Forgiveness; A New Beginning

Forgiveness is something we all like to think we can easily practice, yet many times struggle with in the course of our lives. No matter how trivial or astronomical of a problem, we tend to hold onto our judgements, anger and even hatred.

Why is that, when most of us think of ourselves as loving and easy going individuals?

We have a hard time with forgiveness because our mind gets in the way. The hypothalamus, an ancient part of our brain that’s programmed for survival kicks in when it feels it’s being attacked. It doesn’t know the difference between a physical attack or mental attack. All it knows is “this is wrong” and it will do everything to stop it. They hypothalamus is not programmed for us to be happy, at peace or thrive. It’s meant to help us survive. That’s it!

Forgiveness comes from below the brain, the heart. When we turn off the part of our mind that over analyzes why we are right, or plans an attack, or finds more reasons to feel sorry for ourselves we have a chance to experience

Forgiveness takes an understanding that we forgive, not by condoning one’s actions, but by letting go of the pain, the past, the story attached to it. We forgive so we can move on. Without forgiveness there is no way we truly let go of the event, and in essence we relive the pain over and over again, through our anger, justification and hurt. Through forgiveness we can finally move on from the pain that brought us there. We are freed. In essence we forgive for us, not for the person that committed the “wrong doing.” We can only be freed from forgiveness if we truly forgive, rather than simply saying “ I forgive you.” and hope the pain will go away. Many of us go through the motions but don’t have any heart in
what we’re doing. The magic only happens when we truly let go.

Letting go comes from an understanding that no matter how painful of a situation, no matter how wrong it seems the person who acted “unjustly” was acting from a place where he or she was trying to meet a critical need of his or hers and had no knowledge of how to accomplish this in any other way. Perhaps that was the only way they knew how to get the job done.

You see, everything we do, every action we take is to meet one of our basic human needs. The higher the need is to us the stronger our actions will be to fulfill them. Another way to let go and come to forgiveness is to see yourself in this person, and similar actions you might’ve done. Everything and everyone in our life is a mirror. We can’t see something in someone if it’s not true in ourselves. This is true with constructive and destructive behavior as well. Perhaps we haven’t committed the behavior in the extremity you experienced, but if it’s in our lives, if we see it in others than we have it to.

For example, take a child who’s being abused by her parent. Chances are she doesn’t go around beating her parent back, but she might go to school and bully a classmate or act out in class. She has similar behavior to her parent.

Esther On Pikes Peak

Eva Mozes Kor, an Auschwitz survivor, one who was subject to Dr. Mengela’s inhumane experiments was one of the first known woman to openly forgive her persecutors. She explained there’s no other way to live than to forgive. Holding onto anger and judgement poisons the body and weakens the soul. She never condoned they’re actions and even went onto building a holocaust museum. She taught, in the most eloquent, harmonious way what the power of forgiveness can do.

Immaculée Ilibagiza, a Ruwandan holocaust survivor wrote a book entitled Left To Tell where she talks about the horrors of the holocaust and how she came to forgive the killers of her family and village. She explained that by not forgiving she was no different than the killers of her family. A devout catholic, she turned to her prayers for answers and in it she realized the only way toward God and peace was through forgiveness.

I too had a chance to practice forgiveness in my life. Although not as dramatic, I had a hard time forgiving my father, who almost killed me several times in my life and later my abusive husband. I was able to forgive them by coming to an understanding that everyone that comes into our lives, no matter how briefly, as an angel and is there to help us with something; whether it’s to understand a difficult concept or to experience something our soul perhaps wanted to experience. The more I realized this, the easier the process was for me to forgive.

Esther Dance Pic

With the New Year just behind us, there is still a lot of built up anger, fear and grief over family conflicts, the stress of debt accumulation and the anxiety of finding a way to make this year better than the last. It’s an end but also a new beginning and with that an opportunity to let go of some long built up anger and pain.

I have a saying.

“To Every End Despite How Tragic Is The Light To A Beautiful Beginning”

I think of 9/11 as a great example of how the country, even the world seemed to come together. The tragedy was monumental, but seeing the kindness of strangers from around the world come to together with support made me focus on that, rather than the horror of that day. It was in this way I was able to let go of my anger and fear from terrorist acts by changing my focus. If we can forgive and let go of anger from the most vicious killers than perhaps we can begin to forgive our family, friends, clients and partners.


A great exercise in bringing forgiveness closer to you is to write a letter to the person. You don’t ever have to send it, but write down all your thoughts, all your hurt and then begin to write why you’re forgiving this person, how he or she is your angel and why you are thankful for the situation.

In closing forgiveness is a process. For most of us it doesn’t happen overnight and that’s ok. But if you really want to forgive by finding the blessings, the angel behind the demon and theunderstanding you are ready to be freed of the story, the easier and quicker forgiveness will happen.

Guest Post – Are You Getting The Right Legal Help When It Comes To Divorce?

Even though the 2011 census showed that New Jersey has one of the lowest divorce rates in the country, there are still those who insist on ruining New Jersey’s good record.

(Photo Credits: jcoterhals)

Questions That You Need To Have Answered

Find out the last time that your lawyer was actually in divorce court. If they even hint at the fact that that they haven’t been, and they tell you not to worry because it’s no different than any other lawsuit—run for the hills and look elsewhere. Find out how much this is going to cost you in services and fees because there are more fees than you can shake a judge’s gavel at for:

  • filing fees
  • fees for the process server
  • transcripts deposition
  • court fees and more

It’s also important to ask your divorce lawyer whether they will be handling your case or passing it off to their “Hi, I just graduated law school” assistant. Larger firms frequently lure you in with one of their most successful and experienced divorce lawyers but then pass off your case to one of their less experienced legal representatives. You’ve just gone from having the big guns on your side to some little pipsqueak with a pea shooter.

Is Your Lawyer Experienced?

Much of the time cases can be settled out of court (ideally that’s what most parties are normally striving for). A more personal environment, fewer fees and less stress can all be perks for settling out of court. But is your lawyer willing to take your case to trial if it becomes an absolute necessity? There are lawyers who concentrate on default divorces or no fault divorces exclusively. You have to decide whether or not that may or may not fit your needs.

You might need someone with the knowledge and competence to stand up for your rights in court. And if this is their first ever divorce representation (and this may seem cruel), ask for someone else. Granted, they need to get experience somewhere; but do they need to get that experience through one of the most devastatingly important circumstances of your very lifetime?

Share And Share Alike

Your lawyer should be sharing with you their strategic, yet flexible, plan. They should absolutely, positively take no more than a two-day maximum period of time in which to answer any phone call from you and your divorce lawyer should at all times act courteously and professionally. You in turn must share any and all information with your lawyer that is pertinent to your divorce case.

You may not always see eye to eye when it comes to your lawyer’s recommendations, and that’s OK; by the time you go to trial (if your divorce does indeed have to go to trial), you will need to be on the same page. Consider what they’re saying because they’ve done this before and are experienced in divorce proceedings. (Remember? We cleared that up earlier.) Ignoring your attorney’s advice on a consistent basis could end up in the two of you parting ways and you having to start again from point A.

See, now you have to divorce your attorney!

(Photo Credits: Jerry Bunkers)

Getting To Know You

When you first sit down with your lawyer for the first few consultations, you may go through a ‘getting to know you’ period. You’re going to be emotional and emotions can’t help but influence our decisions. Your attorney on the other hand, can step back and see things from a wider view with a calmer frame of mind.

Emotions and legal proceedings do not go together well. Let the experts handle your divorce case with their expertise. What you shouldn’t expect from your divorce lawyer is miracles and magic. What you can expect is legal representation to defend your rights as they apply to your newly single life in general, your assets and your children.

Feel out your attorney before you sign on that dotted line. It’s your money and it’s your divorce; you have to be comfortable with the person representing you; God knows it’s going to be hard enough to be comfortable with anything else. Everything is going to change from here to the end. Nothing is going to be the way you knew it once was ever again. You need someone special to go through that with you.

But Perhaps What You Need Is Not A Lawyer!

Truth be told, lawyers do have their own agendas and more often than not, you will find that the lawyer you have hired imposed more ideas and decisions on you than the issues in your marriage that caused the breakdown between you and your soon-to-be ex. With a lawyer, what you will be going through is known as a litigated divorce. But if you are looking for an amicable way to handle the divorce while getting what both of you want as the conditions for the divorce, try taking a look at mediation. It is where the right legal help may actually be for you!



Maryana Kanda, an accredited family and divorce NJ mediator, knows the importance of providing the best legal advice in a divorce.

If I Wanted To Leave, Then Why Do I Feel So Horrible?

Divorce is one of the greatest stressors experienced today. What many people don’t realize is even though it’s something they wanted, grief is a natural response. The simple reason that it’s new, different and maybe putting the divorcee in many unknown beginnings. This alone will create sheer terror. Fear is a result of walking into the unknown. Knowledge is the most powerful conqueror of fear. If we understand what’s in front of us, we are better prepared for it.

Mark Twain said it best,
“I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened.”

When going through a divorce our life is thrown upside down, inside out and backwards. It’s hard for us to see the floor, let alone take a step forward, but understanding that fear is a normal emotional response to what is happening is a beginning step to moving through it. The first thing to understand is that what you might be feeling is anticipation or excitement. In fact there is a similar chemical reaction produced by the body when experiencing excitement and fear. Divorce can be an exciting time, a chance for a new beginning. Although there are unknowns, the possibilities are endless. Embracing the possibilities can help you find your footing and take the steps necessary to better your life.

“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.” Marie Curie (1867 – 1934)

Think of a time that you were scared to do something, perhaps when you were a child, maybe it was getting on that two wheeler for the first time, or letting go of floating devices in a pool. Think about how it felt when you moved through that fear. What lies on the other side of fear is excitement and celebration. If we can take steps to move through our fears, knowing that on the other side is a big splashy celebration, it will be easier to arrive at our destination. The definition of fear, is the anticipation of pain. If we think we will experience pain before it actually happens, then we are either living in a past experiencing, where we felt pain, or living in an unrealized future. By knowing this, we can gently bring ourselves back to the present moment and know that there’s nothing to fear but fear itself. Know that you can create a better life, a happier you and a healthier environment for yourself and your children, if you have any. By understanding fear as a natural response to divorce, facing it and moving through it, you will begin to discover your true power and unlimited possibilities for your future.

How To Get Through A Break Up

Welcome New Horizon

You’re in a marriage for 12 years. You feel miserable and know you want to break up. You finally do it and lo and behold you feel miserable. Why does this happen? I remember after I finally took the steps to end my marriage I felt worse then when I was in the marriage. This shocked me since it was something I’ve wanted for so many years.

According to The Grief Recovery Handbook they define grief as, “The end or change in a familiar pattern, causing conflicting feelings.”

Divorce, or a break up is the end of a familiar pattern. We can be happy that we are moving on from an unhealthy relationship but scared about all the unknowns that lie ahead. These unknowns can cause chaos to enter our lives. Our emotions can go haywire, leaving us feeling as if we just went through a tornado. It’s also the finality of any hopes we had toward the relationship. At times we are also dealing with feelings of rejection, even if we were the ones who wanted the break up.

I remember sitting in my apartment alone during my separation, for the first time in many years, unsure what lied ahead of me. I thought about how I would survive financially, how my children would get through the changes, if I would find my soulmate and contemplated all the unknowns I could not predict. It made me miserable and at times left me in such fear, I found myself gasping for air.

There were several things I did that helped me heal, move on and learn to thrive again but two in particular that made the real difference.

The first thing I did was surround myself with support and positive people who would help push me forward into my new life. I joined a spiritual group, led by a friend called Rising Heat, where we met every weekend and discussed ways to create peace and happiness, Choice Theory, The Five Love Languages and more conscious philosophy. This proved to be extremely helpful in my healing and allowed me to find my power again. The support I received from the group, combined with the philosophical discussions gave me the motivation and assurance to heal, move on and succeed.

The next thing I did was I began figure skating and mountain climbing. I grew up skating but never learned how to fly and dance on ice. I’ve always been attracted to mountains and dreamed of climbing in Colorado and beyond someday. Both of these dreams seemed inaccessible to me during my marriage.

When I got divorced I knew I needed to create myself anew, express myself and allow myself to live completely. Figure skating and climbing in the great outdoors taught me to not only love myself by providing me with hobbies I’ve always dreamed of but I learned to value myself. When I stepped out of my comfort zone onto the ice or packed a backpack to summit a mountain I reaffirmed my strengths, passion, talents and the gifts I have to share with the world. When I was on the ice I felt free. The mountains shared its stillness and power with me I couldn’t get anywhere else. Both of these activities helped me renew a part of me I thought died long ago.

I learned that healing from an end or change in a familiar pattern takes a tremendous amount of self acceptance and self love. Surrounding yourself with the supportive tools and people can help you let go of your past life and old patterns and help you recreate yourself in the way that you want.

The most important thing to remember is the only constant in life is change. Allow yourself to grieve and mourn the finality of your hopes toward this relationship. But know this is not the end, rather the beginning and you have the choice on how it will look. By choosing who you surround yourself with, the activities you do and the love you give yourself you are making a conscious decision to start off your new life with a spring in its step. This will cause a spiral effect of more of what you want to see, live and be.

Every moment we decide who and what we want to be, by the choices we make and the actions we do. Let’s choose them wisely.