“Forgive them even if they are not sorry”… a valuable life lesson to learn

Are you in Pain?  Take yourself on a Forgiveness Retreat. I did.

It was August 2010, I was on a church weekend Forgiveness Retreat.   I had heard about the retreat a couple weeks before and knew immediately, with every cell of my body, a 100% yes !, that I needed to get myself there.  No matter what favors or babysitting I had to call in, my heart and soul knew I needed some deep level healing.  I may not have been ready to heal just yet, I was still licking my wounds. I was more at a place where I was trying to practice deep breathing between emotional roller-coaster outbreaks of “Why me?” and “What next?”.

So there I was, at this forgiveness retreat, not having any idea what to expect.  I was new to the divorce journey and I hadn’t quite found my allies of support just yet.  I was too busy processing the pain and trying to accept this new life for myself. On top of this pain distraction I had just moved back home to the bay area and was attending a church I hadn’t gone to since I was in High School.  I was still in a no man’s land, somewhere in between the life I was leading before the “life change” happened and the space in between where I didn’t know quite who to trust, talk to and where to receive support. I was a little lost.  And as a woman who had always prided herself on knowing what she wanted and where she was going this was hard for me.

I walked into the main hall of the retreat center and it was dark and uninviting. I was early. I was the first one there.  Great, this is going to be a long weekend, I thought to myself. Can I still return to my car and take off before anyone see’s me?  Apparently my spirit wanted me to get over myself and be there for healing but my broken heart, overwhelmed mind and distrusting body wasn’t quite on board yet.

Me? somewhere early, that never happens.  Usually I’m squeezing in a workout or an errand and walking in just in time.  But that day I was there early because I was scared.  I was out of my comfort zone but I was also eager to do something different in my recovery.  It had been more than 6 months since I’d started my divorce journey and I wasn’t in a good place yet. Before I had the chance to dart to the door a woman called out to me.  It was the pastor leading the retreat.

There was another reason I was there early.   Before the retreat we could book special prayer time with the pastor throughout the weekend. I nabbed the first spot.  I wanted to be able to tell the pastor if I was crying uncontrollable that I was fine.  I didn’t want the group to worry about me or hold up the itinerary of the workshop.  I wanted her to know my story before the weekend began. It was my tendency to hide, overlook my own needs and take care of others needs before my own.  Not this time. I wanted to heal.  I wanted to have accountability with the pastor who was leading the retreat.  I wanted to have a “deal” that this time I was going to break some of my life long patterns that I was beginning to identify. I didn’t want my life to ever be in this magnitude of depletion, turmoil, loss and grief ever again.  It was too painful.  To great of a loss.

After we met, the pastor walked me outside to a garden spot.  As we sat there overlooking a Mountain view, she told me a little about her story and how she came about to leading the retreat.  I then began to open up to her and share with her my story.

Healing takes admitting you are in PAIN

Why did this retreat call to me? Why am I here?  It had been more than 6 months since my life and marriage relationship had forever changed and I needed more then the weekly counseling sessions and the books I was reading. I needed to find a way to integrate forgiveness into my unraveling marriage relationship or the pain was going to get the best of me.  I wasn’t a fan of forgiveness but I needed to do things differently. I wanted to stop crying.  I wanted to be happy again.

I told the pastor I was going through a separation process with my Husband of 10 years.  We had 2 small children together, age 3 and 4 1/2.  Our separation was a complete surprise to me.  To say the rug was pulled out from under me was an understatement. I never saw our abrupt and painful ending coming.  (Well at that point I was oblivious, I was busy with 2 small children and running a fitness business from my home.  Later as I did more work I did see more pieces of the puzzle I was able to see later, but that is a sharing for another day.)

Even though I wasn’t a fan of forgiveness I instinctively knew that I needed to get my bearings on who I was and what I wanted so that I could make some real life decisions.  Life decisions that would forever impact my family as I knew it.  I didn’t know much about the journey I was on but I did know that I didn’t want to make any decisions out of hurt, anger or fear… I wanted to at least make my important life changing decisions from a neutral place.

Forgiveness work only works if you actually want to set the intention to forgive someone.  I wasn’t there yet. And that was okay.  I was still so resentful to my husband I knew I needed to clear that before I could do the next layers.   Honestly, I had enough self-awareness that I was there that weekend with the intention of hearing people talk about forgiveness not actually ready to take it on the practice for myself. Not yet.

Since that weekend, I have learned again and again, that my soul came here to learn a life lesson. A Life lesson of practicing “FORGIVENESS”…. Note to self, please choose a life lesson a little less traumatic next time, please !?… Thank you.

So in the energy of teaching what we most want to learn…I need to flex my muscle a little and tell you the truth…on that weekend “forgiveness retreat” my wise pastor who heard my story… took a deep knowing breathe and said:

Build your Forgiveness MUSCLE

“Meredith, that’s a lot of forgiveness you will need to access to come through this to the other side.  I know you have the courage and the strength to do this but it is going to take work and a lot of time on your part.  You are an athlete, think of forgiveness as a muscle, this weekend, is only 48 hour container, this forgiveness with your husband is too much to accomplished in such little amount of time.  Let’s think of something small, small disappointments, small betrayals, small heartbreaks…that you can practice working on in the meantime, this way you can build some muscle this weekend and you can keep going when you are ready.”

This pastor was speaking in terms I could understand.  I could practice the way a beginner runner would run a 5k, then work her/his way up to a 10k, then a half-marathon and so on.  Taking each mile a couple blocks or laps around a track at a time.   No runner would just do a Marathon without a lot of work, time and planning.  So neither was I going to forgive my husband overnight in a short weekend.

With this advice I could breathe a little deeper. Or actually start breathing. I think in all the shock and trauma and upheaval in the months leading up to this retreat. I don’t think I had been doing much breathing. Sobbing yes…breathing and surrendering into the process, No!  Accepting it was going to be a long, very long process. No, definitely not.

The Weekend retreat started.  The retreat was full of exercises, ceremony, music, quiet time and prayers.  If you are a place that you too need to admit your pain, try this exercise below. If you are also feeling blocked of giving and receiving love freely in your life also try this exercise, it will help unblock you:

Forgiveness Exercise, start your List:

Step 1) Take out a piece of paper and answer the following questions. Write down names and as many details and emotions that come to the surface for you. Be open, vulnerable and allowing:

Who has hurt you?

Who has told you, that you couldn’t BE something you wanted to BE?

Who has told you, that you couldn’t DO something you wanted to DO?

Who has told you No?

Step 2)  Go back and rank the level of forgiveness on a scale of 1-10 how painful it is to forgive that person.  Work on your lowest levels first, then work your way up this way you will build up your forgiveness muscles and take the time that you need.

Step 3) Keep this list. Meditate daily on this list. Sit with the name, or names. Be in a posture of sending love and forgiveness to the person. Give yourself Grace for as long as this takes.  Keep asking for help and support from those who have walked the forgiveness road too.  Admit that that your journey is hard, then breathe and keep going.

 

More inspiration from the retreat.

Over this weekend I also heard these powerful releasing words,

“Forgive them, even if they are not sorry”

Did that ever take my breathe away.  These words shook me up.  Up until that time all my conditioning had been, that I could forgive someone if they said they were sorry and said the right thing.  Childhood flashbacks of my 2 sisters and I fighting and our parents demanding us to face each other with eye contact, through tears and say we were sorry.

To be honest, my ex-husband did tell me he was sorry over and over again.  In fact, he wrote me over 100 love letters…but I had gone to a place of unforgiving. Trauma and pain will do that to you.   I remember reading his letters and even wanting to hear specific certain words from him.  Nothing was acceptable.  I now know that was my heart had hardened and closed in pain.

The Healing Journey

In my divorce journey I have learned a new ability to strive towards recognize the pain, staying open in the pain and showing up in and with LOVE anyway. This is so tough to learn and can only be learned by practice.  Yes, and in my experience the Universe will send you those exact relationships to practice your needed skills if you need them.  But I promise you, the more I have practiced, the stronger my forgiveness muscles, the more freedom and love I have been able to enjoy in my relationships.

In closing, if you are working on forgiveness muscles I want to leave you with another quote that I have served me in prayer, meditation and journal time in breakthroughs to deeper and deeper forgiveness:

“You can have a grievance or you can have a miracle but you can not have both”  Marianne Williamson.

Some forgiveness mantra’s that have helped me:

“The success of my Relationship is always in my Hands”

“Freedom is a choice. Not something that happens to US”

“I am giving and receiving profound Love”

 

It’s been 8 years since I first started this forgiveness journey, divorce journey, healing journey and I am still going.  And that is okay!  Each person I meet on this journey leads me to a deeper understanding of myself and a lighter perspective of true Freedom.

Yours in Love, Big Love, the kind of love that loves through the pain, sitting in a body with deep healing.

Yours in the healing journey!

Meredith K. Mills

If you are finding yourself facing the need to forgive someone, in pain and struggling through it. You are not alone.  Please contact me through MeredithMillsCoaching.com. I’d be happy to support you on your Life Change and healing journey.  I’ve been there and I can help support you to get to the other side.

 

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How I Manifested my Dream House

It’s move in day and you could JUST pinch me !!!

In my line of work as a life coach I live and breath intention, vision boards and manifesting…however, manifesting this Dream HOUSE, for ME and my children, in the ease and timeliness that it was found and came to me still has me over the moon excited and just blown away in a miracle of JOY.  Read on below to find out more.

 

It was June, I received a notice that made me think.

Less than 90 days ago…. I received a letter from my daughter’s school for residency.  It had been less than a year since I had left my previous live-in boyfriend. (That conscious uncoupling break up is a story for sharing on another day!)  The need to prove where I lived brought up the question in me, is this the right place? Is this where my kids and I need to be right now? Maybe it was time to consider change? Perhaps I needed a new plan. But, what was that plan??  I wasn’t sure.

I folded up the school letter, tucked it into my “to work on” file and jumped on a plane to LA. I’d had a business trip planned for months and I wanted to focus on my re-entry to working full time as a coach again. I didn’t want to be distracted off course thinking about a move.   Ahh, I don’t have to worry about this now I thought, as I headed to LA.  Of course the question kept looping in my head prodding at my attempt to travel in peace. In response I thought, no no, I can do this, I can stay in California another year, my current situation isn’t ideal,.. but enough of it is “okay”.  After all I need to just keep doing what I’d been doing, focusing 100% on regaining my optimal health. Please, I can’t think about a move right now.  I am comfortable…Ugh. I said that word. Comfortable. eek. That’s not my word. That thought left me unsettled but I still tuned out the need to think about a move just yet.

When your friends become examples…

Fast forward 6 weeks later.  I received another nudge. My dear and close friend, Erin,  who just so happened left Oregon the same year I left Oregon was leaving the Bay Area.  Her and her husband and their 3 girls had packed up and left for Idaho.  We met for a farewell walk on the beach and a nice goodbye dinner. In our lengthy conversation we agreed how hard it is as Mom’s, athletes and trainers to really make a living and afford a house in the increasingly expensive and overpopulated Bay Area.

It made me think again of the statistic of how only 10% of people KNOW what they really want….well Erin and I sure have known for a long while what we wanted. Fitness, happy family life and successful businesses.

Well I came home from that goodbye beach walk and dinner and thought about it.  It’d been a while since I thought about the Big Picture.  So much had changed in my life since fighting a brain tumor the last 2 years.  I’d been so focused on getting a clean MRI reading, living less migraine days and keeping on top of medical bills…. “Mere” Erin’s voice echoed,  “you gotta think about more then just paying the medical bills”. Oh yah, I thought, there is more to life then this !!  Oh yah,… who was I before I got sick??  What was I dreaming about? I had gone back to survival mode, otherwise known as settling or playing small.  *Note to self, time to start the dream intentions again.  Then dream bigger. Stop with the small stuff or the settling. Obviously I’d gotten off course a bit.

Life Coaching Exercise for Manifesting

The next morning in my meditative, writing time, I turned to a life coaching exercise.

  1.  I took out a sheet of blank copy paper.
  2.  On the top I wrote: “If I had a million dollars… I would ________________”.
  3.  I closed my eyes and thought.

The Answer I got:

Move to Eugene and buy my Ex-Father in Law’s House

Oh!….

With this exercise you utilize the notion that  you act {AS IF}.  As soon as you act {AS IF} your true hearts dreams and desires can get through.   Without blocks, limits, or excuses  in the way your clarity can come.

What blocks, limits or excuses you ask?  Come on, you know them; the resistance loops of “I don’t have the time”

“I don’t have the money”

“I don’t have the energy”

“I don’t have the time, money or the energy”…

Delete those.  Step into and focus on living in the possibility of what it could be for you.

 

Back to the Answer I got:  Move to Eugene and buy my Ex-Father in Law’s House

 

I got my answer, now what..

Well it was July and it just so happened that for a year and a half I had heard through my Ex that his Father was about to sell his house. Why did this matter?

For years I had loved this house. In my married days I’d spent many holidays and bbq’s there.  I looked at pictures of this house that called to me and lit up my heart’s desires.  I made a list of what spoke to me about this house and why I loved it.

Here is the list:

  • I loved the windows
  • I loved the wood work
  • I loved the huge kitchen with a gas stove
  • I loved the decks to enjoy the outside (there were 3)
  • I loved the gorgeous well kept landscaped garden
  • I loved the various trees that surrounded the property
  • it was in Eugene, close to my EX so my kids could see their Dad more
  • it was in Eugene, which meant I could get a much needed break from the go go go of city life

With manifesting, you recognize your heart’s desire and you repeatedly say “I desire THIS… or something better” and so I did this.   I completed this exercise and did the mantra. I spent time meditating on my heart’s desire and why (both in the morning 5-10 minutes and in the evenings 5-10 minutes before I went to bed). I pictured the house.  I saw myself in the house. I saw my kids in the house. I envisioned the friends, clients and gatherings I’d have in the house. I set my intention of a place that would be a sacred quiet sanctuary to recharge myself and raise my kids.

I focused on this house for a couple of weeks.  Talked to my ex about buying it.  Worked out what it would look like in my personal life and my business life, with my kids and my schedule to actually uproot from California and trek back up to Oregon, re-root and make Eugene, home base again. I saw the plan unfolding and the steps it would take to make it all happen.

Then an amazing thing happened.  The door Closed.

I didn’t get my Father-in-law’s house. The one on my vision board. The house went on the market and it went to someone else.  HUMPH!  Now what?  I didn’t miss a beat. Seriously! Not even a moment.

Apparently, I was completely in alignment with the idea of “this or something better”.  Hmm, this door has closed. I stayed in high energy, I stayed in curiosity. I didn’t abandon my hopes and dreams for this gorgeous sanctuary house. I had touched into what I desired and I wasn’t shaken by the change of events.

“Ok, Universe,” I said,  “what do you have in mind for me and my children now?”  Being on board with Gabby Bernstein and her well versed book and mantra “the universe has my back” I didn’t lose hope for even a moment.

I jumped right into,  “Ok, what else could it be? what else could it be? what else could it be?”

By the next morning after hearing the news of losing out on the house, I started in on plan B, for me it was a start of looking for rentals.  A couple days of this went by.  I made a little list: South Eugene, a place with hard wood floors, a big kitchen to cook in.  I sent out a couple emails even did a “wanted” posting.  Waiting and staying in action in full 100% anticipation that the right house was out there for me and my children.  I kept thinking in curiosity of what was “better” than the house on my vision board.

On about the 4th day, I set out to look and I took time to meditate before I went on the computer.  Up until that day I’d been jumping online as soon as I woke up looking for what had posted since the night before.  Reminder, *Note to self keep that first 30 minutes every day clear for meditative thought or writing … the phone, the computer full of messages, facebook updates or instagrams can wait. ! Life is a lot easier if you lead it and not just start your day in a reactive state.

“look for 2 bedrooms“…. I heard. 

Boom, I jumped on my computer and reduced my search criteria to 2 bedrooms (I have 2 kids, a boy and a girl, of course I’d been looking for 3 bedrooms, why would I look for 2?).  The first thing that popped up was this gorgeous dream house.  I circled through the pictures. My heart racing that sweet pleasure pulse of excitement. This is it!!  I felt.  Exactly what I wanted. I didn’t even have to look at my previous list. I knew it had everything I had loved about my Ex-Father in law’s house and more…

  • lots of windows
  • gorgeous wood work
  • a huge kitchen with a gas stove
  • decks to enjoy the outside (there were 3)
  • gorgeous well kept landscaped gardens
  • trees surrounding the property
  • located in Eugene, close to my EX so my kids could see their Dad more
  • located in Eugene, which means I could get a break from city life

Even better than, and more fitting to what I had originally had had my heart set on.  Wow.  This manifestation of my heart’s desire had truly taken REAL LIFE FORM.  What an awesome miracle and blessing.  This house even had extra’s.  A view of the sunset. It was tucked away on a quiet cul-de-sac.  It was in South Eugene, close to the running trails.  The house also has a meditative rose garden with a fountain. In addition to a fountain in the front yard that I could look at and hear while in the kitchen. Oh, I could go on and on. What a complete dream.   Thank you! Thank you! Thank you Universe I have said over and over.

So please, I share this miracle story with you to encourage you that you too can manifest your heart’s desire.

Move past the excuses of not having the time… the money… the energy or all three!!  And just sit with what you really desire, {AS IF} you already had complete access to what it took to get it.

Trust me I share this to remind you that I know how hard it is to Dream Big, when you’ve gone thru a trauma, disappointment, heartbreak, illness, etc of any kind. It’s hard to dream big when you have defaulted to survivor mode.  If you are there, please don’t hesitate to schedule a call with me.  There is something about really accessing what you really want, beyond your limited thinking, beyond where you can’t see past yourself to that bigger picture. That bigger picture that is waiting for you.

If you told me 90 days ago that I’d be moving into this gorgeous dream house on Sept 1, I would have FREAKED OUT!!  No way I would have told you!  How could that happen? But it DID !

Thank you for reading! Here’s to not forgetting your power !

In all love and gratitude.

Meredith K. Mills

Please message me at meredith.mills.lifecoach@gmail.com to share your dreams and manifesting miracles with me.  To your great success and happiness.