Rev. Virginia Walsh: Nov. 15, 2015
Awakening to Abundant Life
Week 5 – Rethink, Release, for Peace and Freedom
Resentment, blame, guilt and fear keep us from peace and joy, and prolong a negative vibration that affects all areas of our lives. Resentment and anger are not only toxic, but often intoxicating. Anger can make us feel energized and powerful when we’re feeling powerless. But, like many drugs, the feeling is artificial and fleeting. Whatever we focus on expands. Do we want more reasons to be angry? Or are we ready to choose a more abundant life of peace and joy?
Begin by recognizing that forgiveness does not mean that what happened is okay. It does not mean that there are no consequences. Remember that whoever hurt us was in emotional pain and fear themselves, only trying to get their needs met, with the awareness they had at that time. Because they didn’t really ‘do it to us’ we can say “I forgive you for what you did not do to me.” As Don Miguel Ruiz reminds us: “Don’t take it personally!” They were trying to get their needs met, even if it was not a healthy, loving way to do that.
If we continue to blame others, we’re giving them power over our life. And they may not even know that you are upset with them! It has been said that : “To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.” We may not know how to forgive or even want to forgive, but being willing to forgive begins the process, and Spirit completes it.
Releasing Exercise: Sometimes our wounded inner child wants revenge before forgiveness can happen. If that’s true for you, think about what would you really want to do to them. What do they need to do to earn your forgiveness? Imagine that happening. When you feel complete, let it go once and for all. You can also write an ‘angry letter’ to express every nasty thing you would like to say – to release your emotions – and then tear it up, bury it or burn it.
Now make a decision to forgive and release yourself from the chains of resentment and bitterness that still bind you to that person.
“To forgive is the highest, most beautiful form of love. In return you receive untold peace and happiness.” – Robert Muller
Start now to awaken to freedom and peace! Decide to practice letting go of anger and resentment. Choose someone or something to forgive. Start with a situation that’s not deeply traumatic. To make it more effective, write down your thoughts about the following:
- Admit your true feelings. No matter how spiritual we are, we still experience human emotions, including the negative ones. Write down what you’re feeling. Usually there’s more than one feeling about the situation.
- Acknowledge the cost. Ask yourself how this resentment is hurting you, and how much energy you’re giving to it. Maybe you’ve noticed you’re irritated or sad, but don’t know why. What we’re unaware of can and does affect us.
- Admit the payoff. Anger can make us feel a false sense of power, like feeling in control, protecting and defending ourselves. The fear may be that we’re defenseless. Actually holding on to anger and fear makes it more difficult to feel safe and peaceful.
- Acknowledge the benefits of forgiveness. When we forgive, we are free of anger, bitterness, and attachment to what happened. We experience peace, and we reclaim our power.
- Pray. Affirm that Holy Spirit or your Christ Within is empowering you to forgive. Remember those who hurt others are in pain and fear. Pray for that person’s peace and well being.
Don’t be discouraged if release doesn’t happen immediately. We’re all unique and the process takes the times it takes, for each of us. You know the forgiveness has happened when you think of the person, or see the person, and you don’t have a negative reaction. Eventually you can even feel unconditional love for that person!
“There is no love without forgiveness and there is no forgiveness without love.“ – Bryan H. McGill
Practice forgiving yourself as well. Every day for a week say to yourself: “I forgive myself for holding onto resentment and feeling like a victim. I forgive myself for being angry and saying things I now regret.” Try saying this to yourself out loud; try looking at yourself in the mirror as you say it. Continue until you feel peaceful.