Nothing in my practice consistently stirs my clients more than the concept of forgiveness. Responses like ~ ME? I have to? Well, what about….? He needs to… They did this, not me…
I can feel the echo of all of those words coming from my mouth and my mind and my heart. It is a tough thing to understand until you are on the other side. The resistance to the process speaks volumes about the power that grudge, pain, dis-ease, etc. holds over us. Ever try to convince someone they need to step out of their uncomfortable comfort zone?
Let’s go to a fancier restaurant tonight… It’s time to upgrade this flooring…. I’m ready to actually take a vacation on my vacation from work…
The reactions that follow these thoughts or announcements are almost always just that, reactions, not responses. This is the “force field flex” of our comfort zone or the zone of whomever you are talking to. We don’t have the time, it’s too dangerous to travel, we don’t speak that language, you don’t have money… There is usually one or two that are the go-to.
I love my story about my new kitchen trash can. I want to tell you a story about it and use it as an analogy for this month’s theme for forgiveness and a funny story about that comfort zone force field.
Yep ~ my trash can is this month’s lesson and it is honestly an experience that has taught me wisdom that will stay with me for a long time. It might shift something in you as well ~ Please reach out if it does because I sure do love hearing all of your stories.
About a week ago I finally came up with a plan for a new layout for my kitchen. After 14 years of knowing it needed to change and 3 years after starting the process by ripping up the floor tile and upgrading to something better insulated, not dangerously slippery, and much easier to clean the project kind of stalled. About a week ago I realized what I had to work with just was not working. The space needs to be bigger and the footprint of the rest of the house supports the idea to push the exterior wall out and add 10 or more feet to the room. This would finally open up room so we could have an established table/seating area, a wall for a pantry, and move the door to an area that would make way more sense with traffic flow and coat/boot storage. What I have right now does not work. All the time in the world won’t make it work. I have not wasted the 3 years stewing on what does not work, I have been brewing up focus on what I need. It wasn’t there in my mind’s eye yet. Being surrounded by what I didn’t want was distracting me and pushing me into the place where my mind’s eye needed to go. I’m so glad to have arrived at the potential dream kitchen.
Seating, space, traffic flow, the vision all I needed next was a fire of passion to get things going. I think the exact words were “now something just needs to catch fire to get this thing started”… and well when there is a vision and purpose and connection with excitement magic happens! And less than 24 hours later, well the fire arrived!! I set my electric oven to preheat to make some biscuits for my son and the next thing I know there were scary sounds and dimming lights in the kitchen and the inside of the range had some sort of wiring short and there was an actual fire with sparks and smoke and everything right inside my oven. Thankfully I was on top of pulling the oven away from the wall and getting the fire out quickly but the next thing I know I’m ordering a new electric range with my brand new vision of my kitchen in mind. The movement to the new had begun. Day 1 ~ dream with vision Day 2 ~ old stove out of the kitchen and new one is ordered and now the next phase of magic, Day 3!
14 years ago I moved into my house and it was in a pretty disastrous state of being. It had been abandoned and is a quiet old building so from where it was then to where it is now is leaps and bounds above amazing. The first day (or I might have had it in my last apt actually, I am not sure) I got a basic trash can for the kitchen and I can say with confidence that my kitchen trash can was at least 14 years old. Very often I drag it outside or take it apart and use the sink to scrub the yuck out of it. On Day 3 of the new kitchen envisioning though I looked at it and really saw it for the first time in a long time. I did not want to clean it anymore. I did not want to look at it, use it, or be seen with it for one more minute… Time for a new one! Seems not so big deal to you maybe but to me, it was kind of a big one. My comfort zone force field flexed ~ Well if you wait till Saturday you can use the Dollar Store coupon… maybe I should wait until then…. Maybe I should wait to see if the new kitchen layout might have a better place for the trash so I should keep this one for a few months to be sure to get the exact one I need for the new space… It’s warmer now so I can clean it outside on the deck now and I can even hook up the hose to rinse it out…
Every time I walk by this trash coming into the kitchen it was chipping away at me and I did not notice. I have been unhappy with it for years and years but have found a way to turn off the message. I just kept telling myself a story about how “everything was fine” “it’s not so bad” “let me invest an hour of my life cleaning it out every month or so and all my effort will save me… something… time (not really), filthy trash can experience (not really), money (not really). But I bought the story every time! For years!
Well, I did not wait for days to save a few dollars and I did not take it outside and clean it. I headed right over to the Dollar Store and dropped $17.50 on a new one. While over there I ran into a friend and had the privilege to catch up with her for a lovely amount of time and share with her the exciting news of my new trash can. She was right there with me ~ shutting her eyes and breathing in the satisfaction of the clean, refreshing, new trash can experience. “Oh man, that is the best!” I got that response from 3 other friends too on that magic Day 3. Once it was in the Jeep and even before it was home, I could not wait to toss the old one out of the house and put the sparkly (it’s plastic LOL) new one in its place. The excitement built up because I had a few errands to run and then school pick up so I was kind of giddy by the time it was carried through the threshold of my home. When it was finally in place I could feel the difference. I could also feel the wave of the old trash can experience and it felt kinda raw. All the times I wiped the lid and said it was gross. The hundreds of times I changed the bag and said I need to clean that next time. The thousands of times I caught a glimpse of under the lid and said to myself I hope no one else sees this. Or simply Yuck I don’t like the way this feels. It just became the experience of using the trash can. They are gross mostly. They hold yucky things. They are a very small part of the whole day. When I had a zap from the comfort zone force field that offered one more spark of potential for the old can that said ~ how about you take it to the cellar and fill it with junk from down there before you toss this old nasty thing…? I yelled out loud, you are out of here right now and that is that. I threw it out the front door and it is still sitting in the front yard. Tomorrow is the trash run so it will get hauled one more time. Tossed in the dumpster with gratitude and love for the wisdom it has awakened.
Somehow the new trash can is not a small part of my day. Almost everyone that I talked to knew the excitement of the clean, new, fresh trash receptacle. Almost a week later someone was over yesterday and asked ~ did you get a new trash can… I shut my eyes and breathed in deeply… yes, yes we did get a new trash can ~ isn’t it wonderful!?
The trash can went out the door on Day 3 and on Day 4 the new range arrived. On day 5 the deck outside the kitchen had a board just spontaneously fall right off (which is craziness and I am not making that up BTW) and on Day 6 I made the layout of the new kitchen with legos with the help of my kids and share it with everyone that comes in the house and we walk around the kitchen and the deck living out what will be where and how it is so great. I look forward to productive Week 2 and 3 and Month 6 when it is complete… I just need a juicy lotto ticket to keep this thing going! Those are my exact words too
Hopefully, the Universe is listening as closely to that as the fire request :)
You might be wondering what the heck this story has to do with forgiveness. So, let me tell you. When we hold a grudge or hold onto someone’s worst moment or the worst day of our life or someone’s worst feature it is OUR baggage we are carrying. It is our burden. We are holding it and it takes away our energy. After a while, we have so many stories about why we need it, and how it’s not so bad. We clean it off and keep it around way too long even though it is heavy and filthy and chipping away at us. Even when we decide it might be time to let it go… the force field of our comfort zone might zap us back into victimhood, despair, pride, or heartache. We have learned to live around these emotions and eventually we stop noticing them. They have adapted your life (our lives cause I am on the journey too) to absorb those energy drains and keep going with the half-full glass which is only at half no matter how we label it.
What forgiveness means:
Offering Forgiveness means you want your energy back.
There is more to life than that bad day, month, or year. Your bad day giving, or your bad day receiving. Asking for forgiveness of others is your tether to forgiveness on your end and the rest of the effort needs to go into finding a new way. Choosing kindness, consideration, truth, and respect.
You will always have the wisdom from the event and that wisdom can only come once the baggage is released. Until then it is heavy, limiting, and constricting.
Once you realize the burden is the prison you are in, not the event that caused the burden the grip can loosen. Your grip on your baggage can loosen.
Also, it is important to touch on another fact. Forgiving does not mean the event was ok and it does not mean the event is allowed into your life again, it just means it’s time to move on. Not everyone is on the same path as us and the more we hold onto their unwillingness to grow, change, and find an enlightening path we are in a way hitchhiking on their back, down the road we don’t want to be on. Trying to change their direction so we can force them somewhere they don’t want to go. That is using A LOT of your energy with little to no gain, for anyone. Forgiveness cuts the ropes and allows us to go in any direction we choose. Your energy for you and your dreams. There are no ropes, prison bars, or heavy baggage.
Along this path of forgiveness ~ Don't forget to forgive yourself and the Higher Power.. You might be blaming pieces of yourself for a major life event that is no one's "fault". We can get angry at anything or anyone or even God itself.
Questions to ponder, if your into that kind of thing:
Are there items in your life that hold bad memories?
How often do you see them or walk by them?
How are they chipping away at your energy?
Are there people that do the same?
Other events like job, or the commute, the bank account balance, your vehicle…?
Ask for the wisdom to see these because there are most likely some in your life especially if you are connected to this Refection story.
Look with Love. Find them with Gratitude. They are offered from the Universe with Reciprocity to Self Improvement.
Lovingly decide where do you want to go from here?
As Always, Sending You Endless Love & Gratitude!
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