Namaste sweet friends! Today I’m sharing a little meditation practice with you that I have been using in my own meditation time because I know we ALL are tempted to be bitter and resentful at times. Some of us may carry this weight around with us for years without even knowing it. It could be past trauma that was just too difficult to deal with at that the time that your carrying with you or maybe even a series of small things that have added up over time, like a boss who never showed you appreciation or a ‘friend’ who spread rumors about you. Whatever the pain your carrying is, it translates into the body and it translates into our daily actions whether we are aware of it or not. We not only do ourselves a favor, but we do all of those around us an act of kindness when we choose to go inward and deal with our own private “stuff”, because all of that baggage we carry with us spills out onto those we come into contact with. So it’s actually not as private as we might think!
So go ahead and do yourself an act of kindness by pulling out your mat and diving into this meditative practice with me.
- Begin in a safe, calm space where you know you won’t be interrupted. Bring your awareness into the breath and the body. Notice how your body is holding any tension or stress.
- Grab a journal and pen and begin listing out all of the people and situations you feel angry about or hurt by. Try and remember as far back as to when you where you a child. Those hurts are still with you today, trust me. Start at the beginning of your life and list out anything and everything that comes to mind that you feel angry or bitter about all the way up until present day. This might take awhile, but be patient. Let the thoughts and feelings come and write them down.
- After you have compiled your list of hurts, you might feel a little raw or vulnerable here having them all out on paper. As if writing them down has given them even more a sense of “realness” allowing you to see how you really do carry past hurts with you. Notice how this hurt feels in your body. Are you tightening in your shoulders or face? Does it make your stomach hurt? Just observe how this feels in your own body. I would encourage you to find one or two things on the list that don’t feel quiet as painful and start with that painful experience.
- After you have chosen the painful experience you want to work with first, you can begin the meditative process. Start by sitting with that experience, not trying to suffocate any emotions that come up but allowing yourself to feel whatever comes. Sit with the pain. Identify the emotions that come up.
- Offer love and grace to the situation. You might hold an image of healing light surrounding your feelings, your body and pain. Accept the situation for all that it was. Show compassion for your own heart here. It’s okay to be sad, to mourn losses or hurt that comes up. Continue to offer compassion to yourself and others involved.
- If you believe in God or a divine source, invite this source into your pain. Begin praying, asking for healing for your heart and anyone else involved. Continue to visualize that healing light, maybe even sensing that this healing light is coming from the divine.
- Forgive and release. If your still in prayer, ask for the strength to forgive. Allow yourself to let this hurt go, knowing you will be much lighter without it. As you move into a state of surrender, your letting this pain go but your also opening yourself up to feel so much lighter and so much more freedom. Embrace the gift that comes when we choose to let go. You might move through some gentle yoga poses here that remind you of surrender and freedom. If yoga isn’t your thing, you might go for a walk outside or be close to a body of water where you can mentally release the heaviness and forgive yourself and anyone else involved. Take a few deep breaths and with each exhale, allow yourself to release, to let go, to forgive. With each inhale, allow yourself to breath in the new life that comes when we offer forgiveness.
- You can go at your own pace as you work through all of the items on your list. I have done mine over the course of several weeks and several sessions with a counselor where she was able to help me untangle some of the more complicated emotions.
- The events and painful memories will resurface. Just because we did this exercise doesn’t mean we will forget all of our past pain. What this exercise does is help us to consciously identify what things we are still bitter about and allow those wounds to heal so that when we remember we can more quickly process that memory. We can know that we have “dealt with” that pain so to speak so we no longer have to dwell in that memory or respond from a place of bitterness and resentment.
Final thoughts on this, We can’t offer something to others that we have not first offered ourselves. When we recognize that we have been forgiven and offer ourselves forgiveness, then we can move into offering forgiveness to to others. Lastly, if your waiting for someone who you were hurt by to ask for forgiveness, that’s probably not going to happen. You don’t need their permission to forgive and to move on. You only need to give yourself the space and permission to process the hurt and work through it so you can live a healthier life in a healthier head space. Hurt people hurt people. You guys, there is so much hurt spreading in the world, think of the huge difference we could make if we choose to work though our own hurts so we don’t become people who spread those hurts to others! You owe it to yourself to work through your pain so you can be the best version of yourself, and we owe it to each other to present ourselves to each other in a kind manner. If we don’t process our pain it will spill out onto others. So let’s tackle our past pain, resentment and bitterness together so we can feel lighter and experience the freedom that’s found in forgiveness. I hope you find this meditation helpful for you where ever you are on your journey.