Attitudinal Healing Stories is a collection of heartwarming tales submitted by people around the world involved with AHInternational.org, and with Attitudinal Healing in general. If you would like to submit an Attitudinal Healing Story to share with the AHI community, please send it to us!
Tom Pinkson: Luminous Beings
In For Life - An Inmate's Experience with Attitudinal Healing
"I recognize that even when we are able to help just one person, we are helping many, because that one person will turn around and impact many others. The positvie feedback I receive fills me with joy and motivates me.
Once I arrived back to my dorm, I learned that all work and school was cancelled. So I immediately began to read one of my new books. I started with "The Oh Shit Factor." Not only did I find it to be substantive, but I was laughing my head off. I stopped about halfway only because our lights are still off and I wanted to rest my eyes. I am so thankful.
Since being locked up, I have realized that change comes from within. One of the greatest things I realized is that, like this book, part on my life had been filled with "shit." However, I saw that I was also very blessed. I recoginized how many beautiful and wonderful souls had loved me, not only prior to my incarceration, but this entire time. Their love filled my heart with so much love, that it overflows and that's why I must now share it with others. It overwhelms me so much that I can hardly contain it. So often I feel like crying. Not from sadness but because I feel so grateful to feel what I feel. Meeting hurt with hurts is the wrong approach. The answer is love, not hurtful pain.
As much as I did not want to leave San Quentin and I still miss my friends, I realize and see the opportunity to help others and to continue to grow. For that I am grateful. So I definitely agree with what you said: 'I know that everything that happens, happens for us, not to us.' Being able to recognize this and see the universe working towards that good is a blissful experience in itself."
Forgiving the Unforgiveable by Bud Welch
I'm the third of eight children. We grew up on a dairy farm. I've run a service station in Oklahoma City for the last 34 years, and until April 19th 1995 - the day my daughter Julie and 167 others were killed in the bomb blast that destroyed the Alfred P Murray Building - my life was very simple. I had a little girl and loved her a lot. Julie had a rough start; she was born premature, but she survived and grew healthy and strong. She had just graduated from the Marquette University with a degree in Spanish and started a job as a translator for the Social Security Administration. At the time of her death, she was dating an Air Force Lieutenant named Eric. The day after Julie was killed I found out that they had decided to announce their engagement in two weeks.
All my life I have opposed the death penalty. Friends used to tell me that if anyone would ever kill anyone of my family members I would change. "What if Julie got raped and murdered?" But I always said I'd stick to my guns. Until April 19th. The first four weeks after the bombing I had so much pain, anger and hatred and desire for revenge that I realized why, when someone is charged with a violent crime, they transport him with a bullet proof vest. It’s because people like me would try to kill him.
By the end of 1995 I was in such bad shape, I was drinking heavily and smoking three packs a day. I was stuck on April 19. But I knew I had to do something about it. That's when I went down to the bombing site. It was a cold January afternoon and I stood there watching hundreds of people walking along the chain link fence that surrounded the lot where the Murrah Building had stood. I was thinking about the death penalty and how I wanted nothing more than to see Timothy McVeigh (and anyone else responsible for the bombing) fried. But I was also beginning to wonder whether I would really feel any better once they were executed. Every time I asked myself that question, I got the same answer: No, nothing positive would come from it. It wouldn't bring Julie back. After all, it was hatred and revenge that made me want to see them dead, and those two things were the very reason that Julie and 167 others were dead.
Once I arrived at this realization I returned to my original belief that executing criminals is wrong. Since then I have become a leading opponent of the death penalty, constantly flying from one city to the next, telling people about my daughter and why the death penalty is wrong. The speaking and traveling keep me busy, but they don't bring me much peace - nothing like the peace I gained by going to visit Timothy McVeigh's father.
Bill McVeigh is as much a victim as I am, if not more. I can't imagine the pain he and his family have been through. I've lost a daughter and he a son. I have a son myself and if he was convicted of killing 168 people, I don't know how I'd deal with that. Bill has to live with that for the rest of his life. I first saw Bill McVeigh on TV a few weeks after the bombing. He was working in his flower bed, and he looked up at the camera for a couple seconds. When he did I saw a father with deep, deep pain in his eyes. I could recognize it because I was living that pain. I knew right then that someday I had to go tell him that I truly cared how he felt. In 1998, I finally picked up the courage to knock on his door. The day I visited him he was out in his garden again, and we spent about half an hour just getting acquainted, kicking dirt and pulling weeds. Then we went into the house so I could meet Jennifer his daughter. As we walked in I noticed a few family photos on the wall over the kitchen table. The largest one was of Timothy.
I kept glancing up at that picture. I knew they were watching me, so I said: "Gosh what a good looking kid." Bill was telling me outside that he was having a lot of trouble showing emotions - that he couldn't cry. But when I commented on that photograph he said: "That's Tim's High School graduation picture," and a great big tear rolled down his cheek.
We talked for another hour and a half. When I got ready to leave I got up and shook Bill's hand and extended mine to Jennifer. She didn't take it, she hugged me around the neck. I don't know who started crying first as we embraced, but we were both in tears. Finally I said: "Honey we are both in this together for the rest of our lives. And we can make the most of it, if we choose. I don't want your brother to die, and I'll do everything in my power to prevent it." Never in my life have I felt closer to God than I did in that time. I felt like a thousand pounds had been lifted off my shoulders…
Approaching Surgery with Attitudinal Healing Concepts by Dr. Jerry Jampolsky
Several years ago I was scheduled to have eye surgery for glaucoma on my right and only good eye. I am legally blind in my left eye. I reminded myself of the Attitudinal Healing Principle, To Give Is To Receive.
I decided to meditate before surgery and practice Giving Is Receiving. I wanted to remain in the consciousness of giving my love and doing my very best to be helpful to others. I chose not to have questions in my mind that would come from my ego like, “What if the surgery is not successful and I end up totally blind?" I literally stopped all "what if?" questions and questions about the future.
When I was in the Pre-Surgery Room, the nurse who took my pulse and blood pressure said, “My, you are so calm. How do you get in that state?” I told her I did by best to give everything to God and to be in a consciousness of sending love and peace to others. She replied, “I am having a lot of problems with God. Please tell me more."
Next the Anesthesiologist came in. I felt I knew what might be on his mind so I stated, “It must be very challenging for you with the new medical set-up where you are making less money."
He immediately replied and I lovingly listened as he went into a tirade about his unhappiness with how medicine is practiced today.
Next they wheeled me into surgery. My doctor happened to be an ophthalmologist who is a friend of my brother. I said to her, “I bet there is a temptation for you to feel my brother’s eyes on you during this surgery.” She laughed and said, “You know, you are right.” I then said, “I think we would both be more relaxed if you thought of my name as Jerry Smith rather than Jerry Jampolsky. She said, “Great Idea.” The surgery was a great success.
Forgiving Loved Ones Who Have Died by Dr. Jerry Jampolsky
When someone close and dear to our heart dies, there can be a flood of emotions. The feelings of grief associated with losing that person’s physical presence can be immense. Some of us deny our loss and grief by shedding no tears. Others may experience tears for months or even years.
Sometimes when a loved one dies after a prolonged and painful illness, family members and friends may feel relieved. Your ego may tell you that you should feel guilty for this feeling and that a “good person” would not have such emotions.
The loss of a loved one may cause us to feel angry at God and the world. We may or may not be aware of this anger. The ego may tell us that we should feel guilty about being angry.
I met a wonderful woman named Minnie at a workshop in Hawaii. Minnie told me that she was eighty-one years old and had not been able to stop crying for the past two years. It started when her son died at the age of forty-five. She had felt depressed and abandoned ever since.
A week before she came to the workshop, Minnie’s counselor had told her that it was “time to stop crying and get on with your life.” Hearing these words, a little voice within my heart told me exactly what I was to say to Minnie. First, I reminded her that I was a doctor, and I told her that I was going to write a prescription for her. Her face brightened and she nodded. Then I took out a piece of paper and wrote, “It is all right for you to cry as much as you want and as often as you want, for the rest of your life.” I signed my name and handed it to her.
Minnie’s face lit up with a smile that went from ear to ear. It became clear to me that if I were to help her, all I had to do was give her my unconditional love and acceptance. She did not have to change for me to love her. I shared with her my personal belief that there really are no scripts for how a person should mourn or face death.
Many of the communication problems we have in life are the result of our having scripts that we want others to follow. Tearing up our scripts is a way to become happy.
Minnie was definitely feeling much better. I then asked her if she had a good imagination. She replied that she did. It was during a workshop break, so I looked around the room and found a man who looked to be about forty-five, the age when Minnie’s son had died. I asked this person, whose name was Brad, if he would be willing to volunteer for a few moments to be Minnie’s son, whose name was Franklin. Brad said he would be more than happy to do so.
I explained to Minnie that for the next ten minutes she could use her imagination to make it a reality that her son, Franklin, was actually in Brad’s body at this time. She could say whatever she wanted to tell him, and Franklin would talk with her. She agreed to do it, and I proceeded to ask her if she had ever felt angry at Franklin for leaving her. She paused for a second and then said, “Yes, I certainly have!” She shared some of the feelings she had around the anger.
I coached Brad on what to say. As Franklin, he told Minnie that he was fine that he was with her in spirit all of the time. He said, “We do not have to be in bodies to communicate. Our minds can communicate without a physical presence.” Now Franklin, through Brad, went on to say that when we know we are joined as one with God and each other, there is only joy. He assured Minnie that she would never be alone because she could always choose to experience his presence and God’s presence whenever she wished.
Minnie stopped crying almost immediately upon hearing these words. She pressed her head to her son’s (Franklin’s) chest. In a little while she was able to tell him, “I forgive you for dying.”
Minnie’s body energy shifted dramatically. A great weight had been lifted from her shoulders. She was all lightness and smiles. About an hour later, Minnie came over to me and said that she no longer felt like weeping.
“That’s great,” I said. “But it is still just fine for you to cry all you want.”
As the workshop was breaking up later that afternoon, Minnie came up to me and said, “Jerry, someone told me you like to dance. Is that right?”
“I do!” I said, “I love to dance.”
With a gleam in her eye, Minnie told me about a dance that would be taking place. Would I be interested in going? I told her I would love to. And so we went out dancing and had a great time. Not only was this a wonderful lesson in the power of forgiveness, but it was also another confirmation that giving truly is receiving.
Children & Forgiveness by Dr. Jerry Jampolsky
Children are wonderful teachers of forgiveness. Several years ago I was a consultant for a large transportation company. On one of my visits to this company, I took along a twelve-year-old boy named Tony who had cancer, and who was an active member of the children’s group at the center. At the meeting, one of the regional managers expressed a great deal of anger because a competing company had lured away one of his key employees, and he felt it would be difficult to replace him. I asked Tony what he might say that could be helpful.
Tony asked the man if he felt upset, and the manager said, “Yes.” Then Tony said, “If you could be any place in the world that you wanted to be, where you could be relaxed and feel peaceful, where would that be?” The answer was, “Hawaii.” Tony suggested to the manager that he close his eyes and imagine that he was in Hawaii, feeling relaxed, at one with the warm sand, sky, and water. He went on to say, “You know, mister, you can’t be relaxed or feel peaceful as long as you are angry. You won’t be able to make wise decisions until you forgive, not just your competitor, but the guy he took away. Forgiveness is letting go—letting the incident flow away.”
Later, the manager came up to me and said, “You know, Jerry, if you had told me the same thing, I wouldn’t have been receptive, but when a twelve-year-old boy told me these things, they seem so simple and right on.”
Most of us live in the world in a state of anguish, wondering who or what will attack us next. How can we get rid of these fearful thoughts? It is not as complicated as we think, providing we are willing to let go of the old belief system. As we have just seen, children have a way of making seemingly complicated things clear and simple. Forgiveness is the answer. It allows the miracle of love to take place so we can heal our relationships and recognize that there is no separation.