Why Let Yourself Off The Hook
Dear Why Team member,
I hope this day finds you encouraged and enjoying the Best Day Ever.
As you woke up today and reviewed the task at hand, you may not be in the best place you’d like to be, or surrounded by the best people in your life but none-the-less, it is your best day ever because today, you ARE, and today you get to strive to do your best out of the situations that occur throughout the day.
Some of us envision their best day out on the water, fishing. My grandfather loved to fish, and he instilled that love in me. But even if you’re not much of a fisherman, imagine hooking a huge fish that never gets off the line and that you can never fully land. After wrestling with this fish for hours, (days, weeks, months and maybe even years), hopefully at some point you should stop and consider who is really …the hooked one? The fish is still swimming about, going about its life, despite the reality that it’s hooked by you and to you and here you are… stuck on the boat. You hooked the fish, it's technically your fish, but you have now lost your freedom if you don't make the decision to let it go. Five years ago, I attended a retreat at the Kripalu Center in Stockbridge, MA in the Berkshire mountains, where I had the great pleasure of hearing and learning from Byron Katie; author of the book, "Loving What Is". The event was centered around Forgiveness; which for me was absolute rocket fuel. During the five-day event, the statement I heard again and again, from attendees, was: “If I forgive, I feel like I am letting them off the hook" as if their holding on to the pain was somehow exacting justice, even when the other person was long gone or even dead. Hmm…How do we regard the ones we believe “caused” our suffering? Because you know that pain doesn’t just happen, we have to blame someone for it- of course, I’m being sarcastic here. But many blame their emotions on someone else she/he made me feel such and such. And then, sometimes, we choose to punish them. We choose the suffering thoughts of non-forgiveness because they deserve it?! I know, I'll show them, I'll drink the poison of bitterness to hurt them and then justice will be served?! Will it? Of course not, so why do we do it? Why are we so reluctant to forgive those who have hurt us, those who we believe (believe being the operative word) have wronged us? Life is a paradox. Consider the opposite of what you think, is it more true? Check out Byron Katie's book, "Loving What Is" to discover the specific questions to ask yourself. Questions that can bring freedom from suffering. Do we want to be free from the endless reeling-in of the line or consider that what we truly seek may be within our own ability? It is fully within your power to choose different, more empowering thoughts, to be free of that pain; maybe you just let the thought go. Quoting my friend Dr. Elko: “the mother of all motivation is A choice.” Past pain is only re-experienced in our minds. The mind replays the scenarios that hurt us in an effort to protect us and keep us diligent going forward. Yet, this pattern of thinking can develop more sight for potential pain than the joy that is available in this present moment.
Our un-conscious mind is trying to help us learn from past situations but sometime we simply get stuck on the pain. I guess it is your fish, but are you free holding on to it?
Who is truly hooked?
How much of your identity is now tied up with the fish?
At least with the fish on the line, I guess, you have a story to tell, there is an identity found in your story. Is telling it and retelling it relieving your pain or keeping it alive? Maybe you could try telling the more freeing story of how you let the fish go.
Ask yourself, "Why am I fighting with this fish?" The fish we're holding onto of course being a metaphor for us burning up valuable energy in our lives on past hurts and keeping us from serving ourselves and others today in more meaningful ways. Maybe letting go could be an example for others on how to be free. Letting go is not easy, but if we have the courage to inquire into the thoughts that make us a victim and why we hold onto them, we can start cutting the lines to the fish that are not feeding our soul, but rather burning up our precious energy to live a more rewarding and fulfilling life. Quoting Dr. Kevin Elko again,
“It's your choice, to become bitter or better". Cut the lines on your painful past and be free to enjoy your life more fully in the amazing NOW, while elevating your hope for tomorrow. Let it go. You hold the key to Freedom! As Paul McCartney says, "Let it Be" and find your spirit reborn and renewed. Indulge in this rebirth, seek out the lessons, and allow yourself to become more as a result of your struggles. Let those fish off the hook and find more freedom for yourself, more freedom to live your life and to serve the lives of others in your Best Day Ever!
Make it a great week!