There is hardly a person I talk to these days who does not think about their weight. How can you not? On the one hand, we have all these food shows (which I love btw) that tell you to stay hungry and keep cooking and diet commercials that try to sell you THE diet to follow to maintain that perfect figure while they even cook for you. As a result the diet industry in our country is growing at an exponential rate even in what we have been told is a struggling economy.
Yet, how many of us are carrying around excess emotional and spiritual poundage and do not ever consider taking some of that weight off. One of the things so many of us struggle with is forgiveness. Forgiveness is not about condoning another's hurtful actions; it is about releasing our negative emotions and perceptions about the painful events. Otherwise, we keep ourselves chained to those events or people. We keep it alive within ourselves and judge others and ourselves repeatedly. We wind up carrying the memories and pain of the event or person (people) with us for years and sometimes our entire lives. Carrying all can end up affecting our emotional, mental, and spiritual and even our physical health and well-being.
When we hold on to feelings of pain, anger, resentment, etc., we keep ourselves in 'victim' mode - powerless. It means we are letting the people or events that hurt us in the past dictate who we are in the present. However, we can take our power back by releasing these negative emotions and no longer letting them have control and power over our thoughts, feelings, and actions.
We are responsible for what we do, think and feel. We can choose to hold on to painful events, like a weight around our necks, or we can choose to eliminate them by no longer feeding them emotional energy and therefore power. As we lose this weight, we can begin to live a happier life despite past circumstances. In other words... let the past be in the past, and live in the now moment. You can't change what happened in the past, but you have choice over how you live now.
For some people, letting go and forgiving can be scary. Some of us have been holding onto that hurt and anger and feel as if we need it to keep our passions in life going. Some activists I know feel as if they need to stay angry to stay passionate. What I have come to realize in my own life, is that when I released the anger, hurt and resentment, I continued my work, but was now fueled by compassion rather then anger.
Part of what changed my thinking about forgiveness was my studying of Toltec wisdom. As I have written about in a previous post, the teachings about forgiveness made me realize that my traditional thinking on forgiveness actually kept me punishing myself, rather then allowing me to heal. What I learned was that the original meaning of the word forgiveness means to reject the giving. Giving something to the one we think we have wronged does not move us forward in our evolution. Nor does someone giving us something if we think they have wronged us move us forward.
Giving out of guilt does not lead to forgiveness; it keeps us carrying the weight in our lives. True forgiveness is an inside job. It means we have to learn from the situation, grow because of it, and resolve any feelings we might have about it, so that we might move forward. Life is all about the journey and learning all that we can from every experience. As Meg Christian once sang, “Great wisdom through painful experience is an inside job.” as we release the excess weight we are carrying, we should be asking ourselves "What has this taught me? What lessons can I learn: about myself, about others and about my life? How can I use this new knowledge to change my thinking and behavior and help others avoid the same trap?" when we forgive, we set ourselves free to grow and evolve and isn’t that a good thing?