Today we wrap up our week of clearing our spaces–our heart spaces, our mind spaces, our soul spaces, and even our body spaces–of the silent (or not so silent) anger and resentment festering within. Is this necessary? Ask any therapist. Ask any spiritual counselor. Ask any metaphysician. Ask anyone. But really, there’s only one person’s opinion that matters. Ask yourself.
You know if you’ve got old crusty crud blocking your spiritual arteries. You know if you’re carrying a pocket of anger toward some jerk who done you wrong. You know if deep inside you still wish that something rotten would happen to someone. You know. And you know if this anger is getting in the way. You know if it’s gotten in the way all last year — or all last decade for that matter. And you know, somewhere deep you know, if it could get in the way of calling in your magical, glorious, joyous new year.
So once and for all, it’s time to let go. To move on. To release. To forgive. To finally, totally and completely forgive. Want to do that? Well, it’s your lucky day because it just so happens that I know how. No, wait, let me amend that. It isn’t that I “know” how to forgive. Not in the sense of having an intellectual understanding of what forgiveness is and how it happens. I’m not sure anyone, no matter how many books they’ve read or written, “knows” that.
But we who have had a profound experience of forgiveness, do know something special. We know that forgiveness is miraculous. We know that when we forgive — not in the mind or even the heart but at the deepest, let’s call it cellular or even soul level — something happens. Chains really do break. Spirits really are released. And not just the other guy’s. Both people are released. You and the person you are forgiving. You are both instantly and miraculously free.
So, do I “know” something about forgiveness? Can I explain why this particular prayer works? No. Not really. It’s a mystical experience. It’s a miracle. All I can tell you is that it works. This is the prayer that released me and my ex-husband. Within two hours of my writing this prayer, my ex-husband wrote a check for the first time during our divorce. A check for half our son’s last dental appointment. Doesn’t sound big? Not to you maybe, but for us it was nothing less than the parting of the Red Sea. And, more than that, it was a harbinger of the giant life insurance miracle to come. (If you don’t know the story, you can read it in this excerpt from Writing Down Your Soul.)
And this prayer, “Finally Forgive,” doesn’t just work for me. Every time I read it in public, I get phone calls. I don’t know why, but they always come on the third day. And they always start the same way, “You’re not going to believe what happened….” I always smile. Oh, yes, I am. Yes, I am. Yes, I am. I am absolutely, positively going to believe what happened. Because forgiveness works. Forgiveness works miracles. Forgiveness works miracles every time.
Here’s the miracle prayer, “Finally Forgive.” I wrote it about my situation with my ex-husband. But it applies to everyone. Just change the sentence, “The truth is…” and fill in your own Truth about your own relationship with the person you are forgiving. Adjust this prayer any way you want for yourself.
- Listen to me say it first.
- Then make any changes you want to personalize the prayer for yourself.
- Then speak the prayer out loud. This is important. Say it standing up. Say it aloud. Say it slowly. With conviction. With meaning. With heart. Hold up your hands as you see the corners and make the choice. Because that’s really all you’re doing. You’re making a choice. THE choice. The most important choice you’ll ever make.
After you’ve said the prayer, be still. Let the words wash over you. Feel the fetters burst. Don’t be surprised if you’re a little woozy. If that happens, just sit. Be still. And whisper thank you. “Thank You, God for this gift of forgiveness. I am free. I am free. At last, I am free. Free to live the life I’m here to live. Free to come from love. Free to love my life, my soul, my purpose, and my gifts. Free at last. Free at last. Thank God almighty, I am free at last.”
a prayer of finally, really, truly, and completely choosing to forgive copyright 2009 Janet Conner
Part I The Gap
There is a gap between you and me.
In the gap is pain and fear and anger.
In the gap is our history of ugly thoughts, ugly words, ugly actions.
In the gap are the sounds of screaming, crying and swearing.
That gap is killing us and hurting our child.
What good is there in that gap?
What good is there in refusing to cross it?
What good is there in staying angry?
What good is there in not forgiving?
Part II One Love
If there really is only one love—God’s love—then:
How can I love my work,
if I don’t love you, in some way? Just a little.
How can I love our son with my whole heart,
if I don’t love you, in some way? Just a little.
How can I love my new relationship,
whomever that may be, whenever that may be,
if I don’t love you, won’t love you, can’t love you, in some way?
Just a little.
How can I love my home, my family, my friends?
How can I love my purpose, my reason for being,
if I don’t love you, in some way?
If I could love you, just a little
I could love my life all the more,
love my child all the more
love my work, my home, my friends, all the more.
Part III The Choice
I have it in my power to hate you, to ignore you, to blame you.
I have it in my power to make your life difficult, set up little traps,
say small nasty things.
I have it in my power to paint you as the bad guy, the stupid one, the fool.
And, I have it in my power to forgive you, to love you, in some way. Just a little.
The truth is your presence in my life was a gift.
For now and for always, you gave me our precious child,
the sweetest gift on earth.
And you taught me, finally taught me, to say no.
Thanks to you, I learned, oh God, how I learned.
Thanks to you, I grew, till I became bigger, stronger, richer, fuller.
Thanks to you, I walked. I walked a long tough journey, but I walked
to this place, this moment, when I know who I am.
I know what I’m thinking. I know what I’m feeling.
And I see a clear choice:
I can hold you in this corner, where you are forever wrong.
Or, I can hold you in the light, where you are free to grow, and change, and be happy.
Dear God, I’m choosing.
I’m closing the gap,
filling it with forgiveness, plugging the holes, and posting a sign:
Only love is spoken here.
(Finally Forgive comes from Spiritual Geography, the soul-writing system that heals the broken heart. Click on the Country of Peace to learn more about forgiveness. If you’re interested in more information about Spiritual Geography please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I invite you to forward this and all the posts on forgiveness in the December Plan to friends. Encourage them to subscribe to this blog and to the Writing Down Your Soul newsletter.)
Ordinarily I write one post a day in the December Plan. But today’s post on who really needs forgiveness has caused many a tear. These are good tears. These tears are little messages bobbing up from your soul saying, “Yes, oh yes. Please forgive yourself. There is so much ahead of us, so much beauty, so much potential, so much joy, but as long as you have this gaping hole in your heart, you can’t see all that good. And because you can’t see it, you probably can’t have it. So, yes, darling one, please forgive yourself. Because the truth is you are so much more beautiful than you can ever know.”
I’ve struggled mightily with this idea of not being enough. And for a very long time. I wrote this prayer, “Enough,” back in the early nineties, well before my divorce. The words still resonate today. To me, they sound like long slow deep vibrations from a bell that has been ringing for a very very long time. I am ready to stop clanging the bell of “not enough.” I’m going to say this prayer one more time today. Out loud. With vigor. I’m going to feel it in my bones and know that it is true. From this day forward, I am enough. I am more than enough.
Here. I think this prayer is for you, too.
A Prayer of Abundance (copyright Janet Conner 2009)
Dear God of the universe,
creator of all life, hear me.
This one prays.
In the mirror.
In the reflection that bounces from me to the world and back again,
there is a circle, a circle of sadness.
I am not enough.
They see “not enough.”
Therefore, I am not enough,
not good enough
not enough of something
not strong enough, perhaps
not smart enough, for sure
not handsome enough
not pretty enough
not wealthy enough, never wealthy enough
not fast enough
not clever enough
not tough enough,
but too tough sometimes and that makes me
not kind enough
something not enough
many things not enough.
Perhaps it doesn’t matter what.
The specific fault is irrelevant.
I don’t have to name it.
It’s enough just to know that I’m not enough
of whatever it is I’m not enough of.
Do You understand this, God?
Seems a bit convoluted, I know.
But circles are circles.
And everywhere I turn,
there are more of them.
If I look at my work – I’m not good enough
and, of course, they see I’m not good enough.
Therefore, I’m not.
And doesn’t my “success” just prove it.
If I look at my family – I’m not loving enough.
They know I could love them more.
Just look at our tensions
and You’ll see that I’m right:
I’m not loving enough.
If I look in the mirror – I’m not pretty enough.
There it is for the world to see:
blemishes, imperfections, crooked teeth, blotchy skin, ridiculous hair, flaccid muscles.
I think I’ll stop now.
But You see. Well, I see.
I’m not pretty enough.
If I look in my checkbook – I’m not rich enough.
Doesn’t take a banker to see I don’t earn enough.
Perhaps if I worked harder, smarter, faster, better…something,
I’d be better off.
But there it is: I’m not rich enough.
I could continue, but I need to move on.
There are things to do, people to see, problems to solve.
And I’m not organized enough to get it all done.
So I have to get going.
But first, I need to ask You this question. It’s important.
Why did You put me here if I’m not enough?
Why didn’t You make me pretty enough, smart enough, rich enough?
You could have, You know.
Even now, You could do it in a single breath:
Ask and poof, I am beautiful
Ask and poof, I am wealthy
Ask and I’m smart
Ask and I’m wanted
Ask and I’m wise
Ask and I’m…
What do I want?
What do I really want?
Want beyond wanting?
Need beyond needing?
What is the hole that must be filled?
Love…I guess. Yes, Love. That’s it, isn’t it?
If I had Love – enough Love – I would be blessed.
If I had Love – the right Love – I would be joyous.
If I had perfect Love, pure Love – Your Love – I would be healed.
That’s what I ask for, dear God.
That’s what I want.
Love is what I need.
Starting here. With me. Just me.
Fill me with the Love of the angels.
Build a bridge of Love across my doubts and fears.
Pour Love all around me
in my eyes, my mouth, my heart and my mind.
It feels good, this Love,
warm and calm and easy.
It has no ambition, but it won’t stay still.
It needs nothing, yet it sets my heart in motion.
This Love is peaceful, yet yearns to spread.
It oozes out of me and fills the room.
It swims out of the room and fills the house.
It radiates out of the house and seeks the world.
I guess it is enough, isn’t it!
Enough for me.
Enough for now.
Enough for always and ever.
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Prayer is such an interesting phenomenon. It alters your vibration. It lifts your heart and lightens your load. You know all this instinctively from your personal experiences with prayer. But if, when you began to pray today, someone was there attaching EEG, EKG and other brain and body measurement tools to your head and chest, you’d see the effects of prayer right there before your eyes on the printouts and screens. You’d see your heart rate slowing down and your breathing deepen. You’d watch as your too-fast beta brain waves slow down and shift into alpha, maybe even theta. You might not see immediate results in your outer world–that is, whatever you are requesting might not manifest right away–but you would definitely see the immediate results in your inner physical world. (And don’t worry about that outer world manifestation. It’s coming.)
If you want to explore the impact of prayer on all realms–physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual–read Larry Dossey, starting with the book that woke the world to measurable power of prayer, Healing Words. No has written more prolifically on the power of prayer. There’s Prayer is Good Medicine and Reinventing Medicine and his latest, The Power of Premonitions.
But even if we didn’t have all this scientific substantiation, most of us on the planet would still acknowledge that prayer works. Mysteriously, perhaps. Erratically, perhaps. But it works. And that’s where our focus is this December. We want prayer that works–prayer that magnetically attracts the 2010 we want.
The best prayer, the most powerful prayer, is the one that comes up from the wellspring of your soul. Yes, yes, I know that spiritual and religious cultures have many gorgeous and deeply powerful prayers. But there’s something truly magical about writing your own prayer. Coming from your life, your situation, your emotions, your needs, your dreams, youur fears, and your purpose, your words will have a power when you speak them that words written by others somehow don’t have. Remember from Day 4: you are your own priest.
It’s really quite easy. Just sit down and have a conversation with your wise loving Voice. Talk about what’s important. Talk about why you’re writing this prayer and what you hope it will accomplish. Then, from the soul level, ask for your December Prayer. Write fast. No thinking, no editing, no judging. Just write. I started talking two mornings ago with my Voice about how important partnership is to me and as I wrote I realized that’s what next year is all about for me. Once I focused in on partnership, I felt ready to ask for my December Prayer.
Here it is. Read it if you like. But be sure to write your own. When you speak your own prayer, the words will resonate from your toes to your scalp and your prayer will change your vibration. Plus, I’m pretty sure, your angels will be laughing and applauding.
Janet’s December Plan Prayer
“Today, dear God, I declare my commitment to live in partnership. I am rich in partnerships. Michael protects me. Gabriel sends the words. Spirit guides me. My spiritual community loves and supports me. Now, I step forward into my magical 2010 year as a partner calling forth my perfect partners: speaking partners, teaching partners, writing partners, learning partners, publishing partners, publicity and administration partners, and my life partner—all the partners I need to live the life I’m here to live.
In return, I commit to be the partner they are looking for—present, active, generous, creative, helpful, kind, and grateful. I share my bounty and together we do great and meaningful work that blesses and heals many, many souls.
Thank you for this past year of learning and growing. It is my foundation for my new year of Magic and Joy. Thank you, God. Thank you, God. Thank you, God. I am so blessed. I am so blessed. I am so blessed.”
So now, what do you do with your December Prayer? Well, I say mine every evening as I light my candle on my December Plan Altar (aka, the sofa lamp table).
Tomorrow we’ll talk about what you want in 2010 and how to incorporate those desires into your December Plan. But for today, write your magical prayer calling in your magical year. Isn’t this fun!
Can a relationship filled with endless miscommunications ever shift back to what it once was? What do you do if every time you pick up the phone, you hang up wondering how in the world did the conversation deteriorate like that? Stop talking? Give up? Walk away?
I had one of those conversations last night. After months of missed opportunities to connect, I found myself once again soaked in the frustration of not being able to hear or be heard. The conversation ended with, “I don’t like you.”
On that note, I hung up and made dinner. As I sat down to my plate of poached salmon and rice, I picked up my nightly source of grace prayers, A Grateful Heart by M J Ryan. I asked for the perfect prayer for the day and got this from Iyanla Vanzant:
“The ancient Africans taught that if a person is good to you, you must forever speak good of them… In order to keep the good flowing, you must speak of it. Everything we receive in life is food for our growth. If we eat from the plate, we must give thanks. Remembering, without that food, at that time, we may have starved.”
I’ve had this book for a decade. I open it every night to whatever page Spirit selects. Over thousands of meals I’ve never been led to this prayer. Spirit waited for the perfect day to hear it. I was, at long last, ready.
I swallowed Iyanla’s words whole. I was reminded of how simple it could be. Just focus on the vast good that was in the relationship. Remember and speak of when we supported one another, laughed together, cheered one another on. Remember the hope and blessings that poured through both of us in our dark times and in our joys.
I whispered “thank you” to Spirit for this perfect reminder to remember and speak of the good and let everything else dissolve in the ether. Simply let go of the hurt, the frustration, the pain. Open my fist and drop all the pain.
I know that this is possible. And I know it has blessed results. As my ex-husband lay dying in a sterile ICU room, our son and I stood beside his quivering body and made a vow. I told him that we would forever remember the good and only the good. Even as I spoke the words, I felt a release and a relief. It is such freedom to see and remember the good. And there was good. There was. And, thanks to our vow, there continues to be.
I choose today to do the same. See the good and name it and be thankful for that and let everything else fall away. I am free.
Have you done something like this? How do you shift, let go, get free?
I love Sundays. But they are no longer days of rest. Thanks to the success of Writing Down Your Soul, I’m often booked as a guest speaker or workshop leader at a New Thought church somewhere in the country. Sunday, I’ve been rather surprised to discover, is a work day.
So when I wake on a Sunday knowing I don’t have to be anywhere, I am one happy girl. I make my glorious French Press coffee and curl up in my reading chair with the New York Times. I can — and do — sit there for hours.
Well, three weeks ago, I had the opportunity to have one of those slow, lazy Sundays. But Rev Greg Barrette was speaking at First Unity in St Petersburg on soul development. I felt I needed to be there. But OH! the chair was calling and the coffee so good. But you know — and you know that you know — when you really must heed your guidance. And my guidance was quite clear and quite persistent that I better get in the car. So an hour later, I walked into Greg’s workshop. And I am so grateful, so very grateful.
In the course of his talk, Greg mentioned the term “visual prayer.” I stopped taking notes and stared at him. My gut told me that those two words mattered. Visual prayer. What a glorious idea. A thing, a drawing, a something that is a prayer. I am madly in love with words, but this idea of a picture of prayer, this really called to me.
A couple sentences later, I realized that Greg was talking about a vision board, something I’ve done for the last few years. But this year, I just did not feel the urge to make one. I didn’t know why, because I know they are powerful, but I just didn’t want those cut-out pictures in my office. Not this year. So here it is September, and I still have no visual image for my goals and dreams for this year.
I loved the workshop and I loved meeting Greg. As I drove home, the traffic came to a halt on Curlew Road in Palm Harbor. A traffic jam on a summer Sunday afternoon is a rare and strange thing in my neck of the woods. But I decided not to stress about it. When I was teaching my son to drive and we ran into a traffic jam, I’d tell him to relax. Consider the possibility, I’d say, that you are being protected and just sit patiently.
My own words came back to me. If it were true for him, it must be true for me. There’s a reason I’m not moving. What is it? I looked around. Slowly. Consciously. Fully. And there to my right was a house with an unusual address placque. The address numerals were surrounded by a large metal circle with 8 metal lines outside the circle. The instant my eyes fell on it, I knew, THIS was the perfect symbol for my visual prayer. I came home and wrote about it and drew a few samples. But I felt something was missing.
Today, a facebook friend, Wendi Brown, posted a link to this gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous video of a sacred geometry mandala created by Charles Gilchrist.
Have you ever wondered what the term “sacred geometry” meant? How about “visual prayer?” THIS is visual prayer. I’ve watched it five times and I’ll watch it five more. Then, I’m going to make my own mandala, my own visual prayer. I’m so in love with this idea of Visual Prayer. When I finish it, I’ll post it. But for now, what I’d love to know, is what kind of Visual Prayer do you “say?”
Do you need a soul-cation?
OK, that’s a rhetorical question. Of course you need a soul-cation. Everyone needs a soul-cation. Everyone needs a mind-body-spirit rest. We know that. We feel it in our hunched shoulders, tense tummies, and racing minds. We know it in our 3 AM worry fests. We see it in our relentless schedules and hopeless to-do lists. We see it in our piles–papers, projects, laundry–always, it seems, there are more piles.
We know we should stop. But we don’t. I didn’t. I had been feeling the call to stop for weeks but had not allowed myself to hear it. Because if I heard it, I’d have to stop. And I couldn’t afford to do that. I had too many events to plan, programs to edit, speeches to give, calls to return, proposals to write, and bills to cover.
Jennifer Hill Robenalt, my heaven-sent publicist, took matters into her own hands. “Stop!” she yelled, “you need to take five days with nothing. No email, no facebook, no computer, no phone calls. Nothing for five days.” “I know you’re right,” I sighed, “but I can’t.”
That night I asked the Voice for the perfect Hafiz poem for the last night of the Creative Blessing teleclass. I opened The Gift to:
A Still Cup
For God to make love,
for the divine alchemy to work,
The Pitcher needs a still cup.
Why ask Hafiz to say anything more about
your most vital requirement?
As I read Hafiz’s words to the class, each of us, sitting in our homes from California to Florida, shared this vision of Spirit pouring–or rather, trying to pour–an boundless supply of love, light, wisdom, and grace into our little cups. But we, frantic with worry and responsibility, keep chasing something that is somehow just out of reach. All that we want is right there, so close we can smell it, but it falls uncollected to the ground. And so, we keep going, working ever harder to accomplish what we want.
Reading “A Still Cup” I knew what I had to do. I called Jennifer and told her I was going on soul-cation. I went to the library and checked out an armload of books. I sent a few “out of commission” emails so people wouldn’t worry. I told my twitter and facebook buddies I was going on soul-cation. Then, on Saturday, August 1st, I stopped.
That morning, as I walked past my office door, the computer called to me. My hands itched for the keyboard. My eyes begged for one quick glance at the calendar. I sighed, closed the office door, and walked away.
I knew I needed to do something dramatically different to break the visceral urge to work. For me, that’s cleaning. I hate to clean. I’d much, much rather write. So before I could talk myself out of it, I vacuumed the blinds, oiled the furniture, scrubbed the kitchen, and polished the floors. When I finished, I felt great and the house smiled. The next day I pruned the garden. The garden smiled. I ironed. The rows of linen napkins winked up at me. To celebrate my happy home, I invited friends over for an old-fashioned Sunday dinner of roasted peppers, marinated mushrooms, green beans, carrot salad, potato salad, pesto tomatoes, and Greek grilled chicken. Took me all day. I loved every minute.
For seven days I did not enter my office. Instead, I prayed and I slept. I wrote in my journal for hours on end. Sometimes I just sat in my chair. And I read. I read:
Fingerprints of God, Barbara Bradley Haggerty
Healing Words, Larry Dossey
The Glass Castle, Jeannette Wells
Conversations with God, Neale Donald Walsch
I read Conversations years ago, but I needed to read it again. There were the answers to all the questions plaguing me. I resolved to re-read Conversations once a year. If you read only one book on your soul-cation, make it Conversations with God.
On Tuesday, as I sipped coffee in my reading chair, I glanced up and looked at my favorite Denis Gaston painting, “The Awakened One” on the opposite wall. She’s a powerful woman with orange skin, huge green eyes and wild medusa hair. Thank you, God,” I said out loud, “for Denis Gaston. And thank you for this gorgeous, gorgeous painting.” My eyes drifted down to my lime green sofa. “Thank you, oh thank you, for this sofa. And thank you for the money that made it possible.”
Around the room I went. For three hours. Basking in the beauty of each and every object in my home. I thanked Spirit for the thing, the person who made it, and the person who gave it to me or the place where I found it. By the time I finished, my living room was pulsing with love and my heart was soaring. This was so much fun, I did it again the next day. And the next. That attitude of gratitude thing? It works.
At the end of the seven days I felt better. Stiller. Calmer. Quieter. Happier. And an amazing thing happened. On my first day back I received five new speaking invitations. On day two, travel arrangements that had eluded me fell effortlessly into place. On day three, the outline for The Joy of Writing in Theta tumbled onto the page. On day four, I was invited to speak to two professional writers groups. The truth is I accomplished more in the week I rested than I would have had I worked.
So now, I ask you again, do you need a soul-cation? It costs nothing. Well, you might spend a bit more on food. But that’s it. If you’d like to create a soul-cation for yourself, here are a few ideas to get you started.
I did NOT
• watch TV
• read the news
• turn on the computer (no email, internet, blogging, facebook, twitter…)
• pay bills or look at my bank account
• spend money (except for food)
• go anywhere (except for the produce stand and St Michael’s Shrine)
• talk on the phone (except to invite people over)
• give myself permission to take time off
• stay quiet
• sleep (some nights 12 hours)
• dream (dreams were loaded with messages)
• lots and lots of deep soul writing
• read (it’s a particularly delicious form of hooky for we workaholics to read in the middle of the day)
• do different things like clean (may not sound like fun for you, but it was an important shift activity for me. You’ll discover your own shift activity)
• eat with joy (I slowed down and really enjoyed cooking and eating. Plus, I set the table with my newly ironed linens and my mother’s crystal goblets)
• garden (with each weed, I felt I was yanking out dead fears)
• have friends over for slow, conversation-filled dinners
• visit a holy site (for me, that’s St Michael’s shrine in Tarpon Springs FL)
And one last essential item. I said my Covenant every day, more slowly and more thoughtfully than ever. I spoke it aloud, really hearing what I was saying. I stood perfectly still as I spoke, knowing that when I am those statements, I become a still cup and The Pitcher can and will find me and fill me up. (details on the Sept 9th Covenant teleclass)
For more ideas on how to create your soul-cation, look at how to create a soul day on pages 230-236 in Writing Down Your Soul.
Your soul-cation won’t look exactly like mine. There are no rules. The key is to stop. Simply stop and give The Pitcher a chance to fill your still, open, receptive cup. And then you know what will happen? Your cup will runneth over!
(This article was originally published in my Writing Down Your Soul Newsletter. Subscribe to the newsletter using the tab at the top of this page.)
A friend sent me this video of Charice, Oprah’s teenage phenom, singing “Note to God” with a note that said, “I thought of you the moment I heard this.” At first, I thought, I don’t have time to watch this. But then I came to my senses. Busy doesn’t solve my problems. Writing a note to God does.
Enjoy. (Then pick up a pen and write your own note to God.)