L is for Let-it-go

Let it go; forgive and give life.

“Forgiveness is the giving, and so the receiving, of life.” – George MacDonald

 

This is part of a series of an alphabet of help for living well, despite everything:

L is for Let-it-go!

I’ve been stepped on. Bruised. Trounced. Crushed.

What’s my initial, instinctive, human response? I’m shocked– how could they?  I’m in attack mode– those nasty blankety-blanks, I’m gonna show them why they are so wrong. I relive what they did to me. I scheme how to make them understand– they hurt me. I invent a multitude of creative punishments to make them pay. Meanwhile, the inconsiderate, rude, cruel, stupid things they did are making me more and more miserable.

Imagine dipping a string into molten wax, adding layer upon layer, growing a bigger and bigger candle.

There’s something satisfying about this process of dipping and accumulating, isn’t there?

But what if this candle is made from a wax called bitterness?

Here’s what I make myself do, when I need to let it go:

  • Release my anger with a pounding good walk or run, deliberately shedding sweat and sometimes tears. If it’s a deep pain, I write out my hurt, my shock, my frustration and anger. Occasionally while writing I might bawl my eyes out. Then I do something dramatic like rip the paper to shreds or I burn it (this is effectively satisfying; try it). And then I take another pounding good walk.
  • Cool down and grow physically calmer by doing breathing exercises (see B is for breath).
  • Remind myself that the person who hurt me is not in control of my life or my happiness. I am.
  • Try to find compassion for the person who hurt me. This isn’t complicated. Once I muster a wholehearted conviction that there must be compassion within me, I don’t have to go looking for it, compassion comes to me. (It’s amazing; try it.)
  • Choose to forgive. This is a process–if my pain is small, the process is short and I only have to forgive seven times or so to coax my misery into burning out like a birthday candle at the end of its wax. If my pain is thick (picture a huge pillar candle built from years’ of resentments), it’s going to take much longer. I’ll need to forgive and forgive, 70 times 7 or more.

To forgive is to put a flame to the candle of resentment; I will burn it (keep forgiving) until it burns itself down to nothing.

In the center of forgiveness we find what we must do; we must give up resentment.

Of course wisdom tells us that resentment is not the only thing we must relinquish in the quest for peace and contentment.

Share with us, my dear wise friends. What are you learning not to keep, and how do you intend to let it go?

 

 

 

Review of “Spain: Recipes and Traditions,” a cookbook by Jeff Koehler; plus a Tomato Marmalade Recipe

Screen Shot 2014-09-02 at 5.50.02 PM

I recommend this cookbook to: people who have visited Spain, fallen in love with the food and culture of its various regions, who want a coffee-table picture book, with extremely authentic recipes to help them relive their experience. Also, for … Continue reading

Carol Bodensteiner, author of the historical novel “Go Away Home” offers media marketing tips to writers. 

Carol Bodensteiner

Welcome to another post in my series about published writers who help other writers. Click here to access my series about writers who blog about writing.  Carol Bodensteiner is a writer who finds inspiration in the places, people, culture and history of the … Continue reading

K is for Kinesiology

kinesiology

This is part of the series: an alphabet of help for living well, despite everything. K is for Kinesiology. Kinesiology helps us live healthier. Everything we do–including lounging on the sofa while watching a movie, including sleeping–because we are embodied beings, everything we … Continue reading

Meet Kathleen Pooler: a Memoir Writer who inspires Hope

Kathleen Pooler

Published writers who blog about the writing life are a great resource for those who hope to be published. Click here to access my series about writers who blog about writing.  Meet Kathleen Pooler, a retired family nurse practitioner whose hope-inspiring memoir will be published … Continue reading

Baseball goes with Summer like Beer goes with Hot Dogs

It’s summer! And baseball is the quintessential summer story.

  • The pressure of time is suspended during every game, there’s no clock;
  • You can get a hot dog at any ball park (and usually a beer);
  • Baseball is essentially a heroic summertime story–with:
    • characters (the players and coaches)
    • drama (who will be victorious?),
    • plot (the intricate strategy),
    • and ongoing suspense–every at-bat is a scene with a beginning, middle and end, every inning is a chapter, every game is a book in a series.
  • Tickets are reasonably priced, in some cases they’re ridiculously cheap (a couple of bucks for 3+ hours of entertainment)

And Fenway Park is the quintessential ball park:

Guess how many ball parks there are in little ‘ole New England where you can watch major league, minor league or collegiate ball?

A Handy Guide to All the Baseball Teams and Parks in New England by Location and League

all the baseball parks in new england

Here’s where to watch baseball–the Great American Pastime–in New England: Major League Baseball We all should see the Boston Red Sox play at Fenway, at least once, shouldn’t we? Minor League Baseball Maine Portland Sea Dogs (A A for Boston Red Sox) … Continue reading