Forgiveness as a Habit

Once is not enough in forgiveness

Perhaps this game is like weeding.

The trick is to become so practiced

that you can sing while you do it,

that when you see one beginning to sprout

you will by instinct

lay your fingers in the earth,

find its root,

and set it free.






The beginnings of the DOC project

The DOC project has gone through  many evolutions with many to go. It originally began as sharing some stress management tools that had pulled me out of a deep burnout. I became aware of the importance of sleep and aggressively addressed it with my patients. I had also received great benefit from David Burn’s book, Feeling Good, and had my patients engage in the writing exercises he described in the “Three Column Technique.” People began to feel better. I personally had no sense of chronic pain and the neurological basis of it. I was just trying to help them cope with suffering I could not solve with surgery. I also continued working through my extreme anxiety issues, but I was not breaking loose. Unfortunately or fortunately, I was forced to acknowledge that I had some anger issues as my stresses became extreme. I had not a clue that I had anger. Not only was it there, it was my core.


I honestly don’t know how I got through the next six months or what tools I used. I just kept up the expressive writing and worked on sleep. Within six months my anxiety dropped through the floor and many of my physical symptoms disappeared. I still did not know how to present any anger concepts to my patients. About four years ago a patient gave me the book Forgive for Good, by Dr. Fred Luskin. I had begun to realize the link between pain, anxiety, and anger. Although patients had done pretty well with the tools I was offering, it is when Forgive for Good entered the picture that people began to go pain free. Pain and anger pathways are so intertwined that you cannot calm the pain pathways until you can let go of anger. “Neurons that fire together, wire together.”

Your deepest wounds

But, It must be a letting go of your deepest wounds, or maybe better stated, “your deepest wound.” Otherwise your nervous system will remain fired up and the pain switches will remain “on.”

Alec is a friend and classmate of my stepdaughter. He was 26 and talented in the performance arts, as well as writing poetry. His poem above is remarkably insightful for any age. Think what the world would be like if we practiced the concepts he simply lays out. How often does the word, “forgiveness” cross your mind?

You cannot forgive too deeply or too often. Could you sing while you do it? Think what you life could be like.