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Food has always been a big part of my family growing up. We would all convene at my grandparents’ home and eat. It wasn’t just a house that we visited. It was a home with a very loving energy all on its own and it essentially was my family’s home base. One that was always filled with food and lots of it.
Anyone who walked through the door was greeted with the latest slow cooker concoction or offered a slice of pie. They would subsequently be asked if they were hungry throughout the day right until bed if you lucky enough to sleep over. In fact, midnight snacks were my grandfather’s specialty. Looking back, how we all didn’t wind up having stock in Weight Watchers is beyond me.
I am sure you may have heard this saying once or twice in your life. I can hear my grandmother saying this as she was wedged in the refrigerator making room for the bags and bags of groceries. This was a frequent occurrence because my poor grandfather was summoned to the grocery store almost daily. They cooked a full-on Sunday dinner weekly plus whatever meals we made appearances for throughout the week. There were about 12 of us “regulars” plus whoever else popped in. It was a loving home with a lot of food! I never truly appreciated the sheer amount of food that stocked their shelves and two refrigerators.
Before adding all the new food, Gram, as I called her, had to throw out any left overs that somehow weren’t devoured. Clearing out the old was like a cleansing for her. It gave her joy to do this and she was grateful for the food her and my grandfather were able to restock.
You are probably wondering what food has to do with forgiveness. Like my grandmother cleaning out the frig for new stuff, we too must get rid of the clutter in our hearts and minds. This is often tied to people and experiences that we may have to forgive to move forward. And cleansing is something that feeds our soul just like the food my grandparents so loving fed all of us. You see, we must clear away whatever doesn’t serve us anymore to make room for new and improved things that do. It’s like a metaphysical storage closet. Out with the old and in with the new.
Having the burden of old experiences is really no fun. Technically that is a crazy understatement. Not only is it “no fun” but it can feel daunting. Melodramatic? Um no! We cannot argue with someone’s feelings. Right?
This heaviness can stem from memories and experiences that we’ve held onto and ironically, we may not even realize it. I mean who would intentionally torture themselves like that?
I was reading the amazing book, “The Traveler’s Gift” by Andy Andrews. It’s a cool mashup of fiction, self-help and history. In one of the chapters, it talked about forgiveness and how the main character really had one main person to forgive. He was so intent on finding out who that person was. Finally, it was revealed to his amazement that the person he had to forgive was himself. That never occurred to him. So, I got to thinking about how forgiveness is such a gift and being a huge proponent of visualization and meditation, I decided to try something.
I am not talking about actually calling up my 4th grade teacher who yelled at me in front of the class. Although that would be fun. I am referring to the forgiveness that happens in your heart.
I actually did this in the shower. Instead of singing, I went as far back in time as I could go, and I started forgiving each and every person and situation I could think of from the smallest thing to the largest. I mean everything –
The person who stole my brand-new winter coat in pre-school on our trip to the YMCA
The kids who didn’t play with me on my block the one time I got up enough nerve to ask
The boss who gave me a bad review because she hated the fact I was tall and blonde
The person who hit me from beyond behind when I was pregnant and never got out of her car to see how I was
The casting agent who was so utterly rude, I can’t even put it into words
The person who almost side-swiped me because they were texting
Clearly there were other more serious ones too, but I won’t bore you with those.
And on and on and on. It’s kind of crazy how many of these things I started remembering. They came to mind one after an another. Then after each one I took a deep breath and let it go. The last person on the list was probably the hardest. Like the character in the book, I was about to forgive myself. I started thinking back to the things in my life that I could have, would have or should have done differently. The list of things that I had to forgive myself for, seemed like it went on forever. I simply took one at a time, forgave myself, took a deep breath and let it go.
Now as I go through my day, if things pop into my head that I need to forgive, I go through the process again. I really recommend trying this. You don’t have to close your eyes or get silent. You don’t have to be still or sit cross legged. You can do it anywhere and anytime.
The moral of the story is that old left overs will eventually stink up the house. If you want to make room for new happier energy you must forgive to feed your soul. Out with the old and in with the new.
“When you forgive, you in no way change the past - but you sure do change the future.” Bernard Meltzer
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Feel stuck? Frustrated with the holidays? Ever try just letting things happen?
Maybe it's time. Sometimes you just have give in and let it flow. It can't hurt. For one day just try to let go and let things happen. You might be surprised by the results.
I realize that happiness means very different things for each of us and sometimes it can even seem overwhelming. So receiving a little help to find your happiness can be very comforting. That’s why I am excited to share an inspiring interview.