Forgive Yourself

Forgive Yourself

The Brilliance Cycle, described in my new book Radical Brilliance, describes four movements, where the seed of each germinates in the blossoming of the previous phase.  It forms a complete cycle, which ideally can repeat itself every day, every week, every year, and during the life of any new creative project.  The four phases of this cycle are:

  • Faint Tickle of original impulse to Creative Flow
  • Intention to Accomplishment
  • Regret to Humility and Self Forgiveness
  • Intuition of Reality beyond the mind to Radical Awakening

You can find out more about this cycle on our site, where I have made a five day mini-course as a gift for you to explore this cycle more deeply.

Of these four quadrants of the cycle, the third is the most difficult to explain and describe.  It is the unavoidable phase we all resist and avoid, because it is where we are faced with our own mistakes and fallibility.  This quadrant kicks in right after moments of accomplishment and achievement.  Even when everything has gone well, and we have created the results that we intended, bringing things in on time requires us to make decisions and choices.  We may have had to choose extra time at work over time with children and partner.  We may have had to choose pressure as a priority over health and self care.  We may had had to choose getting the job done over maintaining good relationships.  Such choices are what the 20th century radically brilliant thinker Gregory Bateson calls a “Double Bind.”  Simply put, it means that every time you commit yourself to an outcome, any outcome, you will inevitable experience some degree of feelings of regret, shame, guilt and remorse.  They are unavoidable by products of an “all in” life of commitment to participation, of making choices in time.

If we are skillful, we visit these feelings briefly every day, and they become the seeds of learning and integration.  If we deny or repress these feelings, they fester and eventually become more devastating breakdown and collapse.

Explaining this to clients and friends has been the most challenging part of rolling out the Brilliance Cycle.  No one has explained it as well as my beloved wife Chameli, when she wrote these words, in her trademark distinctive poetic style.

Here she is:

It happens to all of us, no matter how good our intentions.

Harsh words slip out of our mouths; we close down and shut off,

repeating the reactions and patterns we’ve tried so hard to change.

We slip out of integrity, treating ourselves and others in hurtful ways.

It is horrifying when it dawns on us: the ways we have hurt a friend or partner, someone we love so dearly. The ways we have viewed some humans as lesser and idolized others, feeding the toxic compartmentalization of humanity and Earth, being good boys and girls to collaborate with the status quo.

That lie we made, way back—how it keeps nagging at us; how we know we have been avoiding picking up the phone to say sorry, or even just hello; how we have allowed the Lord of Busy to make the rules. How could we? Again?

We want to curl up, run far away, put the paper bag of shame over our heads and hide from the world. We resist and avoid the devastation and humiliation, the intense energy in facing parts of ourselves that do not fit into our perfect image of who we think we should be.

It happens to all of us: every single human being makes mistakes.

Your freedom is in what you do with the mistakes when they happen; how you hold your broken self; how willing you are to feel through the layers—all of them— to forgive yourself for your ignorance, to recommit to awakening, and to return to integrity and alignment with your heart.

In your willingness to feel, you discover the healing potential throbbing at the center of your stubbornness. A Presence rises from within, vast as space, kissing the dense, unyielding knot lodged in your throat, the collapse in your solar plexus, the cramping in your chest, and whispers. Forgive yourself. You are forgiven.

Self-forgiveness does not mean you don’t take responsibility for the mistakes and harm you have caused; on the contrary. Forgiveness gives you clarity and strength to know and do the right thing.

When you forgive, there is a space opening within you, that allows you to respond more intelligently to the present moment.

It is a truly deep practice. Instead of going around in circles for years, prolonging the unbearable pain with your foot on the brakes and gas at the same time, you courageously face the shame and guilt. You feel it as energy in your body, fully, so that the same energy trapped in self-flagellation can flow and feed your commitment to awaken, to act, and to restore your life to integrity.

Both Chameli and I would welcome your comments below

By |2018-11-17T19:12:45-08:00November 17th, 2018|Read Articles, The Brilliance Cycle|


  1. chris grant November 17, 2018 at 7:34 pm - Reply

    Wow. That is what real Brilliance sounds like. Thank You Sincerely.

  2. Linda Savitz November 18, 2018 at 7:38 am - Reply

    Gorgeous in every way!

  3. Elizabeth November 20, 2018 at 8:32 am - Reply

    As a present participant in Chameli’s 21 day sadhana, I will add this beautiful piece to my practice. Thank you, and I bow.

  4. Xeto November 21, 2018 at 1:07 am - Reply

    So beautiful, I would love to translate/transfer this into german and have it in my psychotherapy Praxis for my people (clients)

  5. Richard Anderson November 21, 2018 at 4:24 am - Reply

    Beautiful. Thank you.

  6. Pippa November 21, 2018 at 10:36 am - Reply

    I want to read again and feel and think my response. There’s so much to say, but I need to be clear first.
    Thanks for inspiring me to ask myself questions

  7. Roberta November 21, 2018 at 11:04 am - Reply

    True. Saying yes to something means saying no to something else, though I doubt many people realize what they are saying no to (life’s not an episode of the Bachelorette). It’s been a source of regret for me sometimes, though I don’t dwell upon it continually. Robert Frost expressed a similar sentiment and also pointed out that we may lose the ability to choose between the same two paths later. Sometimes an opportunity only comes to us once and never again.

Leave A Comment