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ISSN: 1839-2318

I FORGIVE MYSELF wildsisterS of the YEAR WE ALL MAKE MISTAKES

August 2013

#26

Forgiveness 1

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What’s inside 3

Editor’s Note

Contributors

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Tell Us What You Think!

Don’t Dwell on What Was

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Afirmation of the Month

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Cover image: Lori Portka http://loriportka.com

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I Forgive Myself

Graceful Release: (Queen) Pigeon Pose

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Wild Sister of the Year (People’s Choice)

Wild Sister of the Year

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How to Set Yourself Free With Forgiveness

Forgiveness: A Daily Practice

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On Forgiveness

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It Has to Be OK

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Quotes of the Month

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The Power of Self-Forgiveness

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The Choice to Forgive

The Gifts of Forgiveness

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When It’s Time To Look Within

My Healing Journey

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We All Make Mistakes

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The Path to Self-Forgiveness

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Latest on the Blog

Contribute

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Advertise

Connect with us

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August Love:

editor’s note Fellow Sister, Welcome to our Forgiveness edition, where together we will explore what it truly means to forgive—both ourselves and others. Forgiveness is sometimes misunderstoon or forgotten completely, especially self-forgiveness. But it is such a vital part of loving ourselvess, opening our hearts and creating a happy, positive life.

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Without forgiveness, we are forever chained to the past. We hold on to our pain, unable to move forward with our lives. Forgiveness is key to choosing love and releasing fear. This month, our wonderful contributor’s share their stories and lessons in forgiveness, and I know you will have many moments of realisation as you dive deep within these pages.

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1. Making new friends. 2. Admiring nature. 3. Giving thanks.

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Forgiveness can be hard, but know that you have a sisterhood of wild women supporting you, every step of the way. With love, Jen.


wildsisters

{july 2013}

Editor Assistant Editor

Creative Director Jen Saunders Wild Sister

Dani DiPirro Positively Present

Danielle Tate-Stratton danitatestratton

Writers Dani DiPirro

Jess Carlson

Ina Sahaja

Anne-Sophie Reinhardt

Jen Saunders

Donna Morin

Cinda Stevens Lonsway

Shai Smith

Karina Ladet

Sonya Forrest

Jennifer Covington

Natalie Krishna

Guest Writers Cindie Chavez

Jodie Davies

Rosa Wong

Want to join this amazning group of women by contributing to WILDsister? Click here to find out how. 4

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let us know

what you think...

instantly

Take a photo of you reading this issue, post it on instagram + tag it with #wildsister. I’ll re-post it and give you a shout-out on our Facebook page!

Tweet it! Here are a few tweetables you can send out right now {I’ll re-tweet it!}: Exploring forgiveness with the latest edition of @wildsistermag http://tinyurl.com/b7426lo #imawildsister {clicktotweetthis} Reading: Forgiveness edition of @wildsistermag http://tinyurl.com/b7426lo {clicktotweetthis} Learning how to forgive with @wildsistermag http:// tinyurl.com/b7426lo #imawildsister {clicktotweetthis}

image: Manon Doyle

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Don’t Dwell on What Was: Finding Forgiveness by Letting Go of the Past

by Dani DiPirro

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living a life focused on the past isn’t really living at all.

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I’ve

re-discovered my love of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. It’s such a powerful tale about how much dwelling on the past can impact not only your life but the lives of others as well. I loved the story the first time I read it in high school, but re-reading it now (at nearly 30-years-old—almost exactly the age Nick Carraway was when he spent a summer with Gatsby), the book has taken on an entirely new meaning for me. I used to struggle to overcome my past, to come to terms with forgiving myself and others. I was both tormented by it and yet oddly desperate to relive certain moments again and again. Sometimes I’d literally try to get back to the past by returning to the same locations, people, and activities. Logically, I knew the past was gone, but I couldn’t stop myself from trying to relive it at times. And much more often than I liked, I found myself ruminating about what could have been had things gone differently. Had I possessed the charm and resourcefulness of Gatsby, perhaps I too would have gone to drastic measures to recapture what I had believed to be lost. (For those who need a refresher on the story: Gatsby has created an entire lifestyle of lavish parties and wealth in the hopes that former love, Daisy, will return once again to his life.) Maybe I too would have done whatever I could have to reclaim what had once been mine. But, not being the great (and fictional) character Gatsby, I was forced to move forward—to at least try to keep paddling into the future even as I felt myself repeatedly being pulled back into the past. Right before I started Positively Present, I made the choice to focus my attention on the present. I understood it would never be easy to let the past go, but dwelling on it had clearly gotten me nowhere. I knew I would never find forgiveness if I kept living life backward. I’d been borne back again and again into the past and, despite the everpounding waves and the relentless current, I made the choice to fight back, to choose now over then. It was one of the best choices I’ve ever made. 7

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Difficult as it was—and, quite honestly, still is— choosing to focus on the present transformed my life. Rather than dwelling on what I did or did not do, I was finally living. I still think about the past (who doesn’t?), but I no longer dwell on it with a Gatsby-like determination to return there, either to undo or redo what had already been done. Though I still struggle to come to terms with what was, I now know that living a life focused on the past isn’t really living at all. And as I re-read The Great Gatsby recently I realized that the character of Jay Gatsby is livingin-the-past personified. He spent is present creating a future based entirely on his desire to go back to the past. Gatsby’s intense focus on the past doesn’t work out so well for him in the end (poor guy), but his tale provides some valuable insights into just why dwelling on the past can wreck havoc on the present... Dwelling on the past will make the future fall short “There must have been moments even that afternoon when Daisy tumbled short of [Gatsby’s] dreams—not through her own fault, but because of the colossal vitality of his illusion. It had gone beyond her, beyond everything. He had thrown himself into it with a creative passion, adding to it all the time, decking it out with every bright feather that drifted his way. No amount of fire or freshness can challenge what a man will store up in his ghostly heart.” When we long for the past, recapping it again and again in our minds, we fail to realize that what happened in the past is not always the same as what we remember happened in the past. Odd as it might seem, what we remember isn’t always what actually happened—and sometimes we remember


things with a more positive, or at least more interesting, spin. No matter how much Gatsby loved Daisy or how great things were when they were together, it probably wasn’t nearly as wonderful as the illusion he’d spent years creating in his mind. Like Gatsby, many of us store up memories, recalling times when everything was seemingly perfect. Some of us, like the ill-fated Gatsby, waste the present trying to return, in some way, back to that “perfect” time in the past. Many of us have newer, fresher experiences that dim the past and pave the way for living in the present—but sometimes memories of an imagined, better time shine so bright that they blind us to what is real. When it comes to recollections of Daisy—and the great love Gatsby strives desperately to relive with her—Gatsby is probably experiencing something called a flashbulb memory, or a highly detailed memory of a particularly emotional moment. As vivid as these memories are, they are often far from accurate. As Tali Sharot, author of The Optimism Bias, wrote about flashbulb memories: “flashbulb memories are not so much Polaroid photos as snapshots brushed up in Photoshop again and again. The retouched photo might resemble the original image, but it is no longer an exact representation of what was initially captured.” Most of us probably have flashbulb memories from traumatic events—like 9/11 or an expected loss— but what about the ones that cause us to recall the past in such rosy-hued detail that we long to return to the past? Hard as it can be to admit—our minds don’t tell us the truth?!—it’s true: our memories are not always (or often) accurate. The way we think of a certain time or person or situation isn’t always the way it actually was. And, as a result, attempting to return to that place in the past will rarely, if ever, result in that “perfection” we had imagined. As Gatsby learned the hard way, dwelling on a negative past event will certainly not help to create a more positive present. Dwelling on the past wil make you a repeat offender “‘Can’t repeat the past?’ [Gatsby] cried incredulously. ‘Why of course you can!’” While we know, logically, that we can’t go back to the past, we’re often nagged by the idea that we can somehow re-create it in the future. Gatsby believed he could re-create past experiences he’d had with Daisy by creating a future so fabulous she couldn’t resist leaving her life to spend the 8

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rest of her days with him. In some ways, he got a brief glimpse of the past in the present moments he shared with Daisy, but what he shared with her in the pages of the book would never be the same as what they’d shared in the past. Too much time had passed, too much had changed. Dwelling on the past—either the good or the bad— can cause us to repeat the same mistakes over and over again. If, like Gatsby, we relentlessly desire to reconnect with what was, we risk missing out on the now. Though the past itself cannot be repeated, elements of the past can. And if we are constantly in search of moments that have already come and gone, we’re missing out on the moments happening right now. Gatsby so desperately wanted to go back to a different time and place that he focused all his attention on trying to create a life that would bring him back there. But that burning desire for what was kept Gatsby stuck in the same figurative place, focusing on the same goal with such intensity that he missed out on living his own life. Now, that’s not to say that having an intense focus on a goal is a bad thing—it can be wonderfully motivating and useful in some cases—but to have a goal that revolves around recreating the past, well, that can be trouble. It could be argued that Gatsby didn’t keep repeating the same mistakes—he created a fabulous life for himself, very different from the average existence he’d had when he first met Daisy—but I’d challenge that. To me, Gatsby’s actions were a direct result of wanting to go back to the past, to recreate it in the future. And, while it’s not entirely clear what Gatsby did to get all of that wealth, I’m pretty sure not all of it was positive. To get back to the past, Gatsby had to get his hands dirty. Going backward can be a dirty business—one that rarely leads to a positive future, a lesson Gatsby learned the hard way. Dwelling on the past will leave you feeling lost “[Gatsby] talked a lot about the past, and I gathered that he wanted to recover something, some idea of himself perhaps, that had gone into loving Daisy. His life had been confused and disordered since then, but if he could once return to a certain starting place and go over it all slowly, he could find out what that thing was.” In a recent interview with E! News, Leonardo DiCaprio, portrayer of Gatsby in this year’s film, said, “I’ve always felt like Jay Gatsby was detached from it all. He creates this illusion of this castle and parties and all this great wealth, but he’s not


Your past shapes you—but it doesn’t have to define you. {clicktotweetthis} {clicktotweetthis}

enjoying himself. He’s not really present in that time period. He’s consumed by something else.” What Gatsby is consumed by is the past. He is not in the moment. He is only thinking about how he can get back to that place of happiness, that time when he was with Daisy. Of course, it’s about so much more than Daisy—it’s the person he was when he was with her, the way she or that time made him feel. Gatsby, despite his clear mission to recreate that lovely time with Daisy, does seem like a lost soul. As much wealth and prosperity as he seems to have, he isn’t happy. He’s spent a great deal of time trying to create a world that Daisy will love in hopes that she will love him again, and in that singular mission to return to what was, he lost himself. Focusing too much on the past can do that to a person. It causes you to miss out on the now— on your own life!—when you dwell on what was. Gatsby’s obsession with the past muddled up his present (and cut his future much too short). As narrator Nick Carraway muses in the book, “[Gatsby] must have felt that he had lost the old warm world, paid a high price for living too long with a single dream.” Gatsby focused so intently on getting back to the past that, when it didn’t work out as he’d planned in the present, he was even more lost than he’d been all that time he’d been working to recreating his past. And that’s not surprising, based on what we know about memory and recollections of the past. Even if Gatsby had been able to recover the past—to reclaim Daisy, to recover a lost part of himself—it wouldn’t have been the same. Time changes things, and the past is not easily revisited. Spending time dwelling on the past won’t bring it back, and rumination will only create a sense of loss over and over again. If we spend too much time dwelling on what was, like Gatsby, we will repeatedly feel loss—and lost. It’s tough to orient yourself in the present when you’re stuck in the past, and you can’t paddle yourself into the future when your boat’s facing the wrong direction. Much as I write about the necessity of staying present in order to create a positive life, I know how difficult it can be to come to terms with the past. It becomes a part of you, as easy to take for granted 9

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as your limbs—and just as difficult to imagine life without. Your past shapes you—but it doesn’t have to define you. For Gatsby, everything in his present was a direct reflection of his desire for the past. He wanted not to go back to what was, but to recreate the past again in the future—a feat that no man, no matter how rich or charming or clever, can do. To a lesser extent than Gatsby, many of us also long to return to some point in time—to recover a loss, to undo a mistake, to savor a moment—but, just like Gatsby’s past, ours too is located in a place to which we can never return. Looking back is, at times, necessary and even helpful. But dwelling on what was to the point that we wish to recreate it again in the future is unhealthy and, if taken to the extreme, can have dire consequences. To live a positive life, to gain forgiveness and to forgive yourself, it’s critical to let go of what was and celebrate what is. We may, as Fitzgerald wrote, be “borne back ceaselessly into the past” in our little boats, but we have more strength than he leads us to believe. We can pick up our paddles and row, pushing forward Ws perpetually into the present.

Dani DiPirro is the author of Stay Positive: Daily Reminders from Positively Present and Live Happily Ever After Now: A Guide + Workbook for Living in the Present Moment. She is also the founder of PositivelyPresent.com a site dedicated to helping people live positively in the present moment. To check out Dani’s latest book, and watch the Stay Positive video, visit StayPositive365.com.


affirmation

I Forgive Myself

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I Forgive Myself By Karina Kadet

There

are many people I could forgive if I look back in my life. Human relationships can be messy and sometimes we hurt each other intentionally or not. The most toxic relationship that comes to mind when I think of forgiveness was with my exboyfriend almost 20 years ago. We were in love but clearly not good for each other. I went way past my own boundaries to please him in that relationship and I learnt how important it is to have clear boundaries, and to respect them, from him. What comes to mind when I think of that toxic relationship is not about whether I forgive him or not for playing mind games with me but how I let myself down. How could I allow my body and soul to be so badly treated? So today I open my heart in love and compassion and forgive myself for: • Having given more than I was willing to give to someone else • Saying yes when I meant no, because I was afraid he wouldn’t love me anymore

• Putting someone else’s needs before my own • Believing that love was giving myself up completely and focusing all my energy on him • Having disrespected my own body and needs in order to soothe someone else’s bruised soul • Sacrificed who I am in order to fit with someone else’s image of who I was As life is such a rich and deep journey, I am slowly peeling off the layers to become who I truly am. Today I stand in my own power. I am no longer afraid to say no or have a different opinion. I am no longer afraid that the people who love me will turn away if I don’t agree with everything they say or do. I now have healthy and deeply nourishing relationships where I can always speak my truth without having to worry about hurting someone else. The truth is what sets us free and I am now willing to both speak it and hear it from others. In being honest and open in my relationships I have watched them transform over the years.

Today I stand in my own power. {clicktotweetthis}

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When I forgive myself

I set myself free. {clicktotweetthis}

order to stand tall before you today. I would love to know, what do you forgive yourself for? Where did you go too far and lose yourself? When did you forget you were important? Each step on this beautiful path of ours is infused with lessons and wisdom. As long as we keep an open heart and mind we will always grow and blossom. When I watch you fly it inspires me to do the same. When I let go and move forward it also has an impact on you. We are all connected. We are all one.

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They are now healthy and sincere and I feel more free and accepted as I am. The love is now unconditional. There is no manipulation and there are no abysses of selfloathing to fill in someone else’s being. When I forgive myself I set myself free. I am now my own best friend and I look after my own needs. Oh, I still receive lots of love every day! But I do not need someone else’s love in order to feel whole and that makes a huge difference. Forgiving myself has transformed my life. It has helped me let go of the past and of all the things I can’t change anymore. It has brought me back into me and I clearly see my responsibility in each relationship. I am responsible for all my actions and no longer give away my power. These lessons have had a big impact on my life and I am so grateful that I chose this path. I am also deeply grateful to be where I am today. It has been a long journey but it has been worth every step, every tear, every painful moment in 12

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Karina Ladet is a warm and loving intuitive and spiritual guide. She offers Intuitive Readings and Intuitive Coaching on Skype and by email and also teaches others how to Communicate with their Spirit Guides online and during live workshops in Sweden, France and Australia. Connect: • Karina Ladet • Soultribe • Facebook • Twitter


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Wild Sister #26: Forgiveness