Forgiveness is a Gift We Give to Ourselves

6042029343_7d4aea1a30_zForgiveness is something we know we should do. So we usually put it in the category of “I’ll get around to that someday”. But with recovery we learn that that little pile we’ve built of the things we’ll do someday is the very pile we have to clean out before we can move on. Bitterness, regret, hatred, etc. all use our energy negatively. God can’t plant flowers until we till the soil. That means get out those big lumps. Forgiveness gets rid of a lot of the big lumps. Let go and let God.

How others learned to forgive:

1.  From  karenlessscripted  (A Life Less Scripted): “Why I Forgave My Bully”:

Kids are being brutalized by other kids. Children are taking their lives because they can think of no other way to end their pain. Some studies show rates of bullying as high as 81% for school-aged males and 72% for school-aged females. The girls who got bullied by Teresa bullied back. I, in turn, bullied Heather. In the 33 + years since these incidents occurred, I never considered myself to be a bully. That leads me to wonder if all bullies know what they are. In the right circumstances, the victim becomes the perpetrator.

I forgave my bully because I recognized a generational pattern of aggression and hate that I refuse to perpetuate. I’m doing my best to model the values to my kids that I want to instill in them. When someone is mean to me, I pray for the strength to show them love. I follow Jesus and remember the Sermon on the Mount and pray for those who persecute me. This isn’t easy. I spent many years building defenses so that I wouldn’t be an easy target. Those defenses hardened me and I’ve had to work to not expect the worst in people. I couldn’t live with myself if I mirrored that to my children and they became the same way.

Behavior is a continuum. We are all capable of loving behavior and hateful behavior. It never feels good in my heart to meet hate with hate and it’s my responsibility to show my kids another way. I will lead with my most valuable strength: Love. You can’t overcome darkness with more darkness.

I pray for my bully every day. I pray that she lives a joyful and purposeful life. I pray that she hasn’t built defenses against God’s light and that she doesn’t live in shame. If she has children, I pray that she loves her children more than she hates those who harmed her.

The cycle ends here.

2.  From  Annette (Journey of recovery…search for serenity): “Grateful”:

Someone commented on an old post this morning. It was this post. I went back and read it and I was so surprised….I had forgotten about having all of those hurt, angry feelings toward my mom. I think back on the 6 weeks we spent together before she died and I am SO INCREDIBLY grateful for that time. Really, there are no words. It was so honestly the right thing for me to do for so many reasons. And I am so glad and grateful that I got to give that to her. So much healing took place for she and I and hopefully for my siblings too.

Awhile back a friend started an ACA group and wanted me to come. At first I was excited to go and then it dawned me I wasn’t in that hurt place anymore. I had just had this beautiful time with my mom and I didn’t want to dredge up all of that stuff that I really felt like we had just wordlessly worked through. I recently ran into the same friend and she told me that someday even though my mom is gone, it would “still do me good” to go to the meetings. I just knew in my heart that that wasn’t the truth for me.

That I was really ok and not still all wrapped up in the past and my childhood. Those things happened, many things were hurtful, yes, she wasn’t a glowing mother most of the time, my emotional needs were unmet in some large ways, but she did love me so much and I believe completely that she truly did do the best she knew how to do….and what more can I ask from anyone? So today I am grateful to love my mom, to feel that we both are free in forgiveness, that I can see so much growth and change and progress, I am grateful to not be mad anymore.

3.  From DAAve (higher powered): “Amazing”:

The act of forgiveness is the act of returning to present time.

And that’s why when one has become a forgiving person, and has managed to let go of the past, what they’ve really done is they’ve shifted their relationship with time.

~ Caroline Myss ~

Forgiveness is not a feeling; it is a commitment.— GARY CHAPMAN

Photo credit.

Spiritual Practices 1

Fr Antunes

The spiritual practices I’ve chosen to include in Spiritual Practices 1 are forgiveness, deep breathing, becoming centered, mindfulness, and serenity. I learned most of these principles through daily meditation.

Early in my recovery which began in 1976, I was deeply influenced by a 13th century monk, Brother Lawrence. His book is titled “Practice in the Presence of God”. I loved the concept of practicing in the presence which told me that I never had to worry about being perfect. That,in fact, I would never graduate on this earth from the practice. What a wonderful gift this 13th century monk gave me. Thank you, Brother Lawrence.

If you, the reader, has other spiritual practices you would like to see included–write your own lenses. You will love the experience and feel a deep sense of joy to be sharing yourself with the world.

To introduce each of the spiritual practices I have chosen, I will be using definitions for each of the spiritual practices from one my favorite amazing resource, Wikipedia.

(1) Deep Breathing

The following definition is from Wikipedia–

“Diaphragmatic breathing, or deep breathing is the act of breathing deep into your lungs by flexing your diaphragm rather than breathing shallowly by flexing your rib cage.

This deep breathing is marked by expansion of the stomach (abdomen) rather than the chest when breathing. It is generally considered a healthier and fuller way to ingest oxygen, and is often used as a therapy for hyperventilation and anxiety disorders.

Performing diaphragmatic breathing can be therapeutic, and with enough practice, can become your standard way of breathing.

To breathe diaphragmatically, or with the diaphragm, one must draw air into the lungs in a way which will expand the stomach and not the chest. It is best to perform these breaths as long, slow intakes of air – allowing the body to absorb all of the inhaled oxygen while simultaneously relaxing the breather. To do this comfortably, it is often best to loosen tight-fitting pants/belts/skirts as these can interfere with the body’s ability to intake air.

While at first one may not feel comfortable not expanding the chest during breathing, diaphragmatic breathing actually fills up the majority of the lungs with oxygen, much more than chest-breathing or shallow breathing.

According to, in diaphragmatic breathing abdomen does NOT move.”

Intro to Retreats

Retreats are great opportunities to learn better how to communicate with the God of your understanding. As a young person attending church camps, I always loved the early morning ritual of going into the woods alone with my Bible. I was connecting with nature as well as with my God. Buddhists have many retreats worldwide as it is a part of their spiritual life to gather together in spiritual retreat. I have collected the following retreats with the description included on each website.

1. Spirit Rock In the San Francisco area, Spirit Rock ( publishes the complete schedule of all of its resources. Transportation is provided to the site from volunteer drivers if a worshiper needs transportation. One of the founders of Spirit Rock, Jack Kornfield, explains what mindfulness means to him in this article.  Continuing education credits for trained professionals is offered a t Spirit Rock in collaboration with ISP, Institute for Spirituality and Psychology. Spirit Rock offers residential retreats, daylong programs, beginning classes, weekly classes, a diversity program, a family program, a teen program, and a mindulness yoga and meditation training program.

2.Shambhala Mountain Center is a pristine 600 acre meditation retreat center located . The center offers beginning meditation, a yoga retreat, contemplative arts as well as retreat and renewal weekends. The 2007/08 schedule is available online and includes sections in Buddhism, meditation, yoga and retreat. The  schedule offers: (1) tame your mind, learn to meditate through the introductory course or the Shambhala training series; (2) stretch your body and mind at one of the yoga retreats experiencing OM, Ashtanga, Hatha and Anusara yoga; (3) delve into Buddhist teachings with highly regarded dharma teachers; (4) deepen your practice and transform your life in monthlong summer or winter Dathun Meditation Retreats; (5) access the healing potential of body, mind, and community, (6) explore th powerful practices of ancient traditions ; and (7) demystify and prepare yourself for the ultimate letting go. The Shambhala Retreat also offers conference and group retreats and rentals. It is located two hours from the Denver International Airport in the Colorado Rockies.

3. Journey of the Spirit lists spiritual retreats, journeys and women’s retreats. It provides the following links:

Sedona: Finding the Mystic Within

The Southwest: Sacred Pilgrimage to Mesa Verde, Canyon De Chelly & Chaco Canyon

Tepoztlán: Sacred Valley of Magic and Mysticism

Teotihuacán: “The Place Where Man Becomes God”

Teotihuacán: “The Place Where Man Becomes God” – A Photography Workshop

Oaxaca: Becoming the Supreme Artist of Your Life

Palenque: Explore the Mayan People, Ruins & Jungles

The Mayan Yucatán: Explore the Hidden Ruins of Mexico & Belize

Bimini: A Women’s Retreat & Wild Dolphin Encounter

Isla Espiritu Santo, Baja Mexico: Obtaining Clarity – A Women’s Retreat

Santorini, Greece: Expressing the Divine Goddess – A Women’s Retreat

Maya Tulum: A Journey For Goddesses!

South Dakota: A Women’s Healing Circle & Retreat

British Columbia, A Heli-Hiking Spiritual Retreat: Inner Peace, Silence & Sanctuary

Peru & Machu Picchu Sacred Sites: Merging with the Divine

Guatemala: Mystery & Magic – Tikal, Antigua & Lake Atitlan

Egypt: Dreaming Transcendence

Bhutan: A Journey of the Heart & Soul

Vietnam & Angkor Wat, Cambodia: Divine Splendor and Compassion

Busting Loose: Free from Limiting Beliefs! Personal Challenge & Ropes Course Retreat Weekend, Georgi

4. Find the Divine has over 1700 retreat center and 900 conference centers. It organizes the resources as: (1) retreat centers for individuals and groups; (2) conference centers and retreat centers for groups; (3) retreats, events and workshops; (4) retreat leaders and spiritual guides; (5) retreat and conference centers for sale; and retreat general information.

It has links for the following states/countries:

Alabama Alaska Arizona Arkansas
California Colorado Connecticut
Florida Georgia Hawaii
Idaho Illinois Indiana Iowa
Kansas Kentucky Louisiana

Maine Maryland Massachusetts Michigan Minnesota

Mississippi Missouri Montana

Nebraska Nevada New Hampshire New Mexico
New Jersey New York North CarolinaNorth Dakota

Ohio Oklahoma Oregon
Pennsylvania Rhode Island
South Carolina South Dakota
Tennessee Texas
Utah Vermont Virginia
Washington Washington DC West Virginia
Wyoming Wisconsin

Retreat Centers in Canada
Retreat Centers in Costa Rica
Retreat Centers in Belize
Retreat Centers in Mexico

Mysticism Links

Unmistakably lost and without a care by notsogoodphotgraphy

I have been collecting links for over 10 years. I have organized them by topic in individual folders. Needless to say, this is a clumsy and time-consuming hobby. So I started a few years ago to look for other methods. What I do works for me. I put them on “my team” and rotate publishing them on my main blog, High Energy Life in 12 Weeks .  I will publishing  “my teams”. For today, this is “my mysticism team”.

Books « The Website of Unknowing

Christian Mystics


Hermitary: the hermit, hermits, eremitism, solitude, silence, anchorites, recluses, simplicity


Julie Unplugged

Monastic Mumblings, a Friar’s Journey

Mystics « The Website of Unknowing

Philosophers and mystics on the Mystical Site

The Brotherhood of Saint Gregory (BSG)

The Four Precepts Web Portal & Spiritual Search Page

The Mercy Site – Contemplative Prayer for Christians


The Order of Corpus Christi

The Order of Saint Luke

The Order of St. Helena

The Order of St. Luke the Physician, a Christian Healing Ministry, welcomes you!

The Rosicrucian Fellowship – An International Association of Christian Mystics

The Society of the Holy Trinity: A Lutheran Ministerium

The Way Of A Pilgrim


Prayer is Two-way Communication

prayer 2 by khrawlings
prayer 2 by khrawlings

When I have trouble “hearing” God’s direction, a prayer of Thomas Merton (one of my pilgrims) always helps:

“My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore I will trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.”

Although I’ve read several books about praying techniques, I rarely have found a post as good as How to Pray for Healing .  His  “Today is the day to respond” gives 10 steps to using prayer.  It includes helping people stuck in difficult situations, how to get more power in prayer, how to get practice, and what to do when you’re healed. The author, Mark Dahle, also gives 10 reasons to pray for healing.

Some of the Dahle’s suggestions are: (1) pray at every opportunity, (2) ask for permission to touch people’s heads or shoulders ( I prefer to rub the upper middle back as this is a place where tension may be), (3) focus on God before you begin, (4) be open to intuitions from God, (5) watch for visual cues, (6) speak directly to the condition and tell it what to do, (7) have confidence even if nothing seems to happen, and (8) practice the steps that feel uncomfortable—you’ll improve.

Some more help with how to pray:

1.  How to pray from wikihow

2.  How to pray: Forgiveness is your path to miracles

3.  How to pray Bible study

4. How to pray when you are depressed

5.  How to pray to God-What does the Bible say?

6.  How to pray: Prayers that get answered

7.  How to pray so that God will hear

8.  How to pray effectively

9.  How to pray: A Catholic guide to the interior life

10.  How to pray with power