Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada

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St. Joseph's Care Group

St. Joseph's Care Group


Spiritual Care

Gracious Release Exercise for Spiritual and Emotional Rehabilitation

By Rev. Hugh Walker

The purpose of this exercise is to spiritually and emotionally let go of something or someone that you are hanging on to, in a way that is detrimental to health and healing. Spiritual and emotional rehabilitation takes some time, but not a lot of time, and so, whatever parts of you might be inclined to decline engagement with it on the premise that you are too busy, can be reassured that it actually is a good use of time. It has been the experience of many that favourable internal change can be realized after two weeks of this practice. It is highly recommended that this be practiced once in the morning, prior to the commencement of your day, and once in the evening, prior to the conclusion of your day. It can also be done right now as part of your therapy and/or as many times throughout the day as you have the time, energy, and inclination to do it.


  1. Sit in a place in which you are not likely to be harassed by anything else from life for at least 15 minutes.
  2. As you sit still and comfortable be aware of asking the Holy One to preside over you as you engage in a conversation with the limb, function, person, ideal, or object which is no longer in your life.
  3. Envision the limb, function, person, ideal, or object in a place and time in which both you and it/they were well and vital.
  4. Speak to it/them in this way:

"How grateful I am!
How blessed I am that you have been in my life!
How valuable you have been to me! I will love you always in my own way.
You are not my life...I am not your life.
You have a destiny that is distinct from me. I have a destiny that is distinct from you.
You are not going to cling to me. I am not going to cling to you.
I will love you always in my own way.
I now commend you to the Love of all Loves.

What makes this exercise so powerful is that it is the Truth spoken with grace. When grace and truth converge together at the same locale to ally their power, healing is inevitably the out come. If we try to overcome the embittering and injurious dimensions of important severed attachments by thinking only of the negative aspects of the relationship, we only set ourselves up for even un-friendlier collision with the truth of our love later on down the river. So, we might as well walk toward what truly is the case. I love this limb/ function/ person/ ideal/ object really, and it really hurts that it/they is/are no longer in my life. In this way, we yield with gracious dignity to an acknowledgment of our actual internal situation.


For the first several times, depending upon the freshness and significance of the loss, engagement of this exercise can be experienced as exceedingly painful. Do not do 'break and enter' on yourself. Go as far as you can, and if you find yourself overwhelmed, then step back from it, and return to it again later. Persist with gentleness until you are able to fully complete the exercise.

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