In the late 1980s, I was in a place called Concept House, a substance abuse rehabilitation center. Although it was located in a bland, nondescript building in a part of Miami called Little Haiti, it was arguably one of the best centers in South Florida. What made it so remarkable was not only its programming and structure, but also the counselors and therapists who worked there.
One of the instructors was a man named Ralph Malloy. Ralph was one the students kicked out of Harvard in the 1960s (along with a professor who became known as the spiritual teacher, Ram Dass) for participating in LSD experiments with Timothy Leary. Ralph was a brilliant counselor with 2 doctorate degrees who served as a therapist to famous actors, including a television star from the TV show Miami Vice - one of the hottest shows on television at the time. Ralph did not need to be working at this rehab center, but he had recovered from his own addiction and this was his way of giving back and paying it forward. He facilitated “Encounter Groups” and a weekly “Reality Therapy” session at Concept House.
When I arrived there, I had a great deal of guilt because of what I believed I had done to my life. I lost everything I thought was important to me and believed I would never be able to get my life back on track again. This feeling of guilt drained my energy and I was not able to get out of the funk I found myself in on a day-to-day basis. I was getting plenty of sleep and eating healthy, but this energy drain would not go away.
Part of my rehab was to address my lack of forgiveness for myself. I was beating myself up for the missteps I had made along the way. Every day for two months, I tried to shake myself of those feelings of guilt. I did not think they would ever disappear. I discussed this with my personal counselor during my one-on-one sessions, as well as during my group sessions. I role-played with a therapist who would pretend he was me. Using a technique called Gestalt therapy, I pretended to talk aloud to myself. Nothing seemed work.
Then one day, I woke up and all the guilt I was carrying had disappeared. It seemed like a miracle. I kept looking over my shoulder to see if it would somehow come back. It never did. I realize now, I had finally forgiven myself. I had a surge of vitality I had not experienced in years. What a difference it made to have my energy back to help me move forward in my life.
It takes a lot of energy to create the level of success you want—whatever success happens to mean to you. Without energy, you won’t go very far. You need that enthusiasm in order to buttress and maintain the stamina needed to do the work and perform the tasks to fulfill your vision. As the saying goes, ideas do not work unless you do.
Ongoing forgiveness is one of the practices we must engage in to bring back our energy. When we remain in a state of resentment toward ourselves or others, we not only block our good, but we also drain our energy. On top of that, we can attempt to create a magnificent dream and envision a new life and new beginning, but if our mind is full resentment, guilt, or anger it will consume our enthusiasm and choke out every good dream.
To create our best life now, the prerequisites are enthusiasm and energy. Don King, the famous or infamous (depending on your perspective) boxing promoter was asked the secret to his success. He said, “Enthusiasm. If you set yourself on fire, people will come from miles around to watch you burn.”
We must be burning with energy and enthusiasm to manifest the visions of our life. Let us practice the art and science of forgiveness to ensure we are not hindering, blocking or obstructing our success.
Peace and Blessings,