Awakening Goddess: Empowering the Goddess Within

As above, so below, as within, so without - every thing that we desire, and every thing that we fear, exists within us. This blog explores nourishing our dreams, committing to our highest values, and healing ourselves from the inside out: awakening and empowering the Goddess within our bodies, hearts, and lives.

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The Power to Forgive

I had so many things to be angry about.  So many people had wronged me, from my biological father who molested me, to my beloved grandmother who’d bailed him out of jail and brought him home to live with me after he shot my mother in the head, to my mother who taught me that I was worthless and unlovable, to the so-called friends who had used and betrayed me over and over.

They wronged me.  They hurt me.  They deserved to suffer for what they did to me.  How could I possibly forgive them, especially if they were not even pretending to be sorry?

Worse – what if I did deserve to suffer?  What if it was really all my fault?  The anger I felt toward myself morphed back and forth between guilt and horror at the things I’d done and an outraged sense of powerlessness.

The anger twisted my stomach.  It hurt deeply, everywhere.  It made me tense, gave me headaches, an ulcer, sore shoulders and a stiff jaw from clenched teeth.  I knew it was hurting me, and not hurting the people with whom I was angry.  I wanted to forgive, and I started to ask for help.

Some people advised me to let it go.  How the fudge was I supposed to do that, exactly?

Other people advised I turn to Christianity, or Buddhism, or seek counseling.  None of those options worked for me.

One friend, who had once worked as a social worker with troubled teens, recommended I read You Can Heal Your Life, by Louise Hay.  I did.  The book claimed I could change my life by changing what I thought.  It seemed like crap to me at the time.

A year later, I hit rock bottom.  Homeless and desperate, I had only one thing left to lose – the most important thing in my life, the only thing that I loved unconditionally and that I believed love me the same: my 18 month old son.

He did not deserve anything I was putting him through.  He deserved a loving, healthy mother.  So for him, I was finally ready to try things I’d only read about before.

I read You Can Heal Your Life again, and I started practicing affirmations.  I started the companion workbook, which has been reprinted as Love Yourself, Heal Your Life Workbook.  I copied down a whole page of affirmations, every affirmation I could apply to myself, and I sang them to myself every morning upon waking, every evening before bed, and several times in the middle of the day.

I used the affirmations and my will to change my beliefs, starting with the most important one: I convinced myself that I could, in fact, heal my life.

I looked for evidence in my life and observations that supported every belief and affirmation that Louise Hay spouted in her quintessential book, and one by one my beliefs changed.  And so did my life.

Within a month of doing that workbook, doing those affirmations, consciously changing my beliefs, thoughts, and perspective on how the world worked, a loving, wonderful woman opened her home to us, giving me the space to heal.  Within six months, I realized the depression that had ruined the first three decades of my life was completely gone. 

In those 6 months, I finished my MFA degree in Creative Writing, published my first book, and found an entire community of lovingly accepting people who supported and encouraged me.  My dreams were coming true left and right.  I became the featured reader at a local spiritual store, a headliner at the Florida Pagan Gathering, an organizer of psychic development and creative writing retreats.  I started making a living doing what I loved.  I did not make much at first, but it got me started – and three years later I was able to almost entirely support my family doing what I love!

The most powerful affirmation from that book, the one that kept coming up in healing classes I took and taught, was the one that taught me how to forgive.  “I forgive you for not being the person I needed you to be, and I set you free.”

There were many other forgiveness affirmations that led up to that one.  In order for me to forgive, I first had to find my compassion.  I had to see that the people who had wronged me had been wronged themselves.  They were doing what they had learned to do, because others had done the same to them. 

My parents abused me because they were messed up people who had been abused themselves.  My friends used and betrayed me because they were messed up people who had been used and betrayed themselves.

 I was a messed up person who had been, used, abused, and betrayed, and I had done the best I could with what I had – and most importantly, now that I had the tools to heal my life, I could do better.

I forgave them from not being who I needed them to be, and I set them free – I set myself free –  from the bonds I’d created between us with my anger and hurt. 

Before I learned how to forgive, I gave people the power to hurt and anger me.  Once I learned to forgive, I took my power back.  I made how I felt my responsibility.  I gave myself the power to feel better no matter what anyone else said or did.

It took practice.  I had to forgive the same people over and over, on different levels, for different offenses.  I had to forgive myself over and over.  Every time I went through the process, I felt lighter, stronger, and happier.  Sometimes I needed to go through the process several times a day.  Other times I could go months without getting angry.  Someday I’ll be able to say years.

 

If you are ready to change, if you are ready to take your power back, I highly recommend you get You Can Heal Your Life or either version of the workbook, or find another tool that you can use to change your thoughts and change your life.

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Ashley Rae published her first book, a memoir, in 2012, and has been a professional psychic, healer, and teacher since 2003. Ashley's goal in life is to help you empower the divine spark within yourself so that you can love yourself freely, make your life awesome, and make this world a more beautiful, compassionate place. Visit her website to check out her other blog, find out her schedule, book an appointment and register for her classes.

Comments

  • Jason Leslie Rogers
    Jason Leslie Rogers Sunday, 24 August 2014

    Hi, Ashley.
    Thank you for writing with both skill and vulnerability about the power of forgiveness. This is something that needs to be talked about in our community, because the majority of the witches and pagans I know came from homes and/or religious backgrounds in which they were mistreated or abused and in which they were taught anti-social behaviors such as bigotry, judgmentalism, and intolerance.
    I recently found a lot of encouragement and help with learning how to forgive, and the good that comes from it, by reading a novel: The Memory Garden, by Mary Rickert. I learned that forgiveness "is a choice you make when you say to yourself, 'In this moment, I leave that hurt behind me, and though it may call my name from the ground onto which I let it fall, I will keep walking away, not looking back, until those memories have lost all of their substance. Because I love myself too much, I choose to be free.'” (from my review here)
    I wish you well on your continuing path of forgiveness. May Joy and Wonder walk beside you daily.
    Jason

  • Jason Leslie Rogers
    Jason Leslie Rogers Sunday, 24 August 2014

    *From my review here: http://wp.me/p2lGy6-3a

  • Ashley Rae
    Ashley Rae Monday, 25 August 2014

    Thank you, Jason! I will have to check out that book.
    ((HUGS))
    Ashley Rae

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