I’ve been thinking about this topic for a while.
Melissa Ambrosini has a chapter on it in her book 12 Steps to Wellness, Gabrielle Bernstein talks endlessly about it in her book Spirit Junkie and it was the topic of the evening at book club last night when discussing The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty.
I was really excited then when before I had a chance to draft this blog the Natural New Age Mum posted this blog discussing resentment. The analogy is exactly right for getting my feelings about forgiveness across to you. So bear with me and have a quick read before I go on……..(the quote is in Natural New Age Mum’s own words but posted from the book The Eight Human Talents by Gurmukh)“A high school teacher told her students to bring to school a clear plastic bag and a sack of potatoes. The students are asked to think of all the people who have wronged them, every person that they have judged, every person they could not accept. The names of these people were to be each written on a potato and put in the bag. Most students had bags that were full and overflowing. They were instructed to carry the bag everywhere with them for one week – including taking into their bed at night. They were never to let the bag out of their sight. By the end of the week, the students were sick to death of their bag of potatoes. It was annoying having to lug it everywhere. The potatoes started to go fester and mouldy and stinky. The bags were heavy and awkward, weighed the students down and made them miserable. The teacher told the students the significance of carrying the potatoes. It was a way to understand the price we pay for holding onto our resentments.Fortunately, when the week was over, they were able to put the down their bag of potatoes and get rid of it. The lightness, relief and freedom at doing so was only a taste of what they could feel of letting go of the resentments that each potato represented.” It used to be the family joke that, “Nicola didn’t forgive.” My best friend when I was young made fun of me and that was it end of friendship, though she apologised and tried to move forward. But thinking back there were other things too, it was a toxic friendship, a lot of little put downs, maybe to make herself feel better. So maybe this was a letting go lesson. I let go of this friendship and moved forward. Forgiving in my own way but resolving the situation in a way that was best for me. (Not saying that I was a model friend either, I think as we mature you learn to accept people’s differences instead of wanting them to conform and that makes life beautiful.) Our kids forgive us for unkind words, for yelling for going slightly stark raving mad on a regular basis. They live in the moment (at least at four years old….) and this allows them no preconceptions on how life should be. They don’t bring things forward like I do…..getting annoyed at things my husband whilst driving home because last time he hadn’t done the dishes….. It’s a beautiful thing to feel light and free from that kind of thinking and so I am really trying. Have you ever got really mad and are just burning with anger? You take that anger to the shops. You take it to bed. You take it to school pick up. You bitch about it to your friends. You go over it and over it in your head. Yet the object of your anger and resentment is none the wiser. You are damaging only yourself. Like throwing your anger at a mirror and having it bounce back at you. That’s all well and good in theory but how do we let go? 1. New hobbies – maybe your thinking too much about this because you need more fulfillment in your life. 2. Being creative – non-creative energy metastasises into anger and rage. 3. Getting physical – Punching bag, beach run, body combat – channel the anger and let it go. 4. Meditation – Imagine yourself forgiving that person and moving across a bridge towards the amazing things going on in your life. 5. Compassion – You can only know what you feel. You can never stand in another’s shoes and find out what is really going on. 6. Choose an option – Remove yourself from the situation, change it or accept it. You are forgiving to be kind to yourself. Remember that happiness is a choice. You can think about the issue, dissect it and rehash it but it won’t make you happy. And isn’t happiness what we all want? (Image from Kootation.com)