I have written several posts on forgiveness and I still believe it is important yet, recently I once again found myself stuck and reacting to hurt in ways that I know do not work.
Path to Forgiveness: Part III
Today, I am back on my spiritual path to forgiveness with part three of my review of Dr. Frederic Luskin’s Forgive for Good. You may remember from my first post that Dr. Luskin makes it clear, “Forgiveness in no way condones cruelty or unkind treatment.” It is about letting go of resentment for your health and emotional well-being. I thought I was doing this, but recent events prove I have not finished with this yet.
So far, I have changed our story from a negative experience to a positive one as my daughter is doing well since she got away from the negative school environment. I have spent time focusing on the positives in our lives this year which is the second step. You can do this by looking for and noticing the good even if it is as simple as seeing someone smile or that pet that is happy to see you.
lt is time to focus on Dr. Luskin’s next step, PERT, the Positive Emotion Refocusing Technique. This step is about managing our reactions and emotions. We have to take responsibility for how we feel even if we do not like what happened.
Next is to give a breath of thanks two or three times every day when you are not fully occupied, focus on your breathing, allow air to gently push your belly out and consciously relax your belly as you exhale so it feels soft. Do this for five to eight times while saying thank you for your life. Now take two more breaths and then you may resume your regular activity.
Once you have mastered the technique above, you are ready to move to the heart focus step. This step is more of a meditation. Do five minutes of breathing utilizing the soft belly method and then think of a powerful loving memory or a scene in nature that filled you with tranquillity. Try to re-experience this and hold peaceful feelings for as long as possible. Do this for ten to fifteen minutes before you slowly open your eyes and resume your activities. Dr. Luskin suggests doing this three times a week.
You can try a shorter version of this when you are upset for any reason by trying to bring that positive feeling into focus instead so the negativity does not overwhelm you. This does not mean you are never allowed to feel angry, but rather that you do not let that anger overwhelm you and cause you to make poor choices. Come back tomorrow for the final post on Forgive for Good.