Last year, I summoned the courage to forgive myself and my father after almost ten years estranged.
Witnessing an alcohol fueled argument between my father and step mother in the summer of 2002 triggered a flood of painful emotions I had buried deep inside for most of my life. I decided in that moment that my father was out of control for the last time in my presence. As a new mother, I made the choice to protect my young daughter and myself from a narcissistic, often mean-spirited, “Jekyll and Hyde” character who happened to be my Dad.
As a transformational coach and self-care enthusiast, I believe we must learn to create safe boundaries to honor and protect ourselves. We subconsciously erect protective walls around our hearts to insulate ourselves from the pain and trauma we once endured. The good news is that we can remove the barriers within that keep us from experiencing compassionate self-care.
Over the last 10 years, I’ve learned that you can heal your past, open your heart and experience more joy. In my experience, forgiveness began my cycle of personal healing. Whether through coaching, counseling, or facing things on our own, there is deep emotional healing that must be attended to in order to reach a place where the old story is no longer the only story.
I believe that when each one of us heals and forgives ourself, we invite a profound shift in compassion for ourselves and the world. When you experience compassion and trust, you feel loved. You’re at home in your body, and your relationships with yourself and others are at their best.
A significant part of the sacred process for letting go of an emotionally difficult past includes practicing yoga, sacred communication exercises and an understanding of the Sacred Heart Healing Cycle.
Yoga means “Union” – the union of the mind, body, and spirit with the Divine. Practicing Yoga quite literally transformed my life. From my first gentle yoga class, through my teacher training, and teaching Luscious Living Yoga playshops, Yoga has remained the perfect way for me to access peace and tranquility while calling up repressed emotions and facing the scary monsters under my bed.
If you want to get to the root of what is weighing you down, drop in on an introductory Yoga class and get back in touch with your body, mind and spirit.
Sacred Heart Healing Cycle
Your heart is at the core of your beautiful spirit, where you can open up and connect with infinite joy and peace. The health of your heart registers the quality of love in your life.
When we choose love, fear melts away. Love is the greatest healer of all. The most powerful way to open, energize and care for your heart is to learn to love yourself and others without judgment. Be yourself. Let others be who they are. Be mindful of the number of times each day you judge yourself. Simply notice your rambling inner critic, thank her for her opinion, and ask her to sit down and be quiet.
I created the Sacred Heart Healing Cycle to help you identify with some of the feelings you may be experiencing within the cycle. Each emotion represents a part of your experience and can be attributed to your overall upbringing, parent-child relationships, school experiences, romantic relationships, professional relationships, and your relationship with yourself.
The cycle begins with the abundant flow of pure loving energy we are born with. We are shiny and new. Innocent. As we grow up, we endure personal experiences of heartbreak, pain, and wounding. If we’ve been a victim of abuse and significant loss, trusting ourselves and others can seem unfathomable.
When we decide that we no longer want to suffer, we summon the courage to heal our precious hearts. We can return to innocence and complete the cycle.
Below, I’ve categorized the feelings and behaviors of which you should be mindful during each part of the Sacred Heart Healing Cycle.
Where are you in this cycle? Can you identify with some of the feelings? What do you know you need to do to support the feeling you’re experiencing right now?
You can set yourself free from attachment to the trauma that comes with a painful past. The best thing you can do right now is forgive yourself and forgive everyone else who’s ever done you harm. Carrying the weight of a painful past is like committing an act of violence against yourself, every day. Imagine being rid of the burden, anger and grudges you’ve toted along with you over the years. How would it feel to let them all go? I can tell you from experience that it feels incredible.
Communicating directly from the heart with ourselves and others takes practice. If you are ready to practice sharing your truth, here are a couple exercises to get you in the flow of sincere communication.
Write a letter to the one(s) who hurt you. Let your angry feelings fill the page. Rant, scream, cry. Get it all out. When you can’t write another word, bless your letter and then burn it in a burn barrel or fireplace.Bless it and Burn it! Let it go. You will feel so much better. There is no resting place for rage in your beautiful heart.
Write a letter of forgiveness to yourself (or someone else). Identify what is haunting you and pour your heart out on the page. Squeeze out every detail of how you feel about the ghost(s) of your past. Forgive yourself for everything. Forgive everyone who’s done you harm. You deserve to let go of the pain and suffering that comes with holding a grudge. You do not have to beat yourself up any longer. You deserve the freedom that comes with forgiveness.