What if forgiveness isn’t pardoning?

What if pardoning is a potential result of forgiveness?

What if forgiveness is a spiritual process that unconditionally loves all of you?

With Dara McKinley

May 5 - June 16, 2024
with Dara McKinley

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Hello and welcome to How to Forgive!

Offered four times a year, this month-long online course guides participants on the practical path of unconditional love and its ability to restore the heart. This is also called forgiveness.

Ten years ago I reluctantly came to the forgiveness path after I experienced a relationship rupture that left me awash in confusion and disbelief. Prior to this experience I was a private practice psychotherapist and had spent my entire adult life working in human services. Despite all of my professional knowledge, skills, and experience, I lived with a chronic feeling of resentment.

During this time a good friend kept nudging me toward forgiveness…but I was very skeptical. In October 2012, after three years of emotional struggle, I realized I had to change and forgiveness seemed worth a try. Less than a month later I felt peaceful…and my entire world view was transformed.

How to Forgive is different.

How to Forgive proposes a new understanding of forgiveness. Instead of “pardoning offenses”, forgiveness is defined as an emotionally intelligent spiritual process.
Emotional intelligence is the ability to see and process one’s unique emotional world. This ability is key to emotional health which profoundly effects every aspect of our lives. Emotional intelligence is half the forgiveness equation and one of the most valuable skills a person can develop in their lifetime.
The other half of the forgiveness equation is a body-based experience of unconditional love and the ability to direct this love at will.
The course offers a clear step-by-step framework for bringing emotional intelligence and unconditional love together. When bought together over a consistent period of time, forgiveness prevails.

The Three Time Frames of Forgiveness

Whether forgiving other(s), yourself, or life circumstances, there are three time frames that forgiveness can address. These time frames can exist separately or they can overlap.
1. Episodic: The episodic time frame is when a difficult life situation occurred within a time period that can be named an “incident” or “episode”. Though episodic occurrences are often quite intense, that they have a clear beginning and end typically lends to a straightforward forgiveness process.
2. Enduring: The enduring time frame is when a difficult life situation exists in one’s daily life. Some examples include an illness, loss of a loved one, an ex who you co-parent with, a long stint of unemployment, a complicated divorce, a difficult boss, a relationship you are not ready to leave. When forgiving something that is enduring, forgiveness is beneficial as an every day practice.
3. Epoch: The epoch time frame is when a difficult situation is in the past but transpired over a long period of time. This includes childhoods/parental relationships, long term relationships, past-life/karmic relationships, and any and all behaviors and circumstances that were long-lasting. Though forgiving an epoch time frame seems daunting, it is 100% forgivable. Given their longevity, epoch time frames typically have complex layers which are important to understand before stepping onto the forgiveness path.

“Dara has a gift for taking a very complicated topic and breaking it down to it’s essence. It is so simple yet magically effective. Consistently doing these practices over 21 days empowered me to start moving a lot of stuck energy/emotions/thoughts, releasing me ultimately from a lot of fears and regrets that kept me stuck in the weeds of life. The additional space this course opened inside me, allowed me to forgive myself and others enough to start creating again, a by-product I wasn’t expecting! I can feel myself slowly but surely breaking free of my fantasies, of my fears/excuses, feeling more encouraged to accept my reality and make positive choices knowing owning my truth is the only way I want to proceed. Thank you for creating this powerful course. I highly recommend it to anyone wanting to process stuck emotions and free themselves to move forward with passion and clarity.”– N.H.Colorado Springs

“For over a decade I had a complete refusal to forgive, due to surviving a handful of atrocious betrayals. What I didn’t realize is that refusing to forgive was literally blocking me from becoming the human being my betrayals were initiating me to become. And as a therapist I had been addressing my betrayals emotionally, mentally, and physically- for years. But it wasn’t until Dara’s course that I was spiritually transformed from the implicit impact of “unforgivable” betrayal. My entire life changed as a result, in ways I cannot begin to explain, but feel forever indebted to. If you’re ready for the real deal healing – this course is it.”– Lalena F. Colorado Springs, CO

“Most people know it’s good to forgive but until now, I’ve never been guided step by step. This is life-changing and deeply transformational. I’m able to experience a level of peace and freedom that I didn’t know I was capable of. Every cell of my being is grateful.” – Emily J. San Francisco, CA

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. It is designed to heal chronic negative emotions 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 How to Forgive course is
January 14 - February 11, 2024

Registration opens December 27, 2023

(Two-payment option available)

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 video tutorials that will encourage, inspire, and elaborate session themes.
  • Personal coaching with me, via email, for the duration of the course

Support and guidance: For the full four weeks of the course + two 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 1Preparing: Prepare for a successful course experience and learn how to embody unconditional love.

Week 2 Initiating: Begin the forgiveness process and learn to apply unconditional love to your unique circumstance.

Week 3Seeing: Learn how to move difficult emotions.

Week 4Synchronizing: Synchronize unconditional love with your emotional truth.

Week 5Completing: Review and celebrate your sacred forgiveness journey.

Week 5 + 6 – Complete course access and coaching remain available for two 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 two 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?

  1. Have you done a lot of great work in therapy but still have strong feelings about some things in the past?
  2. Do you find yourself with a strong need to talk about something from the past with whomever will listen?
  3. Does your body wince, cringe, and/or contract when you recall certain memories/thoughts?
  4. Do you think about something in the past much more than you would like? 
  5. Do you experience chronic anger, resentment, shame, and/or guilt?
  6. Did something or someone you trusted let you down?
  7. 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? 

Please answer the following yes or no questions:

  1. Do you know where emotions are located?
  2. Do you want to learn how to use the part of your brain that is designed for emotional health?
  3. Do you want to learn how to move strong emotions through your body?
  4. Do you want to learn how to wield unconditional love?

If you answered yes to these questions, How to Forgive is for you.

Have another Q?

I am happy to answer it. Please email dara@howtoforgive.com.

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.


I would like to do your course but I am traveling during the course dates. Could I still do it while traveling?

No, it is best to wait until you have time and space in your schedule. Learning how to forgive is one of the most important things you will do in your lifetime and it requires your full attention.

Courses are offered four times a year. If you are unable to take this course now, enter your email below to be notified when registration opens for the next course.

I would like to forgive myself. Does this course work for self-forgiveness also?

Yes, this course works for self-forgiveness, in addition to forgiving others, and/or forgiving life circumstances.

I went through a long period of struggle and have never done counseling or therapy. Could this course help?

I recommend doing counseling and developing a psychological understanding first. Once that perspective is in place, then I recommend forgiveness as you will have a clearer view of how you were affected and what needs forgiving.

My entire childhood was very difficult. Would this course work for me?

Yes, but I recommend first having a psychological viewpoint of your childhood and how if affected you. Working with a therapist/counselor to understand the dynamics, perspectives, and possible diagnoses of those involved in your upbringing would give you a much needed framework for effective forgiveness work.

Is there a Facebook group or some community aspect to 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.

Have another question? Please email team@howtoforgive.com.

“How to Forgive helped me to heal one of the most important relationships in my life – my relationship with my mother. I came in to the course full of anger and ‘how could she?’ resentment. A few weeks in, I felt my heart opening and the natural impulse to let go of seeing her as a villain. This process opened a doorway to my own empowerment in my career; once I was able to let go of blaming her, I felt noticeably more powerful in the world. I had no idea how much the anger and resentment were keeping me stuck in disempowerment. Best of all, the process of letting go of anger was not a denial of my own hurt – it actually honored it and gave me a way to love myself while forgiving.” – Katya S. Boulder, CO

“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.

“It has been a year since I took Dara’s How to Forgive online seminar. At the time, I was doing everything I could to try to forgive. It seemed nothing would work. As I look back now at my year, I have found myself using the tools she teaches on a regular basis! My life finally has propelled forward and I am filled with gratitude for where it has taken me. The course not only started my path of healing, but it started me on a path of living! Thank you Dara, you are such a gift, these tools were such a gift.” – K.C. Boulder, CO

The next How to Forgive course is
January 14 - February 11, 2024

Registration opens December 27, 2023

(Two-payment option available)

Enter your email address to be notified when registration opens: