Until recently, the saying “let it go” used to bug the shit out of me. When said to me, it felt like a crappy non-stick band-aid, knee-jerk response to my (self-described monumental) hurts. “If this had happened to them, they wouldn’t be saying ‘let it go'”. But when the tables were turned, “let it go” was always there to fill the space when nothing else would do. And, “forgiveness”? Well, that was just too big of a spiritual mental mountain to attack.
One day this past February, while skimming Gabrielle Bernstein’s Adding More -ing to Your Life, I read about forgiveness. I read. I resisted. I thought and sat and wondered. What if “letting it go” & forgiveness were akin to just filling up a balloon with the hurt, tying it off, and then releasing it upward. Could it be that simple?
source: Balloons (Midtown, Manhattan) by Youngna Park
There had been something I had been holding on to that quickly came to the surface after my initial reading in Bernstein’s book. It was a messy old hurt, highly charged, and wound into a long, tight thread. Perhaps my reading about forgiveness might not have hit home if I did know that in a month from that moment, I was going to be face to face with it, with her, with my messy ol’ hurt. So I let my resistance and guard down and asked myself: What would it feel like to let it go? How would forgiving change my experience when we meet up again? Who else will benefit from my forgiveness?
So I filled my metaphoric balloon with all that I wish I could say but is probably best left unspoken. And I made a blessing on her for my family and for me and…as my heart began to soften…for her. And my balloon began floating.
Truth be told, it wasn’t as easy as ripping off one the above tags and ta-da “now I have forgiveness”. It wasn’t as easy as blessing anyone or opening my own heart. I had to continually remind myself that the hurt and the resentment was taking up too much of my heart space. I had to continually remind myself that carrying my anger and hurt feelings had no positive benefits. I had to psych myself up. I had to cheer myself on. And I had to wade through some uncomfortable first hours with the one I was so angry at. But I went to bed that night with a sense of peace. Our relationship will most likely never be what it was and she might never ever know how painfully deep she hurt me (which was hard for me to let go of – feeling vindicated), but I felt peace. I let go.