Forgiveness: 21 Daysto Forgive Everyone for Everything by Iyanla Vanzant is a lovely book that is infused with the author’s own spiritual beliefs and wisdom. The book includes a CD with guided meditations and uses the Emotional Freedom Technique (aka EFT tapping) to guide the reader through a gradual process of forgiveness. As the title implies, the purpose of the book is to lead the reader through forgiving everyone for everything. No small feat.
My first encounter with the author’s works was ages ago. Someone had recommended her book One Day My Soul Just Opened Up and, while looking through the bookshelves that had the one book I saw another book by her In the Meantime: Finding Yourself and the Love You Want. I never finished reading the former, even though I was reading it with an online group. The latter, I read and recommended in spite of the writing and editing, which I found to be less than stellar. Nonetheless, the advice she offered was good and I would still recommend the book to anyone who is trying to work through a heartbreak.
This book begins with Vanzant’s personal invitation to open up to the power of forgiveness. Yes, much of her rhetoric is awash with New Age-ism. However, I was able to filter out the more heavily spiritual content and focus on the strength of her advice. The first day’s forgiveness practice begins where most teachers say such things should begin—with forgiving yourself. There are journaling exercises to do before the reader listens to the CD and uses a string of phrases during the tapping exercises. Each day has a different focus—forgiving people in your life (from parents to friends to more generic strangers) and aspects of your life (work, money, etc.). The journaling exercises invite you to write your own forgiveness statements which are then used during the EFT tapping.
I know some people are skeptical of tapping. I’ve witnessed its use and can testify to its effect. I have my theories about why it is beneficial and I’m not going to defend the technique. If you are skeptical then I would encourage you to skip this book altogether. If you have not tried EFT and are open to exploring its use, then this book is an excellent introduction. There is a learning curve with learning the sequence of the tapping.
Don’t get me wrong; I don’t buy into all of the advice/wisdom but I used this book as a starting point for more journaling, for more personal exploration. The book suggests you can work through the book in 21 days. I found myself unable to work through the book that quickly. I stopped listening to the CD meditations which are lovely but I prefer to meditate in silence. (I confess, I also cringed when Vanzant, whose voice is relaxing and ideally suited for guided meditation, used the word “ain’t” which is indicative of her down-home, colloquial style.) And some of the “objects” of forgiveness require a little more time and devotion. Also, there are some opportunities for forgiveness that are not included. Again, the book offers a strong framework from which to build. The journaling exercises are simple enough to use with anyone or anything. By the time you’ve worked through the 21 days, you will know how to continue the lifetime journey with forgiveness. You’ll also know how to use the EFT tapping sequences to heal many more experiences than are included in this single book.
I liked this book very much and would recommend it, with some reservations, to others. The 21 days will lay a foundation for a lifetime of forgiveness. After all, I know I’ll have a plethora of reasons to forgive myself for the rest of my life and I suspect I’ll be reviewing Day 1 many times.