Ana Holub is a goddess of forgiveness.
At least that's how I like to describe her.
And forgiveness is not always an easy task. The real thing flows from a source much deeper than the intellect. Some of us carry around resentments for years as it slowly eats away at our health or our heart, not knowing really HOW to let that sh*t go.
Ana is a skilled and compassionate guide into the mysterious and elusive art of that true, embodied, beyond-the-mind kind of forgiveness.
I first met Ana at the Global Ibogaine Therapy Conference... and was instantly struck at the depth of her presence and the courage of her openness in sharing her story. She is sensitive to the element of forgiveness within the sacred medicine integration process.
Ana has been through immeasurable hardship and loss, and yet she emanates love and kindness. I sense authentic unconditional love when I look in her eyes. Simply sitting with her is profound medicine.
LEARN MORE about her course below: Forgive & Be Free of Your Addictions. My husband, artist Chor Boogie, and I have an interview included in lesson 7 in Ana's course. Forgiveness was a big part of our journey integrating sacred medicine work.
I hope you enjoy this interview with Ana as much as I did...
ABOUT ANA HOLUB & CLEAR PATH TO PEACE
Ana Holub, MA, teaches forgiveness and recovery from addiction as a counselor, author, poet and educator. She holds a BA in Peace Studies and an MA in Dispute Resolution from Pepperdine University School of Law. As an expert in the field of forgiveness and reconciliation, Ana was honored as a Champion of Forgiveness by the Worldwide Forgiveness Alliance (2018). She is a frequent speaker on the essential role of forgiveness in various settings, including the use of entheogens for inner healing and deep spiritual liberation.
Ana works with individuals, couples, at-risk families, hospice patients, non-profits, businesses, and schools. Her mission includes work with inmates in prison (San Quentin) and with juvenile offenders. She has provided restorative justice, poetry, and peace education to incarcerated people since 2002.
Ana teaches workshops internationally on forgiveness, emotional healing and recovery from addictions. Her books include Forgive and Be Free and The Edges Are Friendly. She has also created four online courses, including Forgive and Be Free of Your Addictions. Find out more at www.anaholub.com.
What inspired you to do this work with forgiveness?
Ever since I was a child, I wondered why there was so much conflict in my home, in my neighborhood, in my world and in my own heart. I studied Conflict Resolution and became a mediator, but I wanted to go deeper. When I found out about Radical Forgiveness, I studied with Colin Tipping and became certified in his work. Then I became immersed in A Course in Miracles, and this spiritual teaching really changed my life. In addition, my mother's suicide had a huge impact on me (that story is in my book, Forgive and Be Free). I needed a way to release my pain from that as well as other hardships, and I eventually began to see all events as radical forgiveness opportunities. At the deepest level, I'm inspired to do this work because I just want to be free, and I want everyone to be free.
How is forgiveness related to addiction recovery, from your perspective?
Addiction is one of the ways we can feel helplessly stuck in a harmful rut, and the expanded version of forgiveness that I teach is the best way I know of unwind on the inside, to release our suffering and return to the truth of our inner nature, which is Love. Almost everyone suffers from some kind of addiction - either subtle or obvious. We just want some relief from painful memories and the distress of inner and outer conflicts, and that's what forgiveness brings - with no negative side effects. This kind of forgiveness is a soul-level laying down of burdens, karma, and false illusions about ourselves and the world. When we let go in this way, we make room for the best "high" there is - direct access to the divine light of our Being.
Forgiveness may seem like an impossible task for people who've been subjected to intense trauma. What would you say to someone who feels this way?
I never encourage anyone to forgive too early because I know it took me a while to get close to the idea. Everyone has their own perfect timing. When we're ready to let go, then the grace and ease of the release is the best medicine there is. It doesn't seem to matter whether the situation was a minor one or an intensely violent one.
Forgiveness is never impossible. Some of the most inspiring people are those who have been able to let go of what seems like overwhelming abuse and the assault of war. Take a look at the work of Immaculée Ilibagiza, who wrote Left to Tell about her experience in Rwanda, and Carmen Blandin Tarleton, who is a co-recipient with me of an award this year from the Worldwide Forgiveness Alliance. Their stories are truly life changing.
How do we move beyond intellectual forgiveness to complete forgiveness in mind, body, and spirit?
Aaah, the ultimate question. Some people tell me, "Oh yes, I've forgiven already," or "Yeah, my mother/brother/ex-spouse/someone-else-besides-me really needs to learn to forgive!" But the truth is, true forgiveness is an art form available for everyone, and it involves becoming free from every mental limitation and every painful memory. I've been doing this for years, and I still have layers bubbling up from my past to be healed. Even if I was done, there is still plenty of global forgiving to do.
Letting go is NOT an intellectual thing. We have to dive into it with our tender, trusting hearts and open up our guts to the fresh air of divine healing. When we become willing, we find that it's Spirit that takes our pain and then fills us with Light. All of my work is teaching people how to do this in a simple, spacious way.
What are some of the benefits of true forgiveness?
According to research studies, forgiveness leads to:
The research makes sense, because when we forgive, we give up our complaints and victim mentality. We find our sovereignty beyond the circumstances of what happened in the past - or what's happening in the present. I like to call this work Ecstatic Forgiveness, because the deep letting go of resentments and hurts takes us through a mystical doorway. On the other side is the "peace that passes understanding." And it's available, for free, to everyone.