Cedric Centre for Counselling Inc.


Archive for February, 2007

Authentic Sharing

Sharing Real Thoughts

By Michelle Morand

Across the board, without a shadow of a doubt, the most significant thing any of us can do to begin to claim our lives and step fully into ourselves as independent adults is sharing real thoughts and feelings with others.

The act of letting others know who we really are and how we truly feel about any thing or circumstance has two amazing benefits:

1. It builds inner trust and strength.

2. It builds stronger and healthier connections with friends, family, co-workers, significant others and any one else you come into contact with.

If you’ve been resisting being authentic with people about how you feel and what you think, you will be feeling some trepidation at the thought that you would benefit from being more open. You may even be dredging up past experiences to show yourself how wrong I am and that sharing authentically in the past has brought hurt and pain.

Well, likely it has. And, that’s only because one of two things happened:

1. You were sharing with someone who had given you indications that they weren’t trustworthy and/or weren’t able to really honor the gift of your sharing.

2. You had given that person the power (in your mind) to decide whether the thoughts, feelings, experiences, etc. that you were sharing with them were valid and appropriate and that individual trashed them, so you did too.

Sharing Real Thoughts and Building Inner Strength

Any time you share with someone from either one of those positions you will be wounded. And since sharing authentically is so very important to your overall growth and healing it is important to be able to know when someone has shown a lack of integrity/trustworthiness and to let yourself not share with them any personal information. It is also fundamentally important for your life-long happiness that you learn to value your own thoughts and feelings more than the feedback, thoughts and feelings of others. As soon as you master that skill, anyone around you can say anything and you’ll be solid, grounded, secure and clear in your respect for yourself.

The most obvious way to determine if an individual is someone you can trust is this: Their words and actions align. They do what they say they will, when they say they will. And, they consistently demonstrate respect and dignity for themselves and for others.

If this is the case you know you’ve got a person you can feel safe having in your life, whether it be as a significant other, friend or plumber! That’s because what that person is demonstrating to you is love and respect for themselves. And a person who truly loves and respects themselves will not disrespect another person.

They may not agree with everyone else and they will say so. But they will do so with respect and dignity for all concerned. They feel solid enough in themselves that they don’t need to put others down or build themselves up by making others feel bad.

So challenge yourself to share a bit more of your thoughts and feelings, more of who you really are with people who fit that description and allow yourself to share nothing of a personal nature with anyone who doesn’t meet that criteria. It’s not safe and you are responsible for making your world a safe and loving place. So start with letting it be okay to no longer share anything of yourself with people who have demonstrated a lack of integrity in their relationship with you or with others.

If someone in the “lacking integrity” category holds a significant role in your life you can tell them why you are taking space and when and under what circumstances you would consider reconnecting:

“George, I really care about you and I would like us to be friends, and when you roll your eyes or raise your voice to me, my needs for respect and safety aren’t met. Would you be willing to work on changing that pattern of behaviour?”

If George says “Yes,” ask him to get back to you and let you know what he plans to do to change that pattern and tell him that you’ll be taking some space from the relationship/keeping your distance until you can be certain that you won’t be harmed by his contemptuous behaviour.

If George says anything other than Yes, if he tries to make it about you being to sensitive, or says he was just joking, blah blah blah, if he says anything other than “I’m sorry and yes, I’ll work on that,” you’ve got to walk away from the connection. Your own needs for safety and love and self-esteem demand it.

The easiest way to get to a place of honoring your thoughts and feelings first and foremost  is to let it be okay for others to think and feel differently from you. It’s okay, in this example, for George to disagree and to judge you as being oversensitive.  Let him have those thoughts and feelings. He doesn’t get it and that’s okay.  We get so caught up in needing the approval of others that we become chamelions, changing who we are and what we feel to accommodate whomever we’re with at that moment.

Challenge yourself to be truthful to yourself about how you feel. If something doesn’t feel good to you; if something creates a sense of distress or disease take the time to figure out what it is and then take action to create a safe and peaceful environment for yourself.  You must be the most important person in your world. And you must care for yourself from a place of deservedness and clarity in your right to feel safe and peaceful. You do not need to feel shame or guilt or “needy” for having feelings and needs.  You are human.  Better than that you are a human with budding consciousness.  You are awakening and your first responsibility is to create an environment for yourself that is respectful and safe and allows you to be fully yourself at all times.

Love Michelle

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By Michelle Morand

I am sitting at my breakfast table and remembering how I ate that much, my big fluffy orange cat curled on my lap. All is dark and quiet outside. It is 5 a.m.

My homemade soy latte helps rouse my sleepy head and I begin to reflect on the events of yesterday. Conversations with clients, friends, family; an outing with my son; this stress and that; deadlines; self-care etc. An average day all in all. As I sit here in my peace and calm, I am drawn particularly to one conversation in which a client was so beautifully excited to share about her experience of not using food to cope during a stressful situation. She was no longer just taking it on faith from our work together and from other books she had read, that recovery was possible; that she could have a life free from constant thoughts of food and body, she had lived it. Not only that, she knew she could recreate that experience and that that would become her “norm.” We were both very excited!

Thinking about that event calls me to remember my recovery experience of shifting from 24/7 focus on food and body to hardly even giving it a second thought. I distinctly remember getting home after work one day, a few months into my healing process, and realizing that I hadn’t thought about food once that day!

Now, don’t get me wrong. I ate that day, and I ate well. I just hadn’t thought about it, before, during or after. It was just eating, naturally. I was so amazed and excited to have realized that I had just had one day free of the constant chatter and stress and bad body thoughts guess what I did?


How do you like that? My first day free of food obsession and I eat to celebrate! But I was also eating to soothe my fear. For it had hit me in that moment that if I continued my healing journey I would get to a place where I no longer used food to cope; where I didn’t eat to soothe myself.

Now, that was what I had been aching for for years at this point, and working hard to attain for months in counselling. So why the fear?

Simply put I had gone into all or nothing thinking and was freaking myself out! I was telling myself that if I kept on healing I would get to a place where I couldn’t use food to cope even if I wanted to. I was also telling myself that now that I had had that one “good” day I had to repeat the performance the next day and here on in to eternity. Those all or nothing stories were enough to make me feel the need to cling to food like a life line in that moment. And so I had binged.

But…..What I also did that was new and different and ultimately led to my complete recovery was to begin to ask myself the following questions while I was eating:

What is the situation that is triggering me to feel that my needs for love, acceptance, security, or connection are not being met?

What am I telling myself about that situation that is making me want to use my food and body focus coping strategy?

Is there any all or nothing thinking in that story?

What are some other possibilities (what are some other ways that things could go)?

What would have to happen right now in order for me to feel peaceful (unrelated to food and body!)?

In answering those questions I gave myself a wondrous gift. I proved to myself immediately that neither one of those all or nothing stories was true. First off, I could use food to cope any time I want, there was/is nothing stopping me. I just allowed myself to begin to choose not to because it harmed me and because I was in the process of learning so many other, life enhancing, ways to cope that I didn’t need to hurt myself and numb out from life.

Remembering How I Ate That Much

And telling myself I now had to be perfect every day because of one day without food and body focus was missing the point entirely. The point is: If I felt drawn to use food to cope, I knew one thing is for certain: I had a need, unrelated to food, that wasn’t being met. As soon as I acknowledged that my wanting of food or of a different body in that moment was really a signal from within that I was not feeling secure or loved or accepted, unrelated to my body and to food, I was in a position to ask myself those questions and begin to change old and deeply embedded patterns of thinking and behaving.

Every single time I found myself wanting to use food to cope I would ask myself those questions and within a few weeks I had proven to myself beyond a shadow of a doubt that some all or nothing thinking that was undermining me, making me feel frightented and insecure, creating distress where none needed to exist. Through the simple process of noticing myself using food to cope (or wanting to) I could walk myself back through my feelings, through my thoughts, and into the need. Here, in full awareness of that need, I was in a position to take action to meet it in a way that I could not do if I was still focussing my energy on what I was doing, or wanting to do, with food.

Automatically, my focus on food would cease as I naturally focussed more constructively on the real issue and what I needed to “do” to feel peaceful about it. I felt stronger, more capable, more trusting in myself and my ability to handle life which led to less insecurity and therefore, less desire to use food to cope.

It’s a beautiful cycle and it works the same for any coping strategy that you know you use: Alcohol, avoidance, isolation, procrastination, shopping; over-exercise; co-dependency and all the others.

All you have to do is to be willing to allow for the possibility that your food and body focus isn’t all about food and body. If you’re willing to give me that much, you’ll be able to make great use of this tool by just asking yourself those questions when you notice yourself drawn to use your coping strategy.

Well, time has flown by. My kitty is still fast asleep, my coffee is in desperate need of a refill. Light is dawning out my kitchen window. How I love this time to myself, to think and reflect; to just be and let the moment take me where it will. Thank you for sharing it with me.

Have a wonderful day.


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Why We Don’t Diet

Why You Don’t Need to Diet to Lose Weight

By Michelle Morand

Hello, All.

This past week I was blessed with e-mails from two clients that I haven’t seen for a while. I have their permission to share them with you and wanted to do so here.

The CEDRIC Centre doesn’t believe in the diet mentality form of promoting our services, you know…”lose 30 pounds in 30 days” or “you’ll lose weight..” etc. That form of advertising only serves to reinforce that the issue is your weight and it’s not.

So, we quietly encourage you to honor yourself, to look beneath food and weight to the underlying issues that lead you to use food and body focus to cope. And what we find is that when people use our approach to healing their relationship with food, that’s exactly what they do: heal it! It’s done, over, gone, not a problem, finito etc.

That’s why I have such an issue with people who purport that disordered eating patterns are like a disease that once you have “caught” you have for life. It’s simply not true. Our staff, myself included, as well as hundreds of clients are living proof of the fact that complete and lasting freedom is to be expected as a result of our healing process, that is why you don’t need to diet and punish yourself.

It makes sense that if you use food to cope because of past and present stressors and hurts, and you find ways to heal those wounds and learn new ways to cope with stress that are not harmful, you just won’t need to use food to cope anymore. And that is what we see in our clients, time and time again.

What we find when we approach healing from a place of inner focus and building a strong relationship with ourselves first and foremost, is that the more highly we come to regard and respect ourselves the more freely and easily we make changes to our relationship with food and to exercise that are in accordance with self-love and not punishment.

So, what before was a great struggle ie. not eating more than we were truly hungry for; or allowing ourselves to eat when we are hungry, without shame or judgement; or engaging in consistent exercise; becomes effortless and easy because we are choosing to do these things out of love for ourselves and not because we feel flawed or sub-standard in some way.

If you use food to cope, any diet program is only going to exacerbate that issue. It’s only going to put more focus on the food and on your body. There is no way to heal from that vantage point.

If you are willing to trust that it is possible that you can heal completely and never have negative thoughts about your body, never have stressful encounters with food, never again punish yourself with restriction or overeating, then you are ready to begin to challenge yourself to begin the journey within.

The journey begins with a willingness to believe that any focus on food and body is simply your inner self calling your attention to something else in your life that isn’t working in the way you need it to. Then you take steps to identify what those pieces might be and learn new tools to heal them and attend to them differently should they arise again.

That’s the process of complete recovery in a nutshell.

Now, I’ll let you have a read at those e-mails I received this week and get a sense of how these women have transferred their old harmful overeating/purging/restriction patterns into honoring choices that are building greater self-esteem and healthy, intimate relationships.


Hi Michelle

I am doing very well. Not a day goes by when I don’t think of something wise you’ve said to me or some realization you helped me with. I am feeling great, my relationship with food is infinitely better, and I have re-established links with a lot of my female friends. I’ve taken up running. It’s so different from anything I’ve done before and I run with the most incredible group of women. I’m finding it very empowering and it’s a great stress reliever.

Although I miss our sessions, it’s great to know that I have the skills & abilities to handle (and enjoy!) life on my own!

Hi Michelle,

Since we last met, I’ve lost 20 pounds (I’ve gone the health-food-do-only-what’s-good-for-me route — which includes treating myself occasionally too — along with Jazzercise) and then gained 10 at Christmas (long story — but I’ve since shed the 10 and seem to be losing more). But GOOD FOR ME, huh? Yeah, I know, I’m amazing (how’s THAT for an attitude shift?!).

You know, despite it being a place where a lot of crap was released, I have good memories of your bright, sunny office. Thanks for making it such a special place to be!

I should mention, just for the record, that I did do some “no you can’t have any sugar” for a good month, even though I craved it madly. I found I just needed to break the cycle and let the hormones balance out.

Although it was tough some days, I explained to myself that the goal was to make me feel better than I ever have, so I could live strong and healthy. I kept in mind that chocolate was certain to be in my future, but when it became a “want” and was no longer a “need”.

Thank you.

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Core Beliefs

By Michelle Morand

The entire concept of a relationship with yourself hinges on what you believe about your own worth and acceptability. If you are still buying in to the old story you learned as a child/young adult that you are: (a) undeserving of love; (b) unacceptable as you are; or (c) unsafe in the world, you will have a difficult time trying anything new which goes against that deeply-ingrained story. Thus, while you may truly desire to change your relationship with food and to feel better about yourself, the underlying belief that you carry will continuously undermine your efforts and ultimately bring you to a place of paralysis and procrastination. This only reinforces the old belief and leads you to feel more stuck and hopeless. You may question why you are bothering to try to change when you have never been successful and always return to the same old behaviour. You may also feel as though you should give up. This is not uncommon, but it is important for you to see it as the old all-or-nothing thinking that it is.

I believe that you won’t stay in this defeated and doomed place for long, because something in you wants more. You want a life that is yours to live; one that inspires and fulfills you. And this desire motivates you to try again. Unfortunately, what you have been trying and re-trying is not likely to work. The restriction of the Diet Mentality and the “motivation through criticism” of the Drill Sgt.(that critical voice in your head) only serve to reinforce your old defeating beliefs. The simple act of tuning out to your body and listening to what someone or something outside of you says you should do is a gesture of disrespect and a true indignity to yourself.

As a child and/or young adult, you may have had to focus more outside yourself than within in order to survive in your family of origin or in other certain circles. You may have had to tune out to your authentic needs and feelings in order to remain in an uncomfortable situation, without being aware of how uncomfortable you were. As an adult, you are capable of creating relationships which support you to be the best that you can be. But as long as you are buying in to the old story about your worth and deservedness, you will continue to create relationships and life situations which mirror this old harmful perspective of yourself.

Let’s take a good solid look at that old story of yours and what you are still telling yourself about your role in the situation. First, let’s explore the old core beliefs that are influencing you on a daily basis.

1. What does your Drill Sgt. say about you when you are being self-critical?

2. What names does the Drill Sgt. call you when you are angry and frustrated?

3. What were the words people in your life used to describe you when they were angry or disappointed in you?

4. What messages about yourself did you receive from your parents, other family members, and/or peers (these can be verbal and non-verbal)?

Consider the above information. If you could capture the essence of your doubts about yourself in a single sentence: I am _______________________,

what would it be?

You may actually come up with a few sentences. Some common and very debilitating old beliefs which you may be carrying are: I am ugly; I am fat; I am stupid; I am worthless; I am undeserving; I am not good enough; I am not enough; I am unacceptable; I am unlovable; I am a burden.

Food Obsession and Your Beliefs Towards Changing

Allow yourself to be completely honest right now about what you truly believe at your core. Those old beliefs are only a child’s confused interpretation of the events going on around them. They were not true then, and they aren’t true now, regardless of how much evidence you could show me to the contrary. We will prove this together in a few minutes.

Now think about your earliest recollection when you thought and felt this way about yourself. What was going on? Who was it that gave you this message verbally or non-verbally? What do you now know, as an adult, about the situation which you couldn’t have known, imagined, or understood as a child? What was going on for them? Have you since witnessed this person behaving similarly toward someone else, perhaps even toward themselves?

If you find yourself feeling resistant to this exercise and to really looking at those old situations from a new perspective, take the time to ask yourself, “What do I think will happen if I allow myself to let that old story go? What benefit do I get from holding on to my old interpretation?”

Sometimes we resist seeing things in a new or different light, despite much supporting evidence, because we fear that we must say that those events didn’t impact or harm us if we let go of our story. Trust me, this is not so. You were clearly impacted by those events or you wouldn’t have had to implement the coping strategies of food, co-dependency, anxiety and making it about you. No one here is disputing that you were impacted. What I’m saying is that, instead of being impacted once for each incident, which is traumatic enough, the old core beliefs which you carry only serve to re-injure you daily. You don’t deserve this and it doesn’t benefit you in any way. It is my intention to support you to stop.

This is an excerpt from the chapter on Core Beliefs in the new book: Food Is Not the Problem: Deal With What Is. To order the book, please go to: http://www.cedriccentre.com/books.htm

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Wanting vs. Having

Satisfied with what you have? I’ve been thinking about this lately…how often I notice myself in a state of ‘wanting’. If you are satisfied with what you have or still lacking more and wanting approval, wanting security, wanting closure, wanting to know or understand, wanting, wanting…

As I’ve become more aware of this habit or tendancy, which seems to me to be a very conditioned human pre-occupation – I’ve also become aware of the subtle shift in experience that’s available in the invitation to ‘Have’ instead of ‘want’.

Could I let go of ‘wanting’ right now?

Could I allow myself to experience ‘Having’ right now?

This is a palpable redirection of energy and attention, and has proven to be quite helpful.

It’s a gentle reminder to the nervous system that has been trained to focus on ‘lack’ and ‘less than’, on what is perceived to be missing in one’s environment or experience.

The joy of the realization that as ‘real’ as that sense of lack or ‘not possessing’ can appear – equally as available is a sense of calm, satisfaction and ‘enoughness’.

There is a wonderful spiritual teacher named Adyashanti and I recently watched a video of his aptly named ‘The Gift of Wanting’. He believes that the experience of wanting is actually a gift, and serves only to draw our attention to that which we already possess in abundance, but have forgotten or over-looked.

He maintains that we have been taught from a early age that we ‘want’ because we lack, and that through the attainment of what we lack, we will find fulfillment.

However, anyone who’s ever achieved or acquired anything can tell you that the sense of ‘fullness’ (or satisfaction) that seems to accompany the reaching of the goal, is often quickly replaced by a renewed sense of wanting. Perhaps the wanting has shifted to a new person, object or experience, but it’s the same sensation.

Satisfied With What You have, Wanting vs. Having

Adyashanti suggests that it is not the attainment of the ‘desired object or experience’ that fulfills us. Rather, it is the inherent ‘fullness’ that is

present within us always that is typically covered over by a glaze of ‘want’. This fullness can only be deeply experienced when we cease our practise of ‘wanting’.

So, the next time you find yourself ‘wanting’…be it security, attention, approval, control, to be understood, or some material or relationship

‘want’, I invite you to check it out. ‘What do I believe getting this thing (insert ‘want’) will bring me?’ and follow that question to it’s core. The answer could be: ‘I will feel more peaceful’. or, ‘I will feel safe’. or, ‘I will feel ‘HERE’, eternal and present’…or any other number of desired states.

Then ask: Is it true that I actually lack in these ways, or could this wanting simply be a pointer to what, at the core, I possess in abundance? Is this desired state actually lacking in me, or have I been to busy ‘wanting’ to notice that it’s there?

Try it for yourself and see.

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All or Nothing Thinking

by Michelle Morand

A number of unrelated events in my life this week prompted me to get thinking on the theme of all or nothing thinking.  It also got me thinking on what would be the simplest way to support my clients to shift out of their old, deeply ingrained, all or nothing thought habits and into a more open, expansive and peaceful state of being and thinking.

So, here’s what I came up with:

In a nutshell, if you’re not feeling compassion for yourself and the others that you’re interacting with in that moment (whether in your mind or in reality), you’re in all or nothing thinking. It’s that simple.

You may want to read that last statement a few times to make sure it sinks in.  Then read on.

You can test this theory for yourself over the next few days any time you notice that you’re feeling anything other than peaceful.

Whenever you notice you’re feeling anxious or unsettled; judgemental of yourself or others; blaming; resentful; impatient; etc., or using your food coping strategy (which is a clear indicator that you’re overwhelmed) simply stop and ask yourself:

“What am I telling myself about this situation or person that is creating this distress?”

Then stop and think, really think, about what you just told yourself.  Is it true?  Are you certain?

You will always identify that you have just been telling yourself an all or nothing story.

It could be that you’re telling yourself that something has to be done a certain way or by a certain time.  It could be that you’re telling yourself that someone should be doing something in a different way or conversely that they should not be doing something that they are doing.  And this story that you’re telling yourself could be about the past, the present or the future.  You could be engaged in telling yourself that something about the past should be different or that something about the future should not be as you imagine it will.  Either way, you’re in all or nothing thinking.

That may be hard to swallow. At first glance these stories may not seem like all or nothing thinking, they seem like absolute truths. Of course they do.  That’s the problem. You believe they are true and so you don’t even question whether the story you’re telling yourself might actually be the old all or nothing thinking.

The good news is that if you are at all open to the possibility that I might be right you can prove it to yourself very quickly.

First, consider for a moment what it means to be compassionate.  It means you are open; accepting; loving; understanding; strong; clear; direct; and peaceful.  In order to really live compassion you must have a solid and strong core of love, trust and respect for yourself.  In other words you have to have great self-esteem. You have to be solid enough in yourself that you don’t need things outside yourself to be a certain way in order for you to be grounded and happy.  Then you can be truly compassionate.

Conversely, if you’re in the all or nothing thinking pattern it implies that you are conditionally loving; rigid; fearful; and anxious.  It also means that in some areas you’re still seeking to meet your needs for security and for acceptance through people or situations outside of yourself. This is inherently dangerous and doomed to fail. You are dependent on the moods and behaviours of others, many of whom will be also looking for their security and approval through others.

If your compassion for someone or some situation falls apart as soon as they don’t comply, or things don’t happen the way you expect or want, you can bet you got sucked in to all or nothing thinking and telling yourself a story that things should be a certain way. That’s not compassion that’s conditional acceptance.  It will only lead to more anxiety and more use of food to cope (or whatever your primary coping strategy is).

If you really want to expose and shift this harmful pattern of thinking, and live more peacefully, commit to writing down your thoughts when you feel anxious or distressed. Try it at least once a day for the next week.  Seeing these thoughts on paper makes it so obvious that you’re in all or nothing and what you need to do to shift into a more peaceful, compassionate way of thinking.

And if you’re resistant to writing these thoughts out check to see if there is any all or nothing thinking in your resistance: EG. “I know that this is true, it’s not all or nothing, so I’m not going to write this one down.”  Or “I don’t want anyone to read my writing to I can’t write it down.” Or “I don’t have time.”

These are all all or nothing statements.

If you need a prompt once you’ve got your current thought down and are having a hard time seeing the all or nothing in it try this:

“What am I telling myself is absolutely going to happen?”  or “What am I telling myself should be a certain way right now?”

Then ask yourself: “What are some other possibilities?”  “Could I allow for the possibility that one of those scenarios is equally as likely as the first one?”

Inevitably you’ll be able to come up with a few other potential explanations or outcomes that feel more relaxed and open (compassionate).  Notice whether you reject those in favour of the old all or nothing story.  Notice if you would rather be anxious and distressed in your old story than open and peaceful in a new and unfamiliar one.

So, if this resonates with you and you want to do a piece of work on your old thought patterns, paste this statment on your fridge:

If I’m not peaceful I’m in all or nothing thinking.

And then prove it to yourself.

Posted in: Relationship with Others, Relationship with Self, Tips for Natural Eating

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By Beth Burton-Krahn

A huge component of recovery is about living in a state of self forgiveness.  When we really think about it, there is no greater salve for a wounded heart than forgiving ourselves.  So many of us have tried so hard to be the perfect wife, or mother, or daughter or friend or employee.  We’ve worked our fingers to the bone trying to make up for something, some deficit somewhere, that we are convinced we are somehow responsible for fixing.  It might be our parents’ unhappy marriage, thinking somehow there unhappiness was our fault.  Or it might be thinking we are responsible for so much of our childrens’ lives’ that we turn our-self inside out trying to keep their world perfect, or safe.  Or trying to give them the life we never had.

As life moves along, it is like we collect a thousand little hits daily to our sense of feeling at home within ourselves. The phone call we didn’t return, the surge of anger at a messy house, the feeling of being somehow not quite up to the task of living life in some perfect way.  And sure enough, just when we get it “all together”, life does its’ own thing; the car breaks down, or the basement floods, or a good friend gets cancer, or our child gets ill.  And we are once again thrust into that state of thinking we just haven’t tried hard enough.

Well, I have news for you, you have tried hard enough, more than hard enough.  The task now, is to heal your heart by practicing self-forgiveness.  By this point in the journey, we are “all in our head”, thinking, planning and plotting to figure out how to get life nailed down.  The mind is sharp and brittle, towards our-self, and others. When we are in the head so much, we feel anxious and speedy, like we don’t know how to rest, or stop, or even breathe.

Self Forgiveness is a Healing Process

Self forgiveness is cultivated by moving into the heart.  It involves stopping long enough to notice just how exiled from ourself we have become.  Then, we can visualize our heart and all the healing contained within it.  As a dear friend once said, “The mind creates the abyss, the heart heals it”.  This is so true.  When we move into our heart center, time seems to slow down, we are more present and stable.  The heart calms us and is the container for everything; our wounds, our judgements, our sorrows, our self-hatred.  If we tune into the heart and find it stone cold and brittle, we acknowledge that, and we send well wishes to our heart, that it might thaw, that it might trust life again.  To be in a state of self-exile is the greatest pain there is.

Another friend works with a beautiful image of an older version of herself comforting herself at the age she is now.  Just an older, wiser version of herself letting the self she is now know that it is ok, that she is doing great, that life is hard sometimes, and that there isn’t an owner’s manual! Sending these words of forgiveness to ourself is deeply healing.  Because life is so unpredictable, and because so much of it is outside of our control, self-forgiveness isn’t a nice idea, it is an absolute necessity.  May we all grow in self-forgiveness.

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