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Wednesday, April 7, 2010

insights book review: the law of forgiveness

The Law of Forgiveness: Tap in to the Positive Power of Forgiveness--
and Attract Good Things to Your Life

In this catastrophe that started January 2009 one thing that I have learned is that wallowing in the space that is the black hole that I have made for myself isn't working. But when you feel so sad/angry/hopeless, it's hard to reach out to anyone mainly because you think "Why bother? Nothing will change." If you have felt this way like I have, I get it. Maybe you're not ready yet to talk to someone or seek therapy even but I can tell you that the first way and maybe the easiest way to even see a way out of your rut/hole/situation is to pick up a book. If you've been laid off or you're just scraping by, go to the library.

When I was laid off last May it took me a few weeks to lick my wounds and get out of the house. I am ashamed to say that I had never been to my local library. To be honest, I thought it was a place for moms to bring their toddlers for the afternoon. I was wrong. Since I was part of a mass layoff there was actually an entire table set up with books on finding a job along with packets on getting through the layoff with helpful websites and organizations. I piled myself down with resume and interviewing books. It didn't occur to me that I needed more. I needed something to heal my spirit. One of the books that I found early on and keep coming back to is: The Law of Forgiveness: Tap in to the Positive Power of Forgiveness--and Attract Good Things to Your Life.

I chose this book as my first book review over the dozens that are sitting here on the table next to me because I feel like you have to let go of the hate and resentment before you can move forward and accept anything.

As thoughts of all the dreadful things that were happening to me kept swirling in my mind  I became more and more angry with certain people, blaming them for what happened to me. I couldn't understand why their lives were so great and I just kept losing things that mattered to me like oh, my job, my friends, my health, my babies. I was one very angry girl.

I don't know what caused me to pick up "The Law of Forgiveness" and even as I started reading I thought "This is bullsh**." But I kept reading and I started to feel small trembling cracks in this hard shell I had built around myself.  As an RN who teaches public health nursing at the University of North Carolina, the author Connie Domino is somehow able to put into words what I have been too ashamed and blind to see. I needed to forgive the people who I felt had been responsible for the "bad" things that were bombarding me. Even more so, I needed to forgive myself.

Throughout the book the author discusses opening yourself up to forgiving others and in doing so you let go of all that angry, toxic matter that clogs up the space where wonderful, good things can come into your life. Think of it like this. You have a beautiful, hand-blown crystal cup and someone asks "Would you like to try the most incredible taste in the world? It's a juice made from a rare fruit that only blossoms once a year for one week. It tastes like a cool breeze on a balmy, sunny summer morning." And you start to salivate and think "Why, yes I would!" but you look at your glass and it is full of this toxic sludge left over from a moldy iced coffee you drank last month and a cigarette filter that someone threw in." And  sadly you can't try this new, extraordinary taste because your cup is full of sludge. Now imagine you are the glass.

So let's fix this.

For me, I found Chapter 2: Invoking or Enacting Forgiveness to be the key.

In this chapter Domino gives specific instructions on how to let go of your anger and forgive others as well as yourself. The key is that you don't actually have to have a sit down face-to-face with someone which is a good thing if you are too angry to actually talk with the person you have an issue with. Find a quiet space and make a list of people you need to forgive or who need to forgive you. Then visualize one person at a time walking into a room. Don't "see" the "bad" person who you feel did you wrong. Instead "see" their highest self, their pure self. I imagined myself sitting on a deck at the beach at sunrise and a door would open and the person I had an issue with would walk in  and in my mind I would have a conversation with them something like "While I hate what has happened, all is well between us, the energy is released. I wish you much success and happiness as you move forward in your life. Be well and happy."  I imagined the person smiling as he walked out and another walks in until everyone you have an issue with has come and gone in peace. And then let it go. I know it sounds ridiculous that it could work just like that but it does. Forgiving someone who stole something from you or betrayed you or cheated you is not easy. No, it is not easy to forgive someone who stole pieces of your life away but then what choice do you have? You can choose to harbor the vile that is hatred or you can start to heal yourself and let in a little light. Sometimes it feels like less work to keep that hatred for someone, doesn't it? It feels like if you forgive someone it means you are letting them off the hook. When someone has done something wrong, something so horrible it can seem completely unreasonable to forgive. The fact that they committed this act will always be fact but how you choose to handle this after the act is up to you. You have the power to decide what you hold in your heart.

The Law of Forgiveness works. Once I did this exercise, I felt good for the first time in a long time. Holding that hatred in, even towards yourself for something stupid you may have done, hurts no one but yourself. Think of someone who has hurt you or taken something away from you. Hating them does not hurt them. It hurts you. So let it go. It's time to fill your glass with someone extraordinary. And I'll be right here to toast with you.

Happy Meter for The Law of Forgiveness: 9!

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