The next step was to cancel expectations of my abuser. At first, this step was hard for me to grasp, but as Mary explained to us, when we release expectations for people to behave in a certain way it dissolves the attachment that blocks the flow of unconditional love and energy.
As I faced the empty chair in front of me, I said, “I would have preferred that you were a safe male, friend, and neighbor, but you weren’t that. I will let go, forgive, and move on. I release the expectation that you were a safe male, friend, and neighbor.”
Mary guided me to pause and imagine all the expectations melting out of my body, leaving a clean, open space.
Then Mary said it was time to sort out and send him back his stuff so he could take on his responsibility. I no longer needed to carry his responsibilities. I didn’t think I was carrying his stuff, but with my head squarely facing the chair and my eyes focused directly on the padded chair back, I stated with strong intention, “I give you full responsibility for your actions. I give you full responsibility for the laws you broke and the people you hurt.” And as I said that, it felt like a huge toxic weight lifted off my shoulders and neck. I sighed with relief. I hadn’t realized how much guilt, shame, and anger I carried with every memory and thought of him.
With that release, we continued onto step 5, the step of opening up to the universe to get needs met in a new way. I stated out loud, “I’m open to be and feel safe. I am open to feeling completely at peace. I am open to loving, kind, and gentle men coming into my life, and I am open to knowing what love truly feels like from a man through experiencing it.”
Stating that last intention was rather empowering and exciting for me even though it triggered a waterfall of tears down my cheeks. It had been over 10 years since I was in a significant other relationship. I didn’t know exactly what that looked like or how the Universe would make it happen, but I did know that every time I had opened myself up to trust the Universe in the past, it always conspired in my favor in ways I couldn’t even imagine. I was open to that happening again, especially in the man department.
As we continued on, it felt easier to demonstrate the steps even with all eyes gazing at me. I didn’t feel intensely raw and vulnerable as I had earlier in the process. It was already time for step 6 which was receiving healing energy.
Mary guided me to imagine healing light over my head, descending down into my body and heart. As I imagined a healing light above my head, a bright light started shining on my right cheek. I was surprised by it at first until I realized the sun was dipping down in the afternoon sky and had started shining in the west window, right onto my cheek. Wow! I was in awe at the impeccable timing. I smiled and felt a calm sense of gratitude inside my body.
Then Mary said, “It’s time for step 7. You’ll send him something and release him. You can send him unconditional love, good luck, a strand of good will, love from God, or whatever you feel like you’re able to send him.”
After delving so deep during the other steps and feeling the sunshine on my cheek, I knew I wanted to go to the limit with this step, too. I was rather determined and summoned up the strength and courage to carry this out in front of the group. I closed my eyes and shared, “My intention is to send him unconditional love.” I imagined a red heart coming out of my heart, floating through the air over to the chair where I imagined he was sitting. I imagined it entering his heart.
As I sent him love, a single tear rolled down my right cheek and a bright white light shone onto the left side of my head. Wow again! The sunlight sure is bright, I thought. But that was impossible. The sun was still shining on my right cheek, and it couldn’t possibly have gone over the building to simultaneously shine on my left side.
Tears welled up behind my eyelids with the awareness that the bright white light I was feeling was God healing me. The next sensation I felt I can best describe as amoebas electrifying the inside of my entire body. I felt a beautiful, warm, sparkling stream of unconditional love flow into my heart. I was silent. Finding the words to adequately describe what I just experienced was impossible. I just sat there for a moment taking it in.
We had reached the final step: to see the good in the person or good that came from the situation. My face lit up as I recalled the moment in therapy when the gift from the abuse presented itself to me. (Yah, the gift I never thought I’d find.)
I realized that my gift is an uncanny and remarkable awareness of body language, including micro shifts, body movements, and facial changes. My keen observation of others’ body movements, tone of voice, and facial expressions developed during the years I was abused. My mind paid extra attention to those movements to keep me safe and warn me of an impending attack.
Now I see and hear those tiny shifts and changes when working with my clients. I help them by bringing the shifts to their awareness. It is a gift that allows me to help my clients efficiently and effectively clear out old memories, feelings, and emotions that are no longer serving them.
I could now sincerely see the gift that came from the abuse. And I was thankful to have received it so that I could help others on their own healing journeys.
And with that realization, the 8-step process had come to an end. We had come full circle—from the intention to forgive to actual forgiveness. It wasn’t easy or comfortable, but I did it! I forgave my abuser and felt so much relief and freedom. I found the gift for which I am so grateful! And I am still in awe of the experience of God healing me!
This process opened me up in so many ways. It gave me the courage to take big leaps in my life that I was afraid to make for decades. It has shown me how strong I really am and how much power we all have to heal the parts of ourselves that have hurt for a very long time.
Forgiving others, forgiving our pasts, or even forgiving ourselves takes courage and commitment. But the result is freedom. Peace. Maybe even some gratitude for the events that have shaped you into the person you are today.
Like Mary said, the first step is making the decision to forgive. If you’re ready to free yourself and release your burdens, I’m here to support you. Click here to schedule an appointment today.