The Big F Word.

There are many words that start with F that can be considered a big word. The one I am referring to today is the word “forgiveness.” It is a wonderful spiritual principle that holds the key to so much healing within itself. When people feel angry or resentful or victimized the underlying cause may be that there is an area in their lives where the energy of forgiveness is needed. In my own life, I have felt as though many times I’ve needed to be in this constant state of forgiveness to live happily given the people and situations that have contributed to some of my most significant moments — and I’m learning to be ok with that. I know it is easy to pinpoint the need but not always so easy to accomplish the task of forgiving others. Because of this, I’d like to share a little bit more of my story with you and some tricks of the trade that I learned from the experience of making forgiveness a core practice in my spiritual life. Hopefully it can be of some comfort to those who may have difficulty forgiving people and circumstances that have contributed to disharmony or pain in their own lives.

First and foremost, I learned to treat myself the way I wanted to be treated by others.

I didn’t have the best of childhoods. You could say I grew up in a dysfunctional environment. I came to find out that I had somehow made it to adulthood without learning how to treat myself well. I had to figure out later in life how to cook healthily for myself and treat my own being with kindness. I suppose I was criticized so much growing up and around such constant fighting that once I got to adulthood I only knew how to be harsh and aversive in situations I felt were not in my best interests. I felt that nothing I did was good enough and I had no healthy way to deal with stress or disappointment. Once I was introduced to the Reiki energy three years ago, it helped me tremendously in healing from many of the underlying causes of my dis-ease with life, but after the healing sessions were over it was up to me to create the change in myself that I wanted to see in my environment, moving forward in a healthier way. It was up to me to forgive my parents, and my sibling, and all others I felt didn’t love me in a way that made me feel loved. And most importantly, it was up to me to change my own reactions to things so that I could bring more joy to a situation instead of succumbing to the people and situations I deemed as negative in my life.

The keys I have found to unlock healing here is to look to your own sense of Self and focus on developing a tangible connection with the ever flowing love of the Universe (God, Higher Power, etc.) instead of trying to demand that love from other people. This may not relate to everyone because I’m sure there are functioning and (in-the-way-you-can-healthily-feel-it) loving families and connections out there, however, for those of us who may not have been brought into this world with such a blessing, it is up to us to develop our own connection through connecting to Self (Universal flow, the God within, etc.) for love and support. I do this through daily meditations, prayer, treating myself well through cooking healthy meals and if I feel down being kind to myself by taking nice baths or going for long walks, as well as finding a spiritual support network. For me, this includes going to church for a healthy community life, joining support groups focused on my types of challenges to develop new tools and share in fellowship, spending as much time in Nature as I can for it is She that heals us all, and using positive affirmations to guide my thoughts and comfort my feelings.

Developing a meditation practice can improve your relationships with yourself and others

If you consider yourself to be a reactionary person (as I have been), meditation on a daily basis in whatever way works best for you can, over time, help create a space in your awareness where you are less likely to react to other people’s seemingly negative behaviors. This goes a long way in reversing the tendency to be a reactionary person, which is all too familiar of a trait for those of us who have reoccurring issues in personal relationships particularly where people have a tendency to “trigger” one another into emotional responses. The ability to insert the awareness of your breath and the space in your mind that accompanies those precious few moments can allow you the time needed to process your own feelings and choose an adequate response that is based on your values, knowing you can guide the situation to a healthier place instead of partaking in the alternative reactionary pushback. Developing a meditation practice not only has the potential to help create healthier relationship dynamics through your own conscious effort and intention but also the mere practice of sitting in meditation gives you precious time to support yourself. Allowing this process of sitting with yourself gives you the time and space to be present with your own thoughts and feelings about the people and situations that make up your life. Sitting with yourself in meditation and just being aware of your own thoughts and feelings that come up while quieting the outside world, though most assuredly may not always be a comfortable experience (*keeping a journal close by to write out things that come up in meditation is a good trait to develop early on as a tool to learn more about yourself), it is an experience that has brought me so much farther than I ever thought I could in terms of being able to forgive others and accept life as it is. It is then from a place of acceptance and forgiveness that we are more able to endow ourselves with the tools needed to make our relationships and our world a better place to live in. Have I succeeded in everything I want to do in terms of healing my relationships? Absolutely not. Has the world we live in become exactly what I want to see? Not at all. However, this is a process and these are my tools that I share with you along the journey towards a healthier way of life– for myself and others.

Positive Affirmations can raise your vibration

There’s a lot of talk in the spiritual community about vibrations and the energy we emit. A simple yet effective way to raise your vibration (and therefore offer more love and joy to your environment) is through the use of positive affirmations. These are short, simple, positive, to-the-point statements that you would like to be true for you like “I only create loving experience because I love myself.” You can make up your own, use apps that tell you positive affirmations to counteract certain stressors in your life, or various other ways to creatively use these positive statements. I like to save little notes I write or Yogi Tea slogans that are cool and tape them to places where I will see them regularly so that they become firm principles in my awareness. I know many people who tape positive affirmations to their bathroom mirrors so they see them while brushing their teeth, or to their car dashboards so they affirm positivity on their ways to and fro. I have an old yogi tea phrase taped to this laptop I write with that says: “Compassion has no limit. Kindness has no enemy.” It is right there for me while I write these posts and helps me to remember my right action in the world. I can tell you this simple practice has helped me so much with tapping into the limitless compassion that is part of our ever-flowing Universe.

Sometimes, when we feel victimized or hurt in some way, we may want to be angry with the rest of the world, or with God, or at least with the people who were involved in creating the experiences we feel victimized about. However, all we do when we act from this feeling of victimhood is create more distance and pain from our brothers and sisters of humanity. Using simple reminders through positive affirmations of who we want to be and how we want to behave in this world in terms of how we treat each other, regardless of how others may have treated you or what pain has occurred in your life, is a wonderful way to take charge of your own vibration and offer Love instead of anger or pain. To heal as a society, we must unlearn the idea of harming others because we have been harmed. We must learn to love ourselves and heal ourselves as we then offer love and forgiveness (i.e., healing) to those who may have harmed us, for it is through their own wounds that people harm one another and not through the soul that connect us. I know offering love and forgiveness to those who have harmed us is not an easy process, I know because I’ve been there, but I also know that it is one of the most healing things we can do for ourselves and for the world around us. I also know that the changes I want to see in our world starts with me, as it starts inside each one of us. Acceptance of what is, loving and supporting ourselves, and giving ourselves the time and experiences we need to feel better and healed are all part of the process of health and growth, and of being a loving person in a world that is in such desperate need for more loving people.

If you need any help along the way with whatever your process is, I am here to offer healing energy. I can listen to your story or share more of mine. We are all in this together, and I am at your service.

Peace & Love to You and to our World

Meredith Cavanagh
Reiki Master
The Healing Arts Studio