Lift that weight and throw it away…

These past few days, I have been actively thinking about, talking to people and trying to understand forgiveness and it hasn’t been pretty or a smooth ride. Whatever I am about to write is just the initial understanding of the concept of forgiveness and more importantly the anatomy of forgiveness.

After posting my last post, I was searching for a topic to write about and then it just fell into my lap. Series of events happened during the weekend that destabilized me and I felt things that I do not like to feel. Feelings like being wronged, loneliness, feeling unappreciated and worse of all, not able to do anything about it. So I decided to research and write about forgiveness, hoping that it would help me to understand forgiveness.

I googled forgiveness like a good citizen of 21st century and the first article was from Positive Psychology website. The definition of forgiveness is “an individual, voluntary internal process of letting go of feelings and thoughts of resentment, bitterness, anger, and the need for vengeance and retribution toward someone who we believe has wronged us, including ourselves.”

The definition of forgiveness is like a picture of lasagna, yes I can see that its delicious and how it is suppose to look but the picture does not tell me what are the ingredients, what are the step to turn those ingredients into that delicious lasagna, the instruments I need, temperature, time to cook it and the little secret tips to get that perfectly cheesy treat.

From the definition, it looks like a one person process, which does not include the so called offender and is an internal process by the person who has perceived him/herself being wronged. Ideally, We are suppose to let go of the feeling of injustice and forgive the person without an apology, without any change in behavior from them or even any realization about the damage that they have caused.

By the definition, it sounds like a selfless act and the talks about being the bigger person and forgiving is the best argument I found online where they are like Just do it! And I am like But How?  

I read articles which were research based and opinion based, I want this one to be experience based. I will be honest with my struggles along the journey towards forgiveness which (spoiler alert) is still going on.

Step 0:

Ughhhh, It hurts

The process of forgiveness starts with an incentive and that is the experience of suffering that has occurred due to the event and the person. The pain and suffering makes you not want to be in that state and the only choice to overcome that pain is forgiveness. Everyone knows that it’s never a good place to feel victimized, it may feel like a familiar place and in a twisted way a negative comfort zone but it’s never a life flourishing place to be at.

Step 1:

What’s your story?

There is a universal view that forgiveness starts with the decision to forgive and has been called cognitive or decision based forgiveness. This is where you decide that you want to forgive the person and the event that has made you feel wronged. To do that, you change the narrative. As they say, “when you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”

Recently, I experienced that a certain individual was consistently treating me in a way that was unacceptable for me and I felt unappreciated by them. One day, I took the decision to stop the cycle and go to a distance. On that day, I felt it in my bones that I was unappreciated and my presence in that person’s life was not important. It made me feel hurt, lonely, angry, rejected and a little worthless. When I actually saw it in different light, I could see it as a moment of hurt but a moment of freedom as well. That person helped me to free myself from that viscous cycle of non mutual interactions.

Step 2:

Body Switch

The next step is little difficult, which is usually named emotional forgiveness. This is where the bigger person argument comes into play. This step is achieved by compassion and empathy. They say hate the sin but don’t hate the sinner. It is to separate that event from the person, understanding why someone would have done something hurtful, empathizing by being in their shoes.

This can be a little tough and before going into it, I need to first specify what forgiveness is not. For me personally, resistance towards forgiveness came from seeming too weak and not standing for the injustice that happened. There is no apology, no change in behavior, if I forgive then it would seem that I lack self respect and they would hurt me again. If I forgive then, they won’t value my forgiveness and I would look too easy.

If you have to deal with that person again and they behave in hurtful way again, it can make the forgiveness process much more difficult.

Let’s be clear then, that forgiveness is NOT

  1. Pardoning, excusing an offence and complete reconciliation like nothing has happened.
  2. Tolerating, denial and suppression of emotions that emerged due to the hurt.
  3. Justifying the hurt
  4. Reconciliation with the person ( varies case to case)

Empathizing is a way of understanding why someone would have behaved in a particular way, we all behave in our own unique ways because of our nature, nurture and how we perceive that nature and nurture. If you ever have privilege to know anything about anyone then you can actually track it in the way they act, talk, think and conduct themselves.

It is really difficult to accept but the way people behave is less about you and more about them. It is not far-fetched that hurt people hurt people. I personally have done and said so many things that do not represent who I am and who I want to be as a human being but I still did them. Similarly people can also do things that they may regret or do them unconsciously due to some hurt or perception they have. In this journey of forgiveness, I do ask myself whenever I feel hurt by someone that if I were in their place and had similar upbringing, same values, morals, similar perceptions and similar growth; would I have done the same thing and the honest answer is Yes.

Step 3:

Restoration of relationship?

In many articles, it is mentioned that forgiveness in not complete without restoration of original relationship between the offender and the forgiver and is ONLY achieved when the forgiver has no resentment towards the injury. To be honest I do not see the restoration part as that black or white.

In real life, relationships mutate upward or downward after each injury, breaking of trust, hurting someone has consequences even though the forgiver forgives. The forgiving is done by the forgiver but the fate of relationship will vary depending on the actions of both people involved.

When someone does not realize that they have hurt someone and do not take any action to make the relationship work, then even after the forgiveness the forgiver may not continue the relationship as a relationship is a two way street. Every person deserves forgiveness but it’s up to the forgiver if they want to give someone another chance and how many chances were given before. No one wants to get burn again and again, so depending on the events that play out after the injury the restoration of relationship will occur.

Opps, the relapse!

No matter how hard I try to simplify this pursuit of forgiveness, relapses happen and it’s absolutely alright. Forgiveness is not a burden and not a forceful choice that we have to make because we want to do the right thing. It is actually the opposite of burden; it is unburdening ourselves from the hurt and resentment that occupies our mind and body. There are so many health benefits of forgiveness, which are linked to letting go of the toxic emotions of anger, helplessness, unworthiness, resentment, vengefulness. By letting go, you give yourself what you deserve, Freedom.

 You deserve to feel happy, relaxed, worthy and not occupied by something that has made it difficult to feel your best. Many people say and I have experienced too that by letting go and forgiving, you feel so much lighter. If you got hurt, then it’s not your responsibility to keep that burden and hurt with you; you deserve to feel better and it’s your right to let go of anything and anyone that doesn’t make you feel precious, which you are!

The thing about forgiveness is that when you have affection for someone who hurts you, forgiveness comes easy. But the bitter truth is that sometimes, just sometimes, giving those chances is not enough and for the sake of your sanity and well being, you have to stop and go to distance.

I have found that forgiving the person you still have affection for, means letting them go as well and then the restoration of relationship is sadly going back to the time where your relationship with that person was of stranger-stranger.

But because you are the awesome you!

You wish them well as you would to any fellow person in this universe.

And just like perfect lasagna may not be made in first trial, forgiveness is the same but do not give up because you deserve happiness , calmness and contentedness and Not anger, hurt and resentment.

Unburden yourself one kg or even milligram at a time.

Unclench

Feels like an out of body experience,

when you are too much in your head.

Surrounded by them

but a feeling of a strange land.

The discomfort and the sensation

that you do not belong,

The feeling and the surety about the feeling

that you are the odd one out.

An outsider, A visitor

Almost invisible.

You see smiles wide,

but the tears are creeping outside.

The regret of being there,

the want to be anywhere else.

The replay of the unheard cries,

the injustice,

the wrong never made right.

The projection of outside on the inside,

you may not be worthy if this is the sight.

The going back inside and coming out of the mind,

Releasing the breathe,

you have been holding so tight.

Observe the body and heal the mind,

Feel your body and unclench your mind.

Phase 1

Feel

There is a moment when you feel something trigger in you, you were feeling alright, carefree, in balance but then click; it changes to something unpleasant. You feel a discomfort in your body and your mind is overactive, filled with thoughts.

It can be the present moment where something is said to you, happens around you, a sight, a smell, or just something that reminds you of a memory, an experience, a flashback. Whatever that something is, it is associated to a specific emotion; grief, hurt, anger, resentment, fear, contempt, disrespect etc.

It happens so quickly as if you are swept away by the wave of emotions, sometimes a tsunami of emotions. You are caught off-guard and your body starts to react accordingly. Your body stiffens and the life force is focused on the train of thoughts which just keeps on honking, taking you into an extremely alert and anxious state, the mind is terrorized and the body is now compromised.

When you are in this hyper alert state, almost fight or flight state, its not time to relax and the our consciousness is focused on that moment. Based on the intensity of the emotions triggered, we are in that moment after it has already passed, replaying it and prolonging the state of discomfort. This emotional hijacking manifests itself through body in the form of shallow breathing, rise or fall of body temperature, rashes or allergic reactions, clenching of jaw, stiffening of the muscles of neck, shoulder, face and increased pressure near the eyes.

Phase 2

Process

So now that you are in this state of stress, the next best thing is to swim along the waves or at least try your best to, hence processing what is happening. You may want to skip the this part but it can be a counterproductive move as it will come back haunting you in other ways, in other emotionally challenging events in future. Research also shows that unprocessed emotions, traumas and stress are the very cause of chronic illnesses, so its a smart move to deal with it heads on.

I have few steps that could be helpful to process the ongoing or any previous stress or trauma:

  1. How do you actually feel?
  2. Accepting that you feel how you feel.
  3. Why you feel the way you do?
  4. What can be done to make it better ?

Scenario

Lets say,

1. seeing a red carpet makes me feel sad.

2. I need to accept that I am sad and the sadness is due to the red carpet.

3. I feel sad because I have red carpet at my parental home and seeing the red carpet reminds me of home and eventually missing my home.

4. I can call my parents and talk to them, I can video call to see my house. I can tell myself a different story, a different narrative rather than the narrative of missing my home. The red carpet that makes me miss my home, actually represents home and pretty soon, I will go back home. Till then, the red carpet is a reminder that I do have a home where I am loved and will always belong.

Phase 3

Mindfulness

The third stage is to get out of the zone, swimming back to dry land or at least finding an anchor and that is mindfulness. It is time to bring your focus to your body, your smart vessel. Bring your focus to your shallow breathing, take a deep breathe and then breathe normally. Walk if you were sitting, sit if you were walking anxiously. Relax your jaw, your neck, your shoulder. Feel your body relaxing as you focus on your breathe. Your mind will try to go back to the intrusive thoughts, its alright, bring your focus back to your breathe and observe yourself as you relax.

I know that it is more like a balancing act on the rope than the flicking of a magical wand. The main goal is to come back to a relaxed state and you can transition from the feel, process and mindfulness phase by different ways as they work for you individually.

Some of the ways that works for me are:

  • Remove yourself physically from the situation, so that you can breathe.
  • Go out for a walk and some fresh air.
  • Write it down, it does not have to be proper sentences. Write hurt, if you feel hurt, then tired, angry, pizza, puppy, stars, annoyed, angry. The aim is to flush it out, do whatever it takes.
  • Talk to a anyone who you know from past experience that can appease you or just listen to you, you need to feel safe and heard.
  • Read something interesting.
  • Watch a funny video, laughter is indeed the best remedy, Friends bloopers always work for me.
  • Listen to music and sing along.
  • Get some sleep.
  • My personal favorite, move your body. As they say dance like no one’s watching.
  • Meditate, head space is a good platform, you tube has many guided meditations and its free or close your eyes and just breathe.
  • Eat a fruit, possibly a citrus fruit; be color smart!
  • And remember that you are enough and loved no matter what happens to you and around you. We were all born precious.


Phase 4

Calm waters

It is less of a phase and more of a state, a desired state. It is knowing that it will eventually be alright, no matter what.

Even though Phase 4 is the most loved one, we should not underestimate the power of previous 3 Phases as they make the calm state sweeter and makes us a little more stronger.

Color Smart

Why are there so many colors present in the nature? What significance do they have? The Colors are most commonly categorized as Violet, Indigo, Blue, Green, Yellow, Orange, Red or VIBGYOR, the many colors of a beautiful, magical Rainbow.

I have a tendency to find patterns everywhere and when looking at the outside world, especially nature; everything just seems to fit. I just watered my cactus and after smelling the wet soil of the little pot, I kept it on the table and there it was the red hue surrounding the green center. The thorns making the red around the green shoot of the cactus and a thought crept up. How fitting it is for the fiery prickly thorns to have equally passionate red color and the quite, steady shoot having the calming green color. I am not color biased but colors do have their individuality and represents unique characters.

Photo by Ben Mack on Pexels.com

The Rainbow is made from the refraction of the white light and is seen in the way it is seen because of the scattering of the colors based their different wavelengths. Violet has the highest frequency and lowest wavelength, which is refracted the most and Red has the lowest frequency and highest wavelength, which is refracted the least. Other than looking appealing, are these colors, that are making up the nature telling us something?

They actually are the most easiest guidelines for a healthy mind and body. The colors of the fruits and vegetables are due to various pigments and nutrition that they possess. It is evident that the consumption of the foods of all the colors of rainbow leads to a healthy body.

Red fruits and vegetables like watermelon improves prostate health, DNA health, Yellow and Orange foods like carrot, orange improves reproductive health and digestive system, Green leafy keeps the heart strong and improves liver health, Blue and Violet foods like berries improves cognitive system; Brown and White foods like garlic, onion, nuts have antiviral and antibacterial properties.

What happens to our body when life becomes difficult and we feel what we feel, can these colors save us?

Greek philosopher Claudius Galen who served Marcus Aurelius gave the concept of humourism, and dominance of these fluids gives an individual temperaments. These temperaments are Sanguine ( Red) fiery and passionate but can be selfish due to excess of blood, Choleric (Yellow) confident and optimistic due to excess bile , Phlegmatic (Green) quite, rational, consistent and cool but can be slow and shy due to excess phlegm and Melancholic (Blue) poetic, artistic but prone to sadness due to excess black bile. Galen believed that the imbalance in these fluids caused illnesses. His ideas were later discredited but have influenced many psychologists since then.

Going back further in time to the concept of Chakras, it is considered that our body has 7 chakras that keeps the flow of energy in our body and blockage of any of the chakra causes imbalance and illnesses. These chakras are Root Chakra (Red) for trust blocked by worries and fears, Sacral Chakra (Orange) for creativity and sexuality blocked by guilt, Solar Plexus (Yellow) for wisdom and power blocked by disappointments and shame, Heart Chakra (Green) for love and healing blocked by loss and grief, Throat Chakra (Blue) for communication blocked by lies, Third Eye Chakra (Indigo) for awareness blocked by illusions and Crown Chakra (Violet) for spirituality blocked by worldly attachments.

It is considered that each chakra impacts the area of the body where it is present. Different emotional states impacts the organs in our body, stress on brain and heart, tension on neck and spine, grief on the lungs, anxiety disrupts the digestive tract, rage and jealousy impacts the liver, mistrust on the thyroid, anger on gall bladder, guilt on spleen, fear and shock on kidneys and fight or flight responses on adrenals.

The chakras can be healed by meditation and by eating foods that are of same color as the chakra. To heal heart chakra for example which is green in color, eating green veggies and fruits can heal it and also organs present near it like heart and lungs. As all chakras are connected, balance is reached by eating all the colors of the rainbow because the chakras are assigned the same sequence of colors as the rainbow from lowest frequency red for root chakra to highest frequency violet for crown chakra.

It is clear that nature is color smart and has simple effective ways to help us stay well.

So, did you eat your rainbow today?

The Extraordinary Vessel

The Body knows what is good for it. It knows when there is a need for food, water, warmth, by making the stomach ache, throat dry, hair stand on the skin and jaw shiver. It detects the parasitic attack on your body by making the skin itch, body temperature rise, eyes to water and nose to sneeze. It is so attuned to the environment that it can detect a threat outside and take necessary actions to protect the life. It may run and hide or it prepares to defend against the possible attack.

In the larger terms, the body make sure that the species survive by motivating, reinforcing and sometimes flat out pushing reproduction. As in the case of women’s menstrual cycle, the hormones secreted and the internal biology is aiming for one goal, one most important goal at least in the term of a human body is the fertilization of the egg that is released along the cycle. The hormones estrogen, progesterone and testosterone are released at the specific time and in specific amount to regulate the body to reproduce. A manipulation of the internal chemistry to encourage fertilization during the time span of the release of the egg/eggs and making the internal chemistry a little hostile when the body knows that fertilization is not achieved better known as Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS).

Our body is extremely intelligent and capable of self regulation. We do not have to do awful lot to sustain it, it just needs support to stay intelligent. It can function to its optimal capacity if we eat well, sleep well and exercise well. In prehistoric times, eating well was easy and a natural choice because whatever food source available in the environment was natural, not adulterated and the over indulgence was not the way of prehistoric humans. Settlements encourage humans to have more food than necessary, the life of travelling and exploring does not lead to over indulgence, accumulation and storage of resources. As the settlement increased and civilizations begin, accumulation of resources including food started and then came the food processing.

Human’s body and organs have not evolved anatomically in a larger scale since 10,000 years, so considering that we have inherited out prehistoric ancestor’s bodies, the more natural the food is, the better support it gives to the body to function. The more processed the food is, the more alien it is for the body and less it can metabolize it.

Getting enough rest is absolutely a defining factor for the body to start again every day with full capacity and reach its potential. Overworking the body without rest is not the sustainable way for a body to stay intelligent. Going back again to our ancestors, we can intuitively tell that their way of life had a lot of physical work including gathering food and going places by foot. To get more restful sleep, it may not be too far fetched to think that to get a body to exhaust to a restful sleep, we need to carry out physical activities to make our body feel that it can take the well deserving rest at the end of the day.

One factor that did not play a dramatic role in our ancestor’s lives was stress. They did face life or death situations that caused fight or flight responses which was necessary stress for the body’s survival but the body went back to the normal relaxed state after removal of the threat. Now is a different story, we are triggering our body into stress by merely our perceptions of the outer world. It can just be a person that is not a physical threat to us but mentally is associated as threat, therefore triggering a fight or flight response. It can be work, relationships or a memory that puts you in the stressed state. When our bodies stay in these prolonged state of stress, the result is disease, allergies, mental health issues and overall hostile internal environment.

It is so crucial for the stress to be managed as stress may hamper the other factors mentioned before as well. Stress impacts the eating tendencies, motivation to do physical activities and sleep patterns to put it most simply. The stress level impacts the chemistry of the body, immune system and organ function that holds us back from having a flourishing life on this earth.

1984 and Brave New World: First Impression

Both of the Novels, 1984 and Brave New World are engaging fictional stories that discusses crucial concepts of governance, power, control, society and the individuals subjected to it. The art of story-telling is absolutely at its peak in both of these books. As children, story books were the most entertaining way to learn and understand moralistic ideas, principles and in general workings of life, these two stories and their writers prove how story-telling can actually shape ideas in an individual and sometimes whole societies as well.

When I think about these stories, the first theme that pops up in the mind is the human and its desires. These desires when suppressed as in case of 1984 and when over indulged as in Brave New World, takes the story forward. We can see how the Character’s thoughts, feelings, words, actions and behaviors are influenced and motivated by their various human desires. The strongest of these desires is the desire for survival, sexual intimacy, avoidance of pain, social acceptance and power.

Rather than talking about the type of governance and structure of the society for the universe of these novels, I want to focus on the crucial element that is the root of these stories to go from unpleasant to the dystopia that they are. It is less the matter of what is subjected but more the who and how the subject is.The most villainous plot is to use the human biology and psychology against humans and the collective. Control is established by taking advantage of and abusing the common workings of a human being.

When I say common workings of a human being, I mean that even if we are pretty unique individually but the archetypal needs are similar in all of us. We all have same categories of needs even if the content may be different. These basic needs are well defined by Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. The desire for love and intimacy, our tendency to avoid unpleasant outcomes and scenarios and the need to feel safe. It is our innate desire to avoid pain and fears, our desire to feel included and yet hold on to our individuality to the extent that it is socially acceptable.

In both 1984 and Brave New World, through both hedonism and brute force and fear; the variable that doesn’t change is the human and its needs. Its reactive state, desires and the by default biological and psychological tendencies. The control over the human and the society is established in both of these dystopia by the knowledge, manipulation and exploitation of human biology and psychology.

Catharsis

Resisting the pain to try and remain sane

makes me more hollow than it saves.

Like the Half broken glass there is more damage than gain,

At least the completely shattered glass shine on the lane.

Breaking down to reach rock bottom

I consider, is a blessing

Laying on the ground, my roots are what I see.

Their core is the substance of my being

and their strength lets the life flow through me;

Now I break down too often without resisting the pain,

And I make my foundation deeper and safe.

So the house of cards may tumble by the hint of breeze

but I will stay strong and hold my ground

when the storms outside screech. 

 

 

person sitting on seashore overlooking cathedral
Photo by Fábio Luís on Pexels.com

 

What’s the term for fear of wasting time?

I just tried to search a word for fear of wasting time, I had no luck though;maybe it does not exist and if anyone knows the term then please do comment.

I always think that the kind of search history we have define what is going in our minds. Now my attempt to search the word for fear of wasting time naturally came from what I am experiencing. It is so annoying when your mind tells you how you have failed to live up-to the day,How you could have read something, meditated more, exercised more, created more, made more progress on your job applications or simply have been “more productive”.

Personally for me these are the times where I start questioning my worth and my capabilities.These are the times I feel fake or that I am wasting my potential. Now about wasted potential ,I will write whole another post because it deserves its own spotlight.

So it’s a fact that human life is limited, no matter how much I would like to pretend that it won’t be in my case; talk about being delusional! Watching The Originals to much I guess, now someone reading would say that maybe that’s why she feels unproductive…

Anyways.

Whenever I am reminded by something, someone or myself about mortality, it’s panic lane from there. Everything becomes about urgency, even I breathe with urgency and that is soooooo stupid, because I do not reach anywhere peaceful with that kind of urgency and panic.

Talking about urgency, I have never been a part of corporate world but when I see people going to jobs with their suits, dresses and appropriateness, it scares me. It’s the dread that I feel whenever I think about being part of something like that. To be honest I fear that if I become part of something and I find out that I am miserable and dread every morning to do it all over again, I know myself enough to say that I would consider that as well a waste of my time.

I think there is no antidote to such basefull fear because it’s natural to want more time. Though I think it will get better if I do things that calms me rather than create a panic in me, because I can’t imagine to have a one known life and using it away to only earn a living and I think the term as well is wrong. If you are earning a living then how come the life becomes only about living to earn.

That brings me to a wondering that maybe I do not fear about the quantity of time but the quality of time I live. And that I guess will be covered in the fear of wasted potential blog.

P. S: Writing calms me down and is my therapy and my wish for you all is that you have something like that too to unwind and relax. And my bigger wish is that your day doesn’t need unwinding at all.

All love 💜

Unburden

The gravity of your life is

already enough to bare,

Yet you are carrying the stress

of people for you cared;

You were connected tight,

but are now stranger in spite.

Yes, They enhanced your life once,

but it only repress your well being today.

It feels impossible to let go, I know;

But to hold on is like watering

a dead plant that wont grow.

Be kind to yourself and

say your goodbyes in silence,

Wish them the best and

Unburden yourself from the plighting.

red and blue abstract painting
Photo by Darwis Alwan on Pexels.com

 

A Wolf in a Sheep’s Clothing

I had a hunch when you walked in,

that you had an ulterior motive from the beginning.

I was an open book and you I trusted,

but you were taking notes and were lusted.

I gave it a chance more than thrice,

but you know what they say

that you should learn after so many times.

I had my fair share with the narcissists ,

but it was easy to realize as they didn’t resist.

No third person would ever get the hint,

but I knew that something was wrong behind the mist.

I didn’t shy away to confront,

but you always denied the facts as if I was nuts.

You claimed it was the friendship that you want ,

but your manipulation tainted the relation from the start.

You convinced me that you are there for me as a rock,

but whenever I hit rock-bottom,

Your walk did not follow your talk.

I am grateful that I listened to my intuition,

Which now feels like dodging a bullet by that decision.

Few days before we talked, while you were boasting,

but all I could think  was

that you were a wolf in a sheep’s clothing.

blur calm waters dawn daylight
Photo by Gabriela Palai on Pexels.com