My previous post focused on forgiving your past. This week I would like to talk to you about how to integrate this powerful practice into your daily life so it becomes as familiar to you as eating.
Why? Because if you don’t start learning how to forgive ‘on-the-go’ and letting things go, they will continue to dictate your very thoughts and feelings and therefore your life. You will just have more and more things that fall into your past waiting for the time you will revisit them and forgive once more.
How do I know this? Because it happened to me.
I mentioned in my “Lesson 1 – Living Inside Out” post that I had hit rock bottom after the birth of my son in 2016.
The breakdown of my relationship with a few close members of my family, coupled with moving house and chronic sleep deprivation, resulted in me feeling very low and distressed most of the time.
I had completely forgotten how to take care of myself from the inside out
I spent a lot of time venting about events, agonising over whether I was a good person/mother/daughter/wife, being angry, feeling guilty about being angry, and doing all of this as well as dealing with the additional mental, emotional and physical stresses that come with newborn babies. Phew!
It was affecting me and consequently my children. I knew I couldn’t continue for this way much longer and I had to find a way to help myself long-term. I really didn’t want to get to that point again.
I eventually came to realise that while I had done a stellar job in forgiving my past, I was doing the exact opposite when it came to every day pressures.
I’m talking about “that” comment made an hour ago.
Or still being pissed off on Wednesday at something that happened on Monday.
Or holding that grudge against X for just doing Y.
Oh yes. The every day crap that creeps up on you and you don’t even realise it.
Larry McCauley in his book “Freedom of Forgiveness” talks about an encounter he had with a lady acquaintance who was rudely pushed to one side in a queue in a café:
“As I and another mutual friend were in the café at the time she came to us and proceeded to complain. After we had made all the right sympathetic noises, she repeated her grievance against the rude woman who had barged her to one side. We made all the right noises again. She then repeated her grievance against the rude woman. We then repeated all the right , sympathetic noises…after this had gone on for a few more minutes I pointed out to the aggrieved lady that the rude woman had been rude to her once, but every time she went over her grievance against this woman in her mind, the woman was rude to her again and the same negative impact was experienced. I asked her if once wasn’t bad enough”
Larry goes on to say that had the lady been aware of the value of forgiveness, the matter would have been relinquished on the spot and her experience (as well her friends time) would have been completely transformed.
Ulrich E. Dupree in his Ho’ponopono book similarly gives the example of two monks crossing a river. They came across a young woman sitting on the bank who cannot swim yet wishes to also cross the river. One of the monks allows her to sit on his shoulder and all three of them crossed the river. Once on the other side, the woman and the monks go their separate ways. However, the monk who had not carried the woman was annoyed and upset with his friend for having contact with a woman. The other monk replied “It’s true, I have carried that woman across the river. But it seems as though you are still carrying her”.
Ulrich says that forgiveness releases us. It heals and makes life easier. It frees us from a burden that either we cannot carry or we do not want to carry.
So how do I approach this whole forgiving thing when 'on-the-go'?
I started saying my Ho’ponopono’s (quietly or in my head) and releasing it every time I felt upset, pissed off or anxious about something. It took a while at first to get the hang of it as I was so used to dealing with everything retrospectively, but it has now become second nature.
Someone just said something upsetting. Ho’ponopono.
Something on the news has got me feeling scared and anxious. Ho’ponopono.
That lady just shoved me on the bus. Ho’ponopono.
My kid has just had an almighty tantrum in Tesco’s and everyone is staring at me. Ho’ponopono.
You get the idea.
It forced me to acknowledge the event (and the subsequent feelings that it had dredged up) during the moment rather than glossing over it and pretending everything was okay.
If by the end of the day I was still holding onto something, I would send Reiki to it or write it down and let it go the way I describe in my post Lesson 2 – Forgiving Your Past. Obviously a lot of people reading this may have never heard of, let alone experienced, Reiki. So send love/peace/acceptance/ to it instead.
I know this may sound like a whole load of flowery nonsense to you, and that’s okay, because it reads like it is.
But just try putting it into practice for one day. It’s actually quite hard. Its anything but flowery. It takes some nerve. But it works. It gives you the gift of an easier, happier life, because you don’t carry unnecessary crap with you everywhere you go. Thereby transforming your every experience into a better one.
Where I would previously stew over something for hours, I now feel it, deal with it, and move on. It’s a freedom I haven’t experience before and it costs ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. Just my time, patience and practice. Lots and lots of practice.
Larry calls this forgiving everyday, the “Acceptance Run”. He includes some really useful and quite brilliant techniques for “transforming our attitudes on the fly”. Larry says that eventually our attitudes change as we practice the acceptance run. I have really begun to experience this and the freedom that comes with it.
There are times where I slip into my old ways but the amount of time I stay in that state is becoming less and less. The important thing is not to judge yourself if you do find yourself repeating old behaviours and patterns. We all here to learn, otherwise we simply wouldn’t exist. Just keep trying when the opportunity arises and it will become second nature.
This where the article comes in and a true example of the power of forgiveness
Susan Kigula is from Kampala, Uganda. Susan was wrongly convicted of murdering her partner and sentenced to death in 2002. She had a three-year-old daughter and a five-year-old stepson at the time. Despite the horrific prison conditions and corrupt Ugandan justice system, Susan managed to study law and free not only herself, but hundreds of others from death row.
What was the very first thing Susan did? She forgave. “I became a leader among the prisoners. I decided ‘We have to do something. We have to change our attitudes’. So I started by forgiving the people who put me in prison. I encouraged the other women to do the same. Then I decided to get to work”.
It was only when Susan forgave that she cleared the space within herself to learn something new and used it to free herself and countless others.
I’ll leave you with this quote from Larry McCauley’s book and I’ll see you next week.
“Acceptance and Forgiveness isn’t about becoming a passive doormat in the face of situations we can change for the better. Instead acceptance practice comes alive when we are faced with memories, thoughts and feelings that we can’t change or move away from. It is at these difficult junctures that acceptance practice comes into its own.”