Episode 46 Reflections, Heart Spaces + Self Forgiveness

April 17, 2023

Good morning from New York City. I’m thinking this morning about something that happened last weekend. My friend Sara Forden was in town. By the way, if you didn’t listen to Friday’s episode, I did a brief interview with her. It’s really terrific and well worth your time.  Her story is fascinating, and I hope you’ll take a moment to listen.

Anyway, Sara and I decided on Sunday to go to church. Neither of us are big churchgoers, but when I said to her, how would you feel about going to an Easter service?, she said ‘I’d love to’.  We started laughing like ‘do you even know where to go?’ In fact, I did.

I had been thinking for some time that I really wanted to visit the Marble Collegiate Church on Fifth Avenue. I think it’s a non-denominational Protestant church. I walk by a lot and always take note of how they communicate inclusivity. The flags that are waving outside on the wrought iron fence that surrounds the church. The signs they post out on the street to invite people in always call my attention. I said they’re going to have a beautiful Easter service, and in fact it was really beautiful.

It was very mixed in terms of age, race, and sexual orientation, in both the congregation and at the pulpit. Man, you gotta love New York City. The orchestration and thoughtfulness of the service was beautiful, and the content quality and delivery of the sermon was so eloquent and so meaningful.

Inside the program it says Marble Collegiate Church is a diverse, inclusive community of God’s people led by the life and teachings of Jesus Christ.  Here’s the catch. We inspire everyone to become positive thinkers who make a difference in the world.  I think that’s particularly beautiful because this is the Church of Norman Vincent Peel, the great preacher and thought leader who wrote ‘The Power of Positive Thinking’. Now in its day, it was a really important boo which greatly influenced my father. He read it. He gifted it. I think that must be what took me to the church in the first place. They started the service by asking us to acknowledge and say hello to the people around us. While that could be quite awkward, we had already done it. Sara spoke to the woman to her right, and the woman sitting next to me leaned over and said to me, I’m Jewish, but I come every year.

The sermon was very much about finding a reason to forgive people and never giving up hope. The preacher ended by talking about self-forgiveness and he referenced a research project out of Stanford University on self-forgiveness. The four things he mentioned that we have difficulty forgiving ourselves for are these. We have a hard time forgiving ourselves when we fail in areas of life passages –  marriage, divorce, parenting –  that kind of thing.  We have a hard time forgiving ourselves when we hurt others. The third thing is we have difficulty, or we fail to forgive ourselves for our lifestyle choices. Things like infidelity or gambling. And the fourth thing cited in the research project was we fail to forgive ourself when we know we should do something, but we didn’t do it.

So I guess here I’d say that yes they’re talking about stories in the Bible, but for me this is about living intentionally and  being brought back to our guiding principles. I just want to say I was so glad I went. It took me immediately into my heart space, and that’s always a beautiful thing. It changed the tone of the day with Sara and the quality of our conversation shifted. It got me thinking about what it is we do to stay connected to our heart space. Some people go to church. Some people listen to music. Some people read poetry. I have to say, it’s really what got me into podcasting. When my friend Susie Moore asked me if I’d ever considered doing a podcast, I was like no way – there are way too many podcasts.  Then, I noticed my sort of violent reaction and I started re-listening to podcasts the very next day. I realized that the people that I listen to are the kind of things I gravitate towards are the things that remind me who I am and how I want to walk in the world. I try to record in moments when I’m in my most expansive heart space because I believe that words from the heart speak to the heart.

So, while the preacher at the church has the job to tell stories and drive home lessons from the Bible, I’m here telling stories from my life. My intention and hope is never to preach or to come off as the one who knows.  I’m out here trying to figure it out like everybody else.  I simply want to inspire you to pause, to put up the boundary, to take back your agency, to reframe your thinking, to catch yourself when you’re having negative self-chatter to allow people to help you when you need support. As I like to say saying to get off cruise control. I like to say we all go on cruise control in our jobs, in our relationships, in our daily life, and sometimes we need to downshift and get back in the driver’s chair. If I inspire anybody to do that in their own lives, then my work is done. That’s all for now.

Until next time, from my heart to yours.

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dear Listeners,

Friends say I live my life out loud. That’s because I’m a curious, adventurous person and, as an appreciator, I simply love to share what lights me up. Consider this is your invitation into my fun, multi-faceted world.

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