Friday, 18 July 2014

Letting go to keep moving ahead

Getting over a painful experience is much like crossing the monkey bars...
you have to let go at some point in order to move forward. C.S. Lewis
I like this analogy, I like it a lot. If we hold on too long then we might fall off altogether but we do have a choice!

Life is full of ups and downs, to be fair some people have had more than their fair share of disappointments. I have met a few people in recent months who have gone through significant change in their lives and the thing that comes through so strongly is the power that our attitude has on our ability to make peace with our circumstances (current or past!).

I remember hearing Robyn Moore speaking a long time ago about gratitude and forgiveness, how the act of gratitude helps us let go and move forward. During the session she got us to think of a past hurt and the people who were connected with it and then suggested that we think about what we can be grateful to those people for. At the time I struggled with this. She talked about the ability in that moment of gratitude for us to find forgiveness so we could move forward. It wasn't until a number of years had passed that this really made sense to me. Like a lot of folk I had had a bad relationship and it ended in hurt. I had moved on largely but it wasn't until one day driving in incredibly icy conditions where I really understood what Robyn was talking about. As I came to a steep downhill section, I was extremely nervous, the road ahead was treacherous... and at that moment it occurred to me to use engine breaking which my ex-partner had taught me. When I had navigated the worst of it for some reason the words of Robyn came back and it all made sense. I felt lighter, I felt really free.

There is a wise old saying that goes something like this, holding onto anger is like holding a hot coal and expecting the other person/people to get burnt. All is does is hurt us, it uses our energy, it has the capacity to sap our joy... all while the other party is usually quite unaware that any hurt or anger remains. I can't say that I have mastered this but the awareness I now have has helped hugely with more recent disappointments and given me a strategy to manage the ups and downs. Developing an attitude of gratitude is worth the effort.

I guess this also about owning our feelings rather than allowing your emotions to be dictated by others- we are not puppets and whilst we may not be responsible for the circumstances we find ourselves in, we do have power over our own emotions. This does not mean we will not feel anger or hurt or disappointment, of course we will and rightly so, but if we stay angry or hurt or disappointed then we need to look at ourselves and ask if we are hanging on to a monkey bar or hot coal that is no longer serving us. If we are holding on to those negative emotions we are potentially causing ourselves deeper hurt, greater pain.

We deserve every joy that life offers us and too often miss it when our hearts and minds are cluttered with unresolved anger. So, in thinking about this, who or what in your life could you from something to be grateful for so you can keep on swinging ahead in your life?

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