"People hold onto the past, because they think
in some way, it means
they'll be able to predict the future."
—from Anatomy of the Spirit by Caroline Myss
Protection. That's my first line of reasoning when I reflect upon why I harbor past sentiments, resentments, and emotions. "Remembering" helps me to feel safe that I will know better for next time, that I will be on guard, that I will not again be taken for a fool. Ultimately, it's a hope that I will not be hurt anymore.
The side effect to that rationale is that I become lost in the stories ruminating in my mind to the point where I can no longer discern between what is real and what I've projected from my past into the present. Today, because I could not get the wandering shadow thoughts to meander away from my center rather than towards it, I became irritated with most everything and everyone. For me, when I feel something, it shows on my face, exudes from my actions, permeates my thoughts, and creates the air around me.
Ironically, the day that actually transpired on a surface level was quite wonderful — just as soon as I awoke, I performed Reiki on myself; sat to meditate after a delicious breakfast of peanut butter and bananas on French toast; assisted a beautiful yoga class at the Soul of Yoga, where I offered Reiki, adjustments, and moments of gentle massage; had an incredible time surfing Beacons; then went to host an open session for Reiki at Mesa Rim Climbing & Fitness. Intermingled in all of that, I was able to spend time with my beau, interact with close friends, do good work, and even receive exciting news about my upcoming trip to Maui.
Yet, I was unrelenting in feeling that there were unresolved moments in my life, times where I was unjustly treated and did not stand up for myself as strongly as I could have. I wanted these situations to somehow be rectified in my favor and my manas (monkey) mind began to perpetuate the dark memories while the higher part of my soul was simultaneously striving for the light to shine on the lessons I actually did learn along the way.
In Anatomy of the Spirit, Myss asks the audience, "Where it is written that deepening one's spirituality means that there will no longer be pain? Rather," she asserts, "the moments of hurt don't go away. Instead, life just becomes more all-around awesome."
In an interesting aside, she notes that funeral rites are not something performed solely for the dead, they are a ritual intended to release what's already passed from continually seeping into the present.
When we hold on, we no longer live fully in the now and thereby relinquish out ability to embrace the complete power of the spirit within. In essence, we're not living as whole beings when we're not fully here, but rather living as fractional parts of a full portrait, devaluing the masterpiece we could be creating.
In the end, what I did was not turn to traditional means of avoidance or self-soothing. I did what Myss suggested: go into that which you fear the most... go deep into the mystery, because that is when you are closest to the Divine.
So, I acknowledged what I felt. I divulged to a close friend what angered me, what bothered me, what I truly feel that aren't always higher emotions. And then, I started to let it go. By admitting that I am human, I also acknowledge that it's only a part of my experience in this infinite life. And, by understanding that there's a possibility of becoming hurt again and again in the future, I also allow myself to open to more of the flip side of pain — genuine joy.