Episode #38: We too often think of forgiveness as an event between two people: Something like, “I forgive you,” or ”please forgive me.” In this show, we hear from our guests about how forgiveness is much more of an internal process, one that often occurs slowly, and frequently centers around forgiving ourselves. And why do we forgive? It seems it is only sometimes to repair or preserve a relationship, and more often because finding our way to forgiveness heals our mind, eases our soul, and allows us to enjoy better mental and physical health.
In this episode, our guest Gitta Ryle, a Holocaust survivor who experienced terrible trauma while fleeing from the Nazis, shares how she was able to shed the physical and emotional turmoil she had experienced. She talks about learning that forgiving herself and others played an essential role in her journey to physical and mental wellness. Gitta describes this process as allowing her to go from “just existing” to actually living. Also with us to discuss the profound power of forgiveness is mental health researcher, author, and forgiveness expert Frederic Luskin PhD. Dr. Luskin helps us understand what forgiveness is and isn’t, why it is of value, and ways to access it.
Special thanks to Jeanne Baldzikowski for audio production, to Jennifer Young for research and outreach, and to Izzy Weisz for marketing. And thanks to acoustic guitarist Adrian Legg for composing, performing and donating the use of our theme music.
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Books & Articles
Forgive for Good: A Proven Prescription for Health and Happiness by Frederic Luskin (2003) —Based on scientific research, this study from the frontiers of psychology and medicine offers insights into the healing powers and medical benefits of forgiveness. Dr. Fred Luskin offers a nine-step forgiveness method that makes it possible to move beyond being a victim to a life of improved health and contentment.
Forgive for Love: The Missing Ingredient for a Healthy and Lasting Relationship by Frederic Luskin (2009) — This book offers new research about the one missing factor that is vital to relationships—forgiveness. Dr. Fred Luskin shows that no matter how much two people may love each other, their relationship will not succeed unless they practice forgiveness—an approach that most relationship experts continue to ignore.
The Gift of Forgiveness: Inspiring Stories from Those Who Have Overcome the Unforgivable — by Katherine Schwarzenegger (2021). A book on learning how to forgive, with firsthand stories from those who have learned to let go of resentment and find peace.
Nonviolent Communication Books & Resources Website — NVC is an approach to communication based on principles of nonviolence. It is not a technique to end disagreements, but rather a method designed to increase empathy and improve the quality of life of those who utilize the method and the people around them.
Greater Good Magazine: Science-based Insights for a Meaningful Life — Turns scientific research on human experience topics like forgiveness, happiness, mindfulness and gratitude into stories, tips, and tools for a happier life and a more compassionate society.
Organizations for Helping Others (Local):
Volunteer Center Santa Cruz — Helps link volunteers with opportunities to help make a difference in our community. 831-427-5070
Suicide Prevention Service Volunteer — Volunteers carry out many of the services offered to those in need, while learning new skills, meeting new friends, and building upon existing strengths. Administrative Line: 831-459-9373
Organizations for Finding Help (Local & National)
24 Hour Suicide Crisis Line
Toll Free: 1-877-663-5433
Serving Monterey, Santa Cruz and San Benito Counties
National Suicide Prevention Hotline
Grief Support at Hospice of Santa Cruz County – offers an extensive array of compassionate, professional, and individualized end-of-life care and grief support. Grief support services are low or no-cost, for adults and youth, and may include support groups, one-day classes, or one-on-one support. Contact them for more information about Grief Support, Transitional & Palliative Care, Hospice Care, Pediatric Care, or Community Education.
The Conflict Resolution Center of Santa Cruz County — Provides tools, training, and a guided process for people in conflict. Their services are affordable, confidential and available to all. Their programs address conflict at all stages-from prevention to intervention-in our homes, neighborhoods, workplaces, and courts. Through respectful dialogue, participants create their own mutually beneficial solutions.
The center provides mediation services for general community conflicts, in addition to Small Claims Court, Affordable Divorce Mediation, Workplace Mediation, Parent-Teen Mediation and restorative justice dialogues as well as training in all areas of communication and conflict management skills.
Community mediation offers constructive processes for resolving differences and conflicts between individuals, groups, and organizations.
Affordable Divorce Mediation is an alternative to having to go to court. Instead, we give you the law and the tools you need to help YOU decide what will happen with your property and debts, child and spousal support, and your children.
Workplace Mediation helps people who are in conflict at their place of work, whether between colleagues or supervisor and supervised.
Small claims court mediation gives disputants an opportunity to reach their own resolutions before seeing the judge.
Parent-Teen mediation is a safe space for families and teens to discuss tough subjects and come to agreements that everyone can live with.
Restorative Justice dialogues allow people who are involved in wrongdoing and harm to come together to discuss the harm and impacts and determine what needs to be done to repair the harm.
Communication and conflict skills trainings are designed to help individuals and groups gain a better understanding of conflict, why it happens, and how we can address conflict in a more effective, constructive way and with more positive outcomes.
Alternative Therapeutic Services for Stress & Anxiety
Santa Cruz Somatic Bodywork and Yoga — Cranial Sacral Therapist, Somatic Emotional Coaching, Yoga & Meditation Teacher. Contact: Crystal Maxey CMT, RYT 200 510-541-6740
Family Service Agency (FSA) of the Central Coast is a dedicated underwriter of State of Mind. FSA provides resources, support, and counseling services to adults and children. FSA believes in the power and potential of people of all ages and backgrounds to discover their own creative solutions and welcomes people of diverse cultures, genders, sexual orientations, ages, faiths, socio-economic backgrounds. FSA Counseling Offices offer Medi-Cal, Medicare, and low-cost, sliding scale services in both downtown Santa Cruz 831-423-9444 x200 and in Soquel 831-346-6767 x200.
NVC Santa Cruz — Nonviolent Communication Santa Cruz offers a variety of online and in-person skill-building classes that support healthy relationships. In-person classes are often held in central Santa Cruz. Nonviolent Communication Books & Resources Website