When it comes to practicing forgiveness (see definitions in Forgiveness I blog), it’s best to start with small slights. Don’t dive right into the worst thing ever done to you. Think of it as training to be an elite athlete; fit, trim, energetic. Forgiveness training will give you a psyche with comparable flexibility, response time, and short recovery phase. When something unexpected comes at you, startling your emotional self, you won’t have to collapse, over-react, or add garbage to your bag.
Imagine carrying a sac like this around all day every day. This is, in effect, what we do when we hold on to resentments, blame, and insults, real or imagined. (We’re talking about the smaller stuff now, leaving the deep wounds for Forgiveness III and IV). We all do it. And it weighs us down more than we know.
So, you want to unburden yourself. You want to lighten up and laugh often. Come with me to a quiet place.
This process is so much easier in a serene setting, without distractions. Believe me, your mind will supply enough of those.
Call to mind someone who struck out at you and said mean things. It’s not happening NOW but you probably feel the same way you did when it happened and are thinking the same vengeful thoughts.
Now STOP. BREATHE. Wow, you’re powerful.
DING, round two. You can start up the vengeful thoughts again; feel the tightness in your chest, the heat in your face. But now you know you’re doing it to yourself. How do you know that? You’re the only one there! How often do we replay a script that happened days, weeks, months, and years ago? We do this even when the players are no longer around us. We do it when they’re dead and buried.
Why? We do it because we want to assign blame. Someone has to PAY for what was done, said, inflicted on, stolen from, denied, or visited upon us. But who is imprisoned by the endless feedback loop of Blame?
Reflect on this idea. Imagine yourself trapped in a narrow cell, your view restricted, your movements controlled.
This is the place we allow our minds to bring us back to again and again. We are hostage to our thoughts. Remember how powerful it was to interrupt your thoughts and BREATHE? Focusing on the breath brings us into NOW. We have the power to practice this anytime we’re lost in thought, stuck in blame, caged in the cell of our own making.
Think of yourself as the architect of your own Freedom. Put down the bag of garbage, go to the sanctuary of your choice, practice returning to the breath and feel empowered. Maybe, magically, you’ll see the truth of the matter without Blame.
You’re on your way.