"I've been tryin' to get down to the heart of the matter...and i think it's about forgiveness...forgiveness..."
- Don Henley 1989
I have been doing a lot of forgiving lately. Partly because it is a huge step in the experience of “Mastering the BrainGAME” - a course I take regularly AND teach - but mostly because I am preparing to step into the next chapter of my life, in a new city, as a family of three in a home that has never been touched by tragedy and I do NOT intend to bring that trauma with me when we go. Nope. I have decided NOT to drag that massive blanket of heaviness with me wherever I go for the rest of my life. One thing I am sure of is that I ALWAYS have a choice and I am choosing to allow myself to cut the cords and be free of the grief that has dominated the last 18 months of my life.
Trauma has been hard to let go of while the kids and I still live in a home that Darcy and I built together. The home where we fell in love with each other AS we built it. It’s been hard to avoid the reminders of tragedy as I move through this city where he introduced me to all his favourite places and we discovered OUR favourite places together. It’s been hard to let go of the weight of the ‘mystery’ that still surround his death when there isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t have to walk or drive past our corner gas station where the last photo of him was ever captured from security camera footage. Every time I go by that spot, there he is. I can feel his energy and I automatically visualize him leaning back casually as he pumps the gas. There are a million spots like that for us here in Vancouver. Places we drive past constantly…places we have to visit occasionally. Reminders of what was. We are beyond ready to leave them all behind.
One of Darcy’s greatest superpowers was his ability to not dwell on the past or let it take over the present moment nor dominate the future. He didn’t need to hash things out forever and dissect the details of what went wrong. He could just move on and he taught me how to move on too, so I have been drawing on his super power and adding another very important ingredient to the process. Forgiveness. This is what I am attempting to do with every step I take toward our next chapter. With every piece of nostalgia that I release. With every keepsake I pack in bubble wrap. With every day that passes on the calendar as we approach moving day. I am feeling able to move on because I have a forgiveness practice that is ongoing and has become a hugely important piece of my life and my work here. I am able to feel successful at it because, like any practice, I am devoted to it.
When I talk about forgiveness, I am not talking about letting people off the hook for the choices they made that affected me in a way that caused me deep pain. I am not talking about saying “it’s ok” to the people who have consciously or unconsciously violated my mind, my body, my heart. I am talking about consciously letting MYSELF off the hook by letting it go so I no longer have to carry the weight of that pain. It’s not always easy but it is ALWAYS possible. No matter how awful the experience, once we make the decision to stop feeling dragged down by trauma, old patterns, negative self-talk, fall-outs with friends or family, we can truly just get on with our lives. I promise. I am doing it. Watch me.
My forgiveness practice of choice (and there are so many amazing ways to choose from!) is the ancient Hawaiian Ho’ oponopono prayer.
“I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you. I love you.”
These four simple but powerful statements act as a sort of ‘journal prompt’ and I use them to write letters to people, experiences, memories, myself. And then I destroy them…with fire. Or water. It feels good. It feels cleansing.
As I write the words on paper, I am kinaesthetically processing the healing as I move the undesirable emotions (anger, grief, anxiety, pain, trauma) attached to each letter, and it clears space for gratitude to come in. I welcome that gratitude. It feels like clarity and calm. It feels light and peaceful. I can feel thankful for the challenging experience and what I have learned from it, but at the same time, I no longer need to hang onto the hard parts. I choose to keep the wisdom and release the pain. I don’t have to carry that particular burden anymore.
Sounds like magic right? Sounds so easy, right? That’s because it is. We can let things be easy, friends. We don’t have to live with endless grudges and grief. Darcy taught me that and I embody it as much as possible. This practice is magical in its efficiency and speed and it’s scientific in the way my energetic vibration rises as the lower frequency, expressed through my words on paper, just burns or drowns in front of my very eyes. It is easy because I allow it to be. And then…just like that…I am free. There is space in my heart and a new, higher vibe to attract more of what I want in my life. More love, more abundance, more laughter, more adventure, just more! I rest easier and I feel more alive. Sometimes it takes me more than one letter to really move past a challenge. Sometimes I only peel back one layer of the pain to reveal a new layer of hurt or anger or sadness, and so I continue to write more letters when I am ready. I might need to take a break and let the healing integrate, but then I get back to it. I stay devoted.
I believe that forgiveness is highly misunderstood and very underrated. In my experience it is what truly helps us move forward which is the direction I always want to be headed in. I know that we all understand what it is to feel “thankful” for the great things we have in our lives, but a practice of forgiveness makes way for true gratitude to come in. It is totally different. True gratitude floods our hearts and minds and we can feel it in the body. It feels like freedom. That gratitude is what helps us let go of whatever pain or anger or trauma was leftover and only then, when forgiveness has occurred, can we truly move on. It’s how we allow ourselves freedom from the burdens of past experiences and it is the best feeling I can imagine.
Actual footage of me letting shit go. Go ahead, try it! Burning stuff just feels good.
I feel it now as I am getting excited about our move to a new city where we have family nearby, friends to reunite with and new adventures on the horizon. The kids and I are having fun browsing paint colours, shopping for all the new home décor and fantasizing about what is to come. We are planning “goodbye” parties and “hello” parties and celebrating the whole entire experience. Because of my devotion to forgiving the past, all this fun is something that I can really EXPERIENCE and be present for because I am no longer dwelling in the trauma of what has prompted the move in the first place - the weight of Darcy’s death no longer suffocates the lightness of the now. There is no holding me back.
Til Next Time,
Heal & Be Healed.
PS. If practicing forgiveness is something you want to try and you need support, ideas or a nudge toward trying it out, please reach out! I am so here for this!! The world will be a better place when we all embody the peace that comes from letting things go... you can reach out through this website or email me directly at wildforessentials @gmail.com. tw.