The more technology shrinks and connects our world, the more we are confronted with challenges that we have to deal with, almost on a daily basis. As I watch it all unfold, I will be inspired from time to time, to focus attention on and share with you how my Radical Living Strategies can help all of us meet our challenges with greater ease and compassion. My hope is that these offerings give you the insight you need to create the peaceful, fulfilling life you desire.
This will be my last message this year. You deserve a break and so do I. It’s been a very busy year, and I appreciate you hanging in there with me. If you have clicked through on the majority of my messages, I really do thank you for your loyalty and hope they have helped you in some way.
Those of you who have been with me for a while won’t need to be reminded to do the necessary forgiveness work prior to getting together with your families over Thanksgiving and the other holidays. For those of you who have joined us more recently, I do feel obliged to say something about it.
We all know what happens: You get together with the family, and all the old unresolved issues come racing to the surface. Before you know it everyone is having a bad time. To prevent this from happening to you personally, even if everyone around you is melting down, check in with yourself to see if there is some forgiveness work you can do prior to the holiday get-together. Use a free worksheet or better still, one of the online programs. We have them for parents, siblings, and kids, as well as partners. It will make a huge difference, believe me.
If you are traveling to visit family, take a few worksheets with you – not only the Radical Forgiveness Worksheet but the relatively new Acceptance Worksheet as well. Its purpose is to help you accept someone the way they are, and that will make a big difference in your holiday experience. These and many more available in Colin’s Cafe. Registration is required.
Don’t say you haven’t been warned and advised! When you hear from me in the New Year, I will mention it again in case you didn’t take my advice… you may find yourself in need of some relief after you have said goodbye to your family.
Here’s what you can look forward to, when you’ve successfully leaped the holiday hurdles… New Year’s Resolutions. Come January 1st, I will begin a series of messages about Radical Manifestation. If you use this method of creating consciously, you will stand a much better chance of manifesting what you want.
JoAnn will be home in the U.S. for Thanksgiving, but I will still be in England most likely. I will be home for Christmas, though, and after cooking up a storm for Christmas dinner we will do what we do most years… go to a movie.
Whatever you are doing to celebrate your own special holiday, I hope you have a great time. Until 2014, then, Goodbye and Namaste.
I am no scholar on religion, but I always assumed that all the major religions of the world embraced forgiveness as one of the highest virtues to which all humans should aspire, along with mercy, tolerance and love. Apparently this is not so.
Robert Perry, one of the foremost authorities on A Course In Miracles, exposes a fact about religion and forgiveness in his most recent book, Return to the Heart of God, that will shock you. It did me. Here’s the quote:
” … I have found it very revealing to look up forgiveness in The Encyclopedia of Religion. This is a comprehensive and masterful encyclopedia which had the great scholar Mircea Eliade as its editor in chief. It contains thousands of entries on virtually every conceivable topic in world religion.
Most of the entry titles are so obscure that they would be familiar only to the specialist (the first three entries, for instance, are Isaac Abarbanel, Abbahu, and Abbaye). Yet there is no entry on forgiveness. There isn’t even a subheading on forgiveness within any of the entries.
In the fifteen volumes of the encyclopedia, there are two hundred passing references to variations on the word ‘forgiveness’. Over 80% of these are about receiving forgiveness, from God, the gods, the church, the community, the pope, the king, other people, etc. Only thirty refer to one person giving forgiveness to another. Of these thirty, sixteen are about the ministry of Jesus, either about him giving forgiveness or about him teaching others to do so.
If The Encyclopedia of Religion is any indication, the spiritual value of giving forgiveness is a very minor note in humanity’s religions, a note that is primarily associated with the ministry of Jesus.”
Can you believe that? A “minor note in humanity’s religions”?!?
In my model of the Soul’s Journey, I tentatively indicate that religion is driven by fear, not Love, and is one of the means by which we create (on purpose) the separation we came in to experience. The above quote by Robert Perry confirms it for me.
What is forgiveness if it not extending the energy of Love to another and joining with him or her? What is forgiveness if it is not the key to our awakening? What is forgiveness if it is not the ONLY way to overcome the illusion of separation?
By relegating forgiveness to a mere footnote, religion shows its true colors and, ironically, it’s divine purpose. In denying the power of forgiveness to create oneness, it blocks the path to Love and draws the veil even tighter between the illusion of this world and the Truth.
The only antidote to this is Radical Forgiveness. But then, I am biased! Try it for yourself and find out how you can feel One with everyone and everything in spite of what religion does or does not tell you.
Yes, it’s true, the ghosts and goblins of Halloween are harbingers of things to come: The Holidays. If you are dreading the upcoming visits with your extended family, the good news is you still have time to complete a 21-Day Radical Forgiveness Online Program.
Whatever relationship you find scariest at the holidays, we have a 21-Day Program that can help:
Breaking Free: Forgiving Your Parents Whether your are looking to avoid conflict this holiday season, or if your parents have passed and recollection of childhood traumas keep you from enjoying the festivities, this program will change your relationship and bring you healing and peace.
Moving Forward: Forgiving Your Partner The holidays can bring out the worst in even the most loving partner, but if your relationship is already strained, you can work to heal it. If a past relationship is still haunting you, this program can release you from the past so you can move forward with loving intentions.
Family Matters: Forgiving Your Siblings Still fighting with your brothers and sisters? Not looking forward to sitting around the dinner table and holding your tongue while your blood pressure rises? Get to the heart of your discord to create happier family memories this year.
Great Expectations: Forgiving Your Kids Kids of all ages can get out of control – the younger ones with excitement and sugar highs, and the older ones (especially the adult children!) with resentment and/or holiday-induced anxiety. You want your relationship with your kids to be the best it can be, at any age or stage. This program will get you there.
Harmony Works: Forgiving Your Co-Workers The year-end reports are coming out, how will you rate your work relationships? As the fiscal year winds down, office stress ramps up. Do your own year-end review and lay the groundwork for a more successful, harmonious New Year.
All of these programs are available immediately… and if you get started now, you’ll have a completely different outlook before Thanksgiving! That’s something to be truly thankful for.
P.S. For those who have lost a loved one and are facing their first holiday season alone, please consider doing the Radical Grieving Online Program. This program enables you to examine your beliefs about life and death and to shift your perception of how and why the loss occurred and what it means. You will probably conclude that our suggested alternative ways of looking at such things justifies the term ‘Radical Grieving,’ since they are quite different to how we are used to thinking of them. But hopefully not so radical and challenging that you won’t give it a shot. There’s nothing to lose but your pain, and much to gain, I can assure you.
If your soul’s purpose in being on this earth plane is to experience separation in a wide variety of forms in order to really get what Oneness is, where better to begin than with yourself? How about you first create a strong sense of self, and then take a hammer and chisel to it and begin chipping off little bits of it to trade away until there is not much left.
Perfect. There are always others willing to trade with you. It is very easy to trade your self-respect for success, give away your integrity in return for money, suspend your authenticity in return for being accepted and so on. If you can’t find a trading partner, you can simply do the deal with yourself.
You can swap your sense of adventure for safety. You can suspend your creativity in favor of conformity. You can agree to give up your exciting dream in favor of security and routine. You can protect yourself from hurt by avoiding relationships. You can make a habit of saying, “Yes,” even when you really mean “No.” There’s plenty more.
You can disown and bury parts of yourself in order to conform to the demands of others, like your passionate self, your sexual self, your creative self, your feeling self, your enthusiastic self, your trusting self and so on.
There’s not much left, is there? By now you could be a mere shadow of your original self. Nice job. Your soul is very grateful that you are giving it this experience of separation.
But it’s over now. Enough already! Mission accomplished. No need to keep the separation game going any longer. It’s time to go out and retrieve all those parts of yourself and build back up to become whole again. But how?
I have to say that this is perhaps the biggest Radical Self-Forgiveness project you can ever do for yourself, and it might take a while. The payoff, however, will be in equal proportion to the effort.
The first thing to do: Make a detailed list of all aspects of yourself you have traded away, given away, lost, buried or discarded. Note the dreams you had but gave up or never fulfilled because you had to do something else that was safer, or you felt you needed to support someone else’s dream first.
Allow yourself to feel the disappointment and regret. Be angry with yourself if need be. Give yourself permission to feel anger and resentment towards those you feel made you give up parts of yourself. Do a Radical Forgiveness worksheet on each one of them until you get to the point where you can see they were playing their part in your soul’s journey, too.
At the same time, do lots of Radical Self-Forgiveness worksheets or the 13 Steps to Radical Self-Forgiveness on yourself for creating your own dismemberment bit by bit over the years. Eventually you will come to feel Love for yourself for doing this in order to provide the experiences your soul needed. It was all part of the divine plan, remember? (Both of these worksheets are available in the Free Stuff section of Colin’s Cafe.)
Having reframed this whole experience, you will now be able to begin the process of taking back all that you gave away. Re-ignite your passion. Be creative again. Live your dream. Put yourself first for a change. Find your purpose and go for it. Become whole again and find your power.
I mentioned last week that knowing who you are is a big part of Radical Self-Forgiveness. You may remember the story of Jonathan Livingstone Seagull. Written by Richard Bach, this is the story of an ordinary seagull who aspires to escape from being just a gull. He wants to reach a higher level of perfection as a flyer, and the story is about how he achieves his dream.
One of the many selves most of us have is our Ideal Self. The ideal self is that part of you that wants to be bigger, greater, more famous, more successful, richer, more intelligent, and whatever else you would rather be than what you are already. It represents how you would like to be in the future. It is what our gull friend, Jonathan, was using to propel him to excellence.
We all use role models to help define our ideal self. “I would like to be just like ________ ,” we say. If I remember right, our Jonathan saw how a peregrine falcon was able to dive at incredible speeds, and with extraordinary accuracy knock a bird out of the sky. Just seeing it done gave him the inspiration to fly beyond his known limits as a gull.
All that is fine. But only up to a point. If you use your ideal self to pull towards all that you can be as your real and authentic self, that’s fine. If, on other hand, your ideal self tends to take you away from your true authentic self, reaching for something that is not in accordance with who you are, then it can lead to a great deal of disappointment, low self-esteem and in a worst case scenario, self-hatred. So choose your role models carefully.
Another self that can get you into the same sort of trouble is the Inferred Self. This is the self you infer from how others consistently react to you. You say to yourself, “If that’s how they see me, or react to me, I therefore must be __________.”
Again, up to a point this is fine while you are inferring things about yourself that are congruent with your true nature. But if they are not, you will feel confused and very unsure of who you really are. Actors and comedians have this problem all the time. Many are not funny themselves. They are just good at acting funny. But people expect them to be funny all the time. Many of them become quite depressed as a result of their apparent success.
If you find people reacting to you in a way that is not you, you need to ask yourself, “What am I projecting about myself that is not true that others are picking up? Is it something that is in my subconscious mind that has been planted there through being shamed, or being pushed by my parents to be what they wanted me to be?” If it is negative in character, “Was I shamed into thinking I was that, even if, in reality, I was not?”
The remedy for both of these selves becoming aberrant, taking you away from your authentic self, is to do the Self-Acceptance Worksheet (available in the Free Stuff section of Colin’s Cafe) and/or the Radical Self-Forgiveness/Self Acceptance Online Program. After that, be careful who you hang out with. Choose people who get who you really are and appreciate you for just being you.
A big part of Radical Self-Forgiveness is knowing who you are. As I have said before, if knowledge is power, then self-knowledge is wisdom. When we wake up and look back, we begin to see how we created separation within ourselves, and who we have become as a result. This really helps us to do the Self-Forgiveness work.
When I was creating the Online Radical Self-Forgiveness and Self-Acceptance program, I realized that we were not just one singular self, but a composite made up of a whole variety of selves. I mentioned previously that we have an entire community of characters, all of whom come forward at different moments in our lives and demand to be heard. But I also found that our selves are differentiated in another way.
The primary differentiation is, of course, between the human self (ego) and the I Am Self (the soul). But there is a further differentiation within the human self created by the life experience.
In the beginning, there was your true authentic self – your basic character, if you will. Then, as a result of your interactions with others over time, you developed what I call a socially modified self. This is the person you may have become after shutting down, trading away or modifying some essential parts of yourself in order to be accepted. Sometimes this occurs as you strive to be the person others have wanted you to be. Or perhaps you needed to become this person in order to survive in a severely dysfunctional family.
The extent to which you modified your true self in order to survive, please others, gain acceptance and be okay, is the extent to which you will have become co-dependent, hating yourself at a very deep level. It’s a Faustian bargain. You gave yourself away in order to gain acceptance and fit in. The cost was high.
I’m sure I have mentioned it before, but as Lawrence LeShan showed in this book, Cancer As a Turning Point, almost all his patients had done this by coming to believe the following:
“If I show up as who I am, no one will love me. Therefore, in order to be loved, I have to be someone I am not.”
A big part of the Radical Self-Forgiveness/Self-Acceptance process – and a cornerstone of the Online Radical Self-Forgiveness Program – is to reclaim those parts of yourself that you have traded away, shut down or failed to develop. I call these the lost selves, and as part of cleaning up the time-line of your life, I strongly suggest you look very carefully at the selves you may have abandoned.
Now that you have awakened, forgive those who withheld love as a way to make you conform, change or become who you are not, and forgive yourself for needing that approval. Now you know that it was all part of your plan to create separation. From this point on be who you are and if people don’t like it, know that it’s their problem, not yours.
In the next blog I will talk about the upside and downside of having an ideal self and an inferred self.
Even though Radical Forgiveness and Radical Self-Forgiveness take the position that, according to spiritual law, everything is as it should be and that there are no victims or perpetrators, we still are subject to human law while we are in a human body. That means we are still responsible for breaking those laws and must bear the consequences for doing so.
Because we are not privy to the spiritual big picture, we don’t know the plan. We cannot get ahead of the game and do “bad” things on the assumption that it will turn out to be perfect in the spiritual sense. That would be to play God.
No, our job is to play the human game, following our own inner compasses about what is right and wrong in the human sense. At the same time, we know that if we make a bad judgment or mistake, there must have been a reason for it at the spiritual level. The consequences are also part of the “plan,’ even if means going to prison for the crime you commit.
Having an awareness of a bigger plan won’t make it right in human terms, but it will allow you to feel some compassion and self-forgiveness for yourself at the spiritual level. It doesn’t release you from responsibility or even guilt. Allowing yourself to imagine it might have been a soul contract may bring some inner peace, even while you languish in prison.
At the level of human law, we can bring some ordinary forgiveness to bear on any situation where we appear to have done something we regret, even if we have caused harm to another person. We can distinguish between appropriate guilt and inappropriate guilt, for example. (This is also the third stage in the Radical Self-Forgiveness process, but it is not yet Radical Self-Forgiveness… that comes in Stage Four: The Reframe.)
Guilt is defined as remorse over something we have done but shouldn’t have, or not done but should have. It refers to our behavior. Shame, on the other hand, is remorse over who we think we are. Obviously they connect, but the distinction remains.
Appropriate guilt is where our remorse is truly earned, and you are entitled to feel guilty. You were at fault. Inappropriate guilt is where something occurred, but there was no actual fault on your part in the causation of the event. In that case, you are not entitled to blame yourself for it.
For example, if a child runs out from behind a parked car and you have no time to stop or react and the child is killed, you are not entitled to feel guilt. Sadness, sorrow, anger etc. – but not guilt. If, on the other hand, you were driving drunk and there might have been enough time to react and avoid the child if you had had all your wits about you, then you are entitled to your guilt. You earned it.
Your order of difficulty in forgiving yourself in each case will be very different. Ordinary self-forgiveness, like ordinary forgiveness, doesn’t work completely because it doesn’t appeal to your Higher Self. With the tools provided in Radical Self-Forgiveness, you can access your Higher Self, and total healing can be yours.
My first book, Radical Forgiveness, Making Room for the Miracle, was written in 1997. However, I didn’t pen the book on Radical Self-Forgiveness until 2008, more than 10 years later. You might wonder why I didn’t write it sooner, since it surely would have been an obvious sequel.
I did make a stab at it, but at the time I found myself making exactly the same case for Radical Self-Forgiveness as for Radical Forgiveness. So I quit. I was just substituting the word “perpetrator” for “victim,” since they are basically just two sides of the same coin.
I’m sure you are familiar with the mechanism of projection. This is where you project onto others what you find totally unacceptable in yourself, thereby side-stepping the need to confront it in yourself and forgive (accept) it.
When you forgive the person you have judgments about, you are actually taking back the projection, forgiving that quality in yourself and, in effect, forgiving yourself. That means ALL forgiveness is self-forgiveness. It really is that simple. To a large extent this is why you feel so much better after having done a Radical Forgiveness worksheet. Even though you thought it was about them, it was actually about you.
At the deeper philosophical level, if we are indeed all One and separation is an illusion, then there is no ‘other’ to forgive. I am you and you are me. If I hurt you, I hurt myself. Again, all forgiveness is self-forgiveness.
Nevertheless, people kept on saying, “Yes, but it is so much more difficult to forgive myself than to forgive others, so surely we need something else.” So, in response, rather than write a book about self-forgiveness, I created a very comprehensive online program that people could use to accomplish Radical Self-Forgiveness and Radical Self-Acceptance experientially. I felt that if it was experiential rather than intellectual, people would get it. That has turned out to be the case. Thousands of people have gone through that program and have found it to be extremely effective. It is still in the eStore in its original form.
Then, in 2008, drawing on what we had found worked so well in the online program, I relented and wrote Radical Self-Forgiveness, The Direct Path to True Self-Acceptance. In that book I gave an explanation of why we all have so much difficulty with self-forgiveness. I outlined this in my previous blog. If we appeal to our human self for forgiveness, our inner judge will always say, “No” – but make our appeal to our Higher Self and it will always say, “Yes.” It knows the truth. It loves you just the way you are and knows that your perfection lies in your imperfection.
Radical Forgiveness is the unconditional acceptance of what is, as is; because that is exactly how it is meant to be. When we apply this to ourselves, we can say that Radical Self-Forgiveness is accepting the consequences of being ourselves. We are who we are because that’s exactly who we are meant to be.
That said, most people would agree that finding love, forgiveness and acceptance for others is much easier than finding it for ourselves. Our own self-hatred is so deep that it is very hard for us to rise above it and touch the essence of who we really are, which is Love.
Some say our self-hatred is rooted in our shame for having chosen to separate from God against His will… the original sin. I don’t believe this at all. On the contrary, I would venture to say that our self-hatred is the result of organized religion having drummed into us that we are sinners and in need of being saved by someone or something else. How dis-empowering and shaming is that? No wonder we hate ourselves.
The result is that we have become deeply divided within and have split ourselves into multiple personalities or archetypes. Herein lies the problem with self-forgiveness. We are not a singular self but a whole community of selves, all of whom have different ideas about who we are and how we should show up in the world. Included among this rabble are myriad inner voices: judge, lover, clown, parent, child, professor, prostitute, critic, saboteur, and probably several more unique to each person.
It’s not surprising we have trouble accepting ourselves just the way we are, with such an incredible cast of characters inside our heads. They are a noisy, argumentative lot, filling us with conflicting stories about ourselves. It all gets to be very confusing.
The two that create the most problems are the inner judge and the inner critic. The inner parent can be troublesome too, so make that three. Unfortunately they are the noisiest members of the community, so it is often their voices we hear in our heads telling us we are not OK and that we have to be different to the way we are. When we appeal to them for self-forgiveness, they always say NO! They love to make us feel guilty and unloved.
Knowing what we know about Radical Forgiveness and the Tipping Method, the solution is obvious: We do an end run around our collective human self (Our Ego), and make a direct appeal for self-forgiveness to the one true self that recognizes the perfection of who we are just the way we are – our Higher Self. This is the part of us that loves us unconditionally just the way we are. As soon as we connect to this only true part of us, the rabble inside our head goes quiet. They realize they have no power left over us now. Forgiveness is always given by your Higher Self, because it knows the Truth.
In the same way Radical Forgiveness tools give us a way to get direct access to our Higher Self, the Radical Self-Forgiveness/Self-Acceptance worksheet is available to circumvent the self-loathing that nasty rabble keeps chattering about to your ego. You may download a copy of it for free in Colin’s Cafe. It is in the Free Stuff section.
The Online Self-Forgiveness/Self-Acceptance program is also available to people who want to dig a little deeper and really get to the heart of the matter.
Regardless of which tool you choose, it’s time to give that quarrelsome rabble the boot and start truly loving yourself.
By that I mean, if you die while still holding resentment or other forms of non-forgiveness, you will most certainly take it with you and be burdened by it. You will have to deal with that energy over there, and there’s no guarantee it will be any easier. Very likely it will be much harder. You won’t be free of it and neither will the person or people you left behind. An energetic chord between you and them will remain and will keep you from moving on to the next level. They will remain stuck in their story and regretful of the lost opportunities for a possible reconciliation. Once you pass on, that all becomes unfinished business for them and that makes it even more toxic that it was before. Obviously it’s the same for you if you are the one left behind.
Either way, it is obvious that you stand to gain a great deal by doing all the forgiveness work you can on those who are now dead and those who are still alive, while you still have breath in your body and the mental capacity to remember who it is you need to forgive and why. It’s almost like making a will.
If you have someone in mind who died without you having healed an outstanding feud, disagreement, wound or whatever else might have got in the way of the love between you, you owe it to yourself and to that departed person, to do the Radical Forgiveness process around that issue immediately. If they are still alive, do it now too.
I doubt there is a person on the planet that does not have some reason to forgive their parents, and this is no less true if the parents are already dead. It’s simply in the nature of things that the parent/child relationship is characterized by conflict, not to mention the fact that we chose our parents for the very fact that they would give us our first and most intense experience of separation. If they are dead, do a worksheet on them. If they are still alive, do a worksheet on them. Clear as much remaining energy as you can before you or they die.
A great resource we have to bring you peace with your parents is the 21 Day Online Program “Breaking Free.” This will address how childhood wounds become repeating patterns in our lives, and how you can break free – and help your parents break free, even if they have already passed – from your old relationship paradigm. Other programs are also available to help you forgive other family members, partners, and even co-workers.
Another reason to forgive everyone and clear up any remaining issues with family and friends before you die is that it will give you a better chance of dying peacefully and without pain. I first observed this phenomenon when working with cancer patients in the 90’s. They are notorious for holding on to resentment and grief and seldom ever forgive on their own. The tension this pent up energy creates in the body is enormous. It stands to reason that if the body is tight and full of long-held emotional energy, death is likely to be painful and less than peaceful, if holding on tight is the norm. I am quite sure that this holds true for anyone who dies while still refusing to release their negative emotions and beliefs. If you hold onto that stuff your body will hold on too, and death will not come easy.
So for your own sake and for those who are important to you, do the forgiveness work now, before the grim reaper comes knocking. Like I said, it’s no different than making a will. You are simply ensuring a safe passage to the other side, either for them or for you. It’s all the same.