Our emotional landscapes are often riddled with dark undertones- they swell and subside, come and go, dominate and then get pushed away. What do we do when we are overcome with anger, frustration, and hurt? How do we manage shame, perfectionism, and self hatred?
It is these deep well worn grooves of sadness and anger that weigh us down and prevent us from showing up in life. These grooves are where the seeds of our anxious racing minds and feelings of being unsafe are sown. Where our depression takes hold. Where we resist what is, and spiral into stress. Our sadness and history will dominate each of our todays if we don't tend to it with love and compassion. A noble goal that many spend there whole lives in search of but how do we actually begin moving towards this?
I am a student of emotions. I am working hard to feel them, know them, connect with them and welcome them in. I am often reciting the poem"The Guest House" by Rumi with my clients encouraging them to welcome, "The dark thought, the shame, the malice. Meet them at the door laughing and invite them in..."
We spent so much time running from, masking, and hiding from our negative feelings instead of feeling the depth of sadness they offer us. Offer us? What could they possibly offer us? It is only when we go deep with these emotions, with their darkness, can we then find forgiveness and start living. When we don't feel our emotions, when we spend our time running from them it's like we are holding our breath. We can never relax or be at peace, our bodies are running on empty, and we are only half present. We have to feel them, feel our bodies brace against them and then they can move through us and we can breathe anew. One of the paths to going into the depth of our big and little scary emotions is forgiveness.
Forgiveness is the ongoing intentional act of how we interact with this world when it rubs up against us and bruises us. Forgiveness is the path to compassion and empathy. Forgiveness is the doing part of how we become free from the shackles of our past, our pain, our indiscretions, and our hidden feelings.
But how do we forgive? We forgive with intention and love. We forgive by showing up to our dark feelings and meeting them with love. We offer forgiveness through the power of words, thoughts, and prayers and we do this until the forgiveness has mined all of our hidden sadness and anger and offered it to the world. We set the intention to forgive ourselves and others everyday until we can finally begin breathing again.
So many times we know that we need, and should, forgive ourselves or others, but we can't. We hold on to our self shame, and our blame, and our hurt, because we know that if we let it go that we are surrendering control.
We fear that if we don't hold ourselves or others accountable then we are handing a get out of jail free card and we know that the next reoffence is just around the corner. We don't trust ourselves and we don't trust others, we think that we need to hold onto the hurt so that we don't forget, and so that we can make sure that we expect more from ourselves next time.