Monday, August 16, 2010

Feel the Pain

"Forgiveness will never fail to free you."

-- Jerrold Mundis

"How do we forgive when we’re angry and hurt?

As a first step, we can be willing to truly feel our anger and hurt. Honouring our feelings by being fully present with them helps to release the feelings themselves."

This first step is absolutely critical for forgiveness. Just as important, it allows us to reduce the emotional or drama charge that a memory, person, place, or thought might have for you.

Thoughts trigger our feelings, based on the meanings that we have given to the events surrounding the thought. Without a thought, we have no feelings.

When we have negative feelings around a thought, I usually repress that feeling and stuff the thought away with the feeling still intact. The next time I pull it out, the feelings grow until I stuff it away again.

As the quote above elucidates, we must first honor, recognize, and feel the feelings that we associate with a thought in order for that feeling to dissolve and transform. When we give our feelings this time and attention, they tend to transform into joy. Really. No, really.

But first, we have to separate the feeling from the thought. We must set the thought aside, after naming the feelings that we have around that thought, and allow ourselves to sit with the feeling sans thought.

Easier said than done.

Give it a try. Let go of the thought, and sit with the feeling for a minute.

Next time that thought shows up, it will have less charge hanging on to it. Rinse and repeat.

Please share your thoughts and feelings around this idea.


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Crisis - or not?

I was reading an article about crisis that cited this definition:
crisis: a decisive or critical moment.

I don't know about you, but crisis always possessed a negative impact in my mind.

It never occurred to me that it would mean a point of decision, or a tipping point.

When I think of the word crisis, I imagine several exclaimation points behind it.


For me it indicated that things are on the verge of absolute disaster, that the balance of the universe was a-kilter, that the peace and calm had been shattered and only bad things could come from this.

But "a decisive or critical moment" might mean that it is a point of opportunity. It might mean that things are coming to a fork in the road,where we are responsible for a choice that will determine the future.

And such points of decision could be in the face of pure joy and peace, couldn't it? Well, no, I can't think of an instance, but if crisis is not about a judgment of the situation, then a fork in the road can show up in any number of forms, people, moods, feelings, thoughts.... Including fun ones.

Does that mean that all chaos presents an opportunity for a decisive moment? What if I looked at all chaotic and challenging moments as a crisis of decision and choice, a critical point to jump on one side of a fence or the other?

Intimidating for me. I'm not big on decisions. I have found that I have a big part of the 7 in the Enneagram that doesn't like to choose because then I would no longer have all the other choices available to me.

Looks like this is a great opportunity to make a decision about what I think a crisis actually is. It's a positive thing, right? I'll keep telling myself that, act on that premise, and see how my life changes with that realization.

What about you? What did the word "crisis" mean to you? What will you do with that now?

Peace & Joy