A Year To Live Part 2 – An effective technique to forgive people that have hurt you

A Year To Live Part 2 – An effective technique to forgive people that have hurt you

A Year To Live Part 2 – An effective technique to forgive people that have hurt you

Newsletter, January 2017


Dearest Quiet Evolutionary,

In this newsletter, I’m going to share with you the second practice in this series ‘A Year To Live’.

But first, whatever you are doing right now, I invite you to take a moment to PAUSE.

I am going to walk with you hand-in-hand through the techniques behind my current mantra:

Stop. Breathe. Love

Please treat reading the following words as a meditation in itself.

So take a moment to check-in with your state of mind right now. Does it feel clear or foggy or somewhere in-between? Whatever you notice, just accepting it as it is.

Now, turn your attention to your breathing. Notice now how your breathing happens all by itself. Its been happening since the moment you were born, and will continue until the moment you die. It is the animating force within you. And you don’t need to do anything to control it right now. Effortless.

Now, place your hand on your heart and feel a connection to the space of compassion within you. There is a basic warmth and openness that is your true nature. Its called Love. If you struggle to connect to that feeling, bring to mind someone you know who is suffering right now. Notice what feelings arise in your heart. If possible, make a commitment to support that person today.

So that is the basic technique behind the mantra:

Stop. Breathe. Love

I hope you find it useful today and any moment when you need to reconnect to your true, peaceful, loving nature.


Last week, I sent you the first in a series of practices called ‘A Year To Live’.

The idea is very simple…

We put important things off.

We convince ourselves we have more time. We can keep putting important things off until tomorrow our whole lives…until there are no more tomorrows.

The best way to overcome this self-delusion we all suffer from is to bring an awareness of your own mortality to the foreground. This is why the practices I am sharing with you are grounded in a total acceptance that this year may indeed be the last year we have to live. If it were, what would you do?

By the way, if you think this kind of thing is ‘morbid’, just consider for a moment that this response might be a defence from the part of you that is terrified of leaving this earth-bound existence without having given fully of your gift. From my experience, maintaining an awareness that this life is finite and therefore precious is the single most life-affirming practice I know.

If you missed last week’s newsletter, you can read it here. The practice I shared was about making a simple list of moments when people have been kind to you. How did you get on?

Over the last 2 weeks, I have had some amazing interactions with people who have been kind to me. Some of these interactions took place in my head, as I recalled, for example, a moment in my first year at secondary school when a boy in the year above was bullying me, trying to stop me from getting off the bus, and a boy two years older than me at school came in and shielded me, helping me get off the bus. This moment came into my mind as I meditated on these instances of kindness, and so I imagined thanking the boy who protected me and said an appreciative good-bye. 


The second practice in this series is about forgiving people who have hurt you.

Why would you want to do this if you had a year to live? Well, holding onto resentment and bitterness prevents you from living and ultimately from dying in peace and love. This is a physiological truth, not just a metaphysical one. Studies show that extended feelings of anger, bitterness or resentment can affect our immune system, our organ function and our metabolism. Each time we replay in our minds the original event that offended us, the stress hormone cortisol is released into our bloodstream. You can read more about the science here.

So if you want to live, and ultimately die, in peace, I invite you to try the following steps:

1. Take a few moments to run through in your mind any memories where you are still holding onto some resentment. Some memories may be obvious, some will be buried a little deeper down. You will find that once you open the door to this reflective process, some older memories containing energies of resentment will pop up to say hello. Say HELLO back:) These memories are your heart’s way of showing you that it longs to be free from grief.

2. Make a list of these moments or people who have hurt you deeply enough to warrant the effort to forgive. It can help to use a 1-to-10 scale: How much pain do I have regarding the way this person treated me? (with 1 being the least amount of pain and 10 being the most pain). 

3. Recognise the venom: Start with the person/incident with the lowest score. Recognize the effect on your thoughts, feelings, behaviours that not forgiving this person/incident has been having on your life. Wayne Dyer compares resentment to being like a snakebite: it’s not the bite that kills, but the venom that keeps circulating around the bloodstream. So the effect that not forgiving is having on your life is the ‘venom’. 

4. Make a strong decision to forgive: It is important to remember that forgiving is not forgetting. By choosing forgivenness, you are choosing to release yourself from suffering. We can do this, and at the same time hold someone to account for their actions. Make a strong decision to forgive, knowing that this is for your own peace.

5. A moment of empathy: to forgive deeply, we need to consider this: if we had lived exactly the same life as the person who hurt us, can we be 100% sure that we wouldn’t have acted in the same way? Consider the wounds that person suffered in their own life, the pressures and stresses they may have been going through at the time they hurt you. Notice any movement in your heart, that warm, open feeling of empathy.

6. Think of a gift and release the venom: is there a gesture, real or visualised, that you could extend to this person as a symbol of your forgivennes. It might be thinking or speaking kindly of them from now on. It might be calling them, texting them, writing them an email or letter. Of course, in many incidents we may not want or need to contact the person directly. For these incidents, you can imagine extending a gesture of forgivenness and then imagine that any venom that has been cirrculating in your system is released back into Mother Earth who just loves taking this heavy energy and turning it into sweet energy. It can also help to open a closed fist as you release the venom.

7. Gratitude for the lesson: what lesson has this incident or person taught you? Find a place in your heart to feel gratitude for the wisdom this person or incident has allowed you to cultivate.


This is definitely a more challenging practice then last week’s. But because it is challenging, it contains a greater potential for your own transformation. If you like science, then you will see that many elements of this practice have been taken from this evidence-based forgivennes practice. In other words, yes, it really works:)

Once you have gone through the list from lighter to heavier situations, you will feel a great shift in your heart, and a growing sense of inner peace. There is no need to rush this process. Just open that door marked ‘forgivennes’ in your heart, and go gently.

I am struck by the delicious irony that many people reading this will put this email in a file marked ‘tomorrow’. 

Here are a couple of quotes to keep you inspired:

There are days when I wish I could erase all the horrors that I have witnessed from my mind. It seems that there is no end to the creative ways we humans can find to hurt each other, and no end to the reasons we feel justified in doing so. There is also no end to the human capacity for healing. In each of us there is an innate ability to create joy out of suffering, to find hope in the most hopeless of situations, and to heal any relationship that is in need of healing.
— Desmond Tutu, ‘The Book of Forgiving’

I realise there’s something incredibly honest about trees in winter, how they’re experts at letting things go.

– C. JoyBell C.

Sending All My Love

As ever, if you have any questions about this practice or anything else, then please do get in touch.


What the Paris massacre teaches us about fear, anger and forgiveness

What the Paris massacre teaches us about fear, anger and forgiveness

What the Paris massacre teaches us about fear, anger and forgiveness

Newsletter, June 2015


Anger Displaced

Dearest Quiet Evolutionaries,
There is a lot of anger in the air right now.

The clearest single impact of the recent massacre in Paris has been to provoke anger, and its bedfellow, fear. We need to acknowledge that this is our deep, unconscious, instinctive response. It is fight or flight, anger or fear.

This is the terror in ‘terrorism’.

Whenever we hear of a tragedy such as this, especially one so close to home, our survival response kicks in, and we immediately relate it to our own experience: “what if that had been me or someone I love in the Bataclan? How can I protect myself and my loved ones?” 

I have found myself over the last days being swept up in this survivalist state of mind and the emotional contagion it feeds. The years of anger and resentment that has now morphed into the violent acts of ISIS have themselves triggered further waves of anger and fear, as I have clearly seen across social media. People are angry against the News Corporations (and by default those of us who get our information from them), for making such a big deal of the tragedy in Paris, when terrorism is happening all over the world on a daily basis. People are getting angry at how Western countries have dealt with Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, creating the problem of Isis in the first place. And I can speak for myself and say I have felt angry, angry at how many people feel the need to get on the soapbox whenever there is a tragedy such as this. I was angry too at myself, for passively following this emotive, divisive stream, my ego just seeking (as it generally tends to) opinions it could agree or disagree with, building ever higher walls around its own echo-chamber.


The Wound behind our outrage

As I felt myself getting consumed with angry thoughts, I realized these thoughts and the emotion behind them were in fact signals to a deeper, wounded place inside of my self.

This wounded place in me carries all the resentments, all the fear and anger, the letdowns, putdowns, aggressions and abuses I have ever experienced.

These memories I carry.

They are lodged in my psyche, and the earliest painful memories are lodged more subtly in my body.

After many years of work on this wounded part of my self, I know that I can never access or heal that place if I allow my attention to get carried away on a torrent of negative judgments about external people and events.

You have that wound. We all do.

When you were born and experienced that first moment of exposure to a world in which you were a separate being. There was pain there. Sure, if you were lucky enough to have a caring, protective mother, she gave you enough moments of reassurance, enough ‘there there’s’, to make you feel like the world might fundamentally be a safe enough place. But you never forgot the primal terror of separation.

The primal wound and the memories of hurt it accumulates over the years only lays dormant until an event opens the wound, opening your very own personalised Pandora’s Box.

We live in the age of the digital soapbox. Everyone is a broadcaster. To broadcast means literally to ‘cast out widely’. When the contents of our very own Pandora’s Box are set loose, the natural tendency in these days is for us to cast out widely the contents of our box in the shape of a definite opinion; public reaction is our habit. I found myself pulled to do this very thing.


The Power of Forgiveness

But if our first response is to broadcast our emotions in the form of opinion, this only serves to displace our attention from looking inwards, at our own wounds. On a micro-level, every time you get into a disagreement or full-blown argument with your friend, partner, child, work colleague, your very own Pandora’s Box opens up, and years of repressed pain are unleashed, feeding tainted ideas into the story-weaver that is your mind, like a projectionist in an old movie theatre. Suddenly, you can’t see the person before you as they are. You are looking at them through spectacles coated with the thick paint of your own personal hurts.

So whenever an event happens that triggers your wounded self, no matter how great or small, it is really imperative that you first look inwards, and tend to your own wound before jumping on the soapbox. This is the only way the world is ever going to heal, one precious wound at a time.

And the most direct and powerful way to tend to your wound is through deep, radical forgiveness. Yes, forgivenness…not some cheesy, antiquated, or weak relic of the Christian tradition…but Forgiveness with a capital ‘F’: a powerful, direct, conscious choice we can make in the face of a humanity overrun with untended, wounded souls.

Now is the time to broadcast forgiveness inwardly, to send that message loud and clear to the wounded part of your self. You can let this part of you know right now that you will no longer live with resentment or bitterness. You can let this part of you know that in this very moment you are bringing an end to the cycles of pain and violence, by forgiving all those who have ever hurt you, including your self, your own worst enemy.

And so it is for my self, in the face of the recent massacre in Paris, in the face of all the pain and suffering happening all over the world right now, in the face of all the people who have ever hurt me and let me down, in the face of all the times I ever let myself down, in the face of all of our primal wounds, I am reaching deep into my heart in this very moment to activate that powerful quality of forgiveness. May our very own, personal, intimate acts of forgiveness create a million small ripples that together can build into an ocean of love and healing. 

The great Sufi poet Rumi says: “The wound is the place where the Light enters you.” The world needs your light right now.