try coming to your sacred space 3 times a week to feel into your body and become present.
By Hali Benson, a certified Holistic Nutrition and Wellness Practitioner helping clients heal through nutrition, yoga and spirituality. You can find her under the name of Blossom Services at https://blossom-services.webflow.io/.