Healing From Within – Forgiving as a Path to Your Freedom
Host: Sheryl Glick R.M.T.
Special Guest: Joan Gattuso
In today’s episode of Healing From Within, your host Sheryl Glick author of The Living Spirit which shares answers for healing and infinite love as we explore spiritual awakenings, spiritual communication, miracles and intuitive ways to understand energetic life force, welcomes Joan Gattuso author of The Power of Forgiveness which offers tools to help you move past pain and disappointment trauma or betrayal into an inspired life of goodness health and happiness. Joan is a Unity Minister who has served in Cleveland for over 30 years and now resides with her husband in beautiful Hawaii.
Joan has an endorsement for her book from James Redfield author of the Celestine Prophecy and Sheryl fondly remembered that many years ago, a friend told her everyone was reading that book so she picked it up and for Sheryl that was the beginning of her inquiry into metaphysical studies to further understand energy and the forces of Universal life. New perspectives values and awareness of what life was really about and who we really are were delivered to her spiritually through the process of self- development and self-mastery of emotions.
Joan suggests in her book that the majority of people compartmentalize their lives into separate boxes: God and spirituality, family home possessions responsibilities career goals recreation travel education future happiness…In this attempt to separate one aspect of life from another we become isolated and confused and this affects relationships from growing into acceptance and appreciation for ourselves and others, so we never truly catch the brass ring. What we must do is tap into that God Energy through our own consciousness and bring it into every aspect of our lives and relationships…1 God as Source enters 2 Your consciousness which then results in 3 Your present manifestation of Good.
Sheryl goes on to share with Joan the way she often has many spiritual coincidences with her guests continually showing that we are United and One. In The Power of Forgiveness there are many connections to the names of the people you talk about and to my life…… The first begins with your mention of a “Sheryl” in your book spelled as I spell my name with an S which is not the common spelling of that name…then a “Gregg” my son’s name, an Andy which was the name of the character my daughter played on “Search for Tomorrow,” a soap opera she appeared on many years ago…Reverend Richard Levy was also mentioned. “Levy” was my maiden name, and I had a cousin Richard Levy who passed at a young age. Our husbands are both David and we have no nicknames for them, only use their full name David . Sheryl believes as she wrote in her first book Life Is No Coincidence we are brought to the people and situations that will most delight and serve us in finding one of the greatest healing elements…forgiveness and love.
Consciously choosing to love even in the midst of great loss and injustice sets an example and often leads to positive results. “An example Joan shares is Thich Quang Duc a Vietnamese Buddhist monk who saw his people being slaughtered while the leaders of both sides appeared to be asleep to the horror unfolding. Thich wished to help and finally after much reflection decided to write to government leaders on all sides and to the Christian and Buddhist monasteries and also to the President Ngo Dinh Diem to implement religious equality. His story and motivation were similar to challenges met by Mahatma Gandhi who practiced forgiveness and peaceful extremes to embrace a larger story than individual personalities. Seeing the enemy now as friend even brother or sister is forgiveness in action”Their acts were not of the ego rather of the heart to do whatever necessary to transform the hatred in all its manifestations prevalent to the era they lived in.
Joan goes on to tell a personal story where she officiated at a funeral and when she was not paid called the family and they hung up on her…She was so upset not because of the caring and time given but for the rude action of hanging up. It is often hard to understand why people are so insensitive and forget the age old adage “Treat your neighbor as you wish to be treated.”
To find a way to deal with this hurtful situation Joan began to: First meditate on the current upset. It became clear to her that she should write a letter to the woman who hung up. Of course she never sent the letter but did burn the letter, let go of the hurt and found her anger dissipated and peace had returned to her. Joan said, “ The sisters never paid me, but God certainly has.”
Through forgiveness you can think clearly once again and remember who and what you are. Forgiveness acknowledges your holiness, your magnitude, your oneness with God. If it is liberation you seek forgiveness liberates your soul so you can find peace. When we forgive we remember who we are. When we hold on to grievances we forget!!…If people could understand the power they possess and the power of their thoughts for creating their best results, they could change their lives for the better. The great philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson said that we become what we think about all day long.
The simple grand truth is, “You are a spiritual being living in a spiritual world governed by Spiritual Law.” You have free will and your choice is to either turn to the light or turn towards the constant confusion of the ego which always instructs you to hold on to grievances rather than find forgiveness. “When we hold on to a grievance about another person, we will always see ourselves and the other as separate. Separation is a perception not a reality. Perception keeps us engaged in a constant process of evaluation good/bad, more/less, desirable/undesirable an ongoing round of accepting and rejecting. Everything is always changing so perceptions are based on false evidence. Think of perceptions as a cosmic game of smoke and mirrors All may look a certain way but is it really…Beyond perceptions lies knowledge but we can only achieve knowledge when we have released all our perceptions…and this is no easy task.”
Joan tells the story of Amy, a gifted musician who was raised by parents who physically abused her and who she had distanced herself from for decades though she sent holiday cards and invited them to significant occasions in her life…When her sister let her know her father had Alzheimer’s disease she made plans to travel across the country to see her parents. She brought healing to her parents as they sat together and she sang to them and the blocks and fears of her childhood were released. Her mother apologized for all the pain they had caused…Amy forgave them not because they deserved to be forgiven but because she deserved to live free from the trauma of her past…through her years of forgiveness work she prepared herself for her own enlightenment. This story shows us that forgiveness may take years and continuous effort to achieve but in the end the work and the benefits are too many to even describe.
Sheryl says “Perhaps forgiveness is also about discovering life is not one sided, not our own perceptions for seeing a right view of life, but realizing life is a two sided proposition and there are equal amounts of positive and negative thoughts in everyone. Rather than simply forgive perhaps we need to thank people for showing us how to observe actions some of which hurt us so we may learn to accept allow and surrender to life without judgment and blame. We can say thank you to those that have given us challenging experiences in our life In Sheryl’s book The Living Spirit in reference to these thoughts she wrote, “ Spiritual evolution requires us to let go of past disappointments and reopen our hearts and minds to the truth of who we are. We must accept ourselves with all our talents and limitations, and then recognize what people or events can assist us in getting past any restriction. In other words who or what is it that will make your heart sing.”
Joan wrote… “Here is a startling news flash for some: The unforgiving thoughts, the resentful thoughts, the pile of grievance you line up against another person do nothing to hurt that individual. Your unwillingness to forgive is not doing any harm to that person. But it is certainly harming you. Your grievances are blocking your future happiness, your future good. And we need to forgive others in order to be free.” Joan also wrote…. “When you remember that forgiveness is the gift we give ourselves and the refusal to be the victim or controlled by another, we find a quiet heart, peace of mind freedom from anxiety, a calm countenance, a healthy body, joy in your heart. Why do people insist on holding on to the pain? Perhaps because it is familiar; perhaps because it is a habit: perhaps the person has yet to consider there would be a way out…..No matter what the circumstances or events there is always a way out.”
Joan has been fortunate to meet His Holiness the Dalai Lama who had to face the overthrow of his nation of Tibet high in the Himalayas, a deeply spiritual peaceful and feudal land. The Chinese army of Mao invaded and began the systematic dismantling of their culture language customs and their homeland. Now more than six decades after the invasion, the Dalai Lama is at peace with the suppression of his people. He doesn’t in any way agree with it but when he recounts the years of anguish and suffering he becomes philosophical and says any hatred of the Chinese Communists would only pollute his own soul. This realization was a process for him. This holy man holds no animosity in his heart despite the terrible acts visited on his people.
Remember you don’t do forgiveness work to change the other person. Most likely that will never happen. You engage in these practices to change you. Now think about a situation in your life that requires the healing power of forgiveness toward someone you feel has harmed you.
ASK YOUR SELF:
What would His Holiness the Dali Lama do?
What would a spiritual teacher do?
What would a holy person do?
What would a spiritually awake person do?
What would you do?
Spiritually we are reminded that our minds are one with God’s. That part of our mind can never be defiled no matter what the traumas trials or tribulations of life With much practice and a high degree of openness and much practice we may discover that part of our mind the part that has never been defiled or left it’s home in God. In realizing that truth we can find a way to forgive and in forgiving we can touch that place of truth.
For dealing with a difficult individual Joan offers further tools that a Spiritually Mature Person would use:
Always have at least one other person present during any less-than pleasant interaction.
Agree with the adversary quickly, as Jesus taught.
Not take anything personally.
Turn the other cheek.
Not gossip about the person or situation
Practice having a generous spirit
Practice forgiving until you can succeed with all of the above.
Another situation many people face where they may find the need to forgive may happen even while surrounded by a supportive spiritual family when one member loses a partner and finds there is a huge void. It often becomes necessary to do forgiveness work. Though you loved them, you may now be left with children to raise bills to pay and loneliness to deal with. Forgiving your friend parent teacher or spouse for leaving and forgiving yourself for the struggle you have had in letting go is an opportunity for you to go on to the next level of your soul’s journey.
We have discovered once again that the freedom to live and love in harmony and peace resides within your budding or awakening soul and remembering the alignment to all that is effective for your continuous growth and prosperity and that this has been with you since the beginning of your life.
As Joan reminds us and wrote “Working with our divine helpers needs our attention for a lifetime. Unless we have attained complete spiritual enlightenment we will still have grievances against others. When we hold a grievance against another person we have forgotten who we are. In such a situation we play small, and in our role of playacting we take on the role of a victim…..Holding a grievance splits us from our divine self, from our compassion, from our holiness. As difficult as it may seem to be in some situations, forgiveness always has a place in our minds. But if we are to know peace and our troubled mind is to find rest and remember who we are, forgiveness is essential.”
Joan and Sheryl would have you remember that life is not happening to us but for us always in the right way and right time so we may become the best version of ourselves and along the line learn to laugh and chuckle and appreciate each happening and person in our life for the opportunity they afford us to learn the truth about ourselves and to continue to grow and learn greater compassion and love.