Monday, September 15, 2014
Grumble, Grumble, Grumble vs. Wow! That Was Great!
We do have free will. One of the things that we can absolutely choose is where we place our thoughts and our mind. This can be like simply picking up the reigns on a runaway horse. It is easier than you would think. We all experience hardships. Life is rife with them. But our difficulties are here to help us grow. They are the obstacles that cause us to leap even higher.
There are common obstacles that we encounter, these blocks seem like they prevent us from spending every moment rejoicing in gratitude. Grief of course, is huge. So is lack of forgiveness, along with a lack of compassion and understanding.
Elizabeth Kubler-Ross identifies the five stages of grief. They are: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. After having experienced 18 deaths in 24 months and crying buckets full of tears, I became aware that the time we spend in grief can vary greatly, depending on the loss. It also depends on, dare I say, our choice to stay there, or move through it and move on. Some loss really knocks us for a loop. And it's just going to take its sweet time. Grief never fully leaves us, but there are instances where we can actually get in there, do some inner work, and bring our thoughts, minds, and hearts to some resolve.
In the advanced course I find that when I have really moved through my inner work, with lots of understanding and self-love, I can even come to a sixth stage, which is gratitude. This is the point where I have come to see the blessings that the loss has brought to me. Sometimes we learn how to better care for ourselves. Sometimes we move on to a relationship that is even more compatible. It's not so much what happens to us in life, it's what we do with what happens that matters.
Another major block to gratitude is lack of forgiveness. Sometimes we're holding on so tight to something we think is terrible that we just can't move forward. Louise Hay helped me with this obstacle in my own life with her affirmation, "I forgive you for not being the way that I wanted you to be. I forgive you and I set you free, and thereby free myself." There is a lot of personal reflection in this thought. And it often helps us to see the deeper view. My spiritual teacher Jana Massey taught us that forgiveness is the law of erasure. It erases the hurt so the truth can be made known. When we forgive we release that tight grasp and over time, often we see further.
There is one more set of forgiveness affirmations I'd like to share with you today. Sadly, I don't remember where I got them. But never mind, they go like this, "I forgive you for any pain that you may have caused me. I ask that you forgive me for any pain that I may have caused you. And I forgive myself for allowing you to cause me any pain." With these we see the situation from three unique perspectives. They also help us understand that pain is a two way street.
With deeper introspection we can even move beyond the need for forgiveness because we come to see that everyone is always doing what feels right given their set of circumstances. Often in a worst case scenario, the perpetrator is so tortured themselves, so lost within, that they are looking for any way to have someone else know their experience. Those who are this unsettled truly need our compassion. We wouldn't punish a baby for pulling a cat's tail. We would understand that's the stage of growth the child is in. Similarly, someone who has done us wrong is experiencing their own version of the world. As hard to swallow as this may be, understanding is the key.
So, grumble, grumble, grumble is a choice we sometimes make. And it's fully understandable. But how much nicer it is to turn our focus to what is beautiful in every given situation, to see how we are growing our souls and the souls of others. Appreciation always shifts the energy. We can take the time to look for it and say instead, "Wow! That was great."
© Josephine Laing, 2014