Week of February 11th

My Goal this Week:  As a continuation from last week’s goal (please see goals in prior weeks for background), this week I am still focusing on letting go! Week of Jan. 28th was spent writing down my thoughts and feelings from past hurts & experiences that I am holding onto and last week (Feb 4th) I spent time reflecting on the situations that created those feelings and my part in the outcome. But when it came to actually letting them go (read last weeks goal for details), I struggled. So this week’s goal is to actually reach our BBQ, burn the pages of my past so I can release these feelings once and for all!!

My Experience this Week:  After two weeks, I can finally share my experience with this week’s goal. Wow – it was quite the challenge! Not only emotionally but also in terms of finding the time in our busy life to really reflect. I had spent the time writing out the feelings I was holding onto from situations and events in the past that I really wanted to let go of and not have them weigh on my heart. The real underlying goal was to work through forgiving those people who I felt had “wronged” or hurt me somehow.

My list contained everything from feelings of betrayal, being let down and anger to blameful, sad, and unloved. On every page I started out with the person’s name and a brief reminder about the event or situation and then I just listed the feelings I was holding onto. All in all, I had 5 people that I felt I was being called to forgive or find “closure” with. As I reviewed the pages, I saw a theme arising in the situations or events and the feelings I had related to them. In all cases, I felt completely attacked and betrayed on some level by the other person’s actions, words, etc. And honestly, reliving those moments was very painful and not easy (thus the 2 week time frame). But what I also saw, which I am not proud of and is difficult to admit not only to myself but in this blog, is that my reaction to how I was being treated was to “fight back with a vengeance and defend myself”. In a few cases, I was not proud of how I reacted and things I said . So much for turning the other cheek right?

Then I started thinking “where does this immediate need to FIGHT” really come from. Partly, due to the fact that I was young and we all go through lessons in life on how to handle our feelings and cope with anger or hurt feelings. But this seemed more like something instilled in me. From a young age, I can remember being teased in school and in some instances, bullied (to use a new popular term). My dad being in the army and us moving every 2-3 years forced me to be the new kid in school and quite often in small towns; towns where kids knew each other from diapers. So being the odd kid out happened regularly. Plus I was smart so the word “nerdy” comes to mind. But I think my favorite nick name was “sticky Vicki”…LOL. But I didn’t feel like I had any power and so that need to stick up for myself just kept growing inside me and once I got old enough to voice my opinion and if I ever felt “attacked” – I would come out fighting. Makes sense right? Well it certainly does to me. And now, I can look at those events and situations with much more clarity. I might have experienced a different outcome for myself had I chosen to react differently to the actions or words of others. I can’t control what other people are going to do or say but I can control myself! So what I can do now is to learn from the past and realize that sometimes letting bygones literally be “bye-gones” will ultimately save ME! To think before I react and try to come from a place of LOVE rather than defending or fighting – then perhaps I can not only save myself from future negative feelings to hold onto but also teach our daughter about what it really means to “LOVE”.

So now that I had spent the time truly reflecting on all those feelings I had spurted out of me onto paper it was time to let them go. That last step was harder than I thought. I tried several nights in a row to head out to the BBQ but felt I wasn’t ready. Then I started thinking about this blog and really doing what I said I would do and finish this goal! So, one night I got the courage to grab those pages, put on my robe, grab Kleenex (which I knew I needed) and go out to the BBQ. My husband had it all lit and ready for me. And just when I thought about going outside, anxiety started bubbling inside me. Was I actually going through with this and letting all this $h*t go?! All of a sudden I couldn’t do it by myself so I asked my husband to go with me. I felt I needed to read out loud the feelings on these pages and I just couldn’t do it alone. Facing these feelings was scary enough let alone having to share them with my husband. But thankfully he was willing and very supportive.

So I sat at our BBQ, read the words and feelings for each person, cried through the process and then watched as one by one the pages burned in the fire. As I saw the flames grabbing at each word I wrote and the rising smoke carrying my feelings to the sky, I whispered to myself “I forgive you and release you to the Holy Spirit”. No harder words have ever come across my lips and at times I had to take a deep breath just to say them. But the release I felt at the same time was so calming and so warm that I immediately knew I was doing the right thing. Something inside me was calling me to this goal, this place, this time to send it all up to God. I felt a tremendous weight being lifted that I was not expecting. As if God took all those words now in smoke, sucked them in and made everything alright. Very liberating! Once it was all burned and over…I was actually excited to “burn” anything else that stood in my way of peace and love in my life. And so the journey continues…

~ Hoping you find a way to be CONNECTED ~

🙂 Victoria

Week of February 4th

My Goal this Week: This week, I am focusing on going through the process to actually forgive the laundry list of hurts and feelings that I finished during last weeks goal (refer to prior week for background). My first task is to reflect on the situations that actually created the negative feelings of hurt, anger, fear, etc. and really look at how I could have handled them differently. And the finale at the end of this week will be going to our trusted BBQ and setting the pages on fire as a symbol of letting them go! Wish me luck!

My Experience this Week: This past week has been quite a challenge for me. This goal (week of 2/4) to focus on trying to forgive some past hurts, etc. has been an eye opener. Not only was I revisiting the past, but I was also revisiting the part I “played”. Looking at yourself with such raw “eyes” is not always pretty and certainly not easy. But I was determined to be honest with myself. Believing that “we all do what we know how to do at the time” became the boat saving me from flooding waters.

As indicated in my goal above  – I spent some time this week reflecting on the past, situations and people that left me with anger, fear and hurt feelings in my heart. I really tried to focus on my part in the “mess” and how I could have done things differently to possibly have a different outcome. And as much as there was a part of me (that for some reason) wanted to hold on to my actions at the time as being right or justified, I had to look at why I reacted with such vigor, such intensity.

During those difficult times that still sort of “haunt” me, I really felt much like a lioness protecting her cubs. I came out fighting as if my very well being was at stake. But was it? The only thing really being attacked at those moments was my pride, my ego or my sense of being right. And perhaps a feeling of being let down was also predominant as I had expectations for people behaving or treating me a certain way and when they didn’t I was extremely hurt.  Then I tried to look at where that need in me comes from? That need to control the situation or to be right or having high expectations for others in “my world”. The only thing I came up with is that there were so many times in my childhood where I felt helpless or felt things happening were beyond my control. So ultimately, as I grew up, trying to control as much as I could in any given situation was important for my sense of well being.

As I reviewed the pages where I had written all these feelings (from the goal of week 1/28), I finally thought I was ready to walk the last mile of this week’s goal by burning them as a symbol of letting things go. I had spent the week analyzing, thinking and looking back so now I could reap the rewards – hooray! As the weekend approached, I honestly thought I was ready for the next step. But to my surprise, I struggled. And I don’t mean just slightly. I mean REALLY struggled with this last step of letting go. Every time I thought about grabbing them and heading to the BBQ with a match I felt this anxiety in me. This internal struggle that caused me to stop and put it off. I would have rather walked across burning coals than to walk to our BBQ. I couldn’t understand it. Why was I resisting this final step so much?

If I am honest with myself….I’m no spring chicken…so I have lived with some of these feelings, fears, hurts, etc. for many years and used them as my excuse to not reach out or not move on or not be the person I know in my heart I should be. Sad to admit, but a part of me felt like I would be saying what happened was ok – that the words, actions, experiences, etc. that left me with these feelings was somehow not their fault. Ugh…WHY WHY am I so determined to hold on to all this stuff! So needless to say….the weekend came and went…no burning at the BBQ. And as I am writing this on Thursday night the following week, still no BBQ fire! But I am determined to complete this process. And so…we are now focusing on my goal for the week of Feb. 11th.

~ Hoping you are staying connected~

– Victoria