40 Days of Forgiveness – What Can Be Learned?

Everyone knows you need to forgive, that it sets you free, and that you can’t be at peace until you have forgiven. We often see the results of someone that lacks forgiveness when something hits a nerve. The person suddenly turns into an angry and animated stranger within seconds.

The cost of not forgiving is steep. It is unhealthy emotionally. It helps fuel the bitterness and anger that is part of the root of many diseases and other physical conditions. The smartest thing we can do is to learn to forgive, not for the sake of the other person but for ourselves. Until we forgive, we are still chained to that person or event, frozen in time so to speak. No matter how much we believe we have buried something, it is still likely to come back, maybe even on an innocent person.

Armed with this knowledge, an article on brainwave technology appeared. The premise is that recordings at certain frequencies will bring your brain to the theta state, or the same state monks reach in meditation of years of practice. Interestingly, this state is ideal for reprogramming and new learning. Imagine my surprise when the system had a $700 price tag. The good news, as fate would have it, is I found a free sample on what else but forgiveness.

Armed with my new thirty-minute long MP3 download that included the latest in brainwave technology, I was ready to take on the holy grail of forgiveness. It sounded easy, after all, I had already forgiven everyone. It was only an exercise to be sure nothing was missed. I randomly decided on forty days with no less than 30 minutes per day, much of it during walks or while exercising, or before sleep in bed.

The frequencies were enjoyable. They were relaxing and could induce a lightheaded state. The positive forgiveness affirmations were simple and become predictable. Below are the observations and conclusions from the experience.

  • • It is easier to spot the lack of forgiveness in others now. It is much easier to see their past issues coming into the present situation.

    • I am more aware of when I am not in a forgiving or accepting state, yet still get to that state despite the awareness of it.

    • People often forget that forgiveness is not just for the past but that is also very important for the present moment. We seem trained to look at the past to forgive, but that is only half of it – it needs to be done in the present moment. Doing so can save considerable grief and angst.

    • Since we must forgive in the present moment, forgiveness includes acceptance; acceptance of others, or in other words, forgiving them for being different, the way they are, or how they think. It includes acceptance of situations and things we cannot control and are perhaps wiser not trying to control.

    • It is easy to forgive people from a distance. Yet what is easy at a distance becomes quite difficult to do face to face. Old habits of anger toward certain persons still creep up no matter how much you believe you have forgiven.

    • Most people not aware of their hidden resentments or childhood programming regarding forgiveness. They simply do not see its impact on the present or even acknowledge it exists. The intellectual acknowledgment of forgiveness, or even the belief of having forgiven someone, is not the same as actual forgiveness.

    • It seems logical to conclude that almost anyone who says they are over it and have forgiven everyone is most likely unaware of their own lack of forgiveness, fooling themselves, or among the few who are simply posturing. My bet is that together we could have them seething in just a few minutes or less.

The biggest lesson learned is that I have farther to go than believed before the 40 days started and am pretty certain most other people do too. I have not forgiven as much as I thought. It was only the intellectual idea that I had and in some cases the actual belief.

Until a person looks at a map to see where they are starting and acknowledges where they are on the map, the map won’t do much good. Looking at forgiveness with an honest open mind and searching out where you really are on the map is an important place to start.

If you are interested in the free forgiveness sample, go to this link and click the download button:


(Please note that I am in no way affiliated with this product and I have no idea how long the owner intends to keep the free offer or site.)

12 Pitfalls and Blocks to Personal Growth and Improvements

Why do so many self-improvement projects fizzle away? The best of our intentions sometimes seem to dwindle away within weeks. Why start only to quit? What is it that stops us from improving? Below we will explore a few of the many blocks and pitfalls.

Fear or Uncertainty

Fear is can be a subtle culprit. It could be a fear of failure, “If I don’t try then I can’t fail.” It could also be a fear of success, “If I lose all that weight, then have to keep it off.” Another fear may be, “What will people think if I fail?” The fear could also be the uneasiness of doing something new or going into unexplored territory.

Thinking it will be Easy – Unrealistic Expectations

Sometimes an idea sounds great, but the reality is that it takes work. Say you go to a jam session and get inspired to start practicing that old saxophone or guitar in your closet. It will be great. Maybe you decide to start painting again. You daydream about how great it will be, but the daily repetition of practice soon puts the dream to rest. Things often look easier when some else is doing it.

Getting Caught Up In the Euphoria – a Common Pitfall

Maybe it’s a book. Maybe it was a video. Sometimes people make rash decisions then do something foolish. An example is Mike wants to lose some weight so he spends $375 on a one-year health club membership that he only uses for 3 months few months. Maybe Jan decides to write more on her blog and after a free webinar, she spends $550 on a writing course that she only one-quarter way completes. Generally, it is not wise to purchase anything until you are already in motion with a track record. Otherwise, it often leads to waste.

Seminar Addiction

Rather than getting started some people just keep going to every seminar they can find on a given subject. They love the seminar highs but never get to the real work. Lodging for out of town weekends can  also be costly. If you purchase any materials they are selling the cost increases even more. The seminars become a substitute for doing what needs to be done.

Preparation and the Leaning Addiction

A person may buy some used books and start reading. Next, he finds free videos on the internet. The reading and videos continue as the learning becomes more interesting than the original goal. He becomes an expert on the subject but never takes action, much like an expert in gardening who has no garden. Preparation and learning are important, but often they can be tools of procrastination.

Stuck at a Phase

May people reach a plateau and stop. It is easy to find a new discovery or make a certain accomplishment then stop. Often in therapy, for example, a person becomes mesmerized by some new discovery and never goes beyond the point. They become experts in their condition but do little to get past it.

Not prioritizing

You need to decide what is important and what is not. You may need to cut down on some comfortable but non-productive activities such as television, watching sports, drinking, or even socializing. You need to look for things of lesser importance and cut them out.

Not scheduling – Not Pacing

Scheduling solves many of the problems listed in this article. “What gets scheduled, gets done.” If you schedule it and stick to it, you will eventually make progress. Don’t try to do it all at once. Always start out slow then build on that foundation once it is solid. Start with smaller increments of time than increase gradually.

Not Getting Back up After a Setback or Fall

Sometimes we just fail. No matter how good a try we give some things, we fall flat on our faces. That is just how life is. There can be any number of reasons for a failure, but that does not mean you need to just give up and quit. That leads us to the next pitfall, giving up.

Giving up

Maybe its discouragement, maybe it is difficult, but don’t quit. A setback or a fall is not a failure until you quit. In other words, you have not failed until you have given up.

Not Enough Time

The not enough time trap is very common. It is an excuse. The truth of the matter is you have no one has less time than anyone else. We all get 168 hours in a week. Do you want to do it or not?


Speaking of excuses, there are more than a million reasons not to start or to just give up – the job, the family, your mother, the kids, your age, headaches, or any other number or things. You can use almost anything on this list as an excuse. The question is – Do you want an excuse, or do you want results? The choice is yours.

In closing, you need to think things through, make a plan, and have a schedule. Think before spending any money. Always give things a couple days to cool down so you don’t make emotional decisions that will cost you. Dream a little but do the work. If the cause is good, don’t let anything defeat you. Winners rarely quit.

Thoughts on Healing the Adult Wounded Inner Child

As young growing children, we were all wounded to some degree. It is impossible not to be. The wounded inner child carried into adulthood received its wounds from many places. It was not only the parents who wounded us. The list can include grandparents, aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, and any other caretakers. As a child ages, the list gets bigger, including the school system, religion, friends, and peer groups for starters.

The images the wounded child receives from these figures often stay and hinder the inner child for life. One look at the number of pills prescribed for depression and anxiety alone starts to shed light on how many people are still in pain and have unresolved issues. Coupled with all those victims are those who are still suffering, but not yet diagnosed, just simply living dysfunctional or co-dependent lives.

This is a very important topic for many reasons. For starters, you cannot love another person if you do not love yourself. Since most wounded inner children have been shamed into a subtle form of thinking “I am bad,” or “I am not good enough,” they do not love themselves.

Another issue that a wounded inner child may face is that you cannot succeed long term in almost any endeavor if you do not find yourself worthy. Until you are freed, you will simply pass on the inherited poisons you accumulated to other people, including your children, grandchildren, and mate.  You will keep repeating the same cycles in the same or some other varied form.  In a sense, you become frozen in time. Many psychologists agree on these points and for the purposes of this short article, I will be primarily referencing from John Bradshaw’s book Creating Love. This material is also included in a more expanded form in his book Homecoming: Reclaiming and Championing Your Inner Child.

The wounded inner adult child has a tendency to either a) idealize his parents or b) degrade his parents. The danger in a damaged inner child idolizing the parents is quite clear. The young growing child, not knowing any better, believed out of necessity “They are good, and I must, therefore, be bad”. The young child formed a new self to do whatever was necessary to avoid pain, feel love, get attention, please the parent, and adapt to, or endure the soundings. Several defense mechanisms were put in place that both served the child and fractured the personality. These defenses are always carried into adulthood and form the wounded adult inner child.

In adulthood, however, the defenses are seldom valid and no longer needed and have no real value. Rather than serve us, they are generally counterproductive and even harmful. Yet the defenses and habitual thoughts still remain.  The damage continues and the adult inner child is still in pain hearing the long distant voices of the painful past.

As for the degraded image of the primary source, one might think that would aid to liberate the child. However, that is not true. The hold on the adult inner child is just as strong.  The resentment stays with the wounded inner child and, in a sense, the resentment bonds him to the source figure and never allows the child to leave home, no matter how far the geographical distance may be. We have all met those adults who hate one or more of their parents and we can’t help but notice they often have some serious issues as well.

Whether the source image is idealized or degraded, it is not reality. The internalized parent, not the real parent, remains either saint-like or monster-like. Per Bradshaw’s book, it appears that either is just as deadly. These fantasy figures will remain magical and all powerful. Their reach will continue from even beyond the grave. The effects on relationships, happiness and even success can be devastating to the adult. They will also have a negative effect on your children. It is typical to think one can outmaneuver these forces in raising children but this seldom is true. The voices of these images are experienced though are our own voice. A fantasy bond is maintained with the internalized source figure image or images.

Most people will say, “Well, that is all fine but had a normal childhood with good parents. I was lucky I guess.” At this point, we can refer to the landmark Book Love is a Choice.  In this book, the authors point out that almost ALL victims say this. Ironically, the fact that you believe your childhood was normal indicates there is strong possibility it is not true. We all tend to think that what happened to us is normal. The subtle forms of abuse children receive are well covered in the book in very easy to understand terminology. Bradshaw covers these things in his books as well. You may be quite surprised at what you discover.

Bradshaw suggests, that with the help of a therapist or in a support group with the therapist’s permission that you go through certain exercises which I decided to do on my own.

One exercise, among the several, that he recommends in the process, is to make three columns on a piece of paper for each primary source in your life; one for the idealized image, one for the real person, and one for the degraded image. Draw lines to make separate the columns – Idealized, Real, and Degraded.

Bradshaw suggests first you do a list of the idealized image or the mythological person that was attempting to be projected to the outside world. See all the good that other people believed on the outside. Naturally, there will often be some good points that are true.

Next Bradshaw suggests you move on to the degraded opposite, the pain you felt as a child, the horrors you saw that contradict the idealized person. Here is where you can vent your anger to some degree if you have been abused in some way. It is where you cover all the injustices committed against you. Here is where you list the traits you saw that contradicted what other people may have believed about that person.

Finally, you are ready to make a list of the real person, which is somewhere between the two.

Even if you believe you are quite mentally and emotionally well, this process is quite revealing. You will also find his order of process quite logical once you have completed it.

Continuing onward, he goes into a death and burial exercise. The death and burial exercises are not intended as a way to “forget” your real parents or turn your back on them. It is an exercise to put away the mythological parent or voices that have been haunting you and that are having an adverse effect on you all these years later. Finally one must go on to become one’s own parent and fill the adult inner child’s vacuum that s left by left by the dismal of the previous source images.

Another issue that a wounded inner child may face is that it is difficult, if not impossible, to succeed long term in almost any endeavor if you do not find yourself worthy.

It is important that everyone deal with these internalized images. Of course, there are some who are lesser impacted and can continue to slug it out on their own. But why endure unnecessary pain? A very large number of people in our society are actually affected or in need of some help.  I have read estimates as high as 25% for the negative effects of codependency alone, but I personally believe it is much higher.

Once you have dismissed the disabling source images, there is often a gap that needs to be filled. With the new gap or emptiness comes the danger of attaching to something else just a deadly, possibly even worse. Finding a support group is the best route to go and it may often be essential. There are many self-help groups available for free that can assist a person depending on the need. Groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous, Depressed Anonymous, Overeaters Anonymous, Emotions Anonymous, and groups for survivors are among the many. You may not like a particular group, but you would be wise to continue shopping around. This may take some time and work.

Pick your group carefully. There can be pitfalls in some groups. A good book by another author to read is The Mastery of Love by Don Miguel Ruiz. He will take you into the pitfalls of how religion can be used negatively or only as a mere mask. Bradshaw covers this as well. This is not to say all religious groups are bad or harmful, far from it, but there are some things to be wary of in some groups.

Any group with a one size-fits-all needs philosophy or doctrine needs to be looked at with scrutiny. Any group that tells you how to think or what to value may end up only putting a new veneer over your original issues.  The same goes for secular groups as well as there can be some pitfalls in those too. In general, however, a non-religious group is a good place to start. Most all 12-step groups recognize a higher power but leave what that power is up to you. Politics and religion are generally forbidden topics. You owe no allegiance to the group except keeping things confidential. You can quit anytime you want. You can come and go as you please and in general, you are always welcome. I’d suggest avoiding any groups that demand loyalty unless it is headed by a qualified therapist that you have personally evaluated.

If you are truly serious and want a better life you should also read. I may be a good idea to do any suggested exercises in the books you read also. I am amazed at how many people simply want to sit somewhere and simply talk hoping for the issues to be magically be fixed without doing any work. Even worse are persons who do nothing but daydream of a person or event to materialize and save them magically.

Bradshaw writes quite a series of books that anyone having repeat relationship issues, or perhaps even repeat job issues, or in a sense, any repeating life issues should read and perhaps take into therapy or a small group at the very least. I will end by listing a few of the books that have helped me personally and also helped me to understand others much better.

What I lie about Bradshaw is his ability to simplify and yet not dilute any of the power of the message. It will also stand on its own without having previously studied other works.

I personally recommend reading several books per year at the very least. I would be wise to start attending a group and have some therapy before making any large decisions. Don’t let any type of wishful euphoria of a book sweep you away into anything just as bad or worse either.

Healing books by John Bradshaw:

Healing the Same that Binds You

Creating Love

Homecoming: Reclaiming and Championing Your Inner Child


Another great book on this subject:

The Mastery of Love – Don Miguel Ruiz


Pulling Out Life’s Weeds

As I pulled weeds listing to an MP3 on Forgiveness this morning, I realized how much working on yourself is like pulling the weeds, They are both something you would rather not do and perhaps only do if and when it is absolutely needed. Yet if you do not work on these things, the weeds will overrun everything and eventfully choke out most of what may be considered good.

The best time to work on weeds is after a good rain. There usually isn’t much else better or more fun to do outside so this is an ideal time. The ground is softer after a big storm, even so in life. After a failure, after the end of a marriage, or the end of a relationship, for example, is a good time to work on life’s weeds. Your foundations are shaken. They are softer. You are more willing to do the difficult work. And certainly, no one wants to work on such problems when the sun is bright and all is well. It just doesn’t seem so important.

Some of the more shallow roots come out very easily after a good hard rain. It takes very little effort. The same weed on a sunny day would be extremely difficult because the ground is not ready. The ground firmly holds the roots in place and almost every weed simply breaks off at the root. Everything looks good for a short time, but soon the weeds, and even more weeds, appear later.

Some of life’s weeds have very deep roots, even the small weeds that don’t look like much on first glance may be like this. If you use the right tool to pry into the soft earth, a root the length of a carrot may come out. Other roots are like an octopus, spreading their tentacles everywhere and in every direction. If you don’t get these roots out, even more weeds bigger than the first will appear. Eventually, over the years, you will never be able to win as the roots become so embedded that nothing can be done sort of poisoning both the good and the bad. Year after year, the weeds simply return.

Having the right tools is important. First, I like to use an old shower curtain to sit on. It may be filthy but it keeps me dry. The most important tool, however, is some kind of weed tool for prying at the roots. I got a very inexpensive one at Lowe’s. With the right tool, the weed and its roots come out in one big piece with much less effort. Without the right tool, the weed simply breaks off.

What are the right tools for life’s weeds? A surface tool might be a self-help book or a weekend conference. Those things may help with the more shallow weeds, but bigger weeds will only break off. Things may look better for a short while, but not long,

Another tool may be some sort of therapy. I prefer really deep study to therapy. After reading enough books to stack up over 6 feet high, you will understand why. You will see how therapy often makes a person simply feel better, often without much change. Even some therapists admit this. The Great Dr. Berne even coined what is known as “The Therapy game.” Face it – Most people however prefer the easy way out – even if it costs them dearly. They don’t really want to get to the root of things at all – they are just too lazy. They simply go through the easier motions and settle for sniping the weeds at the stem so things look better for a while.

Another over-estimated tool is communion with God or your higher power. This is often overlooked. The reading, prayer, and meditation combination have the most powerful effects. Again, this is not for the timid or the leisurely.

Granted you can pay people to weed for you, but they seldom will do as good a job as you will, if you care to do a good job. It would cost a lot of money to have someone pull weeds well. A person not paid much, say minimum wage, is not likely to care if the weds break at the root or not, but it sure looks nice for a short time. An expensive laborer may do a much better job, but often an expensive laborer is no better than the lower paid one. Yes, there is no way around it if you are serious and want things done right. Eventually, you have to do the dirty work yourself.

Thoughts on the Ego, Discontent, and Ambivalence

When the ego through the means of guilt steers you into repeatedly doing something that you do not really want to do, to relieve the guilt for example; it often creates resentment. In summary, the ego and its perception (often misperception) create the issue and offer a solution, only to either repeat a similar situation or manufacture a new one. By similar egoic processes, even the good things in life must eventually, in the least, turn to a state of some sort of ambivalence. Things such as love, hope, and joy must either end, become boring, turn fearful, or turn bittersweet with problems.

The ego’s favorite pastime is to analyze, rationalize, judge, attack, or criticize things, people, ideas, and circumstances. So even if things are good, all good things must eventually become bad or not quite so good at best. Peace and harmony, in general, cannot continue for too very long before someone’s ego needs to start a conflict or at least make some sort of negative judgment.

The affected egos are often quick to enter a new state of turmoil, worry, discontentment, or conflict and deny any responsibility for their newfound fear, anger, or discontent. Why? Because it fulfills the ego’s primary goal which is to focus on itself and its perceptions. It accomplishes this by either elevating itself against the differences in others, or aligning itself with the similarities in others, all within its imaginary magical kingdom where it rules relatively supreme. The ego distracts its host into thinking all of life is the ego’s little kingdom, be it good or bad, peace or conflict, contentment or despondency.

On and on the egoic processes continue with almost everything in life, using smoke and mirrors promising some sort of pleasure, relief, justification, purpose, or satisfaction, but giving nothing at all. The most it will offer is a short-term fix at best.

The Ego can primarily only offer distractions and perpetuates its expansion and existence primarily at the expense of the host and secondarily at the expense of others. It cares for itself, more than its host. It will even use the wildest rationalizations to support its position. In essence, the ego offers nothing of much lasting value. Yet why do we submit to it and obey its impulses so?