Archive for May, 2014

May 27 2014

An Odyssey from Resentment to Forgiveness – #109

Resentment is like quicksand…it really sucks! It pulls us in and holds us down, and we become stuck in our own self-imposed suffering. Forgiveness offers freedom from that suffering, but getting to forgiveness can sometimes feel like an arduous odyssey. Our defensive egos hang onto wrongs with the ferocity of a dragon guarding a great treasure! What is the treasure? The righteous victim position that proclaims, “I am right and I am wronged!”

It’s a challenge to relinquish that bitter prize for the better prize of freedom from suffering, happiness, and peace. We can be right, or we can let it go and be free. That’s a toughie because our ego really wants to be right (I know mine does)! Our mind keeps rehashing its case over and over again in an endless tape loop until we feel kinda loopy!

I recently had a conflict with a friend and was stewing in resentment for a while. Fortunately, I was highly motivated to restore peace, not only because it feels better, but also for health reasons. I know that holding onto resentment is toxic; it stresses the body, suppresses the immune system, and creates acidity, which is a breeding ground for cancer and other illnesses. As someone on a precarious cancer journey, I need to forgive as if my life depended on it, because maybe it does.

I’d like to share with you the following powerful practices that helped me on my odyssey from resentment to forgiveness:

INTENTION – Intention is a powerful tool for transformation. My ego hangs on to being right and feeling wronged with the tenacity of a pit bull, but my Big Soul Self is intent on harnessing that dogged determination and redirecting it toward letting go, choosing peace, and being happy. Whenever I’m aware of my mind chewing on a bone of contention, that’s my cue to take deep slow breaths and affirm, “I choose being happy over being right.”

PROJECTION – When we judge others it’s usually because they’re reflecting something about ourselves that we haven’t owned and loved. In other words, if you spot it in someone else and judge it, then you got it. Here’s what I wrote about projection in a poem: “Mirrors, mirrors all around, reflections of myself abound, what most needs to be loved is found in what I judge in you.” A good question to ask when I find myself judging someone: “How am I like that? How do I do what I’m accusing them of doing?”

IT ISN’T PERSONAL – It’s a great waker upper to remind ourselves: “It isn’t personal. It’s just my preprogrammed ego defenses butting up against their preprogrammed ego defenses, doing what ego defenses do.” I like what Terry Cole Whitaker wrote about that, “What you think of me is none of my business.”

EMPATHY – The fine art of empathy is when we put ourselves in the other persons place and imagine how they might be feeling and what might be motivating their position. When I see that they’re reacting from an old wound, as am I, we can connect on that common ground and empathize with each other

HO’OPONOPONO – “I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you. I love you.” That’s the ancient Hawaiian forgiveness prayer called Ho’oponopono. Whenever negative, blaming mind chatter takes over, I keep repeating this prayer until peace prevails. I’ve added some of my own words that have been helpful for me: “I’m sorry. It isn’t personal. It’s just my ego defenses. Please forgive me. Thank you. You know I love you and I know you love me.” I imagine myself saying it to the other person. Then I imagine them saying it to me.

SURRENDER TO A HIGHER POWER – In my conflict with my friend I was feeling exasperated with my minds entanglement in its relentless tape loop of righteously wronged reasoning. Then, as divine synchronicity would have it, I saw a Youtube video of a dolphin entangled in fishing line. An deep sea diver beckoned the dolphin over and the dolphin came to him, trusting him. The diver compassionately worked on him for a few minutes and finally freed him from the fishing line. I imagined myself like the dolphin, surrendering, trusting, being open to comfort and help, feeling a loving presence helping me free my mind from its entanglement. This helped shift me into a peaceful place.

Revenge is sweet and I have a sweet tooth…but forgiveness is sweeter and leaves no bitter aftertaste. Ultimately, I know that one of the most important healings for me in this lifetime is healing resentment and learning to let go and forgive. I am pleased to say I am making progress!

How about you? Is there someone in your life you need to forgive? I highly recommend it – it’s much more peaceful living in an open heart than a closed mind.

In Love,

Jan Jacobsen

ENLIGHTEN-INKLINGS

I’ve created brief sayings called Enlighten-Inklings, which are verbal nuggets of love, laughter, and learning gathered from my previous and current writings, placed on my watercolor backgrounds. I’m sending out one a day, Monday through Friday via e-mail (free). If you’d like to be put on the list to receive them, email me at enlightenink@gmail.com. To view archived sayings go here EnlightenInk.com and click on Enlighten-Inklings at the top.

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