The Difference Between Forgiveness and Reconciliation

Many people get confused by these two terms. Here’s the difference.

Forgiveness is a personal experience that my lead to Reconciliation. Forgiveness we do for ourselves. My metaphorical definition of Forgiveness is that it is not letting people off the hook. It is taking the hook out of our hearts and giving it back spiritually to the person(s) who harmed us. It is an active process which relieves us of the pain and its negative affects

We Forgive to release ourselves from the pain and sadness of the painful experience that may have included neglect, abuse, or abandonment. We free our minds and bodies of the trauma resulting from another person’s actions. WE become healthier physically, emotionally, and mentally.

Reconciliation takes at least two people, one to Forgive and one to be Forgiven.

Have a Blessed Day!

So be selfish. Make a Forgiveness list and prepare yourself to be willing to forgive by Prayer, Lovingkindness and Compassion Meditation, and getting support from friends, loved ones clergy, or professionals if you need to.

Have a Blessed day

Forgiveness–To Be Happy

Now that people know that I am the “Forgiveness Guy” in Boulder I am getting a lot of comments and surprises. Just at lunch today my friend Bob Stuenkel, a retired Lutheran Minister who just returned to Boulder from vacationing in Florida gave me a book on Forgiveness signed by and a gift from an author, Richard W. Rouse he met in Florida. I feel blessed. The title, “Fire of Grace: The Healing Power Of Forgiveness”

I am excited that more and more people are writing about Forgiveness. Archbishop Tutu and his daughter also have a book on Forgiveness released last month.
I am working hard on my book “Forgiveness:The Ultimate Revenge “and plan to have it published by the end of the Summer.

Want to be happy and free of the past, Forgive. I’ll tell you how in future blogs which will be weekly from now on.

Have a blessed day.

Forgiveness–Step 3

Allowing Yourself to Feel

This Step is very interesting to me and will be, I hope, to you. Many of us, especially men, shut off our feelings when we have been hurt or betrayed.  Women, on the other hand, are still told today that “nice girls” don’t get angry much less enraged. The result is pent up feelings that get turned off and get expressed inappropriately when stressed out or under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

However, to feel is to heal. Expressing our feelings in a healthy way frees us to be powerful and to take care of ourselves.

When I was in this Stage I learned to feel powerful and free. I had always been afraid of my rage. Afraid that I would hurt someone or beat them up. What I learned was that I could control my anger and express it in as healthy way. I could raise my voiced but I didn’t have to shout.

Other feelings, like unrestrained joy and being vulnerable if I made a mistake also brought people closer to me. I lost my fear or self-consciousness and I felt more alive.

Other times when I had great fears or nightmares. I would wake up lie on my back in bed and pray, “God, I want it all. I want to feel all these feelings. I want to be alive.” I would breathe consciously and within 15 or 20 minutes I would fall asleep and slept deeply the rest of the night.

Breathing into all my feelings enabled me to feel some power and control over them. I wasn’t at their mercy and I didn’t have to suffer sometimes for days at a time. I felt strong and capable of managing my feeling states.

According to Buddha, “Everything passes.” Gaining control of my feelings and realizing that I could take care of myself was a huge and very satisfying Step to my healing and being present and eventually being able to forgive.

Have A Blessed day.







Forgiveness: Step 2– Develop Support For Your Healing

After telling our story to trusted friends or professionals, it is important for us to build a support system for our healing. We can’t do it alone or in a vacuum.  We were hurt by people who were suffering and it is with the help of healthy people we can recover.

I tried to heal alone after my memories of being abused flooded my mind during sleep or when triggered by sounds, smells, and similar experiences. After three years I first reached out to a friend who suggested therapy. The therapist suggested that I call her if I were triggered if I couldn’t reach friends. She also suggested I do art therapy or write poetry about my experiences.

After about a year of psychotherapy I began being treated by a massage therapist who helped me to learn to regulate my nervous systems when I was triggered.

I know I couldn’t have healed to the point I am now if it weren’t for the acceptance, love, care, and identifying experiences of supportive friends.

All of these people have contributed to my recovery including new friends and other professionals today as well as Twelve Step Programs. I believe the more support we can build the healthier we can become.

Have a Blessed day


Forgiveness–The Pathway To Love

Being a normal fourteen year old, my daughter, Rose points out a lot of my mistakes and frailties and tells them to my ex-wife, partner and other friends, hers and ours.

Sometimes it is hard to handle and I find myself wanting to reprimand her or to embarrass her in front of her/our friends. After some experience with this behavior I have a new formula. I say to myself “I forgive her” and then thank her for helping me to be humble.

I have realized that when she criticizes I only get upset about the behaviors that I feel are true and that I personally chastise myself for. The others “roll off my back”. Thus I am a willing participant in her shaming me.

Forgiving Rose  has helped me to be less sensitive about certain behaviors I don’t like. I can then eventually forgive myself for those behaviors. It’s a double win and I am getting more mature as I handle these situations and less sensitive as I erase them from my repertoire. This also keeps me in harmony with Rose and we an have more fun together.

Have a Blessed Day!





Forgiveness Oprah Winfrey Quote

“Forgiveness is when you can say, “Thank you for that experience.”
 -Oprah Winfrey
WOW! I thought the other day when I read this quote. I said to myself, “She’s right on, but most people will not understand this.”
Early In my forgiveness journey, I would have thought she has gone crazy. I was in the rage faze and all I wanted to do was slice my perpetrators into little pieces  and feed them to the dogs.
But since I got to the final step of  forgiving them and actually feeling compassion for them, I know what Oprah means.
The truth is that I not only survived my childhood abuse but I have recovered from it. I am free of the past and live totally in the present. Now I am thankful for the experience because it has given me the gift of seeing the humanity of the men who hurt me, and being compassionate for myself and others who have had similar experiences. It has enabled me to help hundreds of other men and women to recover from their childhood abuse.
My recovery has also brought with it a serenity and openness about my life and the contributions I make to my fellow men and women. I try to live my life by principles of love, acceptance and compassion.

My recovery has taught me to accept at the deepest level of being that I am loved by God, that I love myself and other people and that other people see me as authentic and lovable.
What greater gift can I experience in this life.
Have A Blessed Day

Nine Steps to Forgiveness–Step 1 Telling Your Story

“Our Secrets Are Our Mental Illness.”

I first heard this saying over thirty years ago at AA meetings. In my experience of healing from childhood abuse and addiction it is very true. I went through three years of secrecy after I had my memories of being sexually abused by my father, grandfather and a Catholic priest.

During that time I developed ulcers, headaches, and insomnia. It was a long three years as fears would come up and I had no outlet. I was moody and irritable and stressed out. I isolated from friends. I went to other addictions, sweets and sports on TV.

The First Step to Forgiveness is telling our story to people we trust. Once I started to tell my story to friends and a Therapist my body healed itself and I was able to sleep. The love and support I received helped me to reduce my anxiety and enabled me to gather strength so that I could confront my reality and heal from it.

So silence saps our strength and leads to anxiety and depression and our bodies tire and we become more sickly in body, mind, and spirit. Telling our stories brings us sanity, compassion, and love from friends and professionals which lighten our load and eliminate the stress.

Have a blessed day.


Healing Through Forgveness

Most people don’t think that their illnesses or injuries can be healed through Forgiveness. We are too stuck on the delusion that medications heal us. But the truth is that when we are angry, feel victimized, or want to seek revenge on someone who has hurt us, it has a major effect on our health.

These results have been confirmed by studies at the Mayo Clinic and Harvard Medical School.  In addition, you’ll even look younger and have younger energy, and if you have a fourteen year old daughter like my Rose she will be embarrassed by your openness and playfulness when her friends are present with us.

In my own case I developed ulcerative colitis, ulcers, headaches, inability to sleep through the night, when I was in denial, trying to control the feelings and emotional states of my childhood abuse. It was during a period when I was too ashamed to tell anyone about my condition because I “should have been able to stop the adult men from harming me,  questioned my own sexuality, and didn’t want the memories to be true. My back even went out when I was putting in a garden. Actually it was unexpressed rage that was eating at me as well as a great sense of victimhood.

Eventually I got help, felt the feelings, walked through them and through EMDR the awful memories were processed and I was able to not only forgive the men who abused me but also to feel compassion for them by seeing their humanity.

Once I addressed all these feelings, received treatment,  and forgave these men all the symptoms mentioned above went away and haven’t returned for the past five years


Forgiveness: A Courageous Act

Forgiveness: A Courageous Act

Forgiveness is not for sissies. It takes great courage to let go of being a victim. To forgive and even having the intention to forgive takes faith in ourselves, our Higher Powers, and friends and family.

There are a lot of payoffs to being a victim.  When I finally told close friends about my childhood abuse, they would reply. “Oh my God, you are amazing. I am sorry that happened to you. You are so healthy given your history. what has happened to you. I admire your strength to be so successful given what has happened to you.”

It also gives you excuses for your dysfunctional behavior. “I lose my temper because I have PTSD.” ” I fail in my relationships because I was abused.” If recovery from the abuse didn’t take so much effort, I would be far ahead of where I am in  my career.” ” I am hopeless.” “I won’t take this risk because it is too scary.”

Recovery takes courage, perseverance, and faith. It is the Hero’s Journey of descending into your hell to find your heaven and meaning for your life. It means finding the right combination of healthy physical, emotional, spiritual help and accepting this is your path to being a Thriver in life and contributing your health, forgiveness, and compassion to making this a better world.

Have a blessed day.


Forgiveness; Commitment

Another important Element that is important in building the foundation for our Journey to Forgiveness is Commitment

To complete the Nine Steps to Forgiveness Process we must make a commitment of time and effort. This journey is not for the feint of heart. It is sometimes very difficult and without a commitment most people do not complete it.

It is often helpful to write out our commitment, read it to a support buddy, and  give it to that person. It is also helpful to call that person every morning and commit to our activities during that day. Then we follow up  with a call in the evening to tell our support person we have completed our commitment.

The benefit is that we will feel a sense of accomplishment and that we are moving closer to our goal of forgiveness each day. Also if we have difficulty completing the assignment we can talk with our support person and discover the nature of our resistance to doing the work which may indicate we need more help and support either from friends or professionals.

Isolation is a dangerous place to be during this process. It is just our human nature to put it off if we don’t share with another person.

Have a blessed day.