Have you ever noticed how easy it is to fall into the trap of ruminating over something that has hurt us when we are trying to forgive those involved?
Instead of fully forgiving, letting go, and releasing, we just dig the trench deeper, hiding behind justifications for why we are “right” to feel hurt and confronted.
We start thinking of things in the same way, which means progress can’t be made. The release from mind, heart, and body can’t happen. When we clench on to events that have passed, we will never be able to let go.
This issue has been rolling around in my brain a lot recently, until it hit me:
I am spending way too much time thinking about this situation and no time at all having the conversation needed to change it.
By “the conversation,” we’re talking about the conversation: the conversation you are scared shitless to have. The conversation that seems impossible (i.e. “No, s/he would never want to talk about that/never stop doing x,y,x/ never listen to me/never change/etc.”). The conversation that involves cutting through the deep crap. The conversation that requires us to own and take responsibility for our dynamic and actions in a relationship. The conversation that moves us toward forgiveness.
There’s a saying that where the attention goes, the prana flows. (Prana being the life force energy that makes this whole shindig happen). So when you divert your attention to a situation, you’re already starting the process of making a shift. You’re diverting energy to the space that is ready to open up and heal. The question is: are you ready to make that shift? Are you truly willing to look at what is bothering you? Do you really understand how your pain feels in your body and mind?
To answer these questions honestly is to set yourself up for a transformative healing in your life. Because when we’re willing to go into our stuff , we’re no longer at its mercy. It’s easy to hide behind justifications, or vengeful and victimized thinking. It’s really easy to feel “right.” And maybe someone or something did really hurt you. Maybe something happened that really was unfair. Maybe life really did just hand you a s*** sandwich.
What is more productive for us in the long run: being a victim living in pain or learning to overcome pain and challenges with grace and gratitude? Being happy or being right?
As yogis we practice ahimsa, the principle of non-violence or non-harm.
It usually comes pretty easily when we think of other beings. We can become vegetarians to reduce suffering of animals. We can be kind and courteous to others. We can do charitable work. We can be nice and sweet and all of these things. But what of ourselves? If we are ruminating on painful things, and wallowing in past emotions, justifying why we “deserve” to be unhappy or vengeful, what harm is that inducing in our own beings?
And that means taking an action you haven’t taken before, because it is no longer fully serving us if we are still obsessively thinking about a particular situation. Picking up the phone. Sending the email. Writing the letter. Telling this other person in whatever way they can hear us that we release them of the hold they have on our minds and bodies.
Tell them you release yourself of the judgments you have made on your own behavior. Tell them that you are ready to choose being happy over being right and that you truly wish the same for them, but do not expect them to make the choice until they are open and willing in their own bodies and time.
It is terrifying, yes, to confront those who bring us pain. But remember that we are bringing ourselves pain, too, by brooding over these perceived injustices.
Take care of yourself first: forgive what needs to be forgiven, and allow the train of forgiveness to seep into the other dimensions of your life.
These situations and relationships are brought into our lives to teach us something. By showing up for our lessons and assimilating what we learn into every day actions, we will set the example for those who are ready to forgive, to choose being happy over being right, to love and most of all: to heal.
“Forgiveness is acquired. It is not inherent in the mind, which cannot sin. As sin is an idea you taught yourself, forgiveness must be learned by you as well, but from a teacher other than yourself, who represents the other self in you. Through [this teacher] you learn how to forgive the self you think you made, and let it disappear.”
~ A Course in Miracles
Giuliana Hazelwood teaches yoga, writes, coaches, and crusades to help people care for themselves, and each other. You may expect in her classes to connect to your strength, love, and capacity to heal. A graduate of the Open Hearts Yoga School 200-Hour Foundational Training, her classes fuse principles of Vinyasa, Kundalini, Anusara, and Forrest Yoga. As a dancer, track athlete, and total anatomy nerd, Giuliana also incorporates elements of ballet, modern dance, and embodied movement in her teaching. She’s currently studying to be an Ayurvedic doctor through the Kripalu School of Ayurveda, and training in Level I Reiki. Giuliana created “Lovely Healthy,” a health and wellness blog + video channel. She’s also a contributing writer for Greatist and an ambassador for Urban Detox Club. Please visit her website for more information about her teaching, philosophy, and writing: Giuliana Hazelwood.com.
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Ed: Kate Bartolotta