Revisit: Thank you Mr. Mandela, for Teaching the Cycle of Forgiveness

I originally wrote this blog post following Nelson Mandela’s death in December 2013 and I needed a refresher on the subject of forgiveness and resentment. This post deals with forgiveness in love relationships, but it really speaks to all situations that is calling for  forgiveness and letting go of resentment. My 2015 self made some edits to my 2013 post :-).

Image courtesy of "Lonely Tree" by Evgeni Dinev, from http://www.freedigitalphotos.net

Image courtesy of “Lonely Tree” by Evgeni Dinev, from http://www.freedigitalphotos.net

“As I walked out the door toward my freedom I knew that if I did not leave all the anger, hatred and bitterness behind, that I would still be in prison.”

“Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.”

-Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela passed away today, at the age of 95. Nelson Mandela’s life – long, fruitful, inspirational, fraught with pain and struggle, triumph and victory – is something we all should aspire to be. I thank him for all the teaching moments his life brought to my life and his spirit and legacy lives on forever.

Below is a question posed to me on the subject of forgiveness and my response:

Q. Can you share your thoughts about forgiveness? I’ve always heard how people chose to forgive someone who hurt them deeply in one way or another in order to help them move on. What does that mean and how do you accomplish it?

Letting go. Time truly heals many wounds but in the meantime, how can one work on letting go of a situation? Is it best to force yourself to not think about it, i.e. whenever the thought crosses your mind, change the subject so to speak? Or do you try to keep busy and occupy yourself so as to distract you?

How does one remain hopeful of love and marriage? Is there really truly somebody for everybody?

A. Forgiveness. Such a heavy proposition, isn’t it? Why should we have to forgive those who trespass us?

It’s just as much about you as it is the person whose being forgiven, if not more about you. Not forgiving holds us back, dims and dulls our life’s experiences, and drags us down.

Nelson Mandela’s first quote above is not talking about the brick and mortar prison he sat in for 27 years for anti-Apartheid activities. He’s talking about the prison of our minds – the bondage of holding in resentment. His quote can help us better understand the notion of forgiveness in relationships and how it is necessary for moving on to bigger and better love. If we cannot let go of the pain, bitterness, anger, and resentment, then we will never fully move into the present of the here and now. The here and now is freedom to love.

Resentment comes from a misunderstanding many of us have about a situation or person. We believe they have wronged us and we come to hate a person. Remember that you called this person into your life, or at the very least allowed that person to enter your sphere. Think about the reasons why they were in your life. Acknowledge and appreciate their good qualities you loved about them. And, thank God for showing you the qualities in them that you could very much live without. It is especially the parts of a person that hurt you that has the most to offer you – the relationship is gone and over, but you now learned a little more about yourself in terms of what you want and don’t want in a relationship.

Nelson Mandela had several loves in his life, including three wives. Each of those wives, he loved deeply and considered them partners and soul mates. Two of the three marriages ended in divorce. Winnie Mandela allegedly cheated on Mr. Mandela and was emotionally neglectful to him– yet, he found love again at the age of 77, and died a happily married man at the age of 95. I read that in divorce court, Nelson Mandela smiled at his soon to be former wife, Winnie, but she turned away. He was sorrowful and humbled during the divorce proceedings and he spoke of his love and appreciation for his wife. He knew there was no hope for their relationship, but he chose to not be mired in pain and resentment towards his ex-wife.

Mr. Mandela’s story tells us that soul mates can come in many different forms and times in our lives. There are some loves in your life greater than others because of the chemistry or attachment you have to a person. As many times as you believe your soul mate is out there, is as many times your soul mate is forming and finding their way to you. Many people have great loves in their lives, not just one.

Allow yourself a little time to mourn the demise of a relationship, but write a reminder somewhere you can refer to that says when you’re ready and open, love is available to you. Dwelling in sadness only delays the recovery and the rediscovery of yourself in this life and of future loves to come. Don’t let unforgiveness of the person you once was in a relationship with slow down your momentum to a loving state of being with yourself, someone new, and old connections.

If you’ve ever tried to not think about something, then you likely know that it is almost impossible not to think about that very thing you’re trying to avoid thinking about. Deal with the feelings early and head on. Wallow, watch bad romantic comedies, cry, talk it out with friends and write in a journal. When you spend a little time mourning, remember there is a season for sadness and there is a season for moving. Take a trip, pick up a new hobby, or set up a regular volunteer activity to help move you into your new season of life and love. Don’t ignore your feelings, but don’t let them rule you or your life. Give yourself a break and have fun! Dating and making new friends is an adventure – the hunt for the love(s) of your life should be a good time, with a little contrast here and there. Isn’t that why we signed up for this thing called love and life anyway?

Finally, BE forgiveness. One of the qualities we want in our mates is the ability to forgive and humility. If those are qualities you want in others, make sure it’s something you have inside yourself as well. As a matter of fact, any trait you’d like to see in your partner, bring that energy into your own being right here, right now. BE the forgiveness. Appreciate – even if all you can think of is the negative in a person or situation. The negativity or adversity is only clarifying what it is you really want in your life, so have compassion for yourself and that person. Bless yourself and the other person by praying for you and them to be love and peace.

In relationships, there will be transgressions, arguments, and disagreements. A person who can quickly regroup and forgive is one that will succeed in life and love.

The cycle of forgiveness is necessary to keep mankind in love and in check. The moment you truly forgive, is the moment you are free from the prison of resentment. Forgiveness sets us all free, both the forgiven and the forgiving. The moment each of us wholeheartedly takes part in this beautiful cycle, the moment love blooms and dwells freely inside all of us.

~Your Curator of All Things Inspirational, Kimberly Jo Cooley

Freedom Consciousness: Part Six – Freedom to Choose a New Thought

In looking at the above picture, we could choose to see a lonely, desolate place for a church. Some would choose not to drive on that tiny, dirt road. Others may see a beautiful place to get away, finding this lone church a sanctuary. It all comes down to choice. How are you going to choose to feel in the moment before the drive up?

Let’s look at some potentially stressful life experiences and see what your first reaction would be and then what could we choose to feel about that situation.

  1. I got passed over for yet another promotion! Why are my talents and abilities always overlooked?
  2. I ran up my credit cards again, and this time, I don’t see a way out of paying them off.
  3. I almost wished I hadn’t gone to college. I’ve racked up this student loan debt and can’t find nothing but menial jobs that barely covers my living expenses.
  4. I wished I went to college, maybe I would have had a better job than the one I have now.
  5. I think my husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend is cheating on me. Now what?
  6. My kids are growing up and don’t need me as much. Where does that leave me?
  7. I can never seem to make enough to make ends meet. I have a “good” job, but I’m not making enough to cover all my expenses.
  8. My parents/friends/lovers are considering a move to a faraway place. Where does that leave me?
  9. There’s so much violence, conflict and suffering in the world. What am I supposed to do about it? How can I pursue happiness when others are suffering?
  10. I was just diagnosed with _________, now what?

What’s your first reaction to each of the above scenarios? Look at them again with a new perspective. What is an alternative, uplifting alternative feeling/expression you could choose to feel in each situation?

How you traverse the mountains of change reveals how you cope with situations that move you out of your comfort zone. Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • When you reflect on your past choices and paths traveled, what is your self talk saying about you after you’ve made those choices? Do you feel like you had choices in the matters that concerned you? If not, who held the power of choice in your life? Did that perceived power shift take anything away from your ability to choose?

There is no right or wrong answer – it’s just important to take a look at your choice styles. Let’s pick a few of the above situations and see if we can choose to see the blessing in each of them.

Situation #1: The persistent promotion passover on face value appears like it’s the worst career situation to find yourself in. One could resign themselves to feeling unwanted and unsupported, which in turn generates behaviors in yourself and those around you that may result in undesirable changes, such as being fired. The other choice you have is choose to say, “The Universe recognizes the last position I tried to promote to may not be exactly what I want or need. God knows my true desire. And, whoever receives this promotion will have to work long hours to get the work done versus my comfortable forty hour work week. My life right as it is now cannot support a sixty hour work week – I have a new baby who requires more of me than I am able to give to a demanding career right now. I love my baby and the balance I have right now is what works for me. I wanted my family more than I ever wanted this job. God will show me the best position when it’s time and I’m ready to receive it.” See how a perception change can transform a situation right before your eyes? And, that same paradigm shift is what it will take to bring forth that dream job you want – not the ego driven dream job that really fits someone else’s life. The ego driven job search rarely produces jobs aligned to who we are and what we like to do.

Situation #2: The I am in over my head with debt scenario. You could choose to feel defeated, ashamed you can’t better manage your debt or spending, and you begin to stress over how you can barely pay the minimum payments. Another choice is to first forgive and have compassion for yourself for being in debt. Recognize you made choices to incur the debt, so now it’s time to reclaim your power to bring balance in your life. Perhaps you’ve decided to take on each credit card and negotiate what’s owed to them. Or, you could consider bankruptcy to start anew. Or, you could elect to get a second job for the sole purpose of paying bills. You could create a budget. There are so many divinely led steps you could take, instead of choosing to remain in fear or denial.

Situation #3: My partner, the cheater. One can lose a bit of their self-worth with scenarios such as this one. Instead of blaming yourself or the other person, accept that it happened and thankful God revealed to you what’s going on. Sometimes, we just can’t see the subtle, low vibrational changes occurring in our relationships. Cheating is the symptom of a bigger issue in the relationship. Instead of spending too much time in grief, anger and sadness, find the blessing in that pain. “Now I know – and I had a feeling all along. I have to exercise more trust in my own intuition, but it’s okay that I did not find out until today. I can now make a choice on whether this relationship is worth saving or if it’s not. I got to this point of looking at my relationship, so I need to know why it took me this long to see the signs. At least it’s not five years later and now I can make some real life decisions with this new information.”

Any of the above ten situations could have bounds of blessings in them, if only we choose to see them. Some things that happen, at face value, look dismal – but a new perspective is what will transcend you to the next level of manifesting. You have the freedom to choose! Choose a higher vibrational rung to grasp each time, and you will be on your way to a truly abundant life.

~Your Curator of All Things Inspirational, Kimberly Jo Cooley

14 Things to Start Doing for Yourself

I love a list and this list on Whatcherlsaid’s blog has wonderful reminders and new information on how we can live our best, most fulfilling lives right now. Enjoy!

whatcherylsaid...

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Start spending time with the right people. – These are the people you enjoy, who love and appreciate you, and who encourage you to improve in healthy and exciting ways. They are the ones who make you feel more alive, and not only embrace who you are now, but also embrace and embody who you want to be, unconditionally.

Start making your own happiness a priority. – Your needs matter. If you don’t value yourself, look out for yourself, and stick up for yourself, you’re sabotaging yourself. Remember, it IS possible to take care of your own needs while simultaneously caring for those around you. And once your needs are met, you will likely be far more capable of helping those who need you most.

Start being yourself, genuinely and proudly. – Trying to be anyone else is a waste of the person you are. Be yourself. Embrace that individual…

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Blog Series: Freedom Consciousness

Abundant Life Initiative’s next blog series explores freedom consciousness. We will explore the following:

  1. Freedom in your spirit
  2. Freedom in your affairs
  3. Financial freedom
  4. Freedom to dream big
  5. Freedom to be who you want to be
  6. Freedom to choose

So many of us know and experience the physical form of freedom, but are we toting that same freedom consciousness in other areas of our lives?

  1. The first installment is Freedom in your spirit. What does it mean to be spiritually free? We will explore how many of our old belief systems adopted from our teachers and parents’ own spiritual interpretations shaped what we believed. Do these old beliefs still serve you, or are they limiting and minimizing who you are as an evolved person? Some beliefs may still work, while others may need to be let go. In this post, we will explore how religion and limiting beliefs shape and many times hinder a person’s spiritual growth instead of evolving or enhancing it.
  2. The second post discusses freedom in your affairs. Your affairs include your personal and professional experiences. Are you enjoying your job and where you work? If not, why? What about your personal relationships and experiences in your everyday life? Let’s explore what makes you feel more restricted and less free in your business and personal matters. What will it take for you to feel a little more free each day?
  3. The third blog installment discusses financial freedom. Some people seem to have it all and never have to worry about money. There are those who do not have a lot of money and express how rich they are anyway. Then there are those with or without money that bemoan what little they have. Abundance is more than just money in the bank, it is maximizing on what you do have, while making spiritual and physical room to receive more from the Universe. The best part of the abundance cycle? Sharing what you have with others! We will explore different ways to look at your situation so you can become more grateful for the financial freedom and abundance you do have.
  4. The fourth blog post explores freedom to dream big. Dream big, but take measured, action steps to get to what you want. Dreaming big, then bigger, then biggest prepares you to receive more. Often people are too afraid to dream big, for fear of getting let down. Are you constantly dreaming too small or becoming too narrow in your search for what you want to manifest, limiting the Universe to give you bigger and better? Lets find ways for you to begin to dream big and dream often.
  5. The fifth installment discusses freedom to be you in any and everything you do or encounter. Do you find yourself changing your tone and personality from person to person, and then losing your own voice in the process? What is it about you that makes you run away from becoming the person you truly want to be? Knowing your worth allows you to stay true to yourself and your values. We’ll explore how to always be your authentic self and why it’s good for manifesting.
  6. Finally, the sixth installment deals with the freedom to choose. Choice and free will is God’s gift to mankind. My people, we can choose! Now, it is time to learn how to practice this freedom and to rely on your intuition to always guide you to where you want to go and where you need to be.

I will include blogs and Podcast recommendations to further deepen our understanding of ways to incorporate more freedom in every area of our lives. I love hearing from my readers, so please share your thoughts on the upcoming freedom blog posts or suggest other topics we can discuss in the future.

~Your Curator of All Things Uplifting, Kimberly Jo Cooley

Asleep and now Awake at the Wheel

Image courtesy of nuttakit, published on 09 October 2010 Stock Photo - image ID: 10021536, from http://www.freedigitalphotos.net

Image courtesy of nuttakit, published on 09 October 2010 Stock Photo – image ID: 10021536, from http://www.freedigitalphotos.net

Sunday, April 27, 2014 – Value: Family time and Keeping It Simple

Roads change, people change. We have to be awake and aware of where we’re going. If we’re not careful, we can be on course to an undesirable exit, a bump in the road or a collision. To stay on the highway of life, we have to flow in the right lanes and be awake and aware so we can adjust the speed and lane we’re traveling in accordingly.

I was driving down a once familiar road and realized at the last moment, it had changed. The exit that was once on the right was now on the left. I remained calm and became aware of where I was and where I needed to go.

I realized I had been asleep behind the wheel of life for a little while. I was distracted and complacent, despite my desires still percolating in my soul, needing me to rise up and merge into a faster moving lane. It is in the moments of near rear end collisions that we realize it’s time to adjust speeds and change lanes, so we can get to a place of cruise control, even better, control the speeds we want to travel in this life. That is also when we become conscious again and drive with eyes wide open, the same goes for how we move in this life.

Yesterday, I focused on all of the limiting beliefs and things I haven’t done. I haven’t meditated in a long time. I haven’t looked at my vision board in awhile. I haven’t focused on my values and desires. I’ve been spending money without really being dialed into my finances and values. But, that was yesterday.

The road can be wrought with ruts and new twist and turns, (some I saw coming, others that surprised me), but with awareness, I can take evasive action and keep on riding, through the bumps and all.

Today is a new day. I am grateful for yesterday’s sleep and today’s awareness. Today, I’m awake and present in the moment. Today, I have reclaimed my power.

~Your Curator of all Things Inspirational, Kimberly Jo Cooley

The New Dealing with The Old

Image courtesy of dexchao, published on 22 August 2013 Stock Photo - image ID: 100196169, from http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/

Image courtesy of dexchao, published on 22 August 2013 Stock Photo – image ID: 100196169, from http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/

Saturday, April 26, 2014, Value: Keeping It Simple

I cried today. A blubbering, slobbering, and insides raw cry. My husband’s college friend died of a heroin overdose – we thought he was only into pills and had no idea how depressed he really was. April 26th was my husband’s birthday and he was flying out for a funeral. My sixteen year old wants to move four hundred miles away with his vagabond father (can you tell he’s my ex?) and I was dealing with some old feelings in my new self.

I cried because my New Me was dealing with some Old Me stuff. I wanted to veg out to reality TV or go on a shopping spree.

On the way home from dropping off my husband at the airport for his friend’s funeral, I went north on Interstate 5, when I should have gone south. I had to travel miles before I could exit the freeway to turn around. I got lost, and wound up on my way to Redding, when all I wanted was to go home to Sacramento. The New Me didn’t panic, but the Old Me wanted to hurry up and get back on the right track. It felt like forever before I got to an exit to turn around. Much like my careless spending and my excessive television watching – lost, but now I am found, and now I am turning around.

The family (myself included, kicking and screaming) made a decision to cancel the cable subscription. We’d been toying with the idea for a while, as we wanted to have more time for family and my writing. Now, it was a matter of necessity. I am a self-proclaimed television addict. My particular drug of choice is reality shows and investigative murder mysteries. Now, the new life, with the pain of change – was in full effect.

I wrote a list of bills and realized that cutting cable made sense. Some other benefits to eliminating cable was extra time for meditating, reflection, family bonding, getting physically fit, writing and homemaking. Eliminating cable is supporting all of my values. So, when I look at it like that, it’s not so bad after all. I also can pay off my other bills faster by eliminating the huge, monthly three digit cable bill.

I looked at why I kept going through the cycles of paying things completely off and then racking up debt. I also looked at why the Old and New Me liked to watch so much television. I realized these vices were my Old Me’s security blankets. When things went awry in my life, I resorted to shopping and television. There was a void that these two old friends temporarily filled. Now, I found the old vices ill-fitting and not mine to have anymore.

I know from all my spiritual studies that in order to lay down new tracks in life, I have to build over the old ones. I have to be brave and face what I’ve created. Much of what has manifested today is from my yesteryear’s lack mentality and lack of understanding the spiritual being that I am. Now, the New Me knows how to handle  the Old Me. This time with compassion, forgiveness and a new way of being.

I haven’t called the cable company – yet. When I do, my focus will be on all that I will gain from letting go of the lessor as I make room for the greater.

~Your Curator of all things Inspirational, Kimberly Jo Cooley