Here is an example of one of the tools I use to open up my heart to a New Story. It’s a technique I learned from Colin Tipping in his book, Radical Forgiveness, Chapter 24.
First Letter: VictimLand. Write this with all the angst and emotion you can muster, blaming the other person vehemently. Write out all your feelings in vitriolic language. DO NOT EVER CONSIDER SENDING THIS LETTER!
Second Letter: Willingness. On the next day, write this letter with some openness that perhaps there’s a lesson or blessing or new possibility you can see, BUT don’t let the other person off the hook for perpetrating your pain. DO NOT SEND THIS LETTER EITHER!
Third Letter: Reframe. On the third day, write this letter describing how you are now open the possibility that this happened for a reason and that in a Spiritual sense, or in the big picture, the other person did nothing wrong. You may even thank them for coming into your life to do this healing dance with you. End with gratitude to them, to yourself, and to Source.
THIS LETTER MAY BE SHARED WITH SOMEONE WHO IS FAMILIAR WITH THIS PROCESS.
Integration: You may want to take a walk, soak in an epsom salt bath, dance, get a massage, or other way you have to move the old pattern out of your body and set a new pattern into it.
Coaching: As with any new process, be generous with yourself and lean into the assistance of a neutral friend or experienced coach. You may send your letters to me, Regina Reiter, certified Radical Forgiveness Coach at firstname.lastname@example.org I’ll read and support you in this process for one complimentary session.
Now, here’s my stuff!
First letter. Feel the victimhood and tell the story. Blame others for my suffering and not being responsible for it myself.
I posted something about myself being successful at hiking prosperously and now offering to share my methods of success in the women’s hiking forum. Barbie, administrator said, “Be clear that this is a business and that you are advertising.” I feel scared, ashamed, afraid of rocking the boat, of being kicked out. I wanted to run away, to lash back at her, to retract my post, to resent her and quit right then and there, cancel my class!!! I always do things wrong!!!! I’m NOT doing business because I don’t even charge enough to do this full time and I have to have another job and even though that’s a good job and I get to be outside and do nature interpretation, it’s not HIKING and COACHING WHILE HIKING AND ABOUT HIKING which would be what I really want to do. But, Barbie, the great administrator Barbie, says I’m doing business, ohhhhhh, I did it all wrong!!
I told Myra, who helped me with the words I was not willing to say:
Myra, please help me respond to Barbie. She said, “Barbie can be a bully sometimes. She just needs to be in control. “ She also posted something, taking a stand for me: “Regina has offered so much for free and has an evolving business. Why not ASK her if she’s advertising.”
I walked a long way – for an hour at least, on the Arizona Trail, in the full moonlight with no headlamp, not speaking to Bob who was challenging me with another version of the story that HIKING and COACHING WHILE HIKING AND ABOUT HIKING prevents me from accomplishing my own hikes, so that means I am not really a hiker, I’m a non-hiker coaching other people to fulfill THEIR dreams, but I’m not fulfilling MY dream, I’m WORKING instead. I’m walking on the Arizona Trail in the moonlight thinking, “OK! So wait ’til you see what hikes I plan!! It will be so stupid to get married because I will be hiking all the time and you will never catch up with me or plan the same hikes with me so I should just be ALONE!!!
Barbie and Bob you are BOTH evil and bad and getting in my way and making me WRONG and oh I will NEVER get this right, this doing what I really want to do and having that be helpful to others which is what I’m SUPPOSED to be doing to do REAL WORK which is what my dad said I wasn’t doing when I was 20! AAAARGH!!!! I will never get this right!
Second letter: Open to the idea that there could be a spiritual reason for this event, but not letting the others off the hook.
So, Barbie, I can see your point that I’m saying that I have something to offer that’s valuable and if you want it you can contact me. I was TRYING to make it look like I was just talking about myself but I can see that you call that doing business and advertising. I did send you an actual invitation from my event page so you do know that I have a business even though I didn’t use my business name on the post. So, you might be right that I should have contacted you and had you put my information in the files. BUT! HOW IS ANYONE EVER SUPPOSED TO FIND OUT ABOUT SERVICES – REAL VALUABLE SERVICES THAT COULD HELP WOMEN DO THEIR HIKES – IF IT’S HIDDEN AWAY IN THE FILES SECTION!!! THE FILES SECTION!!! That’s my whole problem in doing this business, that my stuff is hidden away in disorganization, vagueness, sparseness, and smallness! I’ll never make a difference for people if they don’t know I’m doing this! But, you’re right, that I didn’t follow your rules for posting to this particular group.
Bob, I can see that you are trying to create a win-win scenario for us as a couple, balancing both of our choices for hiking and communicating online. I can see that, but I’M STILL FEELING REALLY GUILTY AND ASHAMED FOR NOT PLANNING MY OWN HIKES. BUT IT WON’T WORK IF WE ARE BOTH PLANNING HIKES BECAUSE I ALREADY TRIED THAT WHEN I FIRST STARTED MY BUSINESS AND NONE OF THEM FIT WITH YOUR HIKES!!! You see, even if we TRY to work together, it will not work!!! So, I’m going to just keep walking on this Arizona Trail in the dark in the moonlight without any water, so there!!!
Third Letter: Open to seeing a spiritual purpose in this event and others as healing angels.
Barbie and Bob,
I’ve been sleeping on this to allow my higher self to work on this issue that you’ve raised. I was so rattled by your response to my post. I thought I had made it an invitation for women who resonated with my story to contact me outside the group because the group is not for businesses to hawk services. I was posting there to practice my voice, to find out if others resonated with the yearning to be prosperous as AT hikers, to relate with hiking the AT as more than a faraway, financially distant dream that has more reasons against it than for it. Do others in this group yearn to walk the AT but stop short of fulfilling that dream because they can’t take time off from the ever present requirement to earn money doing something that’s the opposite of hiking? Does anyone else here ever say, “I wish I could just hike whenever I want. Why can’t hiking be a real job? Why must I keep putting off my dream of having the time, the money, the support, the knowledge, the emotional and physical and spiritual stamina to walk from Maine to Georgia all in one journey or in pieces?”
I was taking the chance to do more than comment on others’ posts or share victory photos of my own hikes. What I realize now is that what I was doing was COMING OUT OF THE CLOSET! I was sharing in a veiled, indirect way that I have something useful and valuable to offer women to help them succeed in their hikes. I thought I was doing it carefully, indirectly, graciously, suggestively, nonspecifically. BUT, I GOT BUSTED FOR GOING AGAINST THE RULES! You busted me for posting as a BUSINESS (shudder…..evil…..nooooooh) and that for advertising (even greater evil…….run away//////).
My first reaction was to yank off the post, maybe drop out, maybe write a nasty response before running away. But, I had just a few hours earlier invested in some coaching myself (valued at about three times what I am asking for my own coaching. Hmm. Pretty destructive business strategy) in which Jennifer guided me to breathe into my fears, doubts, and misconceptions, opening my heart to give……and receive value for the lessons I have learned by successfully challenging the assumptions, the reasons, the excuses for NOT walking from Maine to Georgia. Business? It will take quite a bit of cash to recoup the cost of my thru-hike from what I have charged for sharing!
But, what I realized is that YOU perceive me as a hiker who earns her living hiking! YOU perceive what I do – support, guide, share skills about claiming our dreams of hiking the AT – as a REAL JOB! For me, that’s something to celebrate!!!!
I got busted for showing up as a hiker who has the job of hiking, earning money, and working for real as a hiker!!! Why is that something to celebrate?? Because for decades – literally four of them since my dad first said, “when are you going to get a real job?” when I was working as a program director at an outdoor education center – I discounted my value as an outdoorswoman, believing that walking in Nature could not be a “real” job. I’ve invested over $30,000 in workshops, trainings, and coaching to uncover my “real” work, my heartsinging occupation, my purpose for being here in this lifetime. I’ve done the “real” work of peeling away the misperceptions, the fears, the doubts about the value of walking in Nature. I’ve gone through getting fired from an ill-fitting job, divorce, selling my house, living seasonally in jobs on opposite sides of the country, and having my mom’s house be my address at age 60. I wouldn’t trade any of it because all of those apparent traumas, difficulties, embarassments were really blessings, clearing my path for my true spiritual work – walking in Nature, enticing others to come outside where they can feel the radiance, joy, and fufillment of moving between heaven and earth. You say that’s a business and offering to share the skills to get there is advertising and that’s not allowed here in this safe and sacred space where we are supporting each other fulfilling the dream of walking the path where my learning occurred. The way I’ve done that, Barbie, is to put VALUE on what it takes to not just fight and struggle to fulfill that dream, but to THRIVE by actually LIVING the dream!
So, thanks for busting my story, Barbie.
I proclaim it! I, Regina, AM a Business Owner and I am offering all of you my service, my knowledge, my experience, my guidance and coaching to help YOU fulfill the valuable dream of walking the Appalachian Trail in your own unique way. I recognize and acknowledge and authentically share that providing this service relies on me being able to attend to my own needs of life so I expect you to invest your own energy value to make use of it. As you know, the common token of value in our culture is dollars, so that’s one of the forms of energy I work with in providing the value of my experience, knowledge, and guidance. That works.
So, Barbie, thank you for calling me OUT of my sheepish ways of hiding my true purpose of doing the real job of helping women walk into their dream of hiking the AT. Put me back in the Files section with the other evil businesswomen who dare to request others to invest value for their products services instead of hanging out a sign, proudly doing REAL work. What a great day to celebrate! I’M OUT!!!!!
And Bob, I’m open to listening to how we can work, love, enjoy and BE together, balancing, creating, listening, putting BOTH of our needs and choices on the planning board, boldly claiming the value of my services AND scheduling my own – our own – walks to rejuvenate, challenge, train, and sustain our connections with trails and the continuing challenges and blessings of journeying. I love you and want to be a married life partner with you in a fulfilling marriage.
I now see that both Barbie and Bob came into my life at just the right time to mirror for me that part of me that I have denied and kept hidden, that part of me that is doing worldly work for a spiritual purpose, modeling for others and sharing the skills of blending walking in Nature with prosperous living. I now open my heart to them and to myself and thank them for being my healing angels.
Integration: I read this to my partner who practices these tools with me regularly. Then, we walked through an arboretum. Guess what was in the arboretum? A Labyrinth! That’s a winding pathway to integrate and shift a question at the spiritual level. Perfect!
Results: What I noticed first of all after writing these letters was my willingness to talk with Bob and make a new plan. During the morning, several lighthearted discussions of places we wanted to go together emerged. At the end of our walk, we visited the gift shop. My eye caught a big, thick book called Arboretums of the World. I said, “Look! Here’s my agenda for places I want to visit!” We laughed, realizing that setting goals COULD be fun, and there’s nothing I had to prove to receive his love.
As for Barbie and my post, so far, a day later there are 42 “Likes” and I’ve gained about 10 new friends, four of whom I am having conversations, building new relationships. None of them seem to mind what I wrote and give me more wonderful women to share with! I’m so glad I did this letter writing process!
There’s more! Bob started talking about trips to complete his 50 state highpoints goal – climbing Denali, Mt. Hood, and Mt. Rainier! Those hikes require hiring a guide! As he talked, the $16,000 fee for climbing Denali for 3 weeks sounded possible. Climbing Mt. Hood for a mere $1200 seems easy! Joyous Prosperity fills my life!