Always Well Within

Calm Your Mind, Ease Your Heart, Embrace Your Inner Wisdom

Tag: Forgiveness

Plagued by the Past? How to Let Go.

How to Let Go of the Past

The stars surprised me.  At the beginning of the year, they told me I need to focus  on healing, surrender, and closure all the way till August.

“Be sure to include a big dose of rest and maybe even a creative retreat,” they insisted.  “Look back on the last 12-year life cycle and focus on the loose ends, forgiveness, and letting go,” they said.

I’m used to looking back a year at a time, but 12 years!  Sounds like a good precaution to avoid the top of regrets of the dying.  But holy-moly, at first I couldn’t even remember the last 12 years.

“Nothing happened,” I thought.  Funny that mind of ours, isn’t it?

With this starry nudge, I’m getting into the retrospective groove.  Just in case you want to look back too, this is what I’m up to.

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How to Reverberate Love – Hawaiian Style

Wise Secrets of Aloha

I recently attended an intimate “talk story” gathering with Harry Uhane Jim, a Kahuna (Hawaiin priest), healer and teacher, to learn about the Hawaiin practice of Ho’oponopono, which centers on forgiveness, gratitude, and love.  Here’s a little piece about Harry:

“Harry was born and raised on the island of Kauai, and was trained as an apprentice by the best known native Kahunas of the last seven decades.  He carries a distinct authenticity and is know for unveiling profound ancient truths with a delightful dose of wit and laughter.  As the author of Wise Secrets of Aloha and a revered Kahuna, Harry travels far and wide sharing a wealth of ancient Hawaiin teachings.”

The evening, which was presented by the Wellness Institute of Hawaii, offered a sampler of “Ho’oponopono:”

“…an ancient Hawaiian tradition that is utilized to bring balance and harmony into one’s life.  At its root, Ho’oponopono is a technology of forgiveness, and allows us to release that which keeps us feeling stuck in negative thoughts and patterning.”

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31 Inspirational Quotes from Gandhi

Mohandas Gandhi (1869-1948) was the great political and ideological leader of India during the Indian independence movement. His philosophy and life were deeply rooted in the view of non-violence (ahimsa), and have inspired movements for civil rights and freedom throughout the world.


“The future depends on what we do in the present.”

“Whenever you are confronted with an opponent, conquer him with love.”

“To see the all-pervading Spirit of Truth, one must be able to love the meanest of all creation as oneself.”

“It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold or silver.”

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Is a Lack of Forgiveness Holding You Back?

Pu'uhonua, The Place of Refuge and Forgiveness

Pu'uhonua, The Place of Refuge

Whether you are unforgiving or the unforgiven, a sense of peace will prove elusive as long as bitterness or unrelenting guilt resides in your heart.

The same applies when you are unable to forgive yourself for a past transgression.

I know all too well – from my own personal experience – that it’s not always easy to forgive.  Perhaps this explains the tremendous power in forgiveness to fully free your spirit.

I usually don’t hold onto grudges.  But, one time, I felt so deeply betrayed that it seemed almost impossible to forgive.  I wanted to forgive, but the sense of betrayal seemed embedded in my body. I could hardly think of the person, see their photo, or be in their presence without a visceral reaction. Of course, that visceral reaction only harmed me, but logic would not prevail.

It took time. In the end, what worked for me was making an aspiration – a prayer – to be able to forgive. Simply wishing again and again to have the capacity to forgive magically opened the way for me.

Reflection:  The Place of Refuge

To inspire today’s reflection, I’ve selected this description of the “Place of Refuge” on the Big Island of Hawai’i, a monument to forgiveness and peace.

“In the Hawaiian world order, there was always room for forgiveness. Transgressors of the strict and sacred laws of the land could always find redemption and a second chance waiting if they could make it to the Pu’uhonua, Place of Refuge. Those who persevered, overcoming all obstacles and their pursuant, surely must have felt the grace of the gods.

The Hawaiin kapu system was a strict and severe codification of sacred laws. The chiefs ruled with a heavy hand. A transgression could mean punishment by death. However, if you could make it to the Pu’uhonua you could receive absolution and prayers form the kahuna before returning to your family and community to start anew.

Pu’uhonua o Honaunau, known to be the largest Place of Refuge, stands as a monument of peace and forgiveness, a sacred ground where life can begin again.”

– from Keola Magazine, November -December 2010

As the old year comes to a close and the new year presents an opportunity for a fresh start, you might want to take a moment to reflect on whether a lack of forgiveness is tainting your life in any way.  Even holding onto a small grievance can get in your way.

  • Is there someone you need to forgive?
  • Do you need to make amends and ask for forgiveness?
  • Do you need to forgive yourself?  Have you been overly harsh with yourself?

I’ve learned that forgiveness begins when we make the wish to forgive or to be forgiven.

The true place of refuge is not external – it exists within your own heart.

While you too may encounter many obstacles on your way to this inner place of sanctuary, never give up. True forgiveness will indeed occur once you set your heart on it. It just may take a little time.  Forgiveness is a process, but you can start in any moment.  As the saying goes, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

What has helped you to forgive and forget?

Photo: The National Park Service

This article is part of a weekly series of reflective exercises to help you uproot limiting thoughts, emotions, views, and habits. See more mini-mind challenges.

If you liked this article, please share the link with others.  Thanks so much!  Sandra

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