I finished reading a book called “By The River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept” by Paulo Coelho about love and loss, about religion and faith in one’s self, and about our spiritual-self that is unrelated to religion. At the back of the book are questions and insights, which I love. There is a section on “the price of hate and pardon” which focused on being attentive to opportunities that life gives us, and that if we only have two opportunities, learn how we can turn those into twelve, and with the more opportunities we have, even more will naturally spawn.
Just like the catchphrase: “The rich get richer and the poor get poorer.”
Opportunities can take countless forms, which leads me to the next insight which made me stop. Pardoning Ingratitude. Pardoning is an opportunity of letting go of things that hold us down, energy spent that can be redirected and used. The book reads “the energy of hate will take you nowhere, but the energy of pardon which manifests itself through love will manage to change your life in a positive sense.” I’m all about the positive now, but it wasn’t always that way. I have made great strides at letting go of my past. I try really hard to let the hurt, pain, ingratitude of others wash off me “like water off a duck”, but I paused. Have I? Do I still harbor negative emotions?
So I made a list.
I made a list of every person who I still felt wronged by in some way. It didn’t have to be a big way, it didn’t have to be justified, it could be someone who did remarkable good but I was still hanging on to the “one little thing”, which heck, if I’m hanging on to it….is it “one little thing?”
44 names were on the list.
I was shocked! I re-counted my list. I can’t believe that I’m holding this kind of energy inside me! Some people didn’t even have names, so I described them. Why am I holding resentment for people that I can’t even remember their name? The resentment is there regardless and one of my many opportunities is to set it free.
I sat down and wrote out a pardon for each person on the list. I like the idea of the pardon. It doesn’t erase the crime, but it relieves the BLAME for the crime. I need to stop blaming. For each one I wrote “I pardon you for…..” and listed all the things for which I had anger, resentment, disappointment, frustration, hate, sadness, embarrassment, and hurt emotions over. After I was done I wrote “I PARDON YOU (insert name or description)” in bold letters across the pardon paragraph, page or book. I took time to hear each word in my head as I wrote it. This is not a rush process. It is slow and methodical.
(44 people) x (writing pardons) = 15 hours
I burnt the words, releasing them as a final, physical act.
Afterwards I felt the sudden lift of an immense weight from my shoulders. Energy restored! Haha-Yeah-No! – that didn’t happen. I’m not that person.
I did feel better. Happy with myself at taking time to realize and acknowledge my own negativity. Happy with myself that I took action at removing it. Maybe next time my list will be down to 22, and maybe only 12 or so will be from my last list, at which I will work again to acknowledge and take action. I will be more aware of when my feelings ARE hurt, and talk about it rather than stuff my feelings down and use precious energy to keep them there.
“You drown not by falling into a river, but by staying submerged in it.” – Paulo Coelho
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