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Understanding Your Relationship with Money: 10/01/2016

Growing up with forgiveness

I grew up in a Catholic family; we went to church every Sunday morning and other holy days such as Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. I’ve been attracted to the mystical as long as I can remember. As a child, I was transported to another world as I gazed at the stained glass windows with colorful images telling stories of ancient times. Or the aroma of incense as the priest swung a brass vessel from its long chain, smoke lingering in the air. Or when he immersed his hand-held wand in the special vessel of holy water and flung it in the air, sprinkling water over the crowded pews. It captured my senses and contributed to my love of ritual. How effortlessly mysterious was my young Catholic life.

The hardest part of being Catholic was going to confession, especially for the first time! In Catholic school, we were taught to keep track of our sins so we could confess them when the time came. In second grade, the time came. That was the age we received the sacrament of Holy Communion, but taking communion depended on first going to confession. This was a big deal to a seven-year-old! It meant telling my sins to the priest behind a closed door in a dark, closet-sized room in the church. Once in the room, I knelt and a small window separating me from the priest slid open. A faint light came through a whitish cloth covered by a thin brass grate, preserving my anonymity. The clean smell of light incense and starched clothing came through the opening, and I began the confession process. Once finished, the priest blessed me and absolved me of sin. I was forgiven for my wrongdoings and felt immediately uplifted, free of shame. I opened the closet door and left the darkness. I held the door open for the next frightened child standing in line waiting to confess.

The thought of forgiveness for wrongdoing is an interesting concept. Whether you agree on any particular method, the act of forgiveness has been taught for centuries as a healing experience.

What does forgiveness have to do with your relationship with money? When you hold onto grudges and resentment for what others have done to you, or carry guilt and shame for what you’ve done to others, it’s emotionally equivalent to dragging around a ball and chain. This creates energetic barriers to success. It’s difficult to manage your business and lead a happy life when long-held negativity underlies your daily efforts. Often this emotional heaviness is unconscious and runs in the background like a computer operating system.

When you carry an old story of being hurt, and you’re unable to forgive, it’s like the old saying “drinking poison and expecting someone else to die.” You carry more pain than they do. The other person may not be fully aware of how he or she caused you pain. It doesn’t make it okay for what was done, but to take responsibility for your part can soften the hold it has on you. Forgiving someone for hurting you isn’t always easy but becomes easier when you realize how exhausting it is to hold onto the old story.

I learned a simple, powerful way to help forgive others, and release emotional negativity in my life. I don’t need to do it in a dark closet or confess to anyone else. It’s called ho’oponopono, an ancient Hawaiian practice of reconciliation and forgiveness consisting of only four lines:

I love you

I’m sorry

Please forgive me

Thank you

It’s not voiced in person, but is sent through intention. Visit Wikipedia for a full description. This practice of forgiveness is powerful and has far-reaching results every time I’ve employed it. It allows me to let go, feel lighter, and to love again.

I believe forgiveness, with patience, trust, right action, and gratitude, are cornerstones for financial happiness. It requires a conscious letting go, making peace with your personal history, and a strong belief that all your needs are met no matter how much money you have. You can open yourself to a flow of abundance and prosperity, resulting in opportunities that manifest in your business and personal life. When you embody this kind of attitude combined with creating a specific plan and strategy around your business or life (the ‘what’ and ‘how’ you’re going to proceed), you’ll create more happiness, ease, and a better flow to your financial success.

To learn more about your relationship with money, visit and take the complimentary “Money Type Quiz.” Only you will see the results. Or contact me at

Donna Colfer has worked in financial management since 1987. As a Financial Counselor and a Certified Money Coach, she blends her financial expertise with spiritual counseling in her private practice in Sonoma. A Valley resident since 1981, Donna and her husband, Randy, reside in Kenwood.

© 2020 Donna Colfer


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