Creating space for forgiveness starts with self love, self kindness and self compassion.
There are many layers associated with forgiveness, and the most important thing to keep in mind is that it’s not just about forgiveness towards others, but first and foremost, forgiveness and compassion towards ourselves.
The act of compassion is the desire to alleviate the suffering of others. It is showing care for others whilst understanding that they are fully responsible for their actions, which doesn’t mean that we are justifying their behaviour, instead, we are making space for others to have their experiences without attaching our reactions to them.
But what about SELF compassion?
TedX guest, Dr. Kristin Neff has dedicated her life studies to self-compassion, and explains it as:
“The process of turning compassion inward. We are kind and understanding rather than harshly self-critical when we fail, make mistakes or feel inadequate. We give ourselves support and encouragement rather than being cold and judgmental when challenges and difficulties arise in our lives.
Research indicates that self-compassion is one of the most powerful sources of coping and resilience we have available to us, radically improving our mental and physical wellbeing.”
Our practices this month on the Soul Sanctuary help with creating space for forgiveness via the vessel of compassion. This means compassion for others, as well as for the inner child that may have been so deeply wounded, that they are not quite willing to forgive just yet, and acknowledging that this is ok, without being consumed by guilt.
There are many obstacles associated with forgiveness and these tend to come up as guilt, regret, shame, anger, and resentment. It is an ongoing practice and journey. The term ‘forgive and forget’ is one thrown around often, but as many of us will have experienced, it is certainly not that easy.
Whilst forgiving those who hurt you can bring real freedom, space, and lightness to your life, it is also about understanding and acknowledging the WHY associated with forgiving someone that is crucial. You will forgive them not because you feel they deserve to be forgiven, but because you want to let go of the suffering and hurt that you feel each time you remember the situation.
This shows up through the different layers:
GUILT AND REGRET:
We can harbour guilt when we feel we have made inadequate or ‘wrong’ decisions or actions that cause harm to someone else (or ourselves).
On the flip side, the guilt we hold on to for not being ABLE to forgive someone or ourselves is just as important and needs just as much love and self-compassion.
Either way, holding on to guilt or regret can often feel like you are dragging the weight of the world, as well as your past, with you everywhere you go. It is a serious emotion and one to acknowledge and wrap in compassion, kindness and love. If not confronted, the attachment to this emotion can eventually cause illness in the body, mind and soul. It not only drains our energy, but creates neural pathways of limiting beliefs, anxiety and fears, also causing us to remain in our past, rather than our present or future.
Our mind is an incredibly complex instrument. As Dr. Joe Dispenza teaches, our thoughts become our reality, so our lives are created by what we think and therefore who we become - our personality is literally our personal reality.
So if we are stuck in thoughts of guilt, fear, shame, and limiting beliefs, this will be our reality. He has proven through his teachings that thinking or dwelling on the past will recreate a situation in our lives where we are confronting the situations and emotions of that choice again and again.
In his second best-selling book ‘Breaking The Habit of Being Yourself’, Dispenza talks at length about ways in which you can learn to recreate your personality and rewire your brain in order to create a new reality, new thoughts, new patterns, and new pathways.
“Only by changing our state of being - can we match a potential reality in the quantum field. As long as you stay the same person, you’ll generate the same outcomes. When your thoughts and feelings are aligned and coherent they are much more powerful. If for example, you visualise what you want but feel guilty about wanting these things, you’re confusing the signal and manifesting more guilt.”
So with that being said, forgiveness is the act of forgiving yourself and making an active effort to do better in the future. When you approach similar situations in the future, it is being able to draw from the learnings of past errors and reminding yourself what you have learned and how you can use that knowledge and experience to guide your actions going forward.
ANGER AND RESENTMENT:
To forgive, we must be ready to let go of our anger and resentment toward someone or something. Without forgiveness towards others and ourselves, this manifests as anger, which develops into resentment, and resentment in our hearts does not serve us in any way.
The incredible Brene Brown expresses: “Forgiveness is not forgetting or walking away from accountability or condoning a hurtful act; it is the process of taking back and healing our lives so we can truly live.”
We understand that resentment is something we need to work on and ideally, let go of, however successfully divesting ourselves of resentful feelings can be difficult, because doing so forces us to mentally and emotionally confront the original source of anger.
When we can reach the point where we can free ourselves of resentment, we often find that we have more energy and attention to devote to our own personal development.
There is no ‘one size fits all’ in how to do this. This is where responsibility and self-love must come into play. We can begin by ceasing to assign blame, and perhaps realising that our need to hold someone or something accountable for our feelings is in fact harming us further.
To release resentment, we must shift our attention from those we resent back toward ourselves by thinking of our own needs. This is where self-compassion through different healing modalities can be explored. Working on where and how you can find compassion in your heart, no matter how long it takes, is the depth of the journey.
“Learn from the past and be thankful for the past, forgive the mistakes of the past and let it go with great gratitude. It will allow us to embrace the present and future with love, enthusiasm and passion.” - Debasish Mridha
The most important step to working with these stronger emotions is to firstly start accepting that you are a human being. We get things wrong. We make mistakes. We’ve all felt guilty before. We all mess up. We’re no better or worse than everyone else.
Through acceptance and self-compassion, self-forgiveness can be actioned by refraining from punishing yourself for what you didn’t know and couldn’t see, and by understanding that, you are constantly learning. You have the opportunity to act on what you know now, even if you didn’t know then. You can begin to make amends and be compassionately accountable to yourself.
“Forgiveness is choosing to love. It is the first skill of self-giving love.” —Gandhi
This month we will create space for that inner child that is finding it challenging to forgive and help you create compassion towards yourself for this and for others who are on their own journey. Forgiveness is allowing the space and patience to take effect while you explore forms of healing that help you find love and compassion for your inner child.
You can flow along with our monthly playlist HERE.
In the first week, we have an energising 60-minute Air mandala flow that will bring openness and expansion to the heart chakra, allowing us to focus on and lean into forgiveness. Although this flow will cultivate a fiery energy in the body, it will also allow space for you to align with your softer energy as you move 360 degrees around the mat.
We will also have our LIVE Members Flow and Q+A on the membership on Thursday the 8th of December at 12:30 pm (GMT).
In the second week, we have a 30-minute core strengthening flow focusing on harnessing your inner power and strength for forgiveness.
This week will also host a beautiful heart chakra meditation - Anahata Awareness. This meditation will focus on breathing into the heart space to open and expand your self-love and self-compassion before offering it to the world and others.
Plus a LIVE Youtube Festive Workshop on the afternoon of Sunday the 18th of December.
In our third week, we have a wonderful 45-minute morning strength flow to start your day, with the intention to focus on the day ahead and not getting caught up in the past. This flow will help you let go of what has already happened, moving forwards with kindness and compassion - don’t let yesterday take up too much of today.
We also have a very special guest, Autumn Aspen coming to the membership to facilitate a beautiful LIVE conscious connected breathwork journey.
In our final week of 2022, we have a 20-minute deep hip flow to help release any stuck emotions, before stepping into a new year and approaching Yoganuary 7.0.
Our movement breakdown for December is Matsyasana, also known as fish pose. A beautiful stretch for the throat, neck, shoulders, and intercostals (muscles between the ribs), as we open these spaces for compassion, empathy, and communication.
And to get you ready for Yoganuary 7.0 we will have a beautiful Pre-Yoganuary Journal and Intention Setting practice to enjoy on Friday the 30th of December.
Allow yourself to create space in the body, the mind, the soul, and the heart this month.
Work on where you can slowly start to forgive yourself or others where you can as we approach a new year.
"Gather your mistakes,
Rinse them with honesty and self-reflection,
Let them dry until you can see every choice and the regret becomes brittle,
Cover the entire surface in forgiveness.
Remind yourself that you are human
And this too is a gift"
- Rudy Francisco