Forgive and Be Free

From Forgive and Be Free: A Step-by-Step Guide to Release, Healing and Higher Consciousness, by Ana Holub                     Order the Book Here

Forgive and Be Free.2The River of Love

It was summer. I was on a river trip with a group of women, all of us adventuring together on the Klamath River in far northern California, up near the Oregon border. I was paddling my kayak, drinking in the day, the beauty, the dappled sunshine glinting on the water’s surface. Underneath, though, I was worried. What if I got tossed?

Every serious river runner has to deal with this fear at some point. I’d been paddling the Klamath for years, a dozen times or more, managing to stay in the boat through countless rapids and getting pretty handy in the process. I’d “gone swimming” only once before, years back. But I knew that at some point the river would swoosh my little body out of the boat again and leave me floundering in the rush-and-tumble current, because that’s just how it is. You can’t do a lot of river running without that experience, and the more I kayaked, the closer I came to the inevitable.

I was lucky—it was a warm day. Coming up to a class three rapid, I paddled hard to align my boat with the perfect slot to slide me from smooth water into the churning torrent. As so often happens in whitewater, the slightest drop in my concentration would be my undoing. I darted a glance to “river right,” making sure to avoid some overhanging branches, then put my focus back on the slot ahead of me.

But that one glance cost me a microsecond I didn’t have, and the river wasn’t waiting around. I went sideways over the rapid, rolled upside down, and got shucked out of that little kayak so fast I couldn’t even think about it. I was swimming, and that was that. The water was zipping me along, my bright yellow boat bobbing merrily off to my left.

After the first shock of surprise, magic happened. I realized that the mighty Klamath River was holding me, carrying me, buoying me up. I felt utterly safe in its embrace, and out of the blue, I began to cry. My warm salty tears met the sparkling river water, and we celebrated the truth that in this moment, there was nothing wrong, nothing scary, nothing to shrink from or avoid—just warm water carrying me downstream. The river felt strong and steadfast, covering all of me but my upturned face and knobby knees. As it took me, I relaxed into the safety of it, still crying with relief and new understanding. It was a moment I will never forget.

Kayaking or rafting can be a dangerous sport, and not every toss from a boat in swift water leads to an experience as ecstatic as mine on that wondrous summer day. Just the same, I gained a powerful lesson from the Klamath. All my fears, hesitations, and assumptions were laid bare in one drenching, cathartic moment, when I realized they were not true. The lesson was powerful because I was so aware of the metaphor: the water embracing me was alive and teaching me to trust, just as the water of every moment is also alive and permeating everything. It’s the river of life. And that day, I found out that it’s also the river of love.

 

The River of Life is the River of Love

In this book, I will show you how to feel the embrace of the river of love, no matter what has happened to you, no matter what you are experiencing, no matter where you’re headed.

Even if you hit a rock or flip upside down and find yourself gasping for air, this forgiveness journey will help you. Whenever you are ready (and not a moment before), you can choose it. You aren’t the only one struggling, and there is a direction that will bring guidance and healing. You just need to learn how to let the river take you, teach you and bring you to peace.

You’ve probably traveled from your little kayak of safe predictability to the big river of uncertainty many, many times throughout your life. The question is – do you kick and scream, avoid, fight back, complain and agonize as you splash down into the water? Or do you relax and trust, letting the river of life become the river of love?

This book explores the sacred link between what life brings and what love offers. Life is often wonderful, yet at times it can also be unbelievably hard to bear. Ordinarily, we learn to have faith in some parts of it and distrust the rest. For example, we admire the beauty of nature or the innocence of a child’s smile, but avoid the crimes, disasters and failures of our past. We make a split inside our minds: love is nice when you can get it, but life is hard and struggle is necessary.

Perhaps you’re a bit interested in the potential of forgiveness in your life, but you wonder, “If I forgive, does that mean I’m weak? Does it mean I’ll turn into a sap, or a clone, or a doormat? Will people use and abuse me if I forgive? Do I need to forget what happened, or will I become too passive or “airy fairy” if I forgive?” The answer is NO to all of that. Forgiveness is actually a workout for the soul to make you stronger and more loving and compassionate at the same time. As Mahatma Gandhi once said, “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is an attribute of the strong.”

In this book, I’ll show you that the river of life is the river of love. Spirit lovingly teaches you the soul lessons you need by giving you your life – exactly as it is. In Part One, you’ll learn about the essential importance of your emotions to your forgiveness practice – scientifically, socially and culturally. Emotions link all of us into one family, as we feel the ups and downs of human life together. Following the experiential steps in Part Two, you’ll take an honest look at your human experience and soul patterns. From deep within, you’ll pull forth a sincere willingness to release your grip on suffering and reach for trust in something bigger — a universal, loving force — that can accept and celebrate all of you. You will see that accepting yourself as you are, grimy and exalted, challenged and wise, can become a daily practice. A new way of being. Love, life and forgiveness are embracing you no matter how tumultuous your situation looks or feels. So get in the water and enjoy the ride!   Order the book here

FORGIVE AND BE FREE: TABLE OF CONTENTS

Dedication                                                                                            2

Acknowledgements                                                                              3

Preface                                                                                                   8

Introduction: Exploring Forgiveness                                      10

How Forgiveness Moves in Me: A Personal Introduction

What is Forgiveness?

Forgiveness Is Not Psychotherapy

An Example of What I’m Talking About

Connecting Emotional Release with Forgiveness

Forgiveness Is for Everyone

Saying YES to Tears

Forgive and Be Free: The Steps

How to Use This Book

PART ONE

Chapter One: Your Emotional Life and the Benefits of Forgiveness            29

What are Emotions?

Emotions and Your Brain

Emotions and Your Heart

Emotions and Your Cells

The Medical Benefits of Forgiveness

Chapter Two: Gender, Culture & Our Deep Need to Heal                        42

Gender Matters on Your Current Planet

Bridging the Gender Chasm

Your Family Lineage

Emotional Tone or Vibration

Culture and the Collective Level of Feeling

 

PART TWO

THE STEPS TO FORGIVENESS & FREEDOM                                                                  

Chapter Three: Step One • Creating Sacred Space                                        55           

What Is Sacred Space?

Why Create A Sacred Space?

Sacred Space Is Not A Place

Trust

Slowing Down

Exercise for Slowing Down

Ways to Create Your Sacred Space

Prayer as an Act of Connection

To Pray is to be Humble and Human

Your Prayer

Chapter Four: Step Two • Telling the Story                                                     67

My Story, or How I Got into the Forgiveness Business

Back to You and Your Process: Start with Forgiveness Lists

They Owe Me an Apology

I Owe Him/Her/Them an Apology

Further Thoughts on Apology

Apologizing to God

Ho’oponopono

Telling Your Story

Choosing an Item from Your List

H.O.W.

An Example of H.O.W.

Chapter Five: Step Three • Navigating the Emotional Body                         98

Two Essential Ingredients

Breath

Trust

Finding the Emotional Knot

Dissociation

Describe and Witness the Knot

The Story as Symbol

Back to the Knot

Describing the Knot worksheet

The Feeling Tone

Some Examples of Knots

Chapter Six: Step Four • Embracing Fear with Love                              112

Approaching the Edges of the Knot

Your Choice

Looking in the Mirror

The Tricky Part

Chapter Seven: Step Five • Listening for Hidden Messages                    122

Reactions and Responses to the Ego

The First Layer of Messages

Externalized Thoughts

Self-Pity is Married to Blame

Deciding to Go Deeper

Revealing Hidden Messages

Universal Messages of the Ego

All Forgiveness is Self-Forgiveness

Mind in Matter

Support for Plunging In

Hidden Messages worksheet

Chapter Eight: Step Six • Releasing                                                            140

Coping with Anger

Breathing Exercise for Relaxing and Calming Down

Even Nice Girls (and Guys) Get Angry

Am I Ready to Let Go?

Step-by-Step Releasing

Using Your Breath

Two Images to Help You Release

Releasing, Breath by Breath

The Essential Decision of Release

Calling on Divine Support for Release

Chapter Nine: Step Seven • Witnessing the Changes                                    156

Feeling the Shift

The Pause

Examining Your Body

Possible Changes After Releasing

Chapter Ten: Step Eight • Examining the Lessons                                    164

The Ego is Obvious

Embracing the Opposite

Sit Quietly and Receive the Wisdom

The Three Fears – Turned Around

Learning Your Soul Lessons

Soul Lessons worksheet

Chapter Eleven: Step Nine • Soul Expansion                                                173

Deepening the Pause

Drinking IN with Enjoyment

It’s Essential to Receive

Rewiring Your Entire System

Expanding the Sacred Circle

Mary’s Story

Witnessing with Love • Being Witnessed in Love

Chapter Twelve: Step Ten • Emanating a New Life                                    185

Expand Your Blessings

Sample Closing Prayer or Statement of Completion

After the Session – Integrating the Inner Changes

Living with Your Lessons

The Role of Intuition in Emanating a New Life

Your Soul Purpose Revealed

The Golden Light

Chapter Thirteen: Reviewing the Process                                                199

Start with What is Sacred

Find and Explore the Knot

Release

Burdens Disappear and Lessons Replace Them

The Pause

Receive Light and Come Full Circle

Give Love Away

Complete with Clarity

Surrender

Poem: Simple Instructions for True Happiness 

Bibliography                                                                                                207

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