Imagine a life of freedom — freedom from your past, freedom from old hurts, freedom from relationships that keep you stuck. Instead of maintaining old wounds and resentments, or feeling drained and exhausted, there is another way.
The recipe for freedom begins like this: forgive.
Forgive yourself, forgive others, and live a life intended to propel your dreams, visions, contributions and gifts.
Feeling Your Feelings
In order to be “free,” you must first feel your feelings all the way through, because spiritual bypass never works. Pretending like you aren’t feeling bruised doesn’t work.
Give yourself the time and space to move your feelings through your energetic body. Keep in mind that feeling states only last 90 seconds. When a wave comes through, find a safe space to use your body as a tuning fork — make noises free of words that match the feeling you have, listen to your body as the wave of feeling arises, and pay attention to the natural impulses of what your body wants to do.
And then? Let it do just that.
So often, we don’t allow ourselves the full experience of feeling anger, sadness or fear. When we hold back feeling, it is easy and almost predictable to have the stories attached to the feeling calcify in our bodies… They literally get trapped in our muscle memory.
The brilliant dance between the body and the mind will then tell the story of what happened “to us” over and over again, deepening the hurt, the pain and the upset, until that thought pattern is on replay. Your neural pathways are so effective that a cognitive emotive loop gets started and your case for being right (and being trapped) strengthens.
Being Right or Being Happy
When we hold on to hurt, we are digging in on a position. We will even seek the support of other opinions to validate our rightness.
But there is no amount of being right that will bring you peace. No matter how many people we can get to agree with our perspective, we will still be left cycling around the drama triangle of villain, victim and hero. It is a vicious cycle that never leads to a sense of wholeness.
Think about a family member, partner or friend and notice how you’ve prioritized being right about a topic or incident. Has your position brought you closer to them or created greater distance? Would they say that they feel more connected, loved and appreciated by you?
There is a powerful practice called “The Love Prayer” created by Lloyd Strom and Marcia Sutton. It’s based on this premise:
Whatever you resist will grow stronger.
Whatever you accept you can change.
Whatever you bless you will change for good.
Give your full attention to whoever or whatever is before you. As distracting thoughts or judgements arise, gently move them aside and focus your attention on this practice. On your inhale, silently say, “I accept you,” and on your exhale, silently say, “I bless you.”
As your mind settles down, see if you can rest your attention on the person or situation that you’re noticing. As the mind intrudes, notice where it wants to go and then gently bring it back to stillness using your practice of “I accept you” and “I bless you.” Devotion to this practice will free you. Keep in mind it is a practice and requires your commitment.
Life is For Me
When I reflect on the most challenging experiences of my life, I can see very clearly the great gifts they have brought. I would not be the person I am today without the challenges and growth opportunities I have gained. We cannot begin to understand the cosmic order of life.
And I am not suggesting that you seek out opportunities for pain. But when heartbreak and disappointment happen, you become powerful when you interact with that pain with curiosity. A simple question that can shift your focus of attention and move you into a realm of creative solution, learning and appreciation might be: “How is this for me?”
Our default question tends to be: “Why is this happening to me?” Asking “why” will rarely lead to fulfilling answers. More often, it will take you down a rabbit hole of existential wondering, which can create great suffering.
Have dominion over your awareness and you’ll have dominion over your destiny.
— Michael Beckwith
Let it All Go
You are a wellspring of energy, of life. You have been placed on the planet at this time in history to birth greater love, joy, peace, harmony and balance. Allowing your body and your mind to be hijacked by hurt is a painful and exhausting way to live. Do the work of transforming your resentments into sacred gifts so that you can be a compassionate and generous contribution on the planet.
Feeling your feelings, being happy over being right and trusting life as “for” you are ways of being that will allow greater freedom. And here’s the secret trick to forgiveness… You don’t do it; it is done unto you. As you allow grace to move through and hold the intention of transcending the hurt, something mystical occurs. You are freed up, and that is mission critical.
Your energy and love are needed now more than ever, so get free.