Tag Archives: Freedom

10 September 2013 – The Freedom of Forgiveness

Lets face it there are many people who will, throughout your life, do things to you that make you less than happy.   Sometimes these people can actually hurt you so much that their mere presence on this earth impacts your well being and your emotions in extreme ways.  At worst the sheer thought of them or mention of their name makes your blood boil, at best you avoid them like the plague.

There are certainly one or two people in my life that have been less than kind over the years and yes it has stretched into years.  For the most part I have no trouble in forgiving misgivings, moving on from altercations or disagreements, but this has only been up to a certain point.

I mean there is a line that cannot be crossed and well if you are prepared to cross it – there are consequences!

So when I was told one day in a healing session that to move forward I was going to have to tread down the dreaded path of forgiveness, the resistance was swift and firm.   Forget it, forgive them, why would I and if I did I would only appear weak, I would lose face, they did not deserve my kindness and besides if they got it they were only likely to abuse it.

But with a little gentle prodding, I started to see the reasoning behind it. 

The prodding went something like this:

When you are angry at someone you hold them energetically in a certain space so that any dealings with them will spark the anger also held within that space.   When you consider them to be lesser than you because of the deeds they have done, you also keep them in that space so that any interaction with them is destined to fail.  When you are unkind to them, try to get the better of them or believe they are trying to get the better of you, then you hold yourself in that space so that your behaviour is generally no better than theirs.

Conversely to forgive someone for their wrong doings toward you means you no longer hold them within any space.   To forgive means you are free to have ‘normal’ interactions with them.  Forgiveness breaks the cycle and allows the potential for the person to change their approach toward you.  In forgiveness the chains that held the two of you together disappear as you treat the person with the same respect and kindness as you would any other, so that they become like any other.  There is nothing special about them, about your dealings with them and therefore no hold one way or another between the two of you.

After a lot of thought and a realisation that what was currently happening really wasn’t working, I decided forgiveness may be worth a try.

My approach started with a little mantra whenever I dealt with or thought about the person, ‘I do not hate you, I do not hate you’…  This was then followed by a resolve to be kind.  I would make a conscious effort to show the same kindness that I would normally show to any other person and I was determined to maintain a normal relationship, to let go of the feelings of one upmanship or that I was better than they are.

So how am I going?

Well so far so good, it did take some practice but now I love the way that if they call it no longer causes me to feel anxious, I love the way that when I see them I can smile be pleasant and kind without conviction, I love the way there is a more open nature to our relationship, and most of all I love that the feeling that they may be getting the better of me, has gone.  With the better communication any issues tend to be aired in their infancy before they get to be big.

Oh and PS I also had to do some work on just accepting the person as they are.

But in effect the forgiveness has brought me freedom…

As the song goes…

All we have to do now
Is take these lies and make them true somehow
All we have to see
Is that I don’t belong to you
And you don’t belong to me
Yeah Yeah Freedom, freedom, freedom
You’ve gotta give for what you take….

Freedom

26 June 2013 – Eleven Minutes

Eleven Minutes, one of my favourite Paulo Coelho books, in fact one of my favourite books of all time, is a wonderful story that teaches about love and the freedom that love can bring (and a little about prostitution).  The story follows a young, beautiful Brazilian girl who dreams of being rescued by her Prince Charming who will one day sweep her off her feet so they can conquer the world together.   Inevitably, she falls in love a lot and is hurt a lot as she dreams of something bigger than living her life in her home town.

At age 19, her real life adventure begins with a trip to Rio di Janeiro and soon she finds herself in Switzerland dancing Samba in a nightclub in Geneva.  One thing leads to another and with a hardened heart and a determination never to be caught out again by love, she finds herself doing a different kind of dance – prostitution.Stockings

Over the months she keeps a diary. She has time to read, to think and despite being alone her words on finding freedom from love are full of understanding:

‘If I were to tell someone about my life today, I would do it in a way that would make them think me a brave, happy, independent woman.  Rubbish I am not even allowed to mention the only word that is more important than eleven minutes.’

(you will have to read the story to understand what 11 mins means).

‘All my life I have thought of love as some kind of voluntary enslavement.  Well that’s a lie, freedom only exists when love is present.  The person who gives him or herself wholly, the person who feels freest, is the person who loves most wholeheartedly…’

After about 9 months Maria decides to leave Switzerland with all the money she has made and buy a little farm back in Brazil.  On my first read, I was worried at this point that the story may not go well.  If Maria returned to Brazil and the farm did not go according to plan there was always the chance that she would return to what she knew and by now as I was in love with the character of Maria and wanted that cycle to be broken!

However, once she made that decision, she invariably meets a man, an artist called Ralf.  Then comes the crazy, lovely, scary, transformational journey of getting to know him.  On their first night in each other’s company Maria decides to exchange gifts as a symbol, a gesture of giving up a part of herself.  She gives Ralph a pen:

“This is for you.  I bought it so that I could note down some ideas about farm management.  I used it for two days, I worked until I was too tired to work any more.  It contains some of my sweat, some of my concentration and my willpower and I’m giving it to you now.”

It was a beautiful gesture, however it was Ralph’s gift that intrigued me:

“This is a carriage belonging to an electric train set I had when I was a child.  I wasn’t allowed to play with it on my own, because my father said it had been imported from the United States and was very expensive.  So I had to wait until he felt like setting up the train in the living room, but he spent most Sundays listening to opera.  That’s why the train survived my childhood, but never gave me any happiness.”  

In giving Maria his gift of the carriage, Ralf not only gives up part of himself but also part of his past.  Until now Ralf has held on to this part of his childhood, a part that had defined love for him, even though it never gave him happiness.  By giving it up as an expression of himself in a gift to Maria, Ralf had also freed himself of his bonds to the past.  He found freedom in love.

This made me stop and think of my own love life.  I wondered what gift I might give if a new, important man came into my life, a gift that may also free me from my past.  I knew instantly what it would be. I would give him a tutu.

As a child I so desperately wanted to be accepted for who I was and what I could do, rather than what I couldn’t and who I wasn’t.  The image I have of my inner child is a little girl wearing a pink tutu and trying so hard to do a cute song and dance for those who would not watch, those who would not listen.

I realised that like Ralf, my past had defined love for me and this need for acceptance meant that I would find and grab onto someone who was interested in me and I interested in him so that I could then be part of a broader picture. I was acceptable, I was part of a couple, there was nothing wrong with me, someone liked my dance and that fulfilled my need…

But was my unconscious need tended to properly?  Was I really being accepted for who I was? My respectable relationships meant I was the norm in society, but did this part fulfilment cloud the fact that what I really needed was to be loved for just being me?  My relationships inevitably turned into a combination of power plays, control struggles and jealousy and that says it all.

So when I decide to whom I will give my love gift, my tutu (hope he has a good imagination), I will do so with a full understanding of why I choose to give away this part of myself.  I will no longer need to dance, my bonds to the past will be broken and I will be free to love wholeheartedly…  just like Maria said:

‘ ‘Freedom exists when love is present.  The person who feels freest, is the person who loves most wholeheartedly…’