Forgiving Ourselves

Sacred Medicine Ways – Part 4

A Teaching by Ghost Dancer

Now I wish to talk to each of you from my heart. We all have done things in our lives that we wish never happened or we never did. We also have regrets about things we wish we could or would have done differently. There are no exceptions if we are truthful with ourselves. Now herein lies the biggest block for most people: we have never let that go! We have never truly forgiven ourselves for our mistakes or failures. Oh, we ask for forgiveness and we may even say we have been forgiven. Others may even have forgiven us. But if we still think about these things, if we wishfully think about them, wanting to do things differently; to change what happened or didn’t happen, then we have not let it go. And if we have not let it go, then our regrets become anchors that drag us down, even subconsciously.

This is what causes doubt, this is what causes us not to truly believe in ourselves. It makes no difference how big or small our regrets are. It is we, ourselves who give them power to pull us down and keep us from stepping up to our true potential. When we continue to think about these things, we are constantly saying, if only we had done something differently or not at all; or if we had made a different choice, our lives would have been so different. Really? You honestly can say that? How do you know? You could just as easily have chosen or done something different and your life could be ruined, or far worse than it is! You don’t know.

One thing I have truly learned from Spirit is that there is no blame. I am not to blame anyone else, not to blame myself, not to blame life, and not to blame Spirit. Why? Well let’s see. What if what happened or what didn’t happen was supposed to be and we were supposed to learn something from that? What if we were supposed to help someone, even though we weren’t even aware of it? What if what we were suffering was actually keeping others from suffering?

WHAT IF? Those are two mighty big words! What if we just accept what was, what is, and just move on with the knowledge that we are who we are and where we are supposed to be at this moment. What if it was intended for us to be here right now discussing this so that change can come in a bigger and more wonderful way. It is LIFE itself that is so precious to us all and it is so important for us to not live in the past or caught up in “what could have beens.”

We only have what is before us to do our best to grow spiritually, mentally and emotionally. We can do these things. And understand this: we are all in this together. That is where we get the “we” from in our traditional medicine ways. What each of us does affects everything around us. Remember that drop of rain hitting in the center of the lake – the ripple effect? Well the same is true in the world and the universe and multi-universes.

I have studied religions from across the world and in between and every single one says this same thing. What most people miss out on is one key essential, and that is you only get out what you put in. Now simply this means if you only go through the motions of living, you really aren’t going to get much out it. What would happen if you put half of your energy, heart, and time into something you set out to do? Well, you would be doing that thing half way. But what would happen if you gave all of yourself to something? Well you would receive all back. Common sense tells us this is so.

Let’s look at a baby. A baby wakes up giggling and smiling and loving this new day. But this baby does something you didn’t want it to and you get upset and scold the baby. The baby cries. Later, the baby gets over the scolding and becomes all happy again, but you are still upset with the baby. The baby doesn’t understand why you are upset. Why? Because whatever the baby did is in the past. The baby can’t change what it did to make you upset.

Now picture yourself as a baby. Each day you wake up to a brand-new day. Are you going to let something that happened yesterday spoil today? Or are you going to be like a baby; be happy and just enjoy this wonderful new day of life? See, these are choices we can make each day that can change our lives and change our outlook on life each day. In every religious tradition, when you humbly ask for forgiveness, you are forgiven, so let it go. It never happened. The slate is clean. But if you hold on to it, you are keeping your suffering alive. Not anyone else; only you.

This unforgiveness and holding on to the past stagnates our spiritual growth. In our traditional ceremonies, when we say, give it all away, and empty ourselves out to be cleansed and purified, that is what we are doing – Inside and out; physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally. We as a people are each specks in the grand universe, but connected to every other speck, which makes us all one. Therefore, we must see the beauty and love in every single thing. We must forgive, and I mean, truly forgive even ourselves. Then we become one again. Each of us is important. Each of us has a part to do. No matter how big or how small; each is needed.

You may think, Oh, I can’t do anything. I don’t have anything that anybody needs or wants. Really? What about your love? What about your beauty? What about your prayers, your time and energy to help someone who needs you? Now what about all the plants, winged ones, four legged ones, the rivers, streams, oceans all the ones that swim and live in the waters – what about all those who can’t speak up or defend themselves? Would you speak up for any of them? Try to help? Work with others to do so? See, each of us needs all others. We are supposed to help each other. The fish, plants, four-legged, winged ones, waters, air, all help us and each other. Why don’t we help them? We are supposed to do these things instead of just thinking of ourselves.

Traditionally, all Native Peoples pray for everything and everyone else first and their own selves last. This is tradition and always has been. Now, how can you be praying for all these others if you aren’t clean and pure of heart? Do you think you can be clean and pure of heart if you haven’t truly forgiven yourself and you haven’t let go of all inside that bothers you? Don’t you think that negativity could flow over to others and cause them harm? This is why a main part of our tradition is that we always ask each person to cleanse and be purified before we pray; before we do anything sacred. These things and acts become so natural you don’t even think about them. In time, it begins to feel so right.

Now if you really study the world’s religions, you would also notice that all mention the use of sacred incense, such as cedar, sage, juniper, and such. Did you think that was all just for show? People forget there is a reason for everything, just as everything happens for a reason. So, with all we’ve discussed, are you really ready to forgive yourself; really ready to become all you can be; to become one with everything? Okay, let’s begin and get this on the road now.

How much we progress in this life will follow us into the next. For there is eternal forever. Our spirit just keeps changing and becoming is all. We truly have so much to learn and experience and we receive this gift because Spirit has given this to us, so we must do what needs to be done on our part.

Here is what we need to do:

1) Write down on paper, each and every thing that you still think about and hold yourself accountable for. Be truthful only you know what these are – and Spirit. Haven’t you hidden from these long enough? Now, let’s work on getting rid of them.

2) Write down all the things in your heart that you wish you had not done or done differently. Remember, it is your choice to be truthful with your own self. If you can’t be truthful with yourself, how can you ever be truthful with others?

3) Okay now it is time to go to work. I want you to get a smudge going. All of you should have already read to know how to do this. If you have a fire place or can build a fire outside, that would be perfect. If you can’t, use the smudge bowl for this next step.

4) First, I want you to smudge yourself all over. Next speak verbally each thing that you have written down, and say, I release this forever; never to think about this again. Do this four times to each of the four major directions, East, South, West and North. As you do, tear the piece of paper that you have written these things on and burn it in the smudge or a fire. If you are using a fireplace or an outside fire, toss in cedar afterwards.

5) As you are doing this, visualize each thing you have spoken leaving your body and burning up in the fire; being purified by the gift of Spirit, to transform and make new.

6) Take your time; let it all out. Cleanse your heart, mind and body of these things. See everything leaving and now, a pure golden white light radiates in its place. Crying tears is fine – and guys, don’t act tough. Humbleness is the greatest code a warrior lives by because we love so much.

7) You must love yourself enough to truly forgive yourself of all things and see only good things, happiness and beauty, surrounded by love in your life. A warrior walks in beauty and love always.

See yourself becoming pure of heart with only thoughts of what lies ahead and what you can do to walk in beauty and love each day, spreading more love and beauty in the world around you.

9) See yourself becoming one with every single thing in the universe, because you actually are. You are part of the whole. You are one and you feel everything and everyone and you are one.

Walk in Beauty and Love, Ghost

Ghost Dancer © August 2017

Published by Sings Many Songs

I'm an 80-something child of the great depression and WWII. Throughout my life I have been a seeker, an outsider, never quite belonging anywhere, still always looking through cracks in the fences of life, questioning, challenging, learning, trying to make sense of the world and its conventions. A lifelong student with many interests and a love of writing and editing, my elder's path led to encouraging and assisting some remarkable people to write out their amazing stories. This calling became the magic elixir that keeps me growing, keeps me alive.

2 thoughts on “Forgiving Ourselves

  1. We all have made mistakes in life. Almost all of mine have to do with letting people manipulate me because I was too nice . . . letting traditional values of behavior toward one’s parent, friend or spouse be used to let them almost destroy me. All any of us can do is try to not make the same mistake again. That is certainly the Spiritual Path that Ghost has taken.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. After finally having the opportunity to read and understand the whole twisted account of all that happened to you over those difficult years, I see two truths. The telling of this journey served to enlighten us on some of the very real evil and corruption in high places within our own society. Also, most assuredly the process of getting this all out in the open has been a spiritual cleansing, a catharsis for you personally. Ghost actually wrote this multi-faceted piece 4 years ago, and largely for a different audience but the truths are universal. To my mind his words about “what could have beens” apply deeply in your situation right now. Given your total dedication to seeking the whole truth about the ancient history of our Southeastern Native Peoples – perhaps THE most important work of your life – just suppose all the ordeals that happened before never happened. Suppose 10 years ago you were still the highly respected, successful architect and businessman you set out to be. Would you have had the motive, time, and especially the raw courage it takes to buck entrenched academic authority and persist in the work you are continuing right now? Warrior on!


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