Forgiven & Free

“The work of a mature person is to carry grief in one hand, and gratitude in the other, and to be stretched by them.” ~ Tim McKee

There is something powerful about the space that lies between our two full hands. Between our grief and our gratitude lies our hearts—and this is where we do our hardest work. This space of tension has the power to transform you, if you can let it. ~ Stephanie Moors

This week’s intention is FORGIVENESS. Forgiveness is full of heart opening, honesty, humility and vulnerability. I have found that those who forgive freely are those who have been forgiven much. Experiencing true forgiveness, whether deserved or not, opens the heart to hope and freedom.

“Vulnerability is our most accurate measurement of courage.” ~ Brene’ Brown

Do you struggle with anger? Well really, who doesn’t? What’s interesting is anger is a secondary emotion, just the tip of the iceberg of all our original sources of unresolved pain: hurt, humiliation, betrayal, abandonment, abuse, and rejection.

Identify who has made you angry or resentful.
Identify what was taken from you.
Decide to forgive that person.

When do you think you’ll be ready?
The longer you carry the anger, the greater the risks,
and you may lose sight of the original source.

Who can you forgive today? 
It may be even forgiving yourself.

Be honest with yourself…what are you feeling deep down inside? Under the anger. Under the rage. Under the numb “I don’t care, it doesn’t matter.” Are you really feeling scared? Hurt? Abandoned? Go more deeply into yourself and your emotions than you have ever gone before. Be more honest with yourself than you have ever been before. The way to the heart is tender, soft, gentle, and honest. The way to the heart is to be vulnerable. You don’t have to be so brave. You don’t have to be so strong. You don’t always have to walk away with your head held high saying, “I can handle this, I’ve been through worse before.” Become angry if you must. Feel your rage if it’s there. Go numb once in a while, if you must. Then take a chance, and go a little deeper. Go way down deep inside. See what’s there. Take a look. Risk being vulnerable. ~ Melody Beattie

Forgiveness Meditation ❤️

Reflect for a moment on that quality we call forgiveness. Bring into your mind, actually into your heart, the image of someone for whom you have some resentment.
Take a moment to feel that person right there at the center of your chest in the heart center. And in your heart say to that person: “I forgive you for anything you may have done in the past, either intentionally or unintentionally, through your thoughts, words, or actions that caused me pain. I forgive you.”
Slowly allow that person to settle into your heart.
Don’t judge yourself for how difficult it is.
No force, just opening slowly to them at your own pace. Say to them: “I forgive you. I forgive you for the pain you caused me in the past, intentionally or unintentionally by your thoughts, your deeds, your words. I forgive you.”
Gently, gently open to them. If it hurts, let it hurt. Gradually open to that person. That resentment, that incredible anger, even if it burns, ever so gently though. Forgiveness.
“I forgive you.”
Let your heart open to them.
It is so painful to hold someone out of your heart.
“I forgive you.”
Let your heart open just a bit more to them. Just a moment of opening, of forgiveness, letting go of resentment.
Allow them to be forgiven.

Now, opening more to forgiveness, bring into your heart the image of someone from whom you wish to ask forgiveness.
Speak to them in your heart. “I ask your forgiveness for anything I may have done in the past that caused you pain, either by my thoughts or my actions or my words. Even for those things I didn’t intend to cause you pain, I ask your forgiveness.”
“For all those words that were said out of forgetfulness or fear. Out of my closed-ness, out of my confusion. I ask your forgiveness.”
Don’t allow any resentment to hold yourself closed, to block your reception of that forgiveness. Let your heart soften to it. Allow yourself to be forgiven.
Let yourself be freed.
Let that unworthiness come up, that anger at yourself-let it all fall away. Let it all go.
Open to the possibility of forgiveness.
“I ask your forgiveness for whatever I may have done in the past that caused you pain. By the way I acted or spoke or thought, I ask your forgiveness.”
It is so painful to hold yourself out of your own heart.
Bring yourself into your heart. Say “I forgive you,” to yourself. Don’t reject yourself.
Using your own first name, in your heart say, “I forgive you.” Open to that. Let it be. Make room in your heart for yourself.
“I forgive you.”
All those resentments, let them fall away.
Open to the self-forgiveness. Let yourself have some space.
Let go of that bitterness, that hardness, that judgement of your self.
Say, “I forgive you.” to you.
Let some glimmering of loving-kindness be directed toward yourself. Allow your heart to open to you. Let that light, that care for yourself, grow.
Self-forgiveness.
Watch how thoughts of unworthiness and fears of being self-indulgent try to block the possibility of once and for all letting go of that hardening.
See the freedom in self-forgiveness. How can you hold on to that pain even a moment longer?
Feel that place of love and enter into it.
Allow yourself the compassion and care of self-forgiveness. Let yourself float gently in the open heart of understanding, of forgiveness, and peace.
Feel how hard it is for us to love ourselves. Feel the pain in the hearts of all those caught in confusion. Forgive them. Forgive yourself. Let go gently of the pain that hides the immensity of your love.
Let yourself love and be loved.

Adapted from A Forgiveness Meditation ©1991 Stephen Levine


Peace Prayer of Saint Francis

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.

O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Amen.


There is freedom in forgiveness. 

I forgive you, and I forgive myself, and I am free. ❤️

Community (Kula) 🌎

As Mother Teresa stated, “The problem with the world is that we draw the circle of our family too small.” Our intention this week is to invite more interconnectedness and community (“kula” in Sanskrit) into our lives — expanding our circle — while staying rooted, grounded, and balanced. Yoga Sutra lll.24 (maitryadisu balani) describes that the cultivation of friendliness creates inner strength. Experiencing healthy compassion and lovingkindness toward ourselves and others strengthens our interconnectedness and sense of overall well-being.

Where and with whom in your life can you experience more interconnectedness, community (kula), friendliness, lovingkindness, and compassion?

Let’s learn some lessons about community and interconnectedness from nature. Visualize a flock of geese flying overhead in a “V” formation.

Fact 1: As each goose flaps its wings, it creates an “uplift” for the birds that follow. By flying in a “V” formation, the whole flock adds 71% greater flying range than if each bird flew alone.
Lesson: People who share a common direction and sense of community can get where they are going quicker and easier because they are traveling on the thrust of one another.

Fact 2: When a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of flying alone. It quickly moves back into formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the bird immediately in front of it.
Lesson: If we have as much sense as a goose, we stay in formation with those headed where we want to go. We are willing to accept their help and give our help to others.

Fact 3: When the lead goose tires, it rotates back into the formation and another goose flies to the point position.
Lesson: It pays to take turns doing the difficult tasks and sharing leadership. As with geese, people are interdependent on each other’s skills, capabilities, and unique arrangements of gifts, talents, and resources.

Fact 4: The geese flying in formation honk to encourage those up front to keep going!
Lesson: We need to make sure our “honking” is encouraging. In groups where there is encouragement, the production is much greater. The power of encouragement, which is to listen to one’s own heart or core values, and to listen to the core values of others, is the quality of “honking” we seek.

Fact 5: When a goose gets sick, wounded, or shot down, two geese drop out of formation and follow it down to help protect it. They stay with it until it dies or is able to fly again. Then, they launch out with another formation of geese and try to catch up with the flock.
Lesson: If we have as much sense as geese, we will stand by each other in difficult times, as well as when we are strong.

Who is in your “V” formation?

(The original version of Lessons from Geese was written by Dr. Robert McNeish in 1972.)

Visualize the neighborhood in which you live. Do you know the names of five of your neighbors? Do you know much about them? Let’s aim to go from stranger status to acquaintances to building relationships — community — kula — connection — all with friendliness, compassion, and lovingkindness. “You must love your friend in the same way you love yourself.” ~ Matthew 22:39 TPT

How do we build community and interconnectedness? 🌎
✭ Look for opportunities, be intentional — go the extra mile and take a risk!
✭ Eliminate personal “time suckers”— prioritize your time to create more availability in your day.
✭ Be willing to be interrupted, oftentimes these are Divine appointments and you and others will be blessed!
✭ Stay in a “V” formation — don’t fly solo!

Rise Up song lyrics by Andra Day

You’re broken down and tired
Of living life on a merry-go-round
And you can’t find the fighter
But I see it in you so we gonna walk it out
And move mountains
We gonna walk it out
And move mountains

And I’ll rise up
I’ll rise like the day
I’ll rise up
I’ll rise unafraid
I’ll rise up
And I’ll do it a thousand times again
And I’ll rise up
High like the waves
I’ll rise up
In spite of the ache
I’ll rise up
And I’ll do it a thousand times again
For you

When the silence isn’t quiet
And it feels like it’s getting hard to breathe
And I know you feel like dying
But I promise we’ll take the world to it’s feet
And move mountains
Bring it to it’s feet
And move mountains
And I’ll rise up
I’ll rise like the day
I’ll rise up
I’ll rise unafraid
I’ll rise up
And I’ll do it a thousand times again
For you

All we need, all we need is hope
And for that we have each other
And for that we have each other
We will rise
We will rise
We’ll rise, oh oh
We’ll rise

I’ll rise up
Rise like the day
I’ll rise up
In spite of the ache
I will rise a thousand times again
And we’ll rise up
High like the waves
We’ll rise up
In spite of the ache
We’ll rise up
And we’ll do it a thousand times again
For you oh oh oh oh oh

“It’s funny how, in this journey of life, even though we may begin at different times and places, our paths cross with others so that we may share our love, compassion, observations, and hope.” ~ Steve Maraboli

Inhale the BEST, Exhale the Stress!

A psychologist walked around a room while teaching stress management to an audience. As she raised a glass of water, everyone expected they’d be asked the “half empty or half full” question. Instead, with a smile on her face, she inquired: “How heavy is this glass of water?” Answers called out ranged from 8oz to 20oz. She replied, “The absolute weight doesn’t matter. It depends on how long I hold it. If I hold it for a minute, it’s not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I’ll have an ache in my arm. If I hold it for a day, my arm will feel numb and paralyzed. In each case, the weight of the glass doesn’t change, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes.” She continued, “The stresses and worries in life are like that glass of water. Think about them for a while and nothing happens. Think about them a bit longer and they begin to hurt. And if you think about them all day long, you will feel paralyzed–incapable of doing anything.” It’s important to remember to let go of your stresses…don’t carry them long…remember to put the glass down! Source: Science is Madness

When we slow down and pay attention to how we are experiencing our lives, we are more likely to make wise decisions and act from a centered and calm place. When our intentions arise from such a place, we create less stress and more harmony in our lives and the lives of those around us.

What is a stress or worry you can let go of today? Through observation and awareness we learn to be more calmly responsive and less emotionally reactive.

“Pour out all your worries and stress upon Him and leave them there, for He always tenderly cares for you.” ~ 1 Peter 5:7 TPT


How do you deal with stress & strong emotions? How do you discharge the energy? There are 3 general ways…
1. Numbing: alcohol/drugs, food, sex, shopping, gambling, technology/screen time, anything excessive
2. Lashing Out: expressions of anger, aggression…physically, emotionally, verbally…especially to those we love & trust the most
3. Lashing In: negative internal dialogue, self pity or blame, depression/anxiety…Anxiety is owning a crisis before it arrives & focuses on the improbable. Do not worry about your life.

What’s your “go-to” emotional release?
Honestly listen to the story you are telling yourself.
Receive it without blaming, shaming or judging.
Let it filter through the soft gaze of awareness & grace.
Change can only come through observation & awareness.

What are some healthy stress management techniques that work for you?
Choose one or two that come to mind and incorporate them into your life this week. Remember to put the glass down!

~ Let’s turn our pain & sadness into compassion.

~ Our anger & aggression into motivation; aggression is often stuck energy wanting to move forward.

~ Our anxiety & worry into healthy concern which focuses on the probable and produces positive action.

~ And turn our apathy & unfocused thinking into passion & purpose.


Burn the Rope: by Danna Faulds

Burn the rope of
past conditioning,
or slice right
through, awareness
like a blade that
cannot be stopped
by any obstacle.
Without the history
of who you’ve
been, what is the
essence of your
soul’s expression?
When you allow
the moment to
offer up its perfect
response, what is
the free and true
experience of you?


5 Most Beautiful Things ✨

5 Most Beautiful Things Meditation:

What are the 5 most beautiful things in front of you right now? They could be precious people, prized possessions, powerful symbols or words, or priceless moments.
Picture them clearly in your heart & mind.
Feel all the emotions.
What sensations do you feel in the body?
Where do you feel these sensations?
Label your emotions with one word.
Label the sensations felt with one word.
Tuck these words deep into your memory account of beautiful experiences.

“That’s what we do with beautiful things. We tuck them away. We use them when we need them, in our bear like way. We use them as fuel. We breathe them. We give them away. We remember them as long as we can. What if we walked around looking for beauty instead of looking for things to be stressed about or offended by? What if we became beauty hunters? What if we told more beautiful stories? Our lives need beauty. Relentless, unremitting beauty.” ~ Jennifer Pastiloff

I fall in love regularly,
with each person whom
passes me in the streets,
or who sits beside me on the bus.
Not in the romantic way;
No, we hardly even speak
a word to each other.
But I sit, quietly observing
all of their body language and all of
their expressions.
Their smiles, and gestures;
the way they lift their coffee,
or smile as they read
that new text message,
or count the change in their hands.
I watch vigilantly, tracking
the manners and movements,
and appreciating all that
these people are.
I spend some time thinking about
their families and lives,
and the lives that they lead.
I consider what they might do
for work, and what they
went to school for.
When they woke up that morning, and
how they did their hair.
I study the details of these people,
that may otherwise go unnoticed.
Researching each of them,
noticing our similarities, and
rejoicing in
the beauty of human nature.

~ Author unknown

Philippians 4:8-9 The Message (MSG)

8-9 Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.


Santosha 💜

SANTOSHA, the Sanskrit word for contentment, requires our willingness to enjoy exactly what each day brings and to be happy with whatever we have. We can easily practice santosha in the beautiful moments and joyous experiences of our lives. But true contentment means being equally willing to embrace difficult moments. Only when we can be content in the midst of difficulty can we be truly free. Only when we can remain open in the midst of pain do we understand what true openness is. In our relationships, when we accept those around us as they truly are, not as we want them to be, we are practicing santosha. ~ Adapted from Cultivate Your Connections by Judith Lasater

Enjoy a portion of a poem written for me by my husband.

She has santosha with the One True God
In full body worship
In constant course correction
All the way to shava

I love her for exactly who she is 
For who she was and who she’s gonna be
Every new thing I come to learn about her
Is further proof she’s the only girl for me

Contentment is a mental decision, a moral choice, a spiritual discipline. Are you truly content today my friend? Let’s draw inward, explore, and seek true SANTOSHA. 💜

One of the most difficult aspects of SANTOSHA is being content in this present moment. Oftentimes when we experience boredom or loneliness we seek distractions from the emotional discomfort instead of exploring root causes. We crave something to occupy the mind or somebody to engage our personalities. As we grow in our yoga and spiritual practices, we are able to draw inward sooner, see our true self in the moment, connect to our spirit and Divine Source, and through acceptance and love we gently smooth out the rough edges and become our best self.

“Yoga is not a work-out, it is a work-in. And this is the point of spiritual practice; to make us teachable; to open up our heart and focus our awareness so that we can know what we already know and be who we already are.” ~ Rolf Gates

“Change is not only inevitable, but is always happening. When you truly embrace this concept of change being constant, the only thing left to do is grow, detach, venture inwards, touch the spirit and find your Source — the one responsible for keeping you grounded through the ever-changing seasons of life.” ~ Julie Weiland

Shalom, the familiar Hebrew word for peace, does not refer to the absence of chaos but rather to an overall, deeply entrenched sense of harmony, health and wholeness in the midst of chaos. In fact, true peace is best detected and measured against the backdrop of commotion and confusion—when instability abounds, yet you remain steadfast; when disappointment and confusion are near, yet you’re still capable of walking with Spirit-infused confidence, stability and steadiness. ~ Priscilla Shirer


Soft Belly Breath Exercise

Breathe in through your nose, and out through your mouth a few times. Place one hand on your heart, and one hand on your belly. Then as you begin to breathe slowly and steadily through the nose, visualize inhaling into your belly receiving acceptancecontentmentlove — and exhaling out through your heart giving it all away. Continue for a few minutes. The breath is the most important tool in yoga — it is the bridge between the body and the mind — it draws us inward and into the present moment.


The Soul of Yoga by Danna Faulds

What is the soul of yoga?
Follow your heart into the
center of the pose and find
in the midst of detail and 
precision, in breath, alignment,
balance, bliss, fear and sadness —
at the very core of all of this
is love. Touch upon your
truest nature even once and 
the experience of what you
really are sears the psyche
like the surface of the sun.
The soul of yoga, the gift 
within the pose is the 
moment of communion,
resting in pure essence, 
the awakening as if from 
sleep to the face of 
unmistakable divinity;
the ineffable wonder and 
living reality of spirit — oh, 
yes — the soul of yoga is love.


May you experience SANTOSHA, true contentment, no matter your circumstance or season of life. Rest and trust in the Divinity deep within.

“I am leaving you with a gift — peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” ~ John 14:27 NLT

OM Shanti, Shanti, Shanti-hi — Peace, Peace, Peace 💜