Jun 282012

Have you ever felt guilty?

Deeply, horribly, heart-wrenchingly guilty?

What have you done about it? How did you get past it?

Because that’s how I’ve been feeling on and off over the past few weeks.

And as of this morning, I’ve been transforming it into something that feels much lighter. Aaaaah.

As you know if you read my last post, my sweet dog Ollie recently died. It turns out that he was misdiagnosed, and although I’m now sure that I knew all along what was really going on with him, I didn’t know enough at the time to confidently push back with the vets’ diagnosis.

But even more than that, I’m haunted by the idea that I “should” have gotten him to the vet sooner. Besides pre-empting his fast and sudden turn for the worse, I’d have been able to take him to our regular vet who’s really good and who maybe would have diagnosed him correctly, fixed him up, and sent him home with us.

So every now and then … periodically … who am I kidding: frequently!… guilt comes to roost.

It settles in on my heart with its big, black heaviness and squeezes the life out of me.

And guilt is a problem because — and you’ll find this, too — when you do consciousness work it’s best if you can be in a clean, clear, good space. (Of course,  doing consciousness work actually helps you get there. But it’s a dance between the two — with one leading for awhile … then the other.) I do a lot of consciousness work for clients and if I need to, I can set my emotions aside. But of course it’s always easier when my vibration is high, and harder when I feel such dispair. (In fact when this happened, I was on the brink of finalizing a date for a free group Holographic Emergence session for subscribers. I decided the registrants deserved better so I postponed it. But stay tuned for an announcement with a new date!)

But besides the fact that it’s trickier to do good sessions, the guilt itself feels absolutely horrible, and on top of  fresh, deep, grief it can make you feel almost ill.

So I’ve been searching for a reprieve, sometimes desperately, sometimes calmly and wisely. Although I don’t want to just ignore it (let’s move on, think happy thoughts, etc.) nor rationalize why it’s all really okay (he’s in a better place, you didn’t know, you looooved him, etc.), I do want this to “process” already!

But how?

Well first I reached for a lot of my old stand-by’s. (I had them in this post but it got much too long so I took them out. You’ll get them another time.)

Even then, I was aware that, as I wrote to a friend:

I keep wanting to grasp for answers “out there”, and I try, but they seem to only be panaceas. (Of course I now have to remind myself there isn’t an “out there”. It’s all “in here”. And I know the answer(s)/or whatever is too.)

And although I got a lot of comfort and growth from most all of the things I did, I still wan’t quite at peace with it yet.

Still, they were all important because I’m sure they contributed to the movement that opened me to a new and powerful realization this morning.

A New Realization

I don’t know if it’s the ultimate answer (or if there even is one), but it’s definitely promising. (Promising enough to lift my spirits enough to write today — for the first time in quite awhile!)

And here’s how it came about.

Early this morning, soon after I got up, I went to Ollie’s grave and apologized through my deep sobs:

I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you. I love you.

Then I got into the jacuzzi.

I realized after about 5 or 10 min. that I hadn’t even taken a moment to appreciate the beautiful day. I remembered that I had appreciated it as I first walked out the door but that my thought had immediately gone to the idea that Ollie would have loved it. It was nice and cool and he would have loved going for a morning walk. But he couldn’t because he was dead. And sadness and guilt had immediately enveloped me.

But as I remembered that, I looked around at what a beautiful day it still was. The hummingbirds were doing their thing at the feeder, sunlight dappled through the leaves of the trees, the air was clear and wonderfully scented, and everything seemed right with the world.

And a thought came to me:

Do I deserve to enjoy this day too?

And then almost as if I could see myself through other eyes, I realized that this person, me, Patti, had done the best she could. And ya, maybe she made a mistake — she probably did — but she didn’t do it out of bad intentions. (And even if she did, that’s not the point.) She deserves good things too. She’s a good person. She tries! (Oh, God bless her, she tries!)

And even as I was thinking this I realized that even with all that said, she doesn’t have to “earn”.

There’s a spark of innocence, a spark of Divine there that no matter what the personality has learned or not learned so far, that beingevery being — deserves love …  and deserves happiness … and deserves joy.

And the answer is yes.

Really? Even someone who’s made a horrible mistake and “should” have known better?


And not only that: she deserves to be able to reclaim her freedom and joy fully.

For without that she can’t share what it is that she’s here to share.

And what good does that do for anybody?

Have Compassion for Yourself

And so, this is the most comfort I’ve had around this issue since it first reared its head.

I also suspect that it will offer the same to you.

And even in situations where we’re not in deep despair over something we did, but any time we’re judging ourselves for something or another, it’s a perfect exercise to practice.

At this point, I can still feel some guilt. But I also feel compassion for me.

It’s not either-or, but BOTH for awhile. Okay. That’s okay. The guilt is already subsiding. (Oh great, so now it’s “merely” grief. But okay, I’ll take it.)

So it’s not gone (yet), but if anything can transmute it, it’s the light/love. From my experience, that in itself can dissolve or transform all the shadows and difficulties.

It’s powerful stuff.

And interestingly, the very thing that makes me so sad to have let Ollie down, his innocence and his beautiful trusting spirit, that very thing also exists in me.

My spirit is also beautiful and innocent, and likewise deserving of love.

And so now every time I feel that guilt I also love myself:

I love you. I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you.

I’ll keep you posted … but you’ll know. You’ll actually know because you’ll see me come back to life. It’s already happening. I can feel it.

If you’ve ever felt guilt, what — if anything — have you done about it? Where did you find comfort? Did anything help? Please share!

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

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  7 Responses to “Searing, Tortuous Guilt … or Lightness of Being?”

Comments (6) Trackbacks (1)

    Hi Patti, I’m sorry to hear that you are going through such a tough time over Ollie’s transition. The way that I see things of this nature is that he *chose* to go at that time. I was an oncology/hospice nurse at one point in my life and I saw how the Spirit can hang on through unbelievable bodily circumstances if it wants to stay for a certain event/person/time.

    I didn’t realize until recently that I was dealing with much guilt around raising my children. I was having some ankle issues and when I looked that up in Louise Hay’s ‘Heal Your Body’ book it said it had to do with guilt. Then I heard from three separate different people how their acupuncturist was amazing in helping them so I got the idea that I needed to see an acupuncturist. I told her about my ankles/guilt theory and whatever she did it worked! Immediately! I’m so amazed at how my stuck-in-a-rut thinking about guilt stopped. She just shifted the energy.

    There is so much we don’t know about our life here on earth, or how the energy that courses through everything is so entwined and constantly shifting, that eventually we have to just stop and let someone else help us. Trust, have faith, and know that you are loved.

    And know that Ollie’s energy is still a part of you and that he felt comfortable enough to leave when he needed to. Now he is pure love energy once again that can come visit with you as much as you will allow. The guilt blocks this from happening, so get rid of it, free yourself, and allow the love to once again flow through you.

    I hope this helps. Big Hug and Namaste. Debbie


      Hi Debbie,

      Thank you SO much for this. I forwarded it to my husband who also appreciates it and we had a talk about it … He’s wondering when I’m going to go get needles stuck in my ankles, lol. But honestly, we talked about the idea of Ollie choosing to go, and are so grateful for you sharing your wisdom from your experiences in hospice. You didn’t know this but Ollie was at the vet’s overnight on IV, and we brought him home the next evening. He was only home about 5 hours before he died and even though it was the middle of the night and my husband was up with him, I had just gotten up “for some reason” and was right there with him, rubbing his ears and looking him in the eyes (loving him, actually) when he passed. We’ve both talked about how he held out to die until he got home with us. I’ll always treasure that I was with him.

      Also, like you said, I do know he’s in a good place. I did a session with Ollie about a week after he passed and was surprised to find that he is this magnificent being — didn’t seem like a dog, actually more human than anything — who has his own agenda and is already preparing to go about his business. And even as he does, he’ll always be with us. Cool how that works. 😉

      Of course it’s still sooo hard for me that he’s gone but that’s what happens when we get to experience such love in our lives: We want it to last forever (and I guess it does, in a way). And the guilt continues to dissolve, thank God. Thanks so much for your part in that.

      Thanks for everything. You’re a treasure.


    Oh, Patti. My heart was really aching reading this. I feel for you. I actually felt your pain while reading your words (yep, empath through & through!). I’d love to send you a warm, loving hug across the miles.

    It sounds cliche, but Ollie wouldn’t want you feeling guilty about the circumstances surrounding his passing. He would want you to be happy and feel just love and warmth when thinking about him. Of course, that will come in time once you’ve properly grieved, but I hope in time your guilt will disintegrate until you don’t feel a drop of it.

    When I’m feeling guilt or any other feeling where I’m beating myself up over this, that or the other thing, I place my hand over my heart or solar plexus chakra and breathe deeply. I say “I love and forgive myself.” Similar to your own affirmation above.

    Sending you so much love.


      Hi Lindsay,
      Thank you!!! That part about placing your hands and saying “I love and forgive myself” brought tears to my eyes. I love that and will do that as I continue to do “treatments”. Those are the places that hurt the most. And so true what you say about what Ollie would want (I can only assume, but still), and I love your hope that someday I won’t feel a drop of guilt. Hear hear!
      Thanks for coming by and leaving your pieces of love behind as you so often do. Much appreciated.


    Oh Patti I am sorry I didn’t see this as it was happening so I could send you some support, but glad to read your Independence article and see you are doing better.

    Lots I could say about guilt (been releasing that around not letting people push me around and standing up for myself – without feeling guilty!) and also what my Magic dog has been going through (two surgeries in 6 months for two completely avoidable accidents, one of which was my fault). Amazing what healing you can bring to yourself and what new understanding you can gain, just by having lived through the experience.

    What I noticed was that dogs plainly appreciate what we do for them, even if it’s our own dumb mistake that caused the issue in the first place. And even if they die as a result. They KNOW you’re doing the best you can for them and they just love you back even when you screw up – they don’t judge (unlike us). I’ve decided that dogs should get opposable thumbs and I’m going to let them rule the world and take over for a while!


      Hey, Julie,

      LOL on dogs ruling the world! I’m in! You’re so right, they don’t judge, and I’ve found a little solace in the fact that we rescued Ollie from the pound 8 years ago and probably that was all “extra” for him (sad state of affairs, but we all got each other so I’m good with that!)

      And even if you didn’t know you were supporting me, ALL dog lovers were, in a way. And I’m not kidding. I truly was bouyed up by “love of dogs” and “love by dogs” as I moved thru it all. But thank you for expressing it now. YOu have a special way and a unique perspective and I always love hearing it.

      So glad to hear Magic is still with you guys, what a beauty!! And thanks for what you said about guilt. Something about hearing that other people make mistakes (the accident you said was your fault) took a lot of the charge out of it all, immediately.

      And finally, yay on standing up for yourself. You go, girl! It means that true Julie will be shining even brighter, such a good thing! 😉

      Thank you!!! xoxo.

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