with Dara McKinley
This four-week online course guides participants on the practical path of unconditional love and its ability to heal chronic anger, resentment, shame and/or guilt.
This is also called forgiveness.
Anger, resentment, shame, and guilt are all valuable members of your emotional realm. Their healthy expression is informative and guiding. However, if you experience any of these emotions repetitively then it is likely something intense happened that has left you stuck.
Forgiveness will not only reinstate your inner peace, but it will liberate your true potential.
Healing wins. Every time.
I’m Dara McKinley, the creator of and guide for How to Forgive.
I completed an MA in Contemplative Psychology from Naropa University and have spent my entire adult life in the field of human services and wellness. From counseling delinquent adolescents, to a private psychotherapy practice, to leading retreats and workshops — helping others restore their emotional health is my passion.
Forgiveness is a spiritual experience that heals betrayal. I have one foot firmly planted in the mystical world and the other firmly planted in the rational world. Synchronizing the rational and the mystical is where forgiveness is found.
Ten years ago I experienced a betrayal that radically changed my life and left me awash in confusion and disbelief. Despite all of my efforts to let it go, take the high road and focus on gratitude, the pain of the betrayal endured. After three years I hit rock bottom. I suspected I could benefit from forgiveness but I had no clue how to do it. Thus began my quest.
In October 2012, armed with my previous knowledge of eastern spirituality and western psychology, I dove deep into the vast world of forgiveness. In less than a month the betrayal was healed and my entire world view was transformed.
Initially it didn’t occur to me to share what I’d discovered, but after many meaningful conversations with friends and colleagues, I saw that many people were in the exact boat I had been in: they needed to forgive but they had no idea how to go about it, and they were stuck.
I realized that a straight-up, practical, heart-centered, dogma-free, forgiveness course that honors the individual and their unique journey, would not only be useful, but for many, necessary… and How to Forgive was born.
A Working Definition
When I speak of forgiveness I do not mean pardoning, I mean your personal healing.
Pardoning is the most common use of the word forgiveness but this definition actually creates obstacles to the forgiveness path in two ways:
First, pardoning is only a potential result of forgiveness, it’s not the act of forgiveness or the goal. The act involves your connection to unconditional love and it’s ability to heal chronic anger, resentment, shame, and/or guilt. The goal is your inner peace.
Second, when a person is struggling with a huge loss or betrayal, pardoning usually feels impossible. This leads many people to reject forgiveness as a legitimate healing path.
Instead of pardoning, I define forgiveness as a spiritual experience that heals the emotional confusion of betrayal. The spiritual experience is your connection to unconditional love. The emotional confusion of betrayal is chronic anger, resentment, shame, or guilt that stems from a past or present day struggle.
“I took this course with the hopes of that it would help me cope with the stress of an unusually long unemployment period. Once I began though, I realized something unjust had occurred at a previous job that I had residual feelings about, so I decided to focus on forgiving my previous employer. I pride myself on being practical, logic-driven, and results-oriented. I can get cynical if something is too out-there. This course was undoubtedly effective at not only managing my stress, but also revealing things that I was holding on to and processing them. When the four weeks were done I was left feeling peaceful and complete. And yes, before the course was over, I landed a great job.” Wendy G. Thorton, CO.
“After seven years of a difficult marriage that ended in divorce, I was stuck in a resentful place. This course is phenomenal. So well done and insightful.”
– Binah R., Colorado Springs, CO
“I entered this course to forgive my ex-partner. The course not only helped me see how much I was holding on to, but it also taught me how to release it. I feel a lot softer now. I plan on re-taking the course to forgive some other people in my life. How to Forgive is valuable and I recommend it to anyone who wants to be free of the past.” V.S. Madison WI
“How to Forgive” was an excellent experience with huge and lasting shifts.” – Jen K., Seattle, WA
“Dara makes the forgiveness process doable, meaningful, and effective.” -Carissa M., Seattle, WA
“Thank you. This course had a huge impact on how I am able to move forward.” -anonymous, Boulder, CO
What is betrayal?
I often use the word betrayal to describe things that need to be forgiven. Whether created by you, someone else, or life circumstances, betrayal is when someone or something you trusted fails. Or said in another way, something happened that you believe shouldn’t have happened.
Betrayals occur all the time and many are easy to recover from, but some involve huge losses and some are chronic. When a betrayal involves a big loss and/or is chronic, forgiveness is very useful.
The effects of a betrayal can ultimately look many different ways but most result in chronic feelings of anger, resentment, guilt and/or shame.
Though forgiveness is often described as something that can resolve past hurts, I have come to see that a clearer definition is that forgiveness heals betrayal. Something you had faith-in broke down. Something happened that you believe shouldn’t have happened.
Therapy vs. Forgiveness
I am a trained psychotherapist and huge fan of therapy, however forgiveness does not replace therapy and therapy does not replace forgiveness. They are both important.
Therapy is a relationship with a counseling professional who can help you move forward in a variety of ways depending on your history and circumstance. There are many effective psychotherapeutic modalities and the healing that can come from working with a good therapist is invaluable. Some of the many benefits include: resolving past trauma, understanding family of origin dynamics, changing habitual patterns, learning to create boundaries, being seen emotionally, and ongoing support.
Forgiveness is a spiritual experience that is typically achieved and practiced on your own, and is specifically designed to heal the pain of betrayal by applying universal love to your unique circumstance. It requires your personal truth and the power of your heart which is available to you at any time.
The next course begins Fall 2019
Enter your email address to be notified when registration opens.
How to Forgive is a four-week course that includes:
- Weekly instructional videos that deliver a relatable view and clear path
- Weekly assignments designed to realize each piece of the forgiveness puzzle
- Weekly made-fresh-for-each-course video tutorials that will encourage, inspire, and elaborate session themes.
- Support from me, via email, for the duration of the course
Support and guidance: Forgiveness is ultimately an adventure with many potential twists, turns, stumbles, and leaps. For the full four weeks of the course + four weeks post course, I am available via email to help guide you through any confusing spots.*
Time commitment: Though everyone’s forgiveness journey is unique, on average the course requires 1-3 hours/week. Ultimately the more time and space you allow yourself during the four weeks, the more effective the course will be.
Each week you will receive a video/audio session to guide you through the following themes:
Week 1 – You will prepare for a successful course experience and learn the foundation of forgiveness.
Week 2 – You will learn how to use the part of your brain that is designed for forgiveness and begin the forgiveness process.
Week 3 – You will learn how to transform your circumstance and your suffering into personal power.
Week 4 – You will identify the core of your betrayal and align with the mystery of your becoming.
Week 5 – Your sacred forgiveness journey is reviewed, celebrated, and integrated into everyday life.
Integration – Complete course access remains available for 4 additional weeks.
*Please note that this is not a do-at-your-own-pace online course. Registering for this course means that you are purchasing access to the How to Forgive online portal with support from me during the dates listed above, plus four additional weeks. If you cannot make these dates, this course is offered multiple times a year. Please enter your email at the bottom of this page to be notified of the next course.
Do you have something to forgive?
Answer the following questions to see if you have something to forgive?
- Have you done a lot of great work in therapy but still have strong feelings about some things in the past?
- Is there something that you feel you have moved past but when you think or talk about it today you feel your pelvis, stomach, heart, or throat contract/wince/cringe?
- Do you experience chronic anger, resentment, shame, and/or guilt?
- Do you find yourself with a strong need to talk about something from the past with whomever will listen?
- Does your body wince, cringe, contract, or become tense when you recall certain memories/thoughts?
- Did something or someone you trusted let you down?
- Is there a chronic issue in your life that creates burdensome feelings?
If you answered yes to any of the above questions, you likely have something to forgive.
Is this course for you?
Using a scale of 0 – 10, with 10 signifying a burning desire, and 0 signifying no desire, how badly do you want to feel differently about your issue?
If you answered 8, 9, or 10, then you could benefit from this course.
Have another Q?
I am happy to answer it. Click here to contact me.
Forgiveness and Self-Love
Core to the path of self-love is self-care, good boundaries, self-compassion, and…forgiveness. Whether you are forgiving yourself or forgiving another person, unresolved betrayals and traumas take up residence in your body, skewing perspectives, blocking intuition, and fueling criticism of self and others. Learning to liberate your body from the pain and emotional confusion of betrayal is one of self-love’s greatest acts.
“Three months ago I had a powerful emotional remembrance of anger and sadness related to my parents divorce and my father in particular. I took How to Forgive to help me release these feelings that were so clearly stuck in my body and psyche. This course has given me tremendous relief and I am grateful.” D.I. Boulder, CO
“I chose to forgive what I thought was unforgivable and I was astounded by the eye-opening perspective of this program.” – Miriam B., Boulder, CO
“It worked magic. Thank you for creating this life-changing course” – Kim L., Boulder, CO
“A masterful teacher.” – Lillian S., Seattle, WA
“At first I wasn’t sure if the course had worked, and then I saw [my ex] and it was totally cool.” – F.C. Auckland, New Zealand
Do you offer discounts?
Yes. Every course I offer an early-bird course rate of $200. Please enter you email at the bottom of this page to be notified when the next early-bird registration begins.
I would like to do your course but I am traveling during the course dates. Could I still do it while traveling?
It depends. If your travel plans are to relax and you will have a good amount of time to yourself, then yes. If your days will be full, then it’s probably a good idea to wait for the next course. If you are only traveling for a few days and thus will need extra time to catch-up, the course portal is open for four additional weeks for anyone who needs extra time to finish.
If you are unable to take this course now because of a previous commitment, enter your email below to be notified when registration opens for the next course.
When I think of a difficult situation from the past, it feels too painful. Should I take this course?
Feeling emotionally overwhelmed and/or flooded when you recall the past are typically signs of trauma. Trauma is a normal and common phenomena. I recommend first working with a good therapist who specializes in trauma and then doing the work of forgiveness.
I recently experienced something intense and have since been inconsolable. Could this course help?
If a betrayal/trauma is recent and left you feeling emotionally overwhelmed, it’s best to work with a professional therapist first. Working with a good therapist will help you process what happened. Once you feel more grounded and centered you can move on to the work of forgiveness.
I have been struggling with an issue for a long time and I am done with the burdensome feelings. Could this course help?
Yes. I recommend that you take this course.
Is there a Facebook group or some community aspect in this course?
No. I believe that forgiveness work is personal and thus private.
Do you offer scholarships?
No, not at this time.
What is your religion/spiritual views?
I describe myself as spiritual but not religious. My connection to spirit feels constant but is particularly vivid in the quiet morning hours and in nature.
The next course begins Fall 2019
Enter your email address to be notified when registration opens.