The Framework of Forgiveness – Revisited

We wrote this blog in 2016. But it seems to be very apropos for today as well. Just know…this road is a journey not a race with a finish line. Keep learning. It’s the way we continue to grow. Love…

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Forgiveness is one of the toughest challenges we face in this life.  But did you know the primary blocker to forgiveness has nothing to do with the act of another but everything to do with yourself?

This week I found myself infuriated with a person from work.  It all stemmed from something that I look at now and qualify as trivial.  A difference of opinion.  But I interpreted and ingested her comments and her tone as completely disrespectful and in front of others so therefore, my mind went into “attack back mode.”

SIDE NOTE: As my cousin and I continue to write this blog as we have over the past year and 3 months, full of advice, best practices of life and teachings there are two things I really want to convey to our audience…1) neither he nor I are emotionally immune to life as it happens and 2) we all learn by teaching.  And this blog has provided us an avenue to teach and learn at the same time.  And for that, we are forever grateful.

I could feel my blood pressure rise.  We got into the car with the other people and I launched back at her to “put her in her place” so to speak.  Then when we all got to dinner, I proceeded to completely ignore her and talk over her whenever she tried to speak or join in the conversation.  I woke up the next morning feeling the same.  I was MAD!  And I was aware that I was mad.  And being aware of your emotion is the first step to understanding the Framework of Forgiveness.

Enlightenment is about complete awareness.  In this situation, as it was happening, I was caught up in the “story” my ego was creating and sharing with my consciousness.  My ego was weaving a story of what all of this meant…”she disrespected you! She won’t get away with THAT!  You show her who’s boss!  Strike back to assert your authority!”  The ego will always feed the need to be “right” in any situation.  So as I prepare to start my day and head back to southern California with this person, I reflect on how I truly FEEL.  And what I desire to FEEL.  The framework of my forgiveness actually has nothing to do with HER but everything to do with ME.  Therefore, the second step to understanding the Framework of Forgiveness is to check your ego and humble your spirit. 

Humbling your spirit does not make you a doormat.  Humbling your spirit does not make you weak.  Humbling your spirit does not make the other person “right” and you “wrong.”  Humbling your spirit creates a path of allowance.  As we’ve stated before, there is only resistance and allowance.  When we are angry, upset, infuriated…all of our cells, organs and tissue becomes restricted.  This is why our blood pressure rises.  Because we are restricting ourselves.  Now imagine humbling your spirit and allowing yourself to breathe easy.  You immediately feel an opening of flow.  This is allowance.  When we understand what we DESIRE to feel and want to manifest that desire of emotion, we must create a path of allowance in order for it to flow.  Humbling your spirit is the catalyst to that allowance.  In that allowance, we now have the ability to create.  This is the third step in the Framework of Forgiveness.  Creation.

Create what?  Create what you desire to have happen next.  Creation can only be realized when it is born out of a loving space.  The love you want to experience has nothing to do with the person who made you angry but the love you have for yourself and the authentic desire to be in harmony with yourself.  Don’t be confused to take this as the passive aggressive approach to the situation.  “I’m just gonna love ME and ignore her.”  No.  Love to say, “I desire a harmonious relationship with this person because that is what is most healthy for ME.”  Create that space.  Envision that space.  Expect that space.  This is you loving yourself and desiring the best for your own well-being.  I once read something that said, “holding onto your anger against another person is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.”  So LOVE yourself enough to release the limiting story your ego is creating.  YOU have the power to create the best space that makes you the happiest.  But it must be created from a space of love for not only yourself but for that other person and life in general.  If harmony is what you desire to create, then you must also embrace harmony as an expectation inclusive of all things.  THAT’S what “harmony” is.

So to reiterate…there are three steps to the Framework of Forgiveness:

  1. Be Aware of Your Emotion.  Analyze what you feel.  Why do you feel that way?  Expose it all.  Go into detail about what you feel and why you feel that way without judgment of yourself or the other person or people.
  2. Check Your Ego and Humble Your Spirit.   Your ego is equivalent to a bully.  The bully wants to intimidate you and make you THINK something is, that it is not.  When you stand up to the bully, the bully shrinks back into the insecurity from which it came.  Your ego is forever frightened of being exposed.  This is why it creates stories to justify its existence.  Put your ego in it’s place.  The authentic power you possess is in your spirit.  Your soul.  So be in touch with THAT instead of being in touch with your ego.
  3. Create.  Once you have acknowledged and embraced your full emotion, understanding WHY you feel the way you do, then putting that emotion into context of your ego and your spirit, now you can create a space of allowance or flow.  Create what your expectations are. When understanding the Framework of Forgiveness, you have the authority to create a harmonious space because you are no longer restricted.  You have seen the issue, embraced your emotion, checked your ego, humbled your spirit and now you’re ready to create a brand new space that feels WONDERFULLY blissful to YOU.

Practicing these steps will offer you the best road to peace, happiness and tranquility.  Because the Framework of Forgiveness actually has little to do with the other person but everything to do with how you feel and how you DESIRE to feel.

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Finding Your Place of Solace

sol·ace
/ˈsäləs/
noun
  1. comfort or consolation in a time of distress or sadness.
    “she sought solace in her religion”

I often speak with people about meditation. Mainly because meditation is where I find my solace. The responses and dialogues are usually, “I can’t do it. I don’t know how. I WANT to do it but I don’t have time.” But the reality is, meditation is not some elusive, mysterious place that is difficult to do or hard to find. Meditation is simply communing with that authentic part of who you are and is the place where comfort and consolation are the “norm.” If you “can’t do it,” it’s because you are out of balance between your mind, body and soul. And if that is the case, you are the one who should be pursuing it most. If you “don’t know how,” that is easily fixed. There are a number of apps for iPhone and Android that can help. i.e. Calm, Head Space, etc. If you “don’t have the time,” then you are telling me you don’t care about your own peace. And in that instance, we can not help you. Your time is managed by YOU. And if you can’t make the time to take good care of YOU…nobody else will do it for you. But why is any of this important? Why should you even care? “Everything is great in my life!” Right? Perhaps. Or maybe not. But Finding Your Place of Solace is vitally important to your individual cycle of life and pursuit of happiness, joy and peace because it helps to provide balance.

As a child, or for some of us, even as grown ups, can you envision what it feels/felt like to lay in your mother’s arms? To hear her comforting voice. To feel the warmth of her body while she told you everything would be okay? Solace. Peace. Comfort. Or as grown ups, we may find our solace in other things, such as, our comfy beds with lots of pillows and just the right firmness in our mattress. We may find comfort with a bowl of soup or hot cup of tea on a wintry day. We may go to the spa for a massage, a facial a manicure/pedicure and let loose all the issues and challenges we faced that day. Or we may put on our headphones and crank up the loudest heavy metal we can find and that’s where we find our peace. However we choose to pursue our solace, we find our own individual ways of doing so. But for those of you who can’t, don’t or won’t…there is an imbalance that your mind, body and soul are calling for.

Without balance in our lives, everything…everything is off kilter. Without balance, everything is just a little bit harder. But for many of us, this is the life we live and therefore living out of balance becomes our new “normal.” And that’s why when we suggest gaining balance through meditation, stillness, quiet time, people “don’t have time, don’t know how, or simply can’t do it.” Balance becomes foreign to you. And a life of imbalance becomes what’s “real.” But what if you could maintain a certain sense of balance? Then life becomes more steady. Stable. And you are poised to move evenly through life. THAT is the importance of finding solace. It helps keep you on track with what you desire to feel in the midst of what would normally knock you off balance. Solace becomes a ‘rock’ in the middle of a storm. Unmovable. Unphased. Steadfast.

Personally, meditation is my solace. Meditation does not have to be for hours on end at the top of some mountain. Meditation can be as simple as a deliberate interruption in the middle of your day for 2 mins of focused breathing. Simply stop. And breathe deeply for a couple of minutes. Focus on your inhale and exhale. Don’t rush it. Just breathe. And think about your breathing. Immediate solace. Immediate calm. Immediate focus is what happens. This allows you to regroup, to collect yourself, to reevaluate. Now imagine these feelings in the midst of a hectic workday. How valuable would that be? Yet, we often times ignore these possibilities because we are “too busy handling life,” as one of my friends told me. My response to her was, “life is too busy handling YOU.”

When I am in the midst of meditation, I feel comfort. I feel joy. I feel compassion. I feel grounded. I feel strong. I feel centered. I feel relief. I feel the coziness of laying in my mother’s arms as a child. I feel love. And here is the key…the more I practice this during the down times of my day, the more those same feelings project themselves in the midst of and throughout my day! Even when I am not in meditation. And because of this, my entire demeanor, my words, my thoughts, my actions are impacted by what is permeating throughout my spirit. My interactions are calm, leveled, balanced. The same goes for my thoughts and words. Peace becomes the norm. Happiness is genuine. And love abounds throughout it all. Whenever anything comes to disrupt what I have created for myself, it is an easy mental retreat to my soul where peace, balance and steadfastness reside. So I “touch home base” and then respond confidently, unshaken, unmoved and with peace.

Investing in your solace provides an ROI of being even keeled, balanced and solid. You will not be shaken or deterred. Finding your solace is finding your “happy place” as people have joked about. Finding your solace is finding that safe place where your confidence is restored, where clarity is pronounced and where comfort is freely given. Finding your solace is finding your peace of mind in the midst of WHATEVER is happening around you. Retreat to your solace. And emerge with the personal victories you desire.

Take a Journey…

 Why not? Why not take a journey? Because it’s “safer” where we currently stand? Because we’re afraid we may fail along the way? Because we talk ourselves out of it with make-believe stories of “big bad wolves” and villains who will be out to get us? Why not take a journey? The “journey” is why we are here.

I have a friend who blows my mind because she goes on these trips where she dives deep in the oceans, she snow boards in Japan and other exotic places, she seeks high achievement in life in general. I have another friend who organizes city-wide youth sports in Flint, MI. A town that has been in the top 5 list of Murder Capital of America for 10+ years. Where they have contaminated tap water to this day. Where the violence, death and poverty are that of a war-torn 3rd world country. I have another friend who is a wonderful artist and paints murals of homeless people, sells the art and establishes bank accounts with the money to help feed the people he has painted. I have another friend who travels to foreign lands as much as possible. He covets places he’s never seen and therefore decides to visit these places to experience their country. These people are not filthy rich. They are not martyrs. These are everyday working, 9 to 5, regular folk. But they CHOOSE to embrace the journey of their lives. They CHOOSE to break out of the ordinary, the mundane, the routine…to explore what else is actually possible. It’s time. It’s time for you to TAKE A JOURNEY as well.

As we all reflect on 2018 and make our resolutions for 2019, we’d like to offer you a few things to think about. People often say, “life is short.” But then the statement is left right there with agreement from others. “Yeah, life sure is short. Better enjoy it while we can.” And then we go right back to doing what we had been doing the entire time. If life truly is “short” then we owe it to ourselves to LIVE it as if it is that way! So, in the midst of creating New Year’s Resolutions, plan on taking a journey! A journey that is amazing, challenging, beyond your comfort zone, outside of your ‘norm.’ Do SOMETHING different. Something different that aligns with your innermost desires. As Nike says, “Just Do It.” Why not??? Your ‘journey’ doesn’t have to be extravagant or costly. Simply decide to do something outside of what you normally would do. The more we do things that are outside of our comfort zones, the more we actually experience life instead of observing life.

If I set a resolution for 2019 that I will lose weight, the most popular behind going to the gym, I am making a choice to step out of my comfort zone of eating what I want and not working out. Right? Where many people fall short of these goals are the commitment to the process as opposed to being committed to the desire for physical change. If I am committed to my desire for physical change, eating properly and going to the gym are just steps that support my true desire. If I focus my attention on the dread of eating properly and going to the gym, my commitment will falter because I am putting eating right and the gym ahead of my priority which is my desire for physical change.

If your desire is to be great, at ANYTHING, be committed to that desire. The way you go about getting to that greatness will unfold but you need not be overly concerned with the “how” but more so with “why.” The “why” will ground your thoughts, actions and expectations. The “why” provides the direction you need to keep moving forward. Staying committed to the “why” provides motivation when you don’t feel like continuing. My friend who dives and snowboards is not rich. But she has reasons, the “why,” that drives her to be committed to work hard, plan, save money and GO to create a life experience that breaks her out of her comfort zones.

Our innermost desires are like seeds. Seeds that have been planted within us by God’s hand. And just like seeds of the earth, depending on the condition, those seeds can either sprout, take root and grow. Or they can lie dormant and eventually die. But EVERY seed begins with life. And the potential to manifest. Our seeds of desire are meant to sprout and grow. And just as a small acorn can sprout to grow a hundred-foot oak tree, our seeds of desire are meant to grow into abundance just the same. And when that oak tree grows, it also helps provide life, comfort and inspiration to others that revel in it’s majesty. The same goes for the seeds within us. Our seeds of desire are not only for us. They are not solely our own. Our seeds of desire work in unison, in tandem, together with our Universe, our environment, our life experience to touch, influence and inspire others, ALL while creating true satisfaction within our own life experience. Our lives help sustain and inspire other lives. Therefore, it is our duty, to ourselves and to others, to tend to our seeds, to nurture our seeds, to water them to be sure they grow.

So take a journey. Challenge yourself. Do something that aligns with your authentic desires. Decide to go beyond our resolutions and embrace what you truly desire without fear, without angst, and with an expectation of personal growth. Trying new things can be scary. When we stifle ourselves from what life has to truly offer, we are stifling our life experience and extinguishing our inner most desire. Create a routine that supports what you have committed to. And be sure your commitment is in the right place; your authentic desires. After all, “life is short. Better take advantage of it while we can.” And…WHY NOT???

You Don’t Have To Die!

The phrase “Rest in Peace” has been a fixture in American culture since as long as I can remember. Popular on gravestones; Highlighted in obituaries; People have “shouted it out” as a term of endearment regarding their lost loved ones, while pouring out a little liquor on the curbside in remembrance of their lost homie. Even songs have included the acronym- R.I.P. or more commonly used now, R.I.H, meaning rest in heaven, as a way of commemorating the person no longer living.

These three words, so easily said and seemingly innocuous, yet have profound implications.  Of course, there can be no rest without some sort of work or toil being done, or maybe even a struggle. Rest in peace implies that life and living is work, and hard, and that there’s no real peace until your dead.  “May his soul Rest In Peace,” we often hear.   As to say you can’t get any real peace while your living.  What are we suggesting we’re needing peace from and is it necessary to die before you can rest in peace? We don’t think so.  As a matter of fact, we say emphatically- NOT.

Notice how even in what should be our most relaxed and peaceful states, we’re restless. We toss and turn when we sleep.  We sit to meditate, and it feels tortuous at times.  Even when I’m in my yoga practice I often feel in competition and very distracted.  Naps are rare.  Time-outs in sports are filled with retooling for the next move.  Plane flights are often extended opportunities to “catch up” from things left undone and our efforts to rest are replaced with other mind-filling things like watching a movie, reading, and chatting.  When we get in bed there’s the cell phone, the TV, a book, or something.  Poolside at the Bellagio?  There’s definitely no rest- music, laughter, talking, drinking, eating, etc.  And of course, all these things are good relaxation tools.  But what we’re talking about here resting in peace, free from mental movement.

The fact is as it relates to resting, we have many opportunities, albeit some of us more or less than others, but we definitely do have those moments where we can reset.  But usually what happens is, if you’re like me, you’re busying yourself while you could be resting, even mentally I’m very busy.  And this becomes habitual, to the point where you’re never ever really resting until you go to sleep and even then, it’s sometimes a restless sleep of tossing and turning, and not one of peace.

Just imagine how much better we would all perform and how much more value we could add to our lives and the lives of others, if when we rested, we really rested?  The parent would be much more patient with the child, the lover would be much more compassionate to the loved one, humanity would be much more honorable to one another, with increased abilities to see each other beyond what we’re presenting to one another in our misbehaviors.

There is simply nothing that works better than deliberate intention.

The bottom line is, if you want a more peaceful life, we have to find the discipline it takes to be still, get quiet, and rest in peace (while you’re still breathing lol). Matter of fact, concerted efforts to breathe deeply significantly calm the nervous system in ways proven that nothing else compares.  Our desire for peace must supersede our desire to get it done.  And the irony is the more you deliberately rest in peace, the more focused you are, the more aware you become, and the more productive you are.  You can get more done in much less time because you are mentally clearer.   And the other byproduct is, all the things you been asking for, you now are more of a vibrational match than you were before.  The things you want can now come to you quicker because there’s less resistance.  When you deliberately rest in peace you are now in direct alignment with you inner-being.  You now share the same space as your higher self.  And in this space is where the “miracles” take place.  Because you’re offering little to no resistance, you and the Creator become one.

To rest in peace takes practice, but just as it is with anything else that you do long enough, it becomes a habit.  If you truly want a life of peace, there has to be an intention that involves making the effort to carve out specific times of the day where your deliberate intention is to be mindfully quiet and calm.  You can call it meditation, a timeout, or just chilling.  But in order for it to work, it has to be deliberate and consistent, and we promise you, you will see results.  And over time you see tremendous results.

So, don’t wait until your dead.  Rest In Peace while you LIVE in Peace NOW!

 

 

 

 

 

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