Keep Moving Forward by Sherry Hamilton

August 14, 2013 in Blog, Emotional Healing, Forgiveness by Annette

Photo by Jenn Ocken Photography

I feel resistance to change strongly and have often described this feeling like trying to shove a square peg into a round hole, it just hurts and gets shaved off on the corners as the ill-fitted peg is forced into the round space.  Changes are forced into compliance in a new life habit.

When you feel resistance to change or to being good to yourself rather than destructive to yourself, then you are right where you need to be. You are at the doorway of challenging and changing your view, and your feelings about what you are doing, and your way of life!!  Keep moving forward with love toward yourself, with gratitude for your freedom to choose and to know what to choose even when you feel resistance toward it– keep doing it.  Find others who are successful in changing from destructive habits to life-giving, get good tools like EPTworks and keep praying and keep trying again and again. You can do it. I believe in you.

Forgiveness for giving up in the face of resistance and remaining powerless to change:

  • I forgive myself for seeing resistance as a wall rather than a doorway for my good.
  • I forgive myself for believing all resistance is bad, unsafe, not allowed and off limits.
  • I forgive myself for believing I can’t feel any different, and this resistance will always be with me.
  • I forgive myself for believing I will never get over my feeling of resistance and feel comfort in this new space.
  • I forgive myself for holding onto powerlessness because of what has changed in my life and what I can never get back.
  • I forgive myself for holding onto sadness and loss to keep myself stuck in resistance to a new life.
  • I forgive myself for believing resistance is more powerful than my choice to love myself and others in my new space.
  • I forgive myself for allowing resistance to keep me from loving myself and serving others with my gifts and talents.
  • I forgive myself for believing there is nothing for me on the other side of this resistance.
  • I forgive myself for deciding I can’t do this and for remaining stuck in resistance.
  • I give others permission to forgive me for using my feeling of resistance as an excuse to let them down.  I forgive others for using their feelings of resistance as a reason to remain distant and disconnected.
  • I forgive myself for believing there is no impasse to my feeling of resistance in this matter.
  • I forgive others for believing the same thing so that we remain isolated from loving communication.
  • I give myself permission to raise my level of acceptance to my resistance to facing my own resistance in any matter in my life.
  • I give myself permission to raise my level of acceptance to my own resistance to loving and communicative relationships in my family, my community, and in each person I meet in this world.
  • I give myself permission to raise my level of acceptance to my own resistance for holding me back from personal growth and achievement.
  • I choose to increase my feelings of gratitude for what resistance teaches me and how resistance challenges me to increase my courage for continued growth and expansion of love and service in my life.

5 Reasons You Hold on to Low Self-Esteem

July 17, 2013 in Blog, Emotional Healing, Forgiveness by Annette

By Jenn Ocken Photography.

Low self-esteem is an emotional feeling of holding oneself with disregard to the truth of the real power you hold with your unique talents, gifts and skills. Because low self-esteem is out of balance with truth, it has a negative impact on your ability to create great things in your life.  If you are a person who struggles with this chronic habit of seeing yourself as less than God has made you to be; it’s time to give up the low self-esteem and see yourself for how great you really are.

1)  Shame and fear from previous trauma and abuse:

It builds your story that you somehow caused the abuse or deserved the abuse.  The shame comes from having been a part of a trauma or abuse whether you caused it or not.  Your fear is that if you shine or stand out, you will be hurt again.  Repeat each statement below and take a deep breathe after each one is completed…

  • I forgive myself for believing it was all my fault and I deserved to be hurt.
  • I forgive myself for believing there was something I could have done to stop the abuse.
  • I forgive those who abused me.
  • I forgive myself for holding on to the abuse and low self-esteem.
  • I forgive myself for believing if I shine, I will be hurt again.
  • I forgive myself for believing I had to give up my self love to protect my abuser.
  • I forgive myself for taking the shame of the abuse even though I didn’t cause it.
  • I give myself permission to say yes to this trauma, abuse, fear and low self-esteem and I release it to divine love and gratitude.
  • Without this shame, abuse, fear and low self-esteem, I am free to shine like the sun.

2)  Fear of arrogance:

You are afraid that you will be perceived as arrogant or prideful if you love yourself.  You believe loving yourself is ungodly.

  • I forgive myself for believing it is bad to love myself and be honest about my natural talents and gifts.
  • I forgive myself for believing that loving yourself is ungodly.
  • I forgive myself for believing I will be perceived as arrogant or prideful if I love myself as God loves me.
  • I forgive myself for denying who God made me to be as a show of righteousness.
  • I forgive myself for using low self-esteem as a false humility.
  • I give God permission to forgive me for denying the light he made me to be.
  • Without this pattern, I am free to be honest about who I am and what I am really good at.  I can share the truth of who I am even if I am shining like the sun.

3)  You don’t want to be held responsible:

You are afraid if you believe in yourself and have self-esteem, you will be held responsible for things that go wrong.  By holding on to your low self-esteem, you will avoid taking risks and responsibility.

  • I forgive myself for believing I can’t do anything right.
  • I forgive myself for believing I’m not capable.
  • I forgive myself for using low self-esteem as an excuse to avoid taking risks and responsibility.
  • I forgive myself for believing I must be perfect to take responsibility.
  • I forgive others for blaming me for things that go wrong.
  • I forgive others for shaming me for things that go wrong.
  • I give others permission to forgive me for blaming them for my low self-esteem
  • I give others permission to forgive me for showing up with less than my real God-given talent.
  • Without this pattern, I am free to take action to give back and be responsible without feeling afraid I have to be perfect to deserve love.

4)  It makes people treat you special:

If you feel bad about yourself, people show compassion and feel sorry for you.  They go out of their way to make sure not to say or do the wrong thing around you.

  • I forgive myself for believing, if I am powerful, people will be harder on me.
  • I forgive myself for believing, I can control social situations by feeling bad about myself.
  • I forgive myself for using low self-esteem to control how people treat me special.
  • I forgive myself for believing it is safer for me to have low self-esteem.
  • I forgive myself for identifying that low self-esteem is what makes me unique and loved.
  • I give myself permission to let go of my low self-esteem and to express my true God-given talents to help the world.
  • Without this pattern, I am free to shine like the sun and people still treat me special.

5)  I don’t recognize who I am as a child of God:

You identify with the chronic low self-esteem of your family of origin.  To belong you have to be a loser like the rest of your family.  You don’t realize that God made you to shine like the sun.

  • I forgive myself for believing I have to be a loser to belong and be loved.
  • I forgive myself for believing my family won’t recognize me if I don’t hold low self-esteem.
  • I forgive myself for believing I will be alone if I don’t hold low self-esteem.
  • I forgive myself for not recognizing who I am as a child of God.
  • I forgive myself for rejecting the truth of who God made me to be for the lies of my family.
  • I forgive my family for making low self-esteem the way to belong and be respected and loved.
  • I give my family permission to forgive me for letting go of the low self-esteem and loving who God made me to be.
  • Without this pattern, I am free to recognize who I am was a child of God and I am shining like the sun.

Monk and mystic, Thomas Merton, said it best when he said, “there is no way of telling people that they are all walking around shining like the sun!”

How will your life look without that old low self-esteem?  What more will you be able to give to those you love, your community and the world?  Answer these questions in the comments.  I’d love to see!

Who Gets Cancer?

July 3, 2013 in Blog, Emotional Healing, Emotional Healing Training, Health by Annette

Here is some very compelling research describing the personality traits that increase one’s chances for developing cancer.

If you or someone you love have a high number of these traits, you can decrease your chance for developing cancer with EPTworks™ and emotional healing.  By releasing emotional and physical trauma and changing your beliefs, you can increase your assertiveness and ownership of your power to be honest and open about your needs and the practical fulfillment of those needs without the fear or avoidance of conflict.

The most important fact you need to know about cancer: Of all the people who are diagnosed with cancer; the majority survive.

Cancer Personality

The presence of traumas was important in assessing the risk of cancer and the possibility of a poor prognosis.  In his study of 250 patients diagnosed with malignancy, LeShan (1956) noted that a childhood trauma was present in 62% of the cancer patients, and in only 10% of the control group.  He concluded that an early emotional trauma increased the risk of cancer later in life. Such trauma would supposedly lead to an increase in tension towards one or both parents.  Later, LeShan included the presence of a childhood trauma as one of the psychological indicators for predicting cancer development.

Later, LeShan (1977) reconfirmed his initial findings.  He studied the life histories of 500 patients.  One of the typical patterns identified was childhood trauma.  Such trauma included feelings of isolation, neglect, difficult, dangerous or intense interpersonal relationships, parental deprivation and coldness.  He noticed that 76% of the cancer patients showed such patterns in their past, and had also recently experienced an emotional loss.  Traumatic patterns were relived through the recent emotional loss, which influenced cancer growth.

A 1946 Johns Hopkins University study: “Our results appear to agree with findings that cancer patients tend to deny and repress conflictual impulses and emotions to a higher degree than do other people.”

Certain personality features increase the risk of cancer because they are more likely to generate physiological stress.

  • Repression, the inability to say “no”, and a lack of awareness of one’s anger make it much more likely that a person will find herself in situations where her emotions are unexpressed, her needs are ignored and her gentleness exploited.
  • Extremely co-operative
  • Patient
  • Passive
  • Lacking assertiveness
  • Accepting
  • Represses negative emotions especially anger while struggling to maintain a strong, happy façade—denial of negative emotions.
  • The external appearance of a nice or good person
  • A suppression of reactions that may offend others
  • Avoidance of conflict
  • Chronically hopeless and helpless, even though it is not consciously recognized, in the sense that the person basically believes that it is useless to express one’s needs: the needs will not or cannot be met by the environment.

If you know someone who could benefit from this information, please share it.

Take a minute to share how you may have changed these traits in your lifetime and how it has influenced your health and healing.


Knowing this will make you a GENIUS healer!

June 27, 2013 in Blog, Emotional Healing, Emotional Healing Training, Forgiveness by Annette

I was on a road trip and happened to be reading Barbara Brennan’s book Light Emerging.  I was reading her chapter on the seven stages of healing.  I had an incredible “aha moment” as I realized this information explained why I could have two different patients with the same symptoms and totally different outcomes.

I may have two patients with right leg pain (sciatica).  One patient responds to my brilliant care in one treatment having no more pain.  I feel like a genius doctor who can fix this problem in anyone but the next patient with this same problem comes in and I can’t get any change or healing to occur.  After learning the seven stages of healing I understood why.

Seven Stages of Healing

  1. Denial:  “There’s nothing wrong with me.”  “It’s normal to have headaches.”  “Everyone has problems like this.”
  2. Anger:  “Why me?”  “This isn’t fair.”  “I don’t deserve this problem.”  “I hate this pain.” “Someone else is to blame.”
  3. Bargain:  “Okay, I’ve been bad and now I need to change so this will stop or go away.”  “I will do what the doctor say as long as I’m guaranteed to get rid of this.”  “I’ll get surgery if it will make it better.”  “I’ll take 100 vitamins and do colonics every day if it will make it better.” “I hate my life so I have to fix it.”
  4. Depression:  “It doesn’t matter what I do, nothing gets better.”  “I’m stuck with this problem.” “It will never go away.”
  5. Acceptance:  “I feel better.”  “Things are getting better.”  “I still have a way to go but I feel hope.” “I love my life so I know it will change.”
  6. Light Emerging:  “Things in my life are changing rapidly.”  “Some days I think nothing has changed but then I see a lot of things have changed.”  “New people are coming into my life.”  “Things in my life are changing rapidly.”  “I feel the meaning of let go, let God.”
  7. Creation of New Life:  “I am solidly placed in a completely new scenario in my life.”  “There are new people and things.” “I am excited at the prospect of learning new ways of being and living my life in this new place.”

So here’s the genius part:  The patient who healed was in “Light Emerging”.  The patient I couldn’t help heal was in “Depression”.  Use muscle testing to determine what stage of healing your client is in with a particular problem.  The ones in “Acceptance”, “Light Emerging” and “Creation of New Life” will get better with very little effort on your part.

For the others, in “Denial”, “Anger”, “Bargain” or “Depression”; use EPTworks™ to quickly reveal and release what it holding them back.  Voila!  You too, can be a genius healer!

Think about a problem you would like to heal and determine what stage of healing you are in with that problem. Your decision to heal will  take you on a road trip to “Creation of New Life”.  Enjoy the journey!

Much gratitude to Barbara Brennan for her great contribution to this work!

I would love to hear how you have used the stages of healing to increase the focus and speed of healing in your life or in helping others.  Please leave a comment below.

Sugar Regulation

June 12, 2013 in Blog, Emotional Healing, Health, Nutrition by Annette

If you have any of the following problems, you can benefit from a sugar regulation diet:

  • anxiety
  • depression
  • chronic mental instability
  • mental fragility
  • mental fogginess
  • OCD
  • mental and physical fatigue
  • chronic weight gain
  • inability to lose weight and keep it off
  • chronic anger/irritability

You can improve your condition in as little as 30 days with very little cost and change in your lifestyle.

1) Eliminate wheat—all wheat, that includes pasta, bread, cereals, crackers, cookies. Wheat is notorious for causing sugar dysregulation, so no wheat for you.

2) Eat 60-75 grams of useable protein per day.  If your current protein resources were useable, you wouldn’t have this sugar regulation problem.  You must put this useable protein in your breakfast and every snack. If you have a meal with very little protein, you may want to add 10-20 grams of useable protein.  I recommend: Sun Warrior raw fermented brown rice protein powder.  You can get it on Amazon.  Start your day with two scoops=32 grams. You can use this for snacks or supplemental meal protein as well.  Just use a shaker cup, add water and protein, shake and drink.  If you are tolerant of dairy, greek yogurt makes a great snack or dessert with 14 grams of useable protein.  On the go, you can take Think Thin bars which provide 20 grams of useable protein, or use a half one as a dessert to supplement your meal.

3) Eat three smaller meals and two protein snacks each day.  Breakfast–midmorning snack–Lunch–midafternoon snack–Dinner.  Set your iPhone alarm to remind you to eat your protein snacks.

4) Don’t overeat.  You know that last bite that leaves you feeling, “I shouldn’t have eaten that last bite”.  Stop eating before you eat the bite that puts you over your limit of feeling good.  Overeating will also drive you into sugar dysregulation.  Once it goes out of balance, it can take 12-24 hours to get it into a healthy balance again.  You will get the hang of it sooner than you think. (signs of dysregulation: sleepy, fatigued, lost motivation, moody, foggy thinking, irritable, craving sugar, anxiety, depression. . .you get the picture)

5) Discipline.  Yes, I said that ugly little word that no one really wants to hear.  Listen, discipline is one side of a coin, and the other side is freedom. When the freedom you give yourself lacks discipline, you risk losing the freedom you want the most; the freedom to feel good, live longer, be happy and think more clearly. You have to give up ways that aren’t working for you.  Discipline yourself with these simple new habits and expand your awareness of the freedom to be healthier, happier and more fulfilled.  It doesn’t take a prescription,wonder supplement or a ton of money; just your decision to live your life in a better way.

*a supplement that can support you while you are developing this new habit is “inositol powder”.  It tastes like sugar.  Eat 1 tsp three times a day while you are learning to balance your body’s sugar regulation.  Some folks find it helpful to continue taking a half dose while others continue with higher doses.  Your diet management is the key to not needing this supplement support.


June 6, 2013 in Blog, Emotional Healing, Emotional Healing Training, Health, Nutrition by Annette

If you knew of a cure for ADD and ADHD that could really change your child for good, would you be interested? I would like to share three simple, inexpensive changes you can make to eliminate or greatly reduce the symptoms of ADD and ADHD.

1)  Eliminate all wheat, cow dairy, and refined sugar from your child’s diet. 

This is easier than ever with so many new grocery stores offering alternatives.  You can replace wheat products with rice products. Linda C’s Kitchen Table and  Elana’s Pantry offers up all manner of wheat and sugar free goodies you can bake to satisfy those yearnings for homemade treats.  Try her brownies or chocolate chip scones; simple to make and amazingly delicious.  Cow dairy can be replaced with almond milk, coconut milk or flax seed milk.  Butter is acceptable.  Goat and sheep cheese can be found in many varieties.  You can use agave syrup, maple syrup or coconut sugar for a sugar alternative. You can do this and it does make a difference.

2)  Use Amber glasses 2-3 hours before bedtime to minimize your child’s exposure to blue light.

We live in a culture with constant noise and unnatural light.  The environmental chaos is bound to have an effect on developing children.  (buy amber glasses here:

Blue-blocking Glasses To Improve Sleep And ADHD Symptoms

ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 9, 2011:

Scientists at John Carroll University, working in its Lighting Innovations Institute, have developed an affordable accessory that appears to reduce the symptoms of ADHD. Their discovery also has also been shown to improve sleep patterns among people who have difficulty falling asleep. The John Carroll researchers have created glasses designed to block blue light, therefore altering a person’s circadian rhythm, which leads to improvement in ADHD symptoms and sleep disorders.

3)  Change a few things in your child’s environment. 

– Fill the child’s environment with your unsolicited, loving, positive, supportive attention.  

In his book, Scattered, Gabor Mate says, “Show me a child who can’t pay attention and I will show you a very sad child.”  He says that environmental factors play a huge part in the development of a child and that children who don’t pay attention have trained themselves to “look away” to avoid hurt or abandonment.  He makes a strong case for the attention deficit child needing “attention” and not getting it and so giving up to look away so as not to feel the loss.  In essence, the attention the ADD/ADHD child is lacking is from the parent.  Your ADD/ADHD child needs your positive loving attention in a consistent manner.  Your child is not deficit in brain chemicals; he is deficit in positive loving attention.  By filling this need in the child, he is more trusting of paying attention.  (Here’s where EPTworks can help the child and the family by releasing the sadness the child is looking away from and helping the family love each other more fully.)

-Enjoy a family meal together at home at the same time each day.

Everyone must sit together and enjoy the meal with healthy family conversation. No tv or devices allowed.  Your child’s brain development is dependent on structure.  Creating one dependable structure in your family routine such as a meal together at the same time each day, will help your child get the positive attention from you he needs and help his brain develop structure of paying attention.



EPTworks™ is More by Sherry Hamilton

May 16, 2013 in Blog, Emotional Healing, Emotional Healing Training, Forgiveness by Annette

Photo by Jenn Ocken Photography

More that just making a bad feeling go away.

That point in time when you can’t locate that pain you’ve carried and depended on for a point of reference is what I sought after.  For my own pain and now for others who I’ve helped walk through the EPTworks process for 20 years.  There is that definite point in the process when the pain ceases, and there is a relief.

But what comes after the bad feeling or pain is gone? 

               A new identity.

One woman I worked on who had carried a constant headache for over 25 years, said, “I’ll go home a new wife to my husband tonight.” She left in sort of a daze.  I was also amazed and intrigued that she never came to me again after that life-altering experience.  She paid her bill and left.  Emotions and the expression of love is the focus of EPTworks, not just the ceasing of pain.  Lives change when pain ceases.  When your pain has consumed so much attention, but now it’s not there is an odd place for many.

How you change your life in loving others is a completely new place when the pain ceases.  Some just go away because they used their pain to serve an internal need to isolate from intimacy in relationships.  Recognizing the resistance in myself to grow from

helplessness to helper;

self-justification to forgiveness;

limits on pleasure and gratitude to thankfulness in all things

is the greater shift away from pain.  This is more than letting go, but beginning something new and growing into a new experience that glorifies our Creator.  It feels great!  Seeing the process and going toward the points of resistance is important in EPTworks.  It becomes an amazing journey of self-awareness and courage to see that what I thought held me in it’s power no longer does.  Some statements for moving toward resistance to healing pain:

  • I forgive myself for believing I can’t live without this pain.
  • I forgive myself for using this pain as a block to my intimacy with others.
  • I forgive myself for depending on pain to express what I am unable or unwilling to express verbally.
  • I forgive myself for taking on pain as my expression of what I cannot make right for myself or for someone else.
  • I give others permission to forgive me for using my pain to keep me from intimacy with them.
  • I give myself permission to open up to a new feeling of compassion and intimacy with myself and to allow for the beginning of greater love and intimacy in my life and in my relationships.

Guest blogger: Sherry Hamilton



What Do You Really Do?

May 8, 2013 in Blog, Emotional Healing, Emotional Healing Training, Forgiveness by Annette

“In the last century more amazing things were found out than in any century before.  In this new century hundreds of things still more astounding will be brought to light.  At first, people refuse to believe that a strange new thing can be done, then they begin to hope it can be done, then they see it can be done–then it is done and all the world wonders why it was not done centuries ago.”
-Frances Hodgson Burnett from The Secret Garden.

EPTworks is this amazing healing tool that I use to help others and I teach them to help others the same way.  While this amazing tool involves some crazy, unconventional things like magnets, muscle response testing and guided forgiveness—-those things are just the “how” of what I do.

How this magnificent healing takes place is really insignificant to the “why” of what I do.  So it really boils down to this:

I heal broken hearts and I teach others to do the same thing,
SO you can be happier in your life.
SO you can love and accept yourself more.
SO you can feel better and live longer.
SO you can have better relationships.
SO you can make this world a more loving place.



Transforming Worry, Anxiety and Stress into Peace and Calm

May 5, 2013 in Blog, Emotional Healing, Emotional Healing Training, Forgiveness by Annette

The Serenity Prayer:

Martin Rossman, M.D. Author of “The Worry Solution”, explains how to assess and direct your mental thoughts about worry so as to reduce unnecessary anxiety and stress.  He explains that imagination is a powerful, creative force.  Worry is that imaginative force gone awry or without properly guided direction.  Worry usually looks to the past or future to fuel it.  It can take over and direct our feelings cascading the body with chemical directives into fear, anxiety, and immobility.  When we understand how the brain learns and processes, then we can use that information to harness our own imaginative self and direct the feelings and the chemical responses that reduce anxiety and stress rather than encourage it.  This takes education of how the system works, practice of directed thinking and acknowledging new experiences of peace and calmness. 

Part of Dr. Rossman’s process is to separate “good” productive worry from “bad” futile worry.  He uses the “Serenity Prayer” in his speech, “How Your Brain Can Turn Anxiety into Calmness” as a guide to show a simple way to do this.  You make three buckets for your worry: 

  • Bucket 1:  “Things I Can Change” 
  • Bucket 2:  “Things I Cannot Change” 
  • Bucket 3:  “Things I’m Not Sure About My Power To Change Or Effect” 

To access the serenity or peace, you have to also access courage and wisdom.  These things do not come when fear and anxiousness are in the mind.  Taking some rest time and using the imagination can clear your thinking.  Your imagination used with laser, focused direction can change the chemicals that are producing anxiousness into chemicals that are producing peaceful, calm feelings. 

Dr. Rossman gives the example that if you have a friend who is sick with cancer and you are worried about her possible death, you don’t know the outcome and there doesn’t seem to be any way for you to help.  So, your worry goes around and around.  He suggests that you might not help her, but you can help yourself reduce your anxious, futile worrying by using your imagination.  Think about what you want to happen with your friend and focus on your desired outcome.  Having a focus on a desired outcome will reduce anxiety in the mind.  The mind-body tends to go where you focus.  This is a disciplined approach to thinking especially if you have lived with or worked with a “worry wart.”  You know who they are, and you don’t want to be one!  If you are one, then have the courage to change your brain! 

EPTworks is an indispensable system used by trained practitioners to quickly clear the mind of unconscious or conscious clutter getting in the way of focused thinking.  It works on multiple levels of the emotional body at the same time, creating an efficient, effective, and multidimensional approach that causes chemical changes and emotional shifts.  That’s why people feel the good effects of EPTworks often in the very first session!  The book of James 1:5 in the New Testament states:  If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” Also in James 5: 16  “The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.”


 Guest blogger Sherry Hamilton

Speech link:

The Worry Solution link:

Serenity Prayer link:

A Flying Frozen Turkey and Forgiveness

May 3, 2013 in Blog, Emotional Healing, Emotional Healing Training, Forgiveness by Annette

A true-life example of the power of forgiveness made national news in 2005.

Columnist Jay Evensen tells the story:

How would you feel toward a teenager who decided to toss a 20-pound frozen turkey from a speeding car headlong into the windshield of the car you were driving?

How would you feel after enduring six hours of surgery using metal plates and other hardware to piece your face together, and after learning you still face years of therapy before returning to normal–and that you ought to feel lucky you didn’t die or suffer permanent brain damage?

And how would you feel after learning that your assailant and his buddies had the turkey in the first place because they had stolen a credit card and gone on a senseless shopping spree, just for kicks?

This is the kind of hideous crime that propels politicians to office on promises of getting tough on crime. It’s the kind of thing that prompts legislators to climb all over each other in a struggle to be the first to introduce a bill that would add enhanced penalties for the use of frozen fowl in the commission of a crime.

The New York Times quoted the district attorney as saying this is the sort of crime for which victims feel no punishment is harsh enough.  ‘Death doesn’t even satisfy them,’ he said.

Which is what makes what really happened so unusual.  The victim, Victoria Ruvolo, a 44-year-old former manager of a collections agency, was more interested in salvaging the life of her 19-year-old assailant, Ryan Cushing, than in exacting any sort of revenge.  She pestered prosecutors for information about him, his life, how he was raised, etc.  Then she insisted on offering him a plea deal.  Cushing could serve six months in the county jail and be on probation for 5 years if he pleaded guilty to second-degree assault.

Had he been convicted of first-degree assault–the charge most fitting for the crime–he could have served 25 years in prison, finally thrown back into society as a middle-aged man with no skills or prospects.

But this is only half the story.  The rest of it, what happened the day this all played out in court, is the truly remarkable part.

According to an account in the New York Post, Cushing carefully and tentatively made his way to where Ruvolo sat in the courtroom and tearfully whispered an apology. ‘I’m so sorry for what I did to you.’

Rubolo then stood, and the victim and her assailant embraced, weeping.  She stroked his head and patted his back as he sobbed, and witnesses, including a Times reporter heard her say, ‘It’s OK. I just want you to make your life the best it can be.’  According to accounts, hardened prosecutors, and even reporters, were choking back tears.  (Taken from: Jay Evensen, “Forgiveness Has Power to Change Future,” Deseret Morning News, August 21, 2005, p. AA3)

You can read Victoria Ruvolo’s story in her book: No Room for Vengeance: In Justice and Healing