Do you ever find yourself replaying past experiences in your head?
When there is a negative experience that plays on repeat, or comes up often, it may be a sign it’s time to let it go.
The difficult and painful experiences in our past were most likely placed there as lessons. Lessons we set out to learn. But sometimes the lessons are so painful and challenging we get stuck there.
For many years I couldn’t speak of adoption. Mothers in my circle would talk about adoption as we would sit together dining on grilled salmon at a round table covered with a white table cloth.
They would share about their plans to adopt or how another mom has, and my heart would fall. I would picture the baby and the new mom’s face as she held that baby in her arms, love pouring out of every pore of her body.
I would think of the birth mom and would question what happened, what caused her to give her precious newborn away.
And then I would sink down in my seat, my inner light growing dim as shame would cover it and swallow me whole.
I’m the birth mom in the story, and I was a long way from forgiving myself. And there was no way my friends could know I towed both lines – the affluent mom eating a gourmet lunch on a Wednesday and the mom who gave her baby away.
My self-inflicted pain was enough. I couldn’t invite anymore pain inside, which is what would surely happen if I shared my story. So I carried my luggage with me, silently. But it was becoming too heavy.
And that’s when you have to decide: you either let it go and live life fully embodying your gorgeous soul, or pack yourself up inside the pain and let it take your life.
Our lives have a certain amount of bandwidth, and we can only hold our attention on a certain number of things. So when we are caught in a loop of how things were, it’s pretty safe to say there is no room to create new experiences that look nothing like the old.
We have to let the past go to create a different future.
But that’s easier said than done. Many of us hold on to past experiences like weighted down luggage we can’t seem to get rid of. It follows behind us everywhere we go as we rethink the event and feel the feelings all over again and again, somehow buying into the illusion that if we keep it fresh on our minds we are preventing future pain.
When I finished my lunch and got up from the table, I was tired. Tired of lugging the weight, tired of being ashamed of myself, tired of investing in my past so much that I carried it with me everywhere I went. I was tired of framing my current experiences based on my past.
I decided I no longer wanted my past to hurt me. I wanted to accept it. I wanted to be grateful for it. But how?
Out of sheer desperation, and lots and lots of inner work, I reached for forgiveness. I saw the young girl doing the best she could, and witnessed the love in her heart and tears in her eyes, and I forgave her. I let her go. I decided to love her, accept her and no longer shame her. I hugged her close to me and told her she was brave and there was a bigger plan that had already been agreed to long before she was born.
Forgiveness was my key to freedom. I dropped the luggage and held onto the experience for what it was: lessons in self-love, forgiveness, destiny and dharma.
Often it is ourselves we hold in contempt for decisions we made that ended up producing painful experiences. We question ourselves, become shameful, resentful and hang on to the experience for so long that it becomes part of our identity.
To release our past we have to serve up forgiveness. Look it in the eyes and bless it. Acknowledge what it was there to teach us, and if you don’t know what the lesson is yet, ask. Invite it over for tea, sit with it, cry with it, but let the tears be from release, not shame, not holding on. Witness it without judgment.
Sometimes we feel too scared to forgive others because what if we get hurt again? Or what if we forgive ourselves and then we mess up again?
We hold on to the old pain with the illusion that there won’t be room for anymore if we hold on tight to what’s already happened.
See the one you are having a hard time forgiving (yourself, your parents, your ex) doing the best they could with what they knew at the time, because what’s on the other side of the pain will come into your awareness. That’s where the gift is.
Dissolve the illusion that you are here to condemn yourself and hold yourself in guilt and shame. Get rid of the "why did I do that/ why did they do that?" questions and accept what has already been done.
You are here to fully align with all of who you are – your Divinity, peace, joy and Light. You are here to learn and evolve your soul, and sometimes those lessons come with a heavy dose of pain. See yourself to the other side.
Don’t be afraid of what’s in that luggage you've been carrying around, or who or what needs to be forgiven. If the weight of it is dragging you down, let it go. Give yourself the room to create your future with intention. Only you can do it.
I know see adoption as such an act of love – on both sides.
This fall my first-born is getting married and her sisters and brother will be in the wedding. Life has a pretty fascinating way of working out better than we could have ever planned once we decide to let go and forgive. (Although I’m still grappling with the fact that I’ll be the mother of the bride. I’m sure I’ll make peace with that soon enough.)
And I know for sure I'm only bringing a carry-on bag when we board the airplane. :-)
With lots of forgiving love,