Episode 378 Katharine Giovanni Unleashing Forgiveness Transcript

This transcript is from episode 378 with guest Katharine Giovanni.

Scott DeLuzio: [00:00:00] Thanks for tuning in to the Drive On Podcast where we are focused on giving hope and strength to the entire military community. Whether you’re a veteran, active duty, guard, reserve, or a family member, this podcast will share inspirational stories and resources that are useful to you. I’m your host, Scott DeLuzio, and now let’s get on with the show.

Hey, everybody. Welcome back to Drive On. I’m your host, Scott DeLuzio. And today my guest is Katharine Giovanni. Katharine has not only overcome significant challenges in her life, but has also dedicated herself to helping others unlock the transformative power of forgiveness. Her journey has been marked by adversity, including her own battle with breast cancer and a tumultuous childhood, as well as her husband’s status as a disabled veteran.

Uh, despite these obstacles, uh, Katharine has discovered the impact of forgiveness on her mental and physical wellbeing, [00:01:00] and she’s passionate about sharing her insights with others through her latest book, The Ultimate Path to Forgiveness, Unlocking Your Power. Uh, so in our conversation today, she’s going to enlighten us on the important importance of forgiveness, how to navigate the journey of forgiveness and why it’s essential for living a fulfilling life.

But before we get into that, I want to welcome you to the show. Uh, Katharine, I’m really glad to have you here.

Katharine Giovanni: Thank you so much for having me. I appreciate it.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, you bet. Um, well, let’s, let’s jump right into it. Um, talk, tell us a little bit about your personal journey, uh, and how forgiveness played a role in your life, uh, particularly in overcoming some of the challenges that you faced, uh, you know, in your younger years.

Katharine Giovanni: My forgiveness journey probably started in the 8th grade. Um, it was 1974 and I was in the 8th grade. My parents were getting an [00:02:00] ugly divorce. They were both raging alcoholics. And I was getting really bullied in school. And I tried to commit suicide. So, I spent my teenage years and early 20s as your typical angry teenager, draped in black, mad at the world, one friend, you know, it was, it was that kind of a gig.

We, we all know kids like that. Yeah, that was me. And I kind of blazed my way into my 20s and My mother got sober three years before she died. Because even my mother couldn’t get a gin and tonic in a hospital because she broke her hip. Although she tried, but she couldn’t. And we shipped her to rehab and she got sober for the first time in her life.

And we connected, we spent three really good years together. We were as close as sisters, and then she died. But I did have the three years. And when she died, I thought, I can’t continue like [00:03:00] this. I have maybe one or two friends. I’m in a job that I don’t like. I don’t like myself. I mean, I just, I couldn’t, I had to do something.

So I, I kind of thought maybe I’ll forgive, start forgiving people because I, I kind of read an article. We didn’t have computers back then. It was actually an article in a newspaper. That’s how old I am. And I started to forgive people and everybody tells you, you have to forgive. Nobody teaches you how. So what do I do?

I said, I forgive you. And I kind of started me on the path. It wasn’t until about, sadly, about 15, 20 years later that I actually started to really connect the dots. And I, I got tired, I got sick and tired of being sick and tired and getting all the germs and all the flus and all the colds and money was always a problem, weight was always a problem and all of these things.

And I started my career [00:04:00] as a concierge trainer. But after a while, I really started to figure out forgiveness, which is why I really wrote the book. That’s how it started.

Scott DeLuzio: So you, you mentioned, uh, your forgiveness journey sort of started off in the eighth grade with, you know, kind of what was going on, um, but you didn’t really figure out how to forgive until much, much later on

Katharine Giovanni: My 30s.

Scott DeLuzio: in your thirties. Okay, so, so, yeah, definitely, uh, later on. Right. So what was that journey like where you initially, and by the way, I remember those days too, before the internet and newspaper articles and things like that as well.

So, um, so you read this article in the newspaper tells, tells you you’re supposed to forgive people and, and okay, that sounds like pretty good advice. Um, but Without,

Katharine Giovanni: at the time.

Scott DeLuzio: and when you look at a newspaper article, typically they’re, they’re limited as far as like the number [00:05:00] of words that they have. So how, how much are they really going into as far as, uh, explaining, elaborating on how you are supposed to go and forgive somebody.

And I suppose that. Is kind of a loaded question too, because it’s going to maybe be different in each circumstance and each person’s going to be a little bit different as well. But, um, how did you approach it at first? What, what was your first step? Uh, was it picking up the phone and just making phone calls or meeting people for coffee or lunch or something and, and just having a conversation or, or was it just simply saying, I forgive you to certain people?

Katharine Giovanni: How it, how it kind of played out is I quit drinking in 1990, and when you go through AA, they tell you, you need to do a fourth step, and you need to reach out to people and make amends. Well, some of the people I needed to forgive, I didn’t want to reach out to. Thank you very much. So, in the book, the only way I can explain it is, in the book, I’m going to make you list every, every [00:06:00] place, person, and thing I did say things.

I did say things, um, I’m going to have you make a list of everything you need to forgive and then I want you to rate it on a 10 scale with 1 being the least and 10 being the most because that’s how it started for me. I just wrote a list of people and I thought, okay, I’m going to start with the easy ones, the number ones.

I’m going to work my way up to the number tens. When people see my book, they automatically look at me and say, Oh, I don’t want to do that. Everybody says that. They look at the word forgiveness and say, No, I can’t do it. I’ve got, you’ve got listeners who are saying it in their heads right now. That’s because you’re thinking of your number 10.

You’re thinking of your unforgivable person. You’re thinking about the most horrific thing that ever happened to your life and your brain automatically goes to that person. I’m gonna be the one to tell you, you don’t have to forgive the unforgivable. You don’t. You don’t. There’s so many other things you can forgive.

How about the people you labeled [00:07:00] as the number one? How about the person who Cheated off your paper in grammar school. How about the kid who tripped you down the hall in high school? You can forgive these people. How about the person in aisle 4 who you got grocery shook, grocery cart, I always have trouble pronouncing that, grocery cart road rage in the, you know, in the grocery store.

You can forgive that person. So many other things you could forgive. So I sat down and I really thought about it and I thought, I don’t want to reach out to a few people, it wasn’t even appropriate, you know, was raped in, was raped in college and I thought, no, you know, there’s just certain things you’re not going to reach out.

So I started with the easy ones and as I started with the easy ones and in my method, you don’t have to call anybody, you don’t have to tell anybody. It’s personal and forgiveness is selfish. You do it for you because you want to get the person you’re thinking about out of your head. [00:08:00] That’s what you want.

It doesn’t mean the person’s right because they weren’t. It doesn’t mean that they’re going to call you because they won’t. You do it for you because you want to stop thinking about them. So, you’d start with the easy ones, I always tell people to just sit somewhere alone, turn your tech off, yeah, there is an off button, turn it off, put it in airplane mode, get the dogs, the kids, the spouses, get everybody out, and just say, you know, it’s a very simple mantra and you forgive them.

So, I have people who say, okay, I did forgive them, yeah, you did. Sure you did, but why didn’t they stay forgiven? So here’s the secret sauce to the entire book that everybody is kind of forgetting. You didn’t forgive the energy. Einstein proved energy is neither created nor destroyed. It just transforms into a different form.

So when you get mad, everybody assumes it comes out of your [00:09:00] mouth and it goes all the way up into the world and it dissipates. It does not. It sticks in your energy field. And the more angry you are, the thicker it gets. And for, let’s say this glass that I’m holding is anger. So the longer I hold it, the harder it’s going to get to hold.

And if I still don’t forgive, now look at my body language, I’m missing opportunities. For those listening, I’m actually holding a glass in front of my face. I’m missing opportunities. I can’t see anything. So, forgiveness allows you to put the, you know, the anger down and dissipate all the anger.

Scott DeLuzio: So that’s, um, something that I hadn’t thought of before. Um, I, I kind of prompted the question with, you know, how do we do this? We meet for coffee. Do we, you know, that type of thing. But you’re saying that this is something that you could do in the privacy of your own home by yourself with no, uh, I’m sure there are [00:10:00] ways that you can have that one on one conversation as well

Katharine Giovanni: If you want. Sure.

Scott DeLuzio: to, right.

Um, but. It’s not necessary either. Um, and it, and it could be a situation where, uh, like you said, in, in a case of maybe, uh, you know, some sort of domestic violence or a rape or something along those lines where maybe you don’t want to be with that person or even let them know how they can. Find you or get in touch with you or anything like that.

So reaching out and calling them or meeting them in person, that may have safety implication that you just don’t want to do that. So regardless of what other people are saying, like, as far as, you know, you need to go forgive certain people, well. There are some circumstances where it just may not be appropriate or safe or, you know, whatever the case may be.

So, yeah, this is a good way to look at it, um, in that there are ways to, um, uh, there are ways to forgive people [00:11:00] without physically saying it to them or, or being in the same room or even on the phone or, uh, even, even writing them an email. You don’t even have to do that if you don’t want to, right?

Katharine Giovanni: to do any of it. You can sit in the middle of your bed, your favorite chair, under your favorite tree, and you say, I forgive you. And then, in the book, I’m gonna have, there’s a three step mantra I’m gonna have people say. You don’t have to light incense, you don’t have to dance on one leg, you don’t have to get any crystals, there’s nothing to say, no disrespect to anybody out there, but my method is to literally put your hand in your heart because I want you to, I want to remind you to say it from your, from your heart, and you say, I forgive you.

And the words are really just for the humans in the room. It’s really the energy and the emotion behind those words that really means it. And just because I’m forgiving you doesn’t mean I want a relationship with you. I probably don’t. I don’t. So, it’s, you do it all alone. I imagine the person’s in front of you.

Um, [00:12:00] and if you can’t imagine the person in front of you for any reason, you can put a chair in front of you and put a picture of them on, if you want. You could just look at the chair and just say that that’s, that’s the person. But if you could imagine them in your, in your mind’s eye, that’s really how I do it.

And you forgive them. Now some people say, okay, it didn’t work. Yeah, it worked. Uh, forgiveness is like an onion and you might’ve peeled back the first couple of layers. But the next time you go on Facebook or you see their game, they’re still, if it still zings your head, then you have to do it again. And you keep doing it until you can look at their name and it’s neutral.

I don’t care if you’re alive or dead. No disrespect. I don’t mean anybody to be dead, but I’m looking at them and I’m, it just, it does nothing for me. I see their name and there’s nothing there. I don’t remember the bad stuff. I don’t remember anything. That’s when you know it worked.

Scott DeLuzio: Okay, so it’s [00:13:00] not a one and done process with

Katharine Giovanni: It is for it for your number ones and twos. It probably is. But, and I want you to start with, there’s a method in there called the Forgiveness Matrix in the book, and I want you to go through the matrix, I want you to start with the ones, and work your way all the way up to the tens. Now, you can forgive places and things.

I forgave 1974. Why did I forgive 1974? Because that’s the year I tried to commit suicide and I was being bullied. So it made sense for me to forgive. 1974. I forgave my childhood school. I forgave my childhood home. I forgave, um, a room. I forgave the street that it was on. You can forg all these things have energy around them and all these things have memories.

So you can forgive these things. A friend of mine forgave a little red wagon because she wrote it on her list. It just came out. She wrote a little red wagon. Had no idea why she wrote a little red wagon. But, some part of her was [00:14:00] probably mad at the damn thing, so she forgave the little red wagon. Labeled it a one, of course.

But you can forgive people, places, and things, and if you, if you’re thinking of your number ten, you don’t have to forgive your number ten, but you can forgive the energy around it. You can forgive the bed, the street, the house, the dresser. You can forgive yourself. Hello. Um, this is the first book of three, so the next book is going to concentrate on the unforgivable.

And forgiving yourself, but there’s other things you can forgive. And then if you think you can circle back sometime in the future and forgive that person, great. Some people can, and if you can’t, forgive what you can and move on. Not everybody can. Some things are just so horrific that they are literally unforgivable and you don’t have to forgive it.

Forgive the energy.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, right. And, and to your point of, you know, starting off with forgiving the ones, and then you’re working your way up to the tens, um, I. I always try to, uh, equate, [00:15:00] you know, whatever it is that we’re talking about to something, you know, outside of the topic to help it make sense for not only myself, but also for some of the listeners who might be hearing this and not quite sure what do you mean by that?

And, and the way I’m understanding it is, um, you know, Start with the easy things first. So you’re not going to, you’re not going to go to the gym and stack on a bunch of weights on a bar and, uh, you know, have 300 pounds on there and try to go throw that, that weight around if you’ve never stepped foot in the gym before, right.

That’s just not going to happen. Um, so you’re going to start off small. You’re going to start off with the lightweights and you’re going to work your way up. And eventually you may get to a point where you can throw around a lot more weight, um, because. Because, and maybe not, right? I think that that goes

Katharine Giovanni: Everybody’s different.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, to, to your point too, you may not get to the point where you, where you’re at the point where you can actually forgive those tens, right. Um, and, and that, that’s okay too. Um, but the, the, the point is you, you [00:16:00] get better the more you, more repetitions you do, the more forgiveness you do with that, uh, person who, uh.

You know, cut you off in the aisle, in the supermarket, or, uh, while you’re driving, or, um, you know, the, uh, the kid who called you names in second grade, or, you know, things like that. Those, those are easy, and those, those will help you work up to the, the bigger, harder, uh, little more scary ones as. As you practice this and, uh, kind of flex that muscle, if you will.

Katharine Giovanni: That’s right. Yeah. I mean, and it’s, it’s, it’s a journey. Forgiveness is a journey. And the more people you forgive, you’re going to start to feel better. Coffee will taste better. You’re going to, your sense of smell might come back. I’m not kidding. You might lose some weight. There’s a reason to buy the book.

You’ll lose some weight. Watch the people flock to the bookstores now. Good weight loss. Um, it will actually get you the money started again. You’ll get financially, you might get back in the flow. [00:17:00] Why, Katharine, will money start to flow to me? Because you’re going to start to notice opportunities. You’re so focused on your number 10 and your anger that you’re missing opportunities.

You’re missing your, your, your soulmate. You’re missing the new job that might be there or the promotion, or you’re missing maybe a bank account you forgot about. Not kidding. So you’re going to start paying attention is my point. And every, and you’re going to start to feel better. You’re going to become kind of a new person.

A lot of the times people don’t want to forgive because they don’t want to give up their story. Their story of survival is who they became. I lived with my story for 20 years. It was who I was. I was a survivor of the alcoholic family. I survived rape and suicide. Boy, I sound awful if I just put all those together, doesn’t it?

Ha ha! But, I survived all this stuff and I saw, I, I was a survivor. And I used to, I’m a speaker, so I used to speak on it. And I said, look at me, you can [00:18:00] do this too. That kind of a thing. And then after a while, and losing my story was scary, because then who would I be if it had become my identity? Who can, if I forgive all these people, who am I? Very scary for a lot of people, and the answer became, for me personally, is I, I was, I, you know, I was so down on my luck in those days, because I was just miserable and angry and alone, I thought, I can’t continue like this, so whoever I’m going to be, it’s got to be better than this, and I thought, maybe if I start forgiving people, you know, I’ll be my authentic self and be the person that I was always meant to be from the beginning.

And that’s how it really started. But if you, losing your story is very, very scary for people because they get used to the attention. They, you know, people feel sorry for them. They, they get used to it. No disrespect intended to anybody out there, but it’s scary.

Scott DeLuzio: Sure. And, [00:19:00] and yeah, obviously not meaning any disrespect to anybody, but, um, but when you see this with the veterans who are leaving the military, uh, who they had this. This label of service member, whether it’s, you know, soldier, airman, marine, sailor, you know, they had this label of whatever it was that they were.

And now all of a sudden they’re, they’re transitioning out of the military

Katharine Giovanni: That’s right.

Scott DeLuzio: they have to shed that skin, if you will. And now there’s something else, but what are they and how does that fit into, uh, the, the next part of their life. And so. Yeah, you, you’re losing a piece of your identity, uh, that you’ve kind of found some comfort in maybe, uh, in, and it sounds a strange way to, to say that because you’re finding comfort in, uh, you know, maybe a terrible situation where you are a victim or you’re a survivor or you are, [00:20:00] uh, you know, whatever the label is that you want to put on whatever you were, whatever it is that you, uh, need to forgive.

Um, you You were that thing, and now you’re, you’re shedding yourself of that so that you can become who you are supposed to be. Um, and when you go for oftentimes many years being something else, it’s like, okay, well, what am I supposed to be? What, what am I even supposed to do with myself after this? If I, if I’m just going to forgive this, then.

I don’t, I don’t get to, you know, have that label, uh, you know, on me anymore because I’ve forgiven it and it’s in the past and it doesn’t affect me. It doesn’t bother me anymore. Now what? Now who am I? And, um, so how do you, how would you suggest folks navigate that, uh, that transition from, from that unforgiving state to, uh, you know, post forgiving?

Katharine Giovanni: Well, the [00:21:00] devil you know is better than the devil you don’t. You know, you know, if you’re in the basement and you want to get upstairs to the balcony, well, you know the basement, you know the darkness, you know how to get around, you’ve learned how to see down there, and going up there where all that light is, that’s kind of scary, isn’t it?

But once you start to forgive, you’re gonna start to pay attention, and you’re gonna, I ask people all the time, I can’t tell you how many people answer the question, what brings you joy, they can’t answer me. They have no idea. I can’t tell you how many people just look at me like I’ve grown another head out to my shoulders.

So, once you start forgiving people, the fog is going to start to lift and you’re going to start to notice things. You’re going to say, well, hey, I like to read and write. Maybe I’ll write my memoir. Maybe I’ll write a book. Maybe I’ll write about it. Um, forgiving the people in the military especially, forgiving what you’ve just done, forgiving yourself, forgiving the people you might have hurt, you know, the people, your bosses, whoever, that will really help lift the fog.

Maybe you like to [00:22:00] run. Maybe you want to give back. Maybe you want to go into the, you know, become a cop. Maybe there’s so many other things that you can do and transition to. And once you start to forgive. Your, your, your, your body, so to speak, is gonna just automatically start paying attention to stuff that you really like.

And you’re gonna start remembering when you were a kid, wow, I really like to, I really like to draw. I really like to art, or I really like to read, or I really like people, or I love working with computers. You’re gonna start to figure it out. The trick is to lose the anger and give yourself permission to fall.

Face those feelings. Forgive the low hanging fruit and then work your way up to the top and then see who you are. Be excited because this is going to be 2. 0 and that person is going to slowly walk out of the basement where all the light is. You’re going to feel better.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. And. Yeah. Getting [00:23:00] through that, uh, like you were saying, it can feel kind of daunting, uh,

Katharine Giovanni: Oh, it sucks. I’m not gonna bully. It

Scott DeLuzio: when, when you’re going through that, it’s, it’s not easy. Um, but like anything, I think anything good in life, you’re, you’re going to experience some level of difficulty to experience that good thing.

Whether it’s, you know, business success, business success or relationships or whatever, you’re going to, you’re going to have to put work into whatever it is in order to see the benefit, uh, you know, on the other side of, uh, that effort. Um, and so, um, you know, even with this, this is something that, that certainly is going to take some effort, especially, uh, the more, um, significant the, uh, the level of forgiveness, uh, has to be, uh, the, the more work it’s going to probably take, right?


Katharine Giovanni: might take some mental gymnastics to forgive certain people, so to speak, and for, um, [00:24:00] the, the ladies in the, in the room, um, if you are living with a number 10 person and they are abusive in any way, might I humbly suggest with all of my heart and as much grace as I can, leave and work on forgiving that number 10 or aspects of it Later, and if you can’t leave, here’s a little side entertainment for you.

Start the forgiveness journey. You’re gonna start to feel better. You’re gonna start to look better. You’re gonna start to smile more and it’s probably gonna irritate the heck out of them, which will be a little entertaining for you. And the more you forgive, I’m not suggesting you be Suzy Sunshine from Sunnybrook Farm, but I’m a customer service trainer.

If you’re starting to yell at me, I’m gonna turn it on, man. And then the angrier you are, the nicer I’m gonna be. And it’s either gonna work or Or it’s going to irritate you, which is just entertaining for me. So there you go.

Scott DeLuzio: you know, one of the things to that point, uh, one of the things when I was learning to drive back, you know, years ago, I was learning to drive, uh, my dad was [00:25:00] teaching me, you know, we were driving around town and he was, uh, giving me just his unique blend of, uh, lessons and his tips and tricks when we were driving.

And he said, you know, if anyone ever, uh, starts yelling at you or screaming or, or, you know, whatever, they get mad at you when, when you’re, you’re driving. Just look at him and blow him a kiss, and just, and just see what happens to him, right? And, and, you know, that it’s never happened. I’ve never, I’ve never actually done it, but, um, you know,

Katharine Giovanni: I want to.

Scott DeLuzio: it’s, it’s one of those things that still sticks with me.

Like, if, if I’m in this situation, you know, I have that presence of mind to do it. You could, you could damn well bet that, that, that that person is going to be turning it up to, you know, Even higher, and, and I get to laugh all the way home, you know, because, uh, you know, I, I’m just going to be, uh, you know, giving that little silly response to, you know, their outrage, you know, crazy, [00:26:00] you know, response or whatever.

So, um, so

Katharine Giovanni: But that’s a perfect story for forgiveness because it made you feel good. It made me laugh. It makes you feel good. So who are you going to be if you lose your story? Well, on the very base of it, you’re going to laugh more. You’re going to feel better. and you’re going to love yourself more and life is going to feel a little bit better to you and then you can figure out where you want to go from there.

You’re not gonna, you’re not gonna feel so horrible anymore. You might make some friends.

Scott DeLuzio: right. And. To that point, I think that that type of person is probably lower on the scale of the, you know, 1 to 10, uh, you know, as far as, uh, the, the forgiveness goes, um, because quite frankly, I’m going to drive away from that person. I don’t really care who that person is or what they.

Katharine Giovanni: They’re probably a two or a three. Maybe.

Scott DeLuzio: if that, you know, maybe one to two, I was going to say, but you know, depending on the situation, you know, are they, you know, running me off the road?

Okay. Well then maybe they’re moving up a little bit higher on the list, but you know, regardless, uh, I, I think they’re, they’re still pretty low on the [00:27:00] list. And so that’s an easy one to, to, to be able to use. And that kind of helps getting that, that practice, you know, flex that muscle of, of forgiveness. Um, But you did mention, you know, there are some people who are unforgivable, uh, or, or circumstances or things that have happened that are unforgivable.

Um, and I, I know there’s, there’s going to be some people, it’s like, I, I just, I can’t do it. I can’t forgive that person, or I can’t forgive that place or whatever. Right. What, what do they What is it that they’re forgiving? Cause you briefly mentioned this before, as far as the, um, you know, forgive the the energy, how, what, what does that look like, uh, in one of those higher, uh, higher end, uh, unforgivable, let’s just call it, uh, you know, types of scenarios.

Katharine Giovanni: Ah, science. Let’s speak to the science of it. Um, in the book I have a science chapter. Cause I wanted to [00:28:00] back up with some scientific studies what I’m saying. Found a couple that, I can’t pronounce this guy’s name, I really can’t, I’ll do my best, but there was, let’s just call him, he’s a Japanese researcher, I just can’t pronounce his name, and he’s, and you can Google this, he studied water, and the molecules of water, and I’m dumbing this down seriously, He took, he took two containers of water, one container of water.

He said nice things to it. He treated it well. He put nice light on it, and the other container of water, he said nasty things to it, didn’t give it a lot of light, and did everything the opposite. And then he put it both under a microscope. The the water that was told nasty, horrible things, had these dark.

ugly formations in it. You can see the pictures online. They’re fascinating. And the, the, the, the water that was given love had these beautiful snowflake looking crystal formations. The same study was done with plants [00:29:00] in a set that’s in the United Arab Emirates in the anti bullying day done by IKEA, the furniture store, and the kids were told, say nice things to one set of plants and say nasty things to the other.

The plants that had nasty things said to them were almost dead and the other ones live. I have a plant here that’s over 30 years old. True. So, since our bodies are over 98 percent water, you imagine what forgiveness is going to do inside your bodies? Everybody says forgive, anger is toxic. Okay, that’s another thing that irritates me because most people don’t tell you why. Why is it toxic? How? I have questions. So, really what happens is it’s turning, it literally, the anger is turning your water into those nasty formations and it’s literally making you sick. And it will kill you, it, it, stress kills. So, by doing the forgiveness, even the low hanging fruit, even forgiving the ones, twos and [00:30:00] threes, that’s going to start changing the molecules in your body and you’re going to start to feel better.

You’re going to start to look better. And it’s, and this is solid, solid science. I really do have a plant that’s 30 years old. We call him Grandpa. And why is he 30? Because I talk to him.

Scott DeLuzio: That’s good.

Katharine Giovanni: I don’t do it when anybody’s around because they think you’re an idiot, but I do tell them I love them every once in a while.

Scott DeLuzio: That’s good. And I think just going back to that, that whole mindset of exercising that muscle and being able to do it over and over again, right? When, when you’re lifting those weights in the gym, you’re exercising, exercising a literal muscle, which is getting stronger and it’s getting more resilient and, and it’s able to, uh, you know.

Uh, bounce back more, uh, easily after, uh, you know, whatever kind of strain you might put on it. And the more you forgive, I can see that now, how, uh, the more you forgive, even in those, those little bits, [00:31:00] um, uh, those little seemingly insignificant things, uh, you, you forgive, you, you are, uh, Talking positively to yourself or to other people or, or things around you.

It, I can see how that can make a difference because it kind of helps, I would think even rewire your brain in terms of how it is that you’re thinking. Um, so you’re not jumping straight to, Oh, I’m a victim in this case, uh, because X, Y, and Z happened. You, you’re thinking more like,

Katharine Giovanni: Gratitude comes in.

Scott DeLuzio: I, yeah, I, I can. I can have a little bit of gratitude.

I can forgive. I, I can, uh, I can move past this without letting this Redefine who I am, right?

Katharine Giovanni: There’ll be more joy in your heart. Now let me give a word of warning to the people who are making their lists as we’re talking. Um, make your list. You can have 200 people, places, and things on there. I don’t care, but I only want you to, I want you to do it at night before you go to [00:32:00] bed, um, and I only want you to do 10 to 12 at a time, because once that, and even for the number ones and twos.

Um, because once that, once that energy leaves, it has to leave your body somehow. So, you, your body heals itself when it’s sleeping, so it’ll come out through there. You might get a headache, not kidding. You might start sneezing, you might start, a lot of people start to cough because the energy is coming out.

May I delicately say, you might be in the bathroom for a little bit, you don’t have the stomach flu, you didn’t eat something wonky, it’s the energy coming out. Now, because I’m an overachiever, when I first came up with this, I sat there, I must have forgiven 50 people, places, things, buildings, cities, I mean, I did it all.

And I spent the next three days in bed with what everybody thought was a stomach flu. It was not the stomach flu, I made myself sick, because the anger had, it had to come out, and it came out all at once, and it literally stopped [00:33:00] me. So please, 10 to 12 people at a time, start with your ones. And you can have more than one one.

You can have five ones if you want. You can have, you know, six sixes. Everything’s good, everything is fine. But do them, you know, little to big.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, no, that, that makes sense too, to take it in small chunks. Uh, the, the easiest way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time. Right. And

Katharine Giovanni: Yep, don’t be an overachiever like me.

Scott DeLuzio: yeah, don’t, don’t, don’t break off a whole leg and, and start, uh, chowing down on it. Right.

Katharine Giovanni: I have a client who did the same thing. She listened to what I said, and she said, Ah, it’s like the people who text and drive. No, that, you know, not texting and driving. That’s for other people. But I can do it! I can, I can do it! She said she, uh, she forgave like 50 people, places, and things. And I said, what happened?

She’s, and she got very quiet. She said I was sick for 24 hours. I said, well, I tried not to say [00:34:00] I told you so because it’s not a nice thing. So I just kind of smiled at her and tried, I’m a little chatty, so I tried to turn my voice off, but. I’ll do so.

Scott DeLuzio: yeah, I mean, and it. That’s, I guess, a fair warning for the listeners, too, is to, you know, take it in small chunks and work your way, uh, to a level that you feel comfortable with where, you know, and kind of listen to yourself and listen to your body and your, your reactions to, uh, this forgiveness and you may get to a, you know, the higher levels, uh, you know, of, of that forgiveness, um, where, you know.

You may not be able to do quite as many, uh, right. But, but even,

Katharine Giovanni: you’re, if the higher levels of forgiveness and you forgive somebody and you’re literally choking, I mean, you, you’re, sometimes people, you know, say, okay, Katharine, I’m going to forgive my level seven and you literally choke on it. Here’s something, I know it’s strange, but I want you to get up and I want you to make sure you’re alone so people don’t think you’re nuts.

And I want you [00:35:00] to shake like a dog. I want you to literally shake your body all over because there’s studies that have proved that. Animals do not get PTSD. Why? Because they shake it off. Like Taylor Swift says in her song, Shake It Off, she’s right. Because dogs, when dogs get up, what do they do? They shake.

When they’re in a bad situation, what do they do? They shake. So, make sure you’re alone so people don’t point and laugh, but get up and shake, then come back and I want you to forgive the energy around whatever you’re forgiving only, and then wait 24 or 48 hours, and then go back in and do it again.

Scott DeLuzio: yeah, okay. I think that, I think we

Katharine Giovanni: That’s in

Scott DeLuzio: probably handle that. Right.

Katharine Giovanni: that’s in the book if you, if, if people need to remember.

Scott DeLuzio: Okay. Yeah. And so, um, again, we want to, uh, make sure that we are, uh, doing it in, in small chunks for giving in, in small. Small chunks, um, starting with the, the lower level, [00:36:00] uh, uh, people, places, uh, things from the past that, um, that we can be forgiving. Now, can you give examples of, uh, like, I think people is a pretty easy thing for most folks to understand as far as forgiveness goes, but, um, when you talk about places and things that Uh, or even time periods.

Could you give a couple of examples? I know you mentioned like, uh, you, you forgave an entire year because that

Katharine Giovanni: I did.

Scott DeLuzio: a significant year to you. Um, but you know, maybe, maybe some of the other, you know, maybe places or things, uh, that, uh, these are the nouns that we’re, we’re going for here. Um, you know, what, what are we looking at here for, um, you know, the other things that, that people might need to forgive and, and why might those things be important to forgive?

Katharine Giovanni: your childhood, huh? You had a dysfunctional childhood. Well, I had more than one childhood, huh? List them all. Maybe your, maybe [00:37:00] the dining room table where you ate as a family because you were always lectured at the table. Oh, that was mine. Okay, nevermind. Ha ha! You know, but that’s why I had to forgive the dining room table.

You know, maybe it’s your grammar school because that’s where you were bullied. Maybe it’s your last job, the actual building, because you have horrible memories there. Now let me be clear, just because somebody else has good memories doesn’t invalidate yours. And, if you’re talking about, if you need to forgive somebody who’s already died, that’s fine. You’re forgiving for you. So it makes absolutely it doesn’t matter where they are or aren’t it’s immaterial The fact is you’re still focused on them whether they’re alive or not So you can put down you can forgive dead people. Let’s just be blunt and you can forgive Let’s say you you know your bicycle as a kid because you fell and you broke your leg.

Okay. Um, I also forgave cancer I forgave breast cancer. I forgave the [00:38:00] doctors. I forgave the hospital. I forgave the surgeries. I forgave the bed where I, I forgave the, the chair that I had chemo in. I forgave the radiation thing. I forgave all of that. Did it take, and to use your gym example, which I think is actually quite brilliant, you’re going to work up to more and more.

And as you forgive people, You’re going to come up with new lists. This is a marathon, not a sprint. This is not an exercise that is one and done. Humans irritate other humans and you’ve got memories you’ve forgotten. So, as you forgive those first layers of the onion, just like in a gym, you’re gonna graduate to the next one.

You’re gonna put more weights on the bar. You’re gonna start doing more. You’re gonna start going to the gym more. It’s the same thing. And it’s, this is a kind of, it’s, this is a marathon. It’s gonna take some time. But the reason you’re gonna do it is because you’re gonna feel better. At the end of the day, you’re going to lose weight, you’re going to feel better, you’re going to like yourself again, and [00:39:00] here’s the kicker, people are going to want to be around you again.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, and that’s maybe a good thing for folks who like what you were saying, where you had, you know, the one friend and you, you just didn’t, you weren’t very social or outgoing and

Katharine Giovanni: No, I wasn’t.

Scott DeLuzio: have any of that. And, uh, maybe some people sitting there like, you know, what, what, what’s wrong with me?

You know, why doesn’t anyone want to be. you know, friends with me or hang out with me or, you know, go to that, uh, you know, event or whatever with me. Why, why doesn’t anyone want to do that? Well, maybe because you’re, you’re hanging on to too much, uh,

Katharine Giovanni: That’s right.

Scott DeLuzio: too much

Katharine Giovanni: And you might know somebody like that. I have, I have a, I have a client who said, well, I’m not the one who needs to forgive. Okay. Um, but I, I have somebody in my life and I want them to, to forgive. Well. You could lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink. So it’s like rehab. You could get somebody to rehab, but you can’t get them to work the program.

They have to want to do it [00:40:00] themselves. So what you can do if you’re living or you’ve got a loved one who is angry or has got PTSD, um, start with gently leading them through gratitude. Ask them, what are you grateful for today? It could be that they had a hot cup of coffee. That’s a place to start. It’s like going into a restaurant and you only like one thing on the menu.

Build on that one thing. So start with the gratitude and then, you know, maybe leave my book on the coffee table and say, well, back and forth, but that’s what she wanted to do. I said, go for it. She said, can I dog ear some chapters? I said, if you like it, whatever you want, but at the end of the day, your loved one is going to have to do it themselves.

They’re going to have to want it. That the more forgiveness and the more change they see in you might just be what they need to make the change themselves. Let’s start with gratitude because that will flip their, their self talk from negative to positive. And if they keep, if you keep doing the gratitude, it’ll start to They’ll start [00:41:00] to think, well, maybe I have, I do have something to be grateful for.

I did have a hot cup of coffee and I, I do have a family member who loves me and it’ll get the party started, so to speak,

Scott DeLuzio: Right. And. Um, yeah, again, just getting started is sometimes the hardest thing to do. And when you see how it’s affecting other people, um, so like, if it’s affecting you in a positive way by having the forgiveness and gratitude and, and things along those lines, there may be other folks in your life who are struggling with forgiveness, who now see it.

Is in a positive way affecting you and it’s like, Hey, I want some of that in my life. So how do I do that? And, um, you know, I know a lot of times we’ll, we’ll try to, um, emulate some of the people in our lives, or even on, you know, celebrities and television, stuff like that, where, you know, there’s certain aspects of their life.

It’s like, Hey, [00:42:00] I want that in my life. And so we’ll, we’ll try to, you know, kind of emulate what it is that they’re doing and, and try to, uh, Replicate that in our own lives. But, um, when you see somebody who is, they’re, they’re happy, they’re not holding onto grudges or they’re not, um, you know, having any, any of those kinds of issues, well, then maybe that’s something that people were going to start, uh, catching on to, and they’ll start

Katharine Giovanni: I want some of that. Yeah,

Scott DeLuzio: I want some of that in my life too.

And so maybe that, maybe that’s how they’re being so happy, or maybe they’ll even ask you, uh, you know, and what, what’s, what’s causing that, but

Katharine Giovanni: that happens. They’ll come up to you and say, What are you doing differently? You got the new haircut? Did you lose some weight? There’s a very famous quote in the business world that I applied to Life in General by Jim Rohn. I think that’s his name. You are the sum of the five people you spend the most time with.

So who are you spending your time with? He meant it in a business sense, but I [00:43:00] flip it for forgiveness. Who are you spending time with? And as you get, as you start to feel better, people will notice and you can tell them forgiveness or you can tell them, Oh, well, it’s magic. You can keep it to yourself if you want.

Scott DeLuzio: sure. You know, and another thing you mentioned, too, is that, uh, there might be somebody out there who feels like, well, I’m not going to forgive that person because that person needs to forgive. Uh, you know, they need to do something else. And I, you know, whatever. But, uh, you know, maybe you could forgive them for not forgiving, uh, that other thing.

You know what I mean? Uh, like

Katharine Giovanni: exactly what you mean. And you can forgive that. You know, the world is your oyster, my friend, and you can forgive anything. So you can forgive them for not forgiving, for doing whatever it is they did. You can absolutely write that down on your paper. 100 percent

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, for sure. So, so there’s, I guess, you know, there could be potentially a long list of things that, things, places, [00:44:00] people that can, uh, memories, you name it. Think things that, that can, uh, can and should be forgiven. Um, and again, to your point, not everything. Uh, needs to be forgiven. There’s some unforgivable things out there, but you, you can choose to let those things go and, um, and, and not let them control you and not let them weigh you down and be the thing that, that defines who you are.

Um, again, I’m just going to go back to that.

Katharine Giovanni: forgive myself for not wanting to forgive my number 10

Scott DeLuzio: There you go. Okay. Yeah. That’s a, that’s a great, um, uh, that’s a great example. You know, uh, I was going to go back to that, that gym example. Um, you know, you might be the person who, you know, you start going to the gym, uh, day one and you’re starting, you’re, you’re. Being consistent, you go for a year, you go for two years [00:45:00] consistently, and you’re, you’re seeing the, the benefits of it, right?

Um, you may never get to be that bodybuilder who’s, you know, maxing out the weights on the, uh, the things, and you’re, you’re not, you’re not, may not ever get to be that point, but that’s okay. Like, you don’t need to be, like, not everybody needs to be, uh, you know, a, a super bodybuilder with the muscles rippling and everything like that.

I mean, maybe, yeah, that’s the goal then you’re working towards it, but, um, you know, work towards maybe something a little bit smaller and, and, and, uh, you know, eventually if you get there, then great. But, but, you know, if you don’t, who cares, you’re still making progress and you’re still a better version of yourself than you were a year ago or two years ago or however long ago.

And, and that’s, I think the. The goal is just to become a better version of yourself, right?

Katharine Giovanni: Sloth speed is still forward.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah.

Katharine Giovanni: If you’re, I mean, sloths do move. They move slowly, but they are moving. Turtles move. I [00:46:00] actually, I’ve always said turtle speed, but I saw a video on Instagram the other day, and this turtle was kicking, and I thought, I shouldn’t say turtle speed. That, that turtle’s moving fast.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. Yeah.

Katharine Giovanni: now I think I should say sloth, but you know, it’s. Forward motion is forward motion. I don’t care how slow you’re going. It doesn’t matter to me.

Scott DeLuzio: Before we wrap up this episode, um, your book, again, The Ultimate Path to Forgiveness, Unlocking Your Power. Um, tell folks where they can, uh, you know, get a copy and, uh, maybe, uh, you know, quick line about the book, uh, you know, what they can expect, you know, outside of what we’ve already talked about, but, you know, maybe, maybe, uh, you know, something that they can expect from the book.

Katharine Giovanni: Okay, you can get it on Amazon. You can also get it at my website, KatharineGiovanni. com. Katharine is spelled a little bit strange. Thanks, Mom. K A T H A R I N E, Giovanni. com. And by next week, at least I hope by next week, um, the, the, um, [00:47:00] Audio version of the book will be out. It’ll be on Audible and iTunes and all those things.

Um, my younger son and I are producing it, so it’s a little bit of a slog, but we’re getting there.

Scott DeLuzio: Did you do the, did you do the voice for the

Katharine Giovanni: nope, not as easy as you would think. I had to read Chapter 14 six times. Hello! Yeah.

Scott DeLuzio: oh yeah, I’ve, I read, um, I read my book, uh, for the audio book version and I realized just how difficult it is to read

Katharine Giovanni: yep,

Scott DeLuzio: it, not without stumbling over your words or anything like that, it’s, people listening to this, you might think I sound like a complete idiot by saying that. It’s especially a book that I wrote and I know what the words are.

It’s hard to do. It’s not easy.

Katharine Giovanni: And he had me in my office, because we’re not in a professional sound booth, so I was here with my microphone, and he had blankets around my desk, so we made me this little sound booth. It’s, and it’s not [00:48:00] easy, you swallow, you, you’re not, it’s, it’s very hard, so. Yeah, and the book is only 111 page, 111 pages.

It’s short because I do understand that people have the attention span of a sloth, so I, I understand that. This is the first book of three, um, so the next book will be out later this year.

Scott DeLuzio: Excellent. Excellent. And so we’ll, we’ll put links to all of this in the show notes for the listeners so they can grab a copy of the book and they can, uh, you know, hopefully get the benefits of it. Again, it’s a short book. You can, you can read it, uh, rather quickly, hopefully. And, uh, if you’re not a big reader by Excuse me.

By the time this, uh, episode comes out, uh, the, uh, audio book will be out as well. And so we’ll have, uh, you’ll, you’ll have that ability to just listen to the book and hopefully get the same type of benefits from the book, uh, by, by listening to it as well. So, um, you know, whichever version suits your reading preferences [00:49:00] best, uh, you, you can check it out there.

So, um, before we wrap up, um, at this point in the show, I like to. Try to add a little bit of humor, uh, to the show. Sometimes the topics that we talk about on the show, they can be a little heavy, a little dark. Sometimes, uh, you know, people, people need a little pick me up at the end, just to kind of put a little smile on their face.

And so sometimes I, I’ll tell a joke. Um, sometimes they’re pretty corny. And so I don’t care if people are laughing at the joke or laughing at me. Uh, either way, they have a smile on their face and that’s all I care about. So, um, So before we wrap up, I’m just going to throw out this joke right here. So a police officer, he found a bag of drugs in a suspect’s pockets.

And the officer said, well, what do we have here? And the suspect said, well, it’s not mine officer. And the police officer, you know, yells at the suspect and the suspect is like, no, I’m serious. I was cursed by a leprechaun. And you know what troublemakers that those leprechauns are. Now, every time I flush these drugs down the toilet, it magically reappears in my [00:50:00] pocket.

And the officer says, all right. I don’t believe that for a second, and the suspect says, well, I’ll prove it. And so the officer frowns, but follows the suspect to the bathroom. And the suspect takes the drugs, flushes down the toilet, and the officer checks the guy’s pockets again. He says, so where’s the drugs?

And the suspect says, what drugs?

Katharine Giovanni: My older son is in a federal law enforcement. I will tell him that when he calls me.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, don’t get duped by that one.

Katharine Giovanni: Yeah, I will tell him when he calls me. He will enjoy that joke.

Scott DeLuzio: That’s good. Excellent. Well, Katharine, it’s been a pleasure speaking with you today, and I really do enjoy your perspective on forgiveness. And hopefully some of the listeners will take some lessons from this episode and ideally from your book, you know, a way to apply it to their own lives and help get themselves back on the right path.

Katharine Giovanni: Thanks so much for having me. It was fun.

Scott DeLuzio: [00:51:00] Thanks for listening to the Drive On Podcast. If you want to support the show, please check out Scott’s book, Surviving Son on Amazon. All of the sales from that book go directly back into this podcast and work to help veterans in need. You can also follow the Drive On Podcast on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and wherever you listen to podcasts.

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