“Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die”
I mentioned in Wednesday’s post that I taught my first yoga class to my classmates. Part of our teaching was to carry a theme through the class, and we were assigned Aparigraha. Aparigraha can be loosely defined as non-possessiveness. It could translate many ways, including limiting physical possessions, letting go of resentment and anger, or really letting go of anything that no longer serves you. What resonated for me in regards to Aparigraha was forgiveness.
I am by no means an expert in this area, but I have been working on it for several years. What really “inspired” me to forgive occurred during a session with my life coach, Lauralee. Through much gnashing of teeth and wringing of hands on my part, she finally asked me, “Who is hurt the most by holding onto hurt, resentment, ill feelings?” The answer was ME. The object of my negative feelings was most likely feeling minimal effects regarding the situation, but I was being tormented. I couldn’t let go of repeating the scenes in my head and the words that were said and that led to upset and crying.
I finally realized that when I forgave the other person, I was FREE. And I didn’t have to do it face to face—however, that would be ideal. I send my forgiveness into the universe and believe the other person experiences a shift. It may not be conscious to them, but it is there. I know I can leave all the negativity behind as the forgiveness creates a shift in me too. I also use the term “put down your bag of stones” from a poem I read. Why burden yourself carrying heavy baggage when the other party is usually carrying nothing at all? Drop those bags! Set yourself free.
My sentiments were echoed in a story called, “This Is What Happens The Moment You Truly Forgive” by Lisa Capretto. I share it below:
Suffering ends the moment we decide to forgive. This is a core belief of Malynn Utzinger, MD, a certified yoga instructor and specialist in holistic medicine. As part of filmmaker Louie Schwartzberg’s “Gratitude Revealed” series, Utzinger beautifully narrates what happens when we are able to move past old hurts and practice forgiveness. It’s not about accepting a wrong or going against your own values, she says. It’s about healing — and the result is that it illuminates the powerful path to living a more gracious life.
Gratitude Revealed: Forgiveness
“The act of forgiveness — that moment of letting go and feeling the first new ray of light open you and flow into your heart — that is the moment when healing begins.
Old, hardened stories have worn grooves in your mind and heart. Hardness becomes a habit, long after the event has passed. You hope that hanging onto the old story will one day make it right.
But the gift comes when you decide that the change is within you.
The moment you let that happen, the whole story falls away. The wind blows. And everything is new again.
Every cavern of your heart stretches to invite the light in. Shafts of light warm your face and open your eyes, illuminating you to what is the incredible reality and wonder of each life around you.
You start to be amazed that we have all gotten this far, that we manage to live and love at all, given the complex circumstances of our daily lives.
A tremendous and unforced compassion and connection arises spontaneously within us and flows to others.
Forgiveness is a letting go.
It’s not accepting a wrong or going against your basic values.
Forgiveness is for healing yourself.
The places within you that have been tight and hard can soften. Your body can open. You have new space within you, new chambers in your heart, places you may have never known before.
Of course, the hardest part is that we so often show up thinking that we are done with forgiveness.
But, forgiveness needs to be given each day, over and over again, for the hundred small ways in which we don’t see one another.
It’s that forgiving, for the little things, even when you think it doesn’t matter, that will set you free and show you how you are connected to everything.
And then, one day, you may at last come to forgive yourself, and allow others to forgive you, too.
This is the hardest act of all.
An act of bravery.
And the first true act of great love.”
Gratitude Revealed is filmmaker Louie Schwartzberg’s series of 16 film shorts that explores what gratitude is, produced by his studio, Moving Art. Utilizing a diverse array of styles, approaches and his 30-plus-year archive, Schwartzberg’s films show why gratitude is important and what we can all do to live more gracious lives.
I will be on vacation next week so no new blogs until November 30th. Can you believe it is almost December?! Have a great Thanksgiving and enjoy time with family, friends, and/or your closest loved ones.