What would it be like to have your Divine purpose just drop down right in front of you? And be able to live it every day? What would it be like to suck the marrow out of life…and on a regular basis? How would it feel to live full out to your full potential and feel the fire of life inside you set on max? What would it be like to release the burden that you carry? And what would it be like for you to listen with your heart wide open? These are questions that I wondered about and fantasized about for decades. And I found their answers nestled in the Pain Management Program (a.k.a. “Pain Track”) at the Betty Ford Center, a chemical dependency rehabilitation hospital where I went to detox and get clean and sober from opioid and anti-anxiety addiction.
Pain Track is a pioneering program, directed by Dr. Peter Przekop, Ph.D., D.O., and addresses patients with chemical dependency and chronic pain. The people and modalities used in this program look beyond the medical model of pain and address the underlying factors and causes of physical and emotional pain. Dr. Przekop has published studies that describe how the brain is affected and changed not only by addiction, but also by adversity that many addicts face early in life, how this changes their ability to adapt to stress, and how it makes them more susceptible to addiction. He also is the doctor that guided me through a profound healing experience.
For those of you that missed my last blog, I entered the Betty Ford Center with massive pain and a 32-year history of drug use and a number of therapeutic modalities which inadequately addressed my pain. The work of John Newton was instrumental in helping me to walk out of the Betty Ford Center fifty-two days later completely pain free ~ for the first time in my living memory. Interestingly, our families had connected a year or two prior to my going into treatment and I had known John and his work in a virtual capacity, but had yet to work with him face-to-face.
I worked with a number of people within Pain Track, each of whom carried a robust belt full of powerful tools for abating my pain and helping me to heal and I will cover each of them in subsequent blogs. For now, I’m going to continue to showcase John Newton’s work – this time with forgiveness. John both works at the Betty Ford Center in the Pain Track program, has his own private practice, and works alongside other medical professionals in hospital and clinical environments.
I had been in Pain Track for about one week on the day when John introduced us to one of the five techniques in his practice: Peace-making and forgiveness. I was still feeling pretty weak from my detox and it took all of my energy just to show up and get into a seat in the room. I had graduated from a wheelchair to a walker just a day or two before. The subject matter in Pain Track was all new information to me and I felt like a student in grade school again, only this time it felt like it was life or death kind of teaching that I was learning ~ because it was. It took all of my concentration just to try and keep up with what everyone was staying in the room, and I still missed some of it. I just had a difficult time saying present and I had quite a bit of gut pain drawing in my attention at the time. I was learning on the fly and desperate to keep up with the rest of the class. And I didn’t feel like I was retaining much of what we were being taught, which was a disappointment since I was so hungry for the knowledge within this unique program.
John walked in and quietly passed a handout to the twenty or so of us in the room who were softly chattering with one another. I thought at first it might be a published research paper on chronic pain since Dr. Przekop had treated us to a number of these. I sat quietly and read the writing on the paper, titled “Comprehensive Forgiveness Prayer For Ourselves,” as the rest of the class received their copy and took in the writing. After one reading, I immediately felt my body shift – and expand – as if I had released a bit of weight I had been carrying. The pain in my gut markedly receded into the background. I felt more openness, more physical space and more freedom within. “What ???? is THIS? And is it REAL?!!?” I looked around the room and noticed that everyone else had their nose in their papers and was very quiet. One could have heard a pin drop in the silence. None of my fellow chronic pain patients uttered a word. I began to think that I was imagining feeling noticeably better…and I sent gratitude to the Uni-verse for blessing me with such a robust imagination.
Then John asked us where our pain level was on a scale of 0 to 10, with 0 being no pain at all and 10 being the highest amount of pain. Each of us noted what level of pain we were in at that moment. He asked us to read the prayer out loud in unison. Then we took stock of where our pain was after we read the prayer. The pain levels all around the room had diminished. Almost all of the twenty of so people in the room individually reported that the intensity of their pain had dropped. Next, John zeroed in on a patient in room with the most pain – sitting right around a level 7 out of 10. He then asked all of us to read the forgiveness prayer together, but this time silently. When we were finished, the patient reported that their pain was down to a level 3. I witnessed this pain reduction both in myself and expressed by others time and time again with this simple gesture.
I was amazed as these results. The words set within this prayer felt like they literally projected power and healing into each of us in Pain Track. Yet, my scientifically trained mind had a hard time wrapping itself around this concept. I have studied the Sanskrit language and learned about the vibrational power within the structure of words in this language. For example, when one says the word “Om,” one is making the actual vibrational sound of the divine, all-encompassing consciousness. The words of most other languages, including English, just label the thing it is naming; they do not hold their essence, as in Sanskrit. Yet, here we were, speaking English and having an extraordinary experience as a result! I was rendered speechless and in awe. Further, we had silently read the prayer and continued to witness or experience a pronounced positive effect. So this was not all about sound. Clearly something else was cooking here. I purposely shut out my science mind and took in the moment, feeling healing sprouting within me and the vibe change noticeably in the room. My fellow patients were visibly in less pain – I could see it in their faces. And everyone was palpably more peaceful.
And how were these words so powerful? Let me give you a specific example of some of the magic packed within John’s forgiveness work:
The word “forgive’ comes from the words ‘to forgo or forget’. I might be able to intellectually forgive someone, but if I do not remove the emotional charge around this event that I’m forgiving around, I have not fully forgiven. I’m not saying I’m condoning what I am forgiving. I’m saying fully forgiving. I might say, “I forgive my mother, but I’ll never forget what she did to me.” By not forgetting, I am always going to protect myself from being hurt like this again; hence I am unwilling to let this incident go altogether. This is not true and full forgiveness.
So, if I’m having a hard time truly forgiving my mother, what do I do? Where do I turn? I turn to a power greater than myself to help me take this difficult step because I don’t want this event to stay stuck within me and clearly I have not found a way to let it go by myself. And my being stuck here is not good for my mother either. I ask, “Creator, all that you are, help me forgive my mother, no matter what. Help her to forgive me, and help us to forgive ourselves, completely and totally. Please and thank you.” Yeah, I still tear up when I say this. And with those tears, I get a release in my body. The emotional charge that is built up inside of my body, literally in my tissues, dissipates. By asking for help, my Higher Power, The Creator, grants me transcendence through this block of resentment towards my mother. I am graced with such a liberating release through asking for help from a Source greater than myself with humility and gratitude. True forgiveness lies in being able to release what is inside my physiology around this event with my mother. Otherwise I am not addressing the core of the problem and it will re-emerge.
And so it is for us all. We take responsibility for our part in a situation. This is healing in itself. The Forgiveness Prayer is a vehicle through which we release this emotional energy. Its connection to the Creator leads us to our own liberation through the humble and grateful act of forgiveness itself. In the subsequent healing that occurred as a result of working with this forgiveness prayer, my wellness showed up. I felt my physical pain recede into swirls of energy that then flowed through and ultimately out of my body. I felt the pressured tension of pent up emotional pain release in a cascade of tears and a profound inner release. And I witnessed this same wellness showing up in others around me.
This forgiveness work forms an integral piece of my recovery program and my life now generally. I am now nine months clean and sober –and remain free of the pain I have experienced for most of my life. It is difficult for me to express in words how profound the liberation I am experiencing really feels. I sense that my life is centered right on purpose. I have clarity in my life that is on a level that I had never before experienced. For the first time in a really long time, I awaken each morning, regardless of how much or little sleep I received the night before, and feel the solid fire of life within me. Like I have a live wire lit inside of me. And instead of working so hard to protect myself, I now confidently walk forward with my heart open ~ liberated through forgiveness. (Click to tweet)
Thank you, Uni-verse. Thank you, Dr. Peter. Thank you, John.
COMPREHENSIVE FORGIVENESS PRAYER FOR OURSELVES
Offered by John Newton
You may speak this prayer aloud or silently as many times daily as you feel. Ten or more will bring optimal results. Positive effects have been reported in many areas of life from this simple practice. As the prayers are encoded with a direct connection to consciousness itself and the intelligence structured within it, reading/speaking them connects you with the true source of all health and well-being: The Creator.
Infinite Creator, All That You Are: For me, all my family members, all our relationships, all our ancestors and all their relationships through all time, through all our lives…
For all hurts and wrongs: Physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, sexual and financial through thought, word or deed: Please help us all forgive each other, forgive ourselves, forgive all people and all people forgive us, completely and totally. Please and thank you.
For all suicide, incest, murder, rape, abortion and infidelity through thought, word or deed: Please help us all forgive each other, forgive ourselves, forgive all people and all people forgive us, completely and totally. Please and thank you.
For all times we abandoned or were abandoned; withheld love or had love withheld; weren’t nurtured, loved and supported and times we didn’t nurture love or support others: Infinite Creator, please help us all forgive, be forgiven and all forgive ourselves, completely and totally. Please and thank you.
Please Infinite Creator, for the highest good: Lift out all weight, pain, burden, sin, death, debt, negativity and limitation of all kind; transform it into your love, and let your love flow back into us, filling and giving us all complete peace, now and forever. Please and thank you. Please and thank you. Please and thank you.
Please help us love and bless each other; love and bless ourselves. Be at peace with each other and at peace with ourselves, now and forever. Please and thank you.
Special thanks to visionary Howard Wills for his pioneering forgiveness work
How does forgiveness fit into your life?
What relationships are you trying to heal?
How do you feel when you fully forgive someone?
Did you experience anything when you read John’s Forgiveness prayer?
Please share your comments with all of us below. We are each teachers for each other.
Love & Light,
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Elizabeth Kipp is a contributor for The Daily Love, a recovering chronic pain patient, in recovery for opioid and anti-anxiety medication addiction, a patient advocate and is on a mission to empower patients to discover their own healing powers using the tools she has learned and developed over the last 30 years of her own journey to self-healing. You can find her on Twitter here and on Facebook here.
John Newton currently works at The Betty Ford Center in the Pain Management Program with Dr. Peter Przekop, has his own private practice, and works alongside other medical professionals in hospital and clinical environments. Find John at http://healthbeyondbelief.com