In this post, I’ll use my experience with Ringo (see Part I) to demonstrate compassionate self-forgiveness, a powerful tool in service to inner healing. There are four steps to this process.

Step 1. I give voice to my feelings of sadness, frustration, anger and fear. I honor my process by creating a safe space in which I can allow whatever I’m feeling to come forward. I may cry, scream, yell or laugh; I just let it come out without judging it. I do this for myself and with myself in the privacy of a safe space. As I begin to feel complete with this part of the process, I become aware of the judgments, irrational beliefs, misconceptions and misunderstandings.

Step 2. I identify the judgments, irrational beliefs, misconceptions and misunderstandings:

a. Ringo shouldn’t have died when he did.

b. I was responsible for Ringo’s death.

c. My mother should have been home.

d. If my mother had been home, this wouldn’t have happened.

e. Death means Ringo’s gone for good. Death is bad.

f. I would have been better off if this hadn’t happened.

Step 3. I practice compassionate self-forgiveness: I start by closing my eyes, putting my hands over my heart and, dropping into a place of compassion, I forgive myself, one-by-one, for the judgments, irrational beliefs, misconceptions and misunderstandings I’ve made. In this example, here’s what I’d say: (I like to say it aloud.)

a. I forgive myself for buying into the misinterpretation that Ringo shouldn’t have died when he did.

b. I forgive myself for buying into the misunderstanding that I was responsible for Ringo’s death.

c. I forgive myself for judging my mother as wrong for not being where I thought she should have been.

d. I forgive myself for falsely assuming that if my mother had been present, this wouldn’t have happened.

e. I forgive myself for judging death as “bad.”

f. I forgive myself for buying into the misunderstanding that I would have been better off if this hadn’t happened. (I can’t possibly know if I would have been better off.)

While I may become aware of more judgments as I go deeper, this will suffice as an example.

Once I’ve cleared the judgments through self-forgiveness, I’m left with . . . SPACE. And what do I do with the space?

Step 4. I fill it with loving, self-affirming truth that reflects who I am today. Continuing with my example, I’d say:

a. Everything is in divine order. No one dies a moment too soon or too late.

b. Ringo, on some level, chose his length of stay on earth. We all do. I chose to share this experience with Ringo based on wisdom that’s beyond the logic of my mind. Experiences aren’t good or bad, right or wrong—they just are.

c. I can’t know that my mother wasn’t where she needed to be. And I trust that, because everything is unfolding in divine order, she was precisely where she needed to be. My mother was doing the best she knew how to do . . . and I was doing the best I knew how to do, too.

d. I can’t know with certainty what would or could have happened if my mother had been present. I can only guess.

e. Life is eternal.  When we transition, we refocus our energy from physical to non-physical reality. It’s not good or bad. It’s an integral part of life. I am grateful for Ringo’s love and devotion. I love you,  Ringo.

f. Had I not experienced this, I can’t say with certainty that I would have been better off. I can only guess. I trust that everything that happens is for my highest good. It’s up to me to make the most of every situation. Given that each and every experience has contributed to who I am today . . . and I love who I am . . . I am grateful for loving Ringo and for the experiences we shared.

That’s the process. When I place a judgment—either on myself, another, or on a situation—and I forgive myself for having placed the judgment in the first place, I move out of duality and into acceptance. When I complete the process, I feel lighter, as if a weight’s been lifted or I’ve been washed clean. There’s a shift in consciousness that’s discernable. While the concept of self-forgiveness is in the mind, remember that the experience of self-forgiveness is in the heart. Self-forgiveness is an expression of self-compassion and it moves you into your heart. Focus your awareness there.

Remember when you were a baby and you could do no wrong—or you were with a baby and they could do no wrong? That’s what I’m talking about. I think that’s how God sees us, because God doesn’t judge us. Sometimes, as I’m practicing self-forgiveness and I’m holding an intention to move into my heart, I think of myself as that baby, or I think of my children as babies—and my heart expands. My priority is acceptance—of myself, others, and of what is. The best contribution I can make to the planet is to resolve my own issues as quickly as possible, accessing the highest level of consciousness available to me. When I practice self-forgiveness, I’m cultivating an attitude of self-compassion as I am returned to my Self.

I hope this is helpful. If you have questions or comments, please post. Remember: outer experience is a reflection of inner reality. Change what’s going on within and your outer experience will naturally change.

Copyright © 2009 by Irene Kendig

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Irene Kendig

Irene Kendig is an accomplished speaker, workshop facilitator, self-acceptance coach, and award-winning author. She is a trained NLP Practitioner and certified Hypnotherapist, with a B.A. cum laude in Psychology from UCLA and an M.A. in Spiritual Psychology from the University of Santa Monica (USM). As a self-acceptance coach, Irene assists clients in identifying the judgments, misconceptions, and limiting beliefs that are the source of unnecessary suffering, and then facilitates healing through compassionate self-forgiveness, an elegant and graceful way of embracing what is, and a process at the very heart of Spiritual Psychology. Irene is dedicated to living and sharing the gifts of Spiritual Psychology, and is part of a team of USM graduate volunteers who have been bringing these principles and experiential practices to women inmates at one of the largest maximum security women’s prisons in the world, Valley State Prison for Women. The program has been nominated for a national award that recognizes excellence in prison reform programs. “Freedom to Choose,” a moving, 22-minute documentary that conveys the power of this work, was a winner in the Emerging Filmmaker Showcase at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival. Irene is the author of Conversations with Jerry and Other People I Thought Were Dead: Seven compelling dialogues that will transform the way you think about dying . . . and living. Released in April 2010, the book has won three national awards. Ms. Kendig has taught communication skills in both family and corporate settings. As a certified instructor for Parent Effectiveness Training (PET), she has presented programs to parents in the U.S. as well as in Latin America. As a senior corporate trainer for an international management consulting firm, she has delivered customer satisfaction, team building, and problem-solving training to a wide array of companies, including AAA, American Express, Avis, Lufthansa, Marriott, Oracle, Telecheck, Trane, and Tumi, with satisfaction ratings consistently over 95%. Ms. Kendig has also taught presentation skills to managers in Corporate America and is fluent in Spanish. She is the proud mother of two adult sons, David and Josh, and currently resides in northern Virginia with her husband Charles and their dog Scooter.

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