As we creep toward the holidays, I want to talk about what makes life and relationships hard.
Here’s what has been hard for me in case you can relate:
1-I’m going through a divorce with some not-easy-to-digest details. But unlike a friendship that isn’t working, you can’t walk away altogether from a relationship once you’ve procreated with the person, right? We have children and so we must co-exist while we disentangle. I can meditate 24 hours a day, but that doesn’t change the fact that Divorce Sucks, plain and simple. And my divorce kinda sucks extra hard.
2- I was abused as a child, and no matter how much therapeutic work I do around that, a part of me is still angry about it. As goofy as it sounds, I’ve been waiting to be loved unconditionally by my mother and spoiler alert: It’s not going to happen in this lifetime. I don’t think about it all day but certain times…like now as I go through this divorce and really need my people to have my back…plus, with Thanksgiving coming up…it’s been bubbling up for additional processing.
3-Almost any Iranian you know is feeling a lot of feels right now because of the crisis in Iran. For me, I can explain it this way (and this is a very personal issue so I’m sure other Iranians would and could feel different feelings about it all). I spent my childhood being very ashamed of being Iranian: The way women were treated, the hostage crisis, the violence. And then when 9/11 happened, it opened that wound again. I was an Editor in Chief at CosmoGIRL! on 9/11 and I remember one of the Hearst Executives asked me if I felt any bigotry in the aftermath of the attacks as an Iranian and tbh, I kind of froze. I had spent my entire life trying to be as American as possible. He was asking out of genuine caring, which is so beautiful, but a part of me felt totally exposed as one of THEM. And of course, by THEM I meant a terrorist. An extremist. Because the regime change happened when I was a child, I didn’t have the maturity or the intellect to really understand that this wasn’t Iran. It was the religious regime. Just like we had a President in the US recently who didn’t represent many of our views…except the regime in Iran is a dictatorship and as such much worse, more violent and extreme. (The Mullahs actually believe women are no different than farm animals and God made them look like man so man wouldn’t be scared.) So, all these years of uncomfortable tightening around my cultural identity…it’s all very exposed and tender now. And every person suffering, fighting, dying over there to have an ounce of what I enjoy so freely…I feel powerless to help them. And yet they are fighting on behalf of all Iranians: Fighting for Freedom vs. Fear.
Freedom vs. Fear
This is the same battle I have fought my entire life.
Freedom versus Fear had been at the core of every conflict for me. Like, my fear keeps grasping for the mother who birthed me to have my back instead of leaning into the freedom to be my own mother. The fear of the choices my husband is making and how they may impact our children versus the freedom of letting him blaze his own path and accept that he is their father for better or worse and they will work through it, as I did with my own parents.
Freedom versus Fear.
And so, I’ve spent the last few weeks, working on another F- word. Forgiveness. I realized that when I’m gripped by the fear of letting go there is an absence of Forgiveness. I was having trouble forgiving my husband for his betrayals. Trouble forgiving my mother for her inability to be able to protect me. Even in Iran, today. Many Iranians would disagree with me but I feel I must forgive the Mullahs for taking our beautiful country and putting it behind bars. They have taken the stunning spiritual creativity of our people that created the greatest visionaries of all time like Rumi and Hafiz and putting them in boxes so they have to contort in the most cruel ways in order to be accepted. Did you know, for instance, a person can only be openly gay in Iran if they have gender reassignment surgery? We’re talking about non-trans people who are having gender reassignment surgery so they can love who they love. And we’re talking about generations of the most stunning women in the world who have had plastic surgery in droves to change their gorgeous ethnic noses because their faces are the only thing that’s allowed to be seen in public. And all the deaths. The deaths before this uprising and the senseless deaths during. So much death has come out of this fear-based government. I marched yesterday in New York. The chants have gotten angrier since my first protest many weeks ago. It’s not hard to understand why. So many children have been killed. So many beautiful souls lost and imprisoned.
And yet…I’m talking about forgiveness. Right now, it’s too soon for the people in Iran to forgive the Mullahs because so much blood is being shed. They are fighting for their lives.
But it’s not too soon for us to bring the energy of forgiveness into our lives. I recently found that forgiveness is the key to freedom. I guess I always knew that conceptually. I mean, obviously it makes sense. But I just couldn’t quite pull it off. I now understand that your mind can do many incredible things, but this is deeper than the mind. Forgiveness is energetic which is kind of like our own form of magic.
This practice will truly blow your mind.
My beloved friend and teacher, healer Caitlin Marino introduced a few prayers to me that were created by her friend and mentor Cindy Mattingly. And when I tell you doing this practice every morning yielded massive insight and results within a week on the divorce and mother front, I’m not exaggerating. This is magic.
Okay – so I do this declaration every morning multiple times in a row inserting a different name each time at the beginning – it could be anyone I am angry or upset with or locked in something with that isn’t peaceful. I tend to do my mother, my sister, my husband, his girlfriend and my last boyfriend. Sometimes I add the cousins who molested me and their father. I had a few other people who I felt a smaller charge with who have dropped out of the rotation because I only really needed to do this once or twice with them and I am totally not triggered by them anymore.
The Forgiveness Declaration
I fully and freely forgive _____________.
I release him/her mentally and spiritually.
I completely forgive everything connected to the situation.
I am free and he/she is free.
It is a marvelous feeling.
I release anyone and anybody who has ever hurt me.
I wish for each and everyone health, happiness, peace and all the blessings of life.
I do this freely, joyously and lovingly.
When I think of any of these people who have hurt me, I say “I have released you and all the blessings of life are yours.”
I am free and you are free. It is wonderful.
Then when I feel I’ve cycled through everyone I feel a negative charge with, I move onto this prayer.
I am sorry for any pain and suffering I have caused anyone in the past, present or future. I ask to be forgiven and I forgive myself for those deeds I do not recall. I ask now for the power of love and compassion and make that my new path of choice. I am grateful for all the blessings I have and will receive.
Thank you, thank you, thank you.
And there you have it. What more is there to say but those words. So grateful to Caitlin for knowing what I needed and sharing this with me and grateful to Cindy for writing and creating these beautiful practices. I have been doing them for a few weeks and it has shifted me in ways that I can’t adequately describe because it’s a felt energetic experience. I simply feel lighter. I was struggling about Thanksgiving coming up so much so that I had asked one of my best friends if we could spend it with her and her family instead. But with this practice, I was able to, from a place of freedom and choice, decide to go to my mother’s like we do every year. Doing the same thing as years past but coming from freedom instead of fear.
Tomorrow I will start doing the forgiveness practice with the Islamic regime in Iran. I need to begin to heal my own past with them while I support my brothers and sisters in Iran fighting. I can continue to amplify the voices and plight of those who are in the belly of the fire, but I am not in that fire. I can begin to heal and pray that in time, they will win their freedom and have the privilege of doing the same. Please amplify their voices and suffering on social media so these beautiful people can enjoy the same basic human rights we take for granted every day.
I’m going to take some time off for the holidays so I can deepen my spiritual practices. I’m going on a 7-day silent retreat and will be processing all the things I listed above. Please take it easy on yourself, too. These are challenging times for everyone. I hope these two practices I shared will help you during our time apart as enormously as they have helped me. Wishing you and your family peace, freedom and love. Wishing that for all humans. I will see you in January.
Please email me if you need me. I really am here, 24/7 at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Soundtrack of my 🤍🖤❤️: