GRATITUDE

Written by Natasha Burke

Gratitude is the quality of being thankful, a readiness to show appreciation for and to return to kindness.

Every morning when I wake up, I start my day by stating what I am grateful for. This just sets the tone for my day, being grateful. I am grateful for the abundance in my life. This is a wonderful ritual to start a brand new day.

Being more grateful in life means that you are also allowing yourself to be happier, more content, and more satisfied with everything that is going on around you. If you have negative thoughts, replace them with positive thoughts. It’s all about being mindful.  Gratitude changes the heart’s rhythm quicker than other positive reaction or feeling . We raise the vibration of this energy. 

With all the stress, disappointments, and challenges life brings us, you might ask yourself how can I be more grateful with my life?

Live in the moment. Remember what you are grateful for. Just being alive is a huge start.  Read an inspirational quote for the day. Most important is to always appreciate what you have now. 

The happiest people are those who are content with what they currently have, not what they lack. 

Reasons why gratitude is important:

Gratitude is an antidote to negative emotions.

Gratitude helps you savor your positive experiences. 

Be mindful and engage in the present moment.

Gratitude helps you cope with stress and life difficulties.

Gratitude boosts your confidence and self-esteem.

Gratitude fosters empathy.

Gratitude improves your physical health.

Gratitude fosters resilience.

Gratitude strengthens relationships.

Gratitude enhances mindfulness.

Every action begins with a thought. I love this quote by Gandhi:

Your beliefs become your thoughts

Your thoughts become your words

Your words become your actions

You habits become your values

Your values become your destiny

Make yourself gratitude cards, decorate them beautifully and look at them as a reminder of what you are grateful for. 

TRIGGERS

Triggers
Witten by Natasha Burke
November 9, 2018

Do you have triggers? What are your triggers? What do you do when you are triggered? Do you have coping skills to use when you are triggered?

You might ask, what is a trigger? A trigger is something that sets off a memory tape or flashbacks bringing the person back to the event of her/his original trauma.

Triggers are real. Different things trigger different people. A person may avoid situations and stimuli that she/he thinks may trigger a flashback.

Triggers are old painful feelings. Once you recognize your trigger, I invite you to look at that trigger. See where it originated so that when you do get triggered, you will be able to assess what is going on in your body and will be able to use your coping tools quicker.

I think about how many people in the world have trauma, PTSD and triggers. I am writing about this topic as I was triggered yesterday.

I was triggered from the shooting in Thousand Oaks. My grandson’s best friend’s sister died in that shooting. My heart goes out to their family. My heart goes out to our family. Once again a senseless act of violence that affects so many people. Family members of loved ones, here one day, gone the next.

This hits so close to home for me as it brought me back to the trauma of last year, my daughter being in the Las Vegas shooting. The shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburg and now the shooting in Sherman Oaks triggered my daughter. She told me she feels like she is reliving the trauma of last year. Triggers are real.

Another trigger was the Camp fire in Butte County. I live in Santa Rosa and the smoke is so bad here. It reminds me of when the fires happened in my own city last year. I have family that live in Paradise; they are evacuated and not sure if they will have a home to return to. So many fires this year have affected so many people.

A year and a half ago I began the journey to go deep with PTSD and triggers. I really didn’t know what PTSD was until one day I looked at this flyer and it described symptoms. I thought to myself, wow, all these years I felt like something was wrong with me. I always felt there was a hole. I didn’t know what it was but it got worse and I knew that it was time to address my issues. This was the start of my deep work with EMDR and Somatic Therapy. I am learning where the triggers originated from. I pay attention to what triggers feel like in my body. This is very new for me. As a survivor of childhood and adult abuse, I wasn’t fully in my body. I was numb most of my life.

In the past when I was triggered, I have spiraled deep down a dark hole, which paralyzed me for days. At first I didn’t know what was going on, but at some point I realized that it was a trigger. What were my symptoms? Anger, I have been angry for many years. I didn’t know where that stemmed from, I just felt angry. I have anxiety, lots of it. I feel it in my chest (like I can’t breathe or I feel tightness), and stomach area (feeling nauseated). I have felt out of control, my head spinning. The external triggers are shootings; fire and certain movies can trigger me. It could be something someone said to me. It’s so interesting to me how something can trigger an old trauma.

I am grateful that I can finally pay attention to what triggers me. It’s now easier figuring out what is going on with me that caused me to be triggered. The big cue is paying attention to what is going on in my body. I don’t spiral for days and feel out of control. I look at what is triggering me, and I use some of my tools that I have learned to cope. This is a process but I am getting better at handling triggers. What I do to cope is to breathe, deep belly breathes, 3-5 at a time. I check in with my body and notice what I am feeling. I move, this really helps me get grounded.

I wonder if my triggers will every go away, or whether I will just handle them in a healthier way.

Here is a list of internal and external triggers.

Internal Triggers
Anger
Anxiety
Sadness
Memories
Feeling lonely
Feeling abandoned
Frustration
Feeling out of control
Feeling vulnerable
Racing heartbeat
Pain
Muscle tension

External Triggers
An argument
Seeing a news article that reminds you of your traumatic event
Watching a movie or television show that reminds you of your traumatic event
Seeing a car accident
Certain smells
The end of a relationship
An anniversary
Holidays
A specific place
Seeing someone who reminds you of a person connected to your traumatic event

It can be challenging to identify what your triggers are, but by knowing what they are, you can understand them and use tools that will help you cope better when you are triggered.

With practice, emotional triggers can subside, but they may never go away. Because we often cannot avoid triggers, it is important to learn ways of coping with triggers. Effective, healthy coping strategies for lessening the impact of triggers include:

Mindfulness
Relaxation
Self-Soothing
Grounding
Expressive writing
Social support
Deep breathing

Being more aware of your triggers can be beneficial. When you have awareness, your emotional reactions may begin to feel more understandable, valid, predictable, and less out of control. This can positively impact your mood and overall well-being. If you do have triggers, I hope you can recognize them as they are debilitating. It’s rough going through the process of healing, but you are worth it!

 

National Hispanic Heritage Month

Written by Bianca Peralta

Women have always been associated as flowers due to their apparent feminine and delicate nature. However, flowers are essential to our ecosystem and much like women, we couldn’t survive without either. Also flowers range from different shapes, sizes, and colors just like the wonderful Hispanic Women we honor during Hispanic Heritage month. I want to take the time to reclaim the feminine association of a flower by demonstrating how each unique flower represents a different Hispanic female icon. Though individually these flowers are stunning and serve a various array of different functions out in nature, when you put all the flowers together, the bouquet makes up a uniquely stunning masterpiece.

As a twenty one year old, Mexican-American women it’s hard to stay positive about a month dedicated to celebrating the amazing feats of my culture because Hispanic Heritage month tends to highlight the men like Cesar Chavez, Juan Calamera, Diego Rivera, featuring one woman which is normally Frida Kahlo. So what about all the amazing feats of other Hispanic women that is overshadowed by males?

To highlight the amazing, Hispanic women, I have compared a diverse range of icons ranging from painters to supreme court justices to the unique and beautiful flower that best embodies them. As a Sorority woman in Alpha Omicron Pi, we follow the motto of “individually unique, all together complete.” So let’s celebrate the complexity of the individual woman and while also understanding how her unique contributions contribute to the Hispanic culture like diverse flowers making up a stunning bouquet. Dolores Huerta, the flowers of Kurunj.

The flowers of a Kurinji plant take forever to fully bloom, yet when they do, provide a beautiful spectacle that is worth the wait. The fearless leader we know today as Dolores Huerta was once a social outcast because she was a single mother, an immigrant, a farmhand, and female. Little did she know, that she would take on the world despite being a female of color, older, or unmarried. She empowered a generation of women like my Abuela, the immigrant farmhand who sold tortillas in the migrant camps, to chant “Si Se Puede” alongside the men. Her leadership bloomed because she empowered the women around her to change the gender dynamic of a civil rights movement. So ladies, next time you think you are too old or too unworthy to make a change, think again. Like Dolores and the Kurinji Plant’s flowers, your time to bloom will come, it just might take a while.

Sonia Sotomayor, Purple Iris Hollywood may have the fictional Elle Woods to inspire women to pursue law, but Hispanics have Sonia Sotomayor to look up to. Think of it, the first Hispanic to be on SCOTUS isn’t a male! As an eleven year old who dreamed of being a lawyer when this historical feat happened, I couldn’t help but think of hope. The judicial system doesn’t favor women, let alone brown women like me. Even today, despite the new surge in toxic masculinity and xenophobia, I remain determined to go to law school because I know women like me can do it! The Iris has many meanings and many places use it as the official flower, but I was told growing up that the Iris means hope. Sotomayor stands out amongst her fellow justices on the supreme court like a bright purple iris amongst a field of white daisies. However, that bold purple iris is essentially paving a way for the other purple irises to mix in and grow alongside the white daisies.

I remember watching West Side Story and being completely enamored with Rita Moreno as she successfully managed to dance, sing, and act equally amazing. It was years later I would find out that most of the cast wasn’t even Puerto Rican, except for Moreno. I mean if we thought Hollywood was predominantly white now, imagine it years ago. However, her magnificent on screen presence was due to her talent, not her race. Like the birds of paradise flower, Moreno was bold and magnificent. Don’t believe me? Well I challenge you to go look up her prestigious awards Diane Guerrero, Gladiolus.

The Gladiolus flower symbolizes strength, a characteristic Diane Guerrero has proven to possess as she continues to speak out against modern day immigration reform. Her family was deported back to Columbia while she remained in the United States as a young child. Nevertheless, she pursued acting and used her fame as a platform to speak out for those who have no voice. Her strength has motivated my generation of young women to use our voice for those who can’t. She isn’t in our history books yet, allowing girls to find their voice and be a part of a movement.

There are so many iconic Hispanic women that have done some pretty remarkable things. Lastly I want to dedicate the Marigold flower to all the amazing Hispanic women, like my Abuela who marched alongside Dolores Huerta, who have now been laid to rest. In my culture, these flowers honor the dead.

There are amazing women everywhere and here at Women Empowering Women, we make sure to include all women from all walks of life in our empowerment narrative. I hope you take the flower analogy with you, and take the time to celebrate how unique we all are. But when we come together we are beautiful, unstoppable forces of nature.

WHY DO WE COMPARE OURSELVES TO OTHER WOMEN?

Natasha Burke, Women Empower Each Other
June 21, 2018

“COMPARISON IS THE THIEF OF JOY”, Theodore Roosevelt

I am going to be authentic and share with you where my struggles with comparison have been. I invite you to ponder the questions of when did comparison start for you? In what areas do you compare yourself with other women, and how does it make you feel? My thought is by being mindful when comparison shows up in your life, you can name it, claim it, and most important, release it. It comes down to being ENOUGH! I AM ENOUGH! YOU ARE ENOUGH!

For me body image has been huge for most of my life. I have felt jealous. I have felt fat. I wanted my body to look like someone else’s body. If only….. It started with being a young girl. I have a sister; her body type is very thin. My body type is stocky. I wanted to be thinner.

It’s been exhausting feeling inadequate, NOT ENOUGH. It’s exhausting to go on diets; and I realize I don’t do well with diets. I don’t know about you but I have probably been on most diet fads throughout my years. It never worked for me. The psychological component of feeling like I couldn’t eat something was more powerful then the actual act of dieting. It’s such a yo-yo effect. Up and down, up and down.

Recently, something clicked about how I compare my body with other women’s bodies.In April, I started thinking about how I need to loose 20 pounds before I go on a trip to Hawaii in July. The thought of me being in a bathing suit prompted me to loose weight. I joined Weight Watchers. Oh my gosh, once again the dieting regime. I had a realization that realistically I wouldn’t loose that much weight in two months. The second realization was all the negative talk I do with myself isn’t working anymore. I don’t like how thinking this way makes me feel.

I pondered why do I do this to myself? Why can’t I accept my body for what it looks like? I explored this deeper. What I discovered is that comparing will never make me feel good about me. I discovered that my body is perfect the way it is, 20 pounds more than what I would like, but it’s perfect. It’s my unique body. It houses my soul. All parts of my body are a miracle. Each part of my body needs the other part to LIVE. The bigger question was, what if I stopped comparing my body to other women’s bodies? What would that look like? I realized that I have never owned my body, I mean truly own it. This work is a process, but instead of seeing myself as a fat woman, I see myself as an amazon woman! Strong, curvy, voluptuous. No one has the body that I have! Owning my body is empowering! Wow, what a huge discovery!

What I do now, is every time I see a woman through the lens of her heart and spirit. I say to myself, “she is beautiful”. With this mindset, I compare less. I appreciate other women and their bodies more. I can smile and say, thank goodness we all have different shapes, sizes, color, flaws, and each body is unique! What would the world look like if we all looked the same? Boring!

Another comparison is, “she is more together than me.” She has a degree, her business is successful, she has a bigger house, nicer car etc. Does this sound familiar??

I was a stay-at-home mom, working from home while I was raising my three children. I earned several certificates in my chosen areas of work. However, once my last child left, I had to figure out what to do next. I didn’t value the path I chose. I started comparing once again and had the feeling that I was not enough. Today it’s less but every now and then I go into that “I am not enough” mode. When I go there, I pull myself out of it and remind myself, what I do is not what gives me value, I am enough!

Many years ago I was living next to a woman who was very materialistic. I always wanted more and more and never felt satisfied.Then came the day when I realized that this wasn’t making me feel good about myself. I could not keep up, and all the material stuff, well it didn’t make me feel whole. It was like an addiction, I wanted more.

 

Today I appreciate all women for who they are and what they do. We are all doing amazing things in the world. WE don’t have to be like others. We need to be okay with WHO WE ARE AND WHAT WE DO!

Comparison destroys confidence and self-belief. It steals joy and much more. It takes up a lot of negative energy. It takes away from what we have achieved and continue to achieve.

Comparison does not give happiness or pleasure. What positive emotions can come from comparing? If you feel other women are ahead, you feel down. If you feel they are behind you, you’ll feel pity and sorry for them. Comparison is a losing game. Comparison is based on FEELING AND NOT TRUTH.

What is a better feeling than comparing? Knowing who you are and appreciate all that you do! We all need different things in life. If you know who you are and what you want, that will keep the focus on YOU!

Create your own path and follow it. We all are on a different path, one that we must take the journey down our own road. I have created the road that I want to follow in my life. This road is mine. I have milestones and challenges but it’s my path. I would like to say that I have travelled the road less traveled! Is it easy? Absolutely not.

Life is a process of CREATION not a destination. Life is not about getting to the end but it’s about learning and experiences, and most of all GROWTH! You don’t need to compare to create.

Compare only with you! You can strive to be better a little bit each day. Commit to growing a little each day and celebrate the small steps forwards into what you want. What a great reminder for me.

If a woman inspires you, let her know. We need to celebrate each other and our accomplishments! Sisterhood is important! Together we rise!

I AM ENOUGH

Written by Natasha Burke
April 9, 2018

How many times have you felt you are not enough? Where does this come from? How does it make you feel?

I am here to remind you that YOU ARE ENOUGH JUST THE WAY YOU ARE. WE ARE ENOUGH JUST THE WAY WE ARE. 

SELF-LOVE- The instinct by which one’s actions are directed to the promotion of one’s own welfare or well-being.

SELF-LOVE: What Does It Mean To Love One’s Self?

“When you are compassionate with yourself, you trust in your soul, which you let guide your life. Your soul knows the geography of your destiny better than you do.”—– John O’Donohue.

SELF-LOVE- I am enough!! I Matter!

When you feel you are not enough, you are not loving yourself. When you compare yourself to someone else, you are not loving yourself. When you are in your head and your inner critic is saying you are not beautiful, worthy of love, fat, something is wrong with you, etc. you are not loving yourself. Does this sound familiar?

FEAR OF NOT BEING GOOD ENOUGH

ATELOPHOBIA (A-TEL-O-PHO-BIA)– The fear of imperfection. The fear of never being good enough.

When you were born, you felt unconditionally loved by your parents. You felt safe because you were being taken care of. That unconditional love doesn’t last forever and perhaps at an early age there were events where you didn’t feel that love.

Maybe it was when you were yelled at. It is at that very moment that you identify with the thought “I am not good enough. The fear of not being good enough was then born.

The fear of not being enough affects your sense of self-power, self-esteem and self-image. Everything you attempt to do is controlled by your self imagine and how much you believe in yourself.

The fear of not being good enough destroys your confidence.

Go deep, explore where this belief system stems from. When you discover the root of this belief, you can then heal what makes you not feel enough. Be compassionate while you do this work. This will take practice. You are worth it!

 

THINGS THAT CAN HELP YOU TO REMEMBER THAT YOU ARE ENOUGH! THIS WILL TAKE PRACTICE! YOU ARE WORTH IT!

We all compare ourselves to other people, but if you could look at another person through the eyes of compassion, understanding, and see a person for who they truly are, that will take away from judgment and jealousy. Look at a person as imperfect as you are and going through their own challenges. Look at a person with love. This takes practice. You are worth it!

Don’t believe everything you think! Thoughts are thoughts, and it’s not healthy and is very exhausting to give power to those negative thoughts. If you catch yourself, try to replace the negative thought with a positive one. This takes practice. You are worth it!

Quote by Jon Kabat-Zinn, “Until you stop breathing, there’s more right with you than wrong with you.” We can always find flaws. However, there are so many more things that you can like about yourself. This takes practice. You are worth it!

You can’t feel acceptance, love and compassion from others if you are in in a state of anger, anxiety, depression or shame. We all have those moments in life. Practice saying during those times, “ love is the greatest gift that I can receive during this challenging time. This takes practice. You are worth it!

Fully accept NOW. This will help you feel satisfied with the later.
Embrace and make peace with where you are right now. Your journey toward something new will feel more peaceful, rewarding and satisfying. If you are always looking for the next…. you will not ever feel satisfied or content. This takes practice. You are worth it!

Focus on your progress rather than perfection. Focus on how far you have gone rather than how far you have left to go. When you strive for perfection and success, and when you feel that you fall short, you feel less than and worthless. Realize that you are striving for success no matter how many times you fail. Don’t beat yourself up but give yourself a pat on the back for trying, making progress, and coming as far as you have. This takes practice. You are worth it!

If you tell yourself you are worthless and unlovable it won’t make you feel worthy and loveable. Love yourself! No matter where you are in life or even if you want to make changes, LOVE YOURSELF! YOU ARE ENOUGH!

Everyday, as often as you can say, I AM ENOUGH! This takes practice. You are worth it!

 

 

BELIEF SYSTEM

Written by Natasha Burke, February 23, 2018


What are your core beliefs? Are you beliefs formed based on other people’s beliefs? Does your belief system enrich your life or cause you pain and suffering?

Belief systems come from external influences such as religion, political system, society, family, parents, relatives, friends, peers, mentors, employers, media and others. Your belief system is fundamentally how you approach your life.

 

Think back as far as you can at something someone said that you continue to hold as part of your belief. Is this belief something you truly believe about yourself? Is this belief something that gets in the way of living your life to it’s fullest?

I invite you to go within and discover where some of your beliefs stem from and if they don’t resonate with the you, then it’s time to replace with a new belief in order to live the life you really want.

Check in with yourself and see how this belief makes you feel. How does this belief work in all aspects of your life?

Secrets and Silence

Secrets and Silence

How many of you have held a secret that causes you pain and suffering? How many of you have been silent? Why do you continue to be silent? I invite you to ponder these questions if you have secrets and have been silent. Giving the secrets a voice is FREEDOM!

I am one of those women who have been silent most of my life. I have carried this burden. As a result of it, for years I questioned what is wrong with me? I always had this lingering hole in my being. I never knew what it was.

It was my 60th birthday that prompted me to get back into therapy and dig deep and figure out what was truly going on. I didn’t want to numb, drink, eat my feelings, or anything that I thought would make me feel better. None of it ever made me feel better. It was always a temporary fix.

As I began my journey unveiling my secrets, I realized there is nothing wrong with me. There were things that happened in my life that I could never share with someone because there was FEAR, SHAME, JUDGEMENT, and ANGER, around my secrets. I felt less than, not whole, not good enough, certainly not in my power. I lived life small.

Was it hard to tell someone my secret? Absolutely. I remember thinking about the emotions that went with having to share my secrets. I felt fear, shame, guilt, blame, afraid that others would judge me. I felt sick to my stomach when I thought about sharing my secret.

I thought about who I trust enough to share my secrets with. Once I opened up to one person, a person whom I trust, then I was able to share with others, people whom I trust. It’s very important that you share with someone who will listen to you, who will support you to feel safe enough to share.

This was a huge burden lifted up. One by one, I released my secrets, put a voice to them, and released them. Knowing that as I do this work, I am more empowered. I am stronger, and I no longer live little. I live life BIG! There is so much empowerment doing this work.

Women, it’s important that we use our voice! We speak our truth! We honor and love ourselves enough to open up and release the secrets that we hold. Together we will rise!

 

 

Written by Natasha Burke, January 18, 2018

What Makes A Woman Powerful? by Jane Powell

A powerful woman doesn’t have to prove she is powerful.

Women who feel the need to prove their power usually deep down don’t feel they are powerful. They try to prove something to themselves and others. The more you continue down this path, the more doubts you will have.

 

Women know their power. We are tough yet tender daily. We remain strong with our loved ones through rough times. If they stumble or need support, we are there with soft sensitive words, and open our hearts to them and comfort them with our arms.

Be proud of your ability to be strong and gentle. Let your power make it known, through your quiet, calm confidence and the respect it surrounds you.

If you find yourself trying to prove your power to others, please stop. True power doesn’t need to shout to prove itself. It can whisper and still be heard.

Be proud of your ability to be both strong and gentle. Embrace these different sides of your personality and exercise them in equal measure. Show your strength and determination.

YOU ARE A POWERFUL WOMAN! I AM A POWERFUL WOMAN!

 

 

 

 

 

Being Your Authentic Self

Be YOURSELF. Life is precious as it is. All the elements for your happiness are already here. There is no need to run, strive, search, or struggle. JUST BE! Thich Nhat Hanh

The day you were born, you were a perfect miracle! You were pure, perfect, innocent, beautiful, precious, amazing, alert, joyful, loving, peaceful, happy, wondrous, trusting, and a divine presence. The list goes on. This was your authentic self! This was your true ESSENCE.

As we got older, we inherited belief systems from others. We become cognizant of what others thought about us, told us what we should be or shouldn’t be. We began to put on a mask, one layer at a time until we forgot the true essence of who we really are. We forget our true authentic self. We lived as our “fictional” self, living through the lens of how the world sees us.

Being authentic means being true to one’s own personality and spirit despite pressures from external forces and influences. It is hard not to be influenced by those external forces. All of the things that make you unique and need to be expressed are the core of who you really are.

Most of my life I have blended in, hid, suppressed my authentic self, and had a lot of self-doubt and fear. I inherited belief systems from people in my life and too wore a mask. I had images of myself that were false and yet I believed in them. I identified myself as a mother, caretaker, people pleaser, wife, student, writer; the list goes on and on, but then I started questioning WHO AM I if I am not just a mother, a caretaker, people pleaser etc.

I started my journey and began to dig deep. I questioned every aspect of my life. Layer by layer I started removing my masks. I began to know myself. I began to love all parts of myself. I began to see the true essence of me.

I invite you to take the journey to discover your authentic self. You may ask; where do I begin?

I did this exercise to help me see my authentic self. I found a picture of myself as a baby. I taped it to a piece of paper and wrote all the things I could see in this baby picture. Of course they were all the authentic things about me.

I found a picture of myself as an adult and did the same exercise. I put both pictures side by side and it was astounding to find out that I listed things that were not my authentic self but indeed my fictional self on the adult picture. I slowly one by one removed the belief systems I inherited. The gift to myself was to find all those qualities I saw in my baby picture back into my adult life. It didn’t happen over night and there were a lot of tears and letting go only to find the true authentic me! I am grateful that I took this journey.

Questions that you can ponder are, when you do this exercise:

Was the description of your baby self and adult self the same? If not, what was different? Do you see yourself through the lens of others? Are you afraid to show the world your authentic self? If yes, why? Do you have masks that you want to shed? If so, give yourself the gift in taking the journey of rediscovering who you really are. Unveil your mask and discover your true essence. It’s vital to your happiness.

Enjoy your journey! YOU ARE WORTH IT!

 

 

Written by Natasha Burke

March 30, 2017

 

 

 

FORGIVENESS

 

Forgiveness is something that we all need to do. I invite you to think about people in your life that you haven’t forgiven. Do feel resentment towards those people because they hurt you? Do you need to forgive yourself? I have found that it’s hard to forgive myself.  Is forgiving easy? It may not be. You may ask how do I forgive? Truth, we are all human and we make mistakes.

You may ask yourself why should I forgive? What do I get out of forgiving someone that hurt me? Is it my ego that is stopping me?

If we don’t forgive, we resent and when we resent we are poisoning ourselves by holding onto the past. This resentment is TOXIC! If you are having a hard time forgiving a person or yourself, perhaps you can say, “I am willing to forgive. I don’t know how but I am willing.”

Perhaps the person who you have not forgiven isn’t in your life anymore. That is okay; your forgiveness is still needed. I believe if there are deep wounds, you will not forget them but you can forgive. The person that is hurting is YOU!

Through forgiveness you are releasing the pain and the past, which no longer serves your highest good. Forgiveness brings you freedom. It’s freedom from being controlled by the past. It’s freedom from the emotional ties to that person. It’s freedom from the continual inner conflict of bitterness and hate. It’s freedom to become whole and enjoy the fullness of life. Does this sound like something you want in your life? I certainly do!

Until you forgive yourself, until you forgive the person, until you realize that the situation is over, you cannot move forward. I know that it takes time. It takes courage. It takes strength. It takes digging deep. In practicing forgiveness you are removing the armor around your heart.

I invite you to ponder these questions. Go deep with them. Sit with them. Feel them. Breathe through them. It may not be painful but remember the hurt is already done. You have survived it. You are still here. It’s time to forgive and let it go!

Here is an exercise that you can start the process of forgiving. I invite you to journal. Journaling is a powerful tool. This exercise a great way to release old hurts from the past and to heal through forgiveness Sit in a place where there are no distractions. Where you can be by yourself and go through this process. Maybe put on some soothing music or just take some deep breathes. You can meditate before writing. Do what feels right for you. Bring yourself into the now. Continue to Breathe. When you are ready, you can begin journaling.

 

Make a list of people who you have not forgiven. Take your time. As you write you may feel uncomfortable. It’s okay, go with it. Unlock the door from the prison you have been in and confront those who hurt you, and who you have hurt. You don’t have to do it all in one sitting. Just begin the process. Be compassionate with yourself. This is a courageous thing you are doing. The reward, FREEDOM!

Before you write, try to visualize the person and the situation. Begin the writing process by telling the person what they did or said that hurt you. What you did or said that hurt others. What you said or did that hurt you. Take as long as you need. It’s in the writing that you are releasing. Don’t over think it, just stream write. Let it all out!

Once you feel complete and you are ready, tell the person that you forgive them. Forgive yourself. Write it down. Say it out loud. Perhaps you can tell the person. Maybe you can write a letter and then burn it. The past will keep you hostage if you don’t forgive!!! Release it!

Did you like this exercise? What did this exercise feel like? Did you feel anything in your body? What emotions came up? Feel it all!

When you forgive, you give yourself the gift of emotional, spiritual, and mental freedom. You heal yourself.

THIS IS AN AMAZING GIFT FOR YOU!!!

Written by Natasha Burke, March 3, 2017