As two of the world’s major religions prepare to celebrate what is considered the holiest and most revered days of the year, my mind turns to the themes embodied by these. At a 30,000 foot level, they are of forgiveness, mercy, grace, sacrifice and new beginnings.
I believe these themes are inseparably intertwined, but all begin at forgiveness. Forgiveness seems to be a source of confusion for many. For me, it certainly does NOT mean one does not reap the seeds she/he has sewn from whatever acts brought us to the situation of forgiveness. It also does NOT mean to forget what happened. More importantly it does NOT mean I will put myself in a situation for it to happen again. It does mean I am willing to learn the lesson, put it aside and attempt to heal from the pain.
We all have people in our lives that hurts us, some intentionally and some inadvertently. Forgiveness is not about them. Forgiveness is about YOU! It is a letting go – a beginning of a new beginning (I SO love a new beginning)! Give yourself permission to wrestle free of the pain. Sometimes the pain was inflicted by someone who died 25 years ago, but we are still feeling it. Sometimes forgiveness is as easy as a decision. Are you will to walk around with the pain the rest of your life? To spend energy on it FOR-EV-ER? Of course not! Ok, so then how long do you want to keep it? You can choose to sit it down today, like a heavy package you’ve carried so long it made your back hurt. You won’tforget it soon because you have to heal from the pain, but boy oh boy doesn’t it feel good to sit that bag down?!
If you need some help, write a word that embodies it on a piece of paper. Once you have the right word, write that word on the bottoms of your shoes. Now you get to walk all over it. Take that paper and burn it in symbolism of letting it go. Or scream into a pillow. Or how about killing a pillow? Someone recently told me their therapist told them to beat her bed with a bat. Don’t you just love that? I say take it a step further and kill your pillow. Take a pillow (one you are willing to throw away) to represent the pain. Be in your bedroom alone. Place the pillow on the bed. Now let out the pain by killing the pillow by beating it with a broomstick, your fists, a frying pan or other object. I mean really go at it. Beat the hell out of it until it is dead. You are killing your pain! Now throw the pillow in a garbage bag and take it out of the house into the trash offsite. Do you feel better? Was it good for you? It was good for me! Now that you’ve killed your pain, move on with your life and have a new beginning. And if it comes up for you again, like a zombie back from the dead, feel free to kill it again. Pain can resurface but each time you need to kill it, you come closer to total healing.
The pain you killed is probably in the form of a person from your past. But what about if the person you need to forgive most is you? We make mistakes because we are human. But will you rake yourself over the coals for the rest of your life? I am willing to bet you will forgive all the people around you much more readily than you forgive yourself. Why? Do you wish to be a tortured soul for the rest of your days? Whatever happened, happened. You can’t undo it. If you can apologize to someone you hurt, do it. If you can’t, write a letter to them and say all you want to say. Then destroy it. If you need more release, write the word on the pillow and have at it as described above.
Now that we have released the pain, let’s celebrate! Get a massage or a pedicure, have some ice cream or go to the movies – whatever a special treat is for you. And SMILE. Enjoy feeling lighter and living happier!