One of the most courageous decisions you'll ever make is to finally let go of what is hurting your heart and soul.
The image I see when I think about letting go is an open hand, palm up—open to give and receive. It is easy to understand that letting go is a crucial component of forgiveness. It’s not forgetting, it’s not pretending something didn’t occur. It is freeing our hearts and minds from the attachment to our belief so - our point of view - about a circumstance that resulted in pain, suffering, shame, the desire for revenge, rage, and broken heartedness.
Remember: It is our attachment to our beliefs—the thoughts we have thought over and over again, charged with emotional energy—that create the stories we tell and believe about the experiences we’ve had.
In 1982, I learned a Letting Go of the Strings of Attachment visualization technique in a DMA® workshop (Dimensional Macrostructural Alignment) developed by Robert Fritz and Peter Senge). In the decades since, I have adapted and used it over and over again, making it my own, and offering it to thousands of clients when they've been attached to a particular person, group of people or situation that is causing undue stress, tension, discomfort, anxiety, or any emotions that block the flow of Love. (Link for Cutting the Strings Guided Visualization)
Remember: While you may experience a lasting sense of freedom as a result of using this visualization, it is also possible that your automatic, habitual emotional reactions that fuel the attachment may surface at another time - in five minutes, the next day, month, or even years after you have used the visualization. This is not evidence that the visualization doesn’t work, rather it is a reminder that you are now ready to expand your capacity to let go and open your heart to a deeper experience of Love.
Susyn’s Story: The Power of Forgiveness to Heal My Broken Heart.
I feel the need to preface my story by acknowledging that I have not experienced or perpetrated horrific acts of violence that I then forgave or asked forgiveness for. For me, this is an important reminder that any wounding experience or trauma, horrific or otherwise, constricts the flow of Love in both the perpetrator and the victim until courageous acts of forgiveness occur. This story captures my first experience with the power and magic of forgiveness.
My conscious Spiritual Journey as an adult, began in 1972 when I attended a Silva Mind Control workshop. Little did I know that those two weekends would illuminate a Heart Healing path that continues to be the most magnificent adventure of my life. During this workshop, I learned that I am part of an interconnected whole of consciousness (the collective consciousness), and I can create my reality based upon where I focus my attention. Experiencing life through my ego-mind results in a sense of separation; experiencing life through my Spiritual heart center, results in a deep sense of connection, within myself and with all beings.
Throughout my ever deepening and expanding Heart Healing journey, I’ve bumped up against the challenges of forgiving many times—sometimes gently, sometimes with heart-wrenching force. I knew it was a good idea to be forgiving. I was very practiced at saying, “I’m sorry,” even at times when there wasn’t anything to be sorry about. When there was reason for me to ask to be forgiven, I was often stopped in my tracks by shame and righteousness. For many, many years—decades, —I was seduced and attached to the stories of how someone did me wrong. I was so good at weaving these stories that, more often than not, even if I’d been the perpetrator of a wrongdoing, I could work it out in my mind and rationalize that there was someone else to blame! Or I would expertly blame myself sending my I’m not enough-ness and unworthiness beliefs into high gear.
I liked thinking I was forgiving, but I continued to be angry, particularly toward family members and lovers when they did not meet my expectations. While I thought I understood forgiveness as a concept, the act of truly forgiving—forgiving myself for believing that I was the victim of the thoughts and actions of others; or forgiving others for doing the best they could do at any moment based on their thinking and beliefs—was just beyond my comprehension. Then one evening, in December 1983, I had an experience with forgiveness that changed my life.
B and I had been divorced for six years when I wrote to him asking for copies of home movies we had made during our marriage. While I was curious to see all of the movies, I was particularly eager to see the ones with my dad who had died nine years earlier.
Weeks passed, and finally, B responded, telling me that he had considered my request and decided he did not want to send me the movies. I was shocked. B was a director of a hospice program. His letter came on official hospice stationary. He was refusing to send me home movies that included my dad in the years before his death.
After a few days, it occurred to me that he might have decided not to send them because I had not included money to make copies of the movies. I wrote to him again, enclosed a check, and made sure to point out—with a snarky attitude—that since he worked as a Hospice Director, I thought he would understand that I wanted to see the movies of my dad.
Weeks later, B’s next letter echoed the sentiments of the first one: “I made movies before I met you. I’ve continued to make movies since we’ve been divorced, and I will decide who gets to see my movies.” I thought, ‘This guy has a problem.’
Months passed. A friend invited me to a Forgiveness program at The Open Center in NYC given by Robin Casajarian, who offered forgiveness workshops in prisons. One cold December evening, we sat and listened as Robin spoke about the power of forgiveness. She led us through a guided visualization. I closed my eyes and following her instructions, cleared my focus and directed my attention to her words: “...notice a door on the right side of the room. In a few moments, someone will walk through that door. Forgive that person.” Using the full resources of my imagination, I saw the door, and when it opened, B appeared and walked toward me, stopping directly in front of me.
With my ego-mind, I could hear myself say to him, “I forgive you for having an affair soon after my sister died and years later, for telling me you were in love with someone else during the time my dad was dying.” Then I heard another voice, quieter this time, but concise and direct, as though it came straight from my heart: “I forgive you for loving me.”
I was stunned. I knew this was the profound truth beneath all the obvious reasons I had been angry with him during our marriage, and at times, since our divorce. For me to have accepted his love, I had to first love myself, and I had not. Through the years of our marriage, I had projected all my self-loathing onto him. The more he loved me, the more I projected. With this realization, I felt energized, light-hearted, and as though a very important gift had been presented to me.
Ten days later, I was in New Hampshire—where B and I had lived during the last three years of our marriage. On the afternoon of New Year’s Eve 1983, I was shopping in a giant supermarket when I suddenly knew B was in the store. I walked up and down a few aisles until I was standing in front him. After saying hello to one another, he asked, “Did you get the movies? I sent them to you about ten days ago.”
When I truly forgave B for having an affair and not being emotionally available during deaths in my family, and even more importantly, forgave him for loving me, and ultimately forgave myself for believing that I was not worthy of love, the movies that contained loving memories of our life together were awaiting my return to NYC.
This is the way forgiveness works. When we finally let go of our attachment to the hurt, the anger, the need to be right, and the need to make others wrong, we not only release ourselves from the bonds of resentment, we also discover that the precious gifts of life find their way to us. This is the power of forgiveness. My heart opened to a more loving relationship with myself and ultimately, has deepened my commitment to live a Healed-Hearted-Wholehearted Life every day.
By the way, after the visualization at The Open Center, any open wounds or resentments that had been triggered when I thought of B, dissolved. And now, thirty-five years later, it is a treat to receive birthday wishes from him and to send them his way. When he learned of the dramatic ending of my relationship with Beau, he sent me this message, “If there’s anyone who can turn lemons into lemonade, it’s you!”
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‘Til next time.