Your best friend dissed you. Your girlfriend cheated on you. Your client decided not to pay your last invoice, even though they owe you money. Your boss put you in your place, when it should have been the other way around. A stranger at the grocery story rammed his cart into yours as he whipped around the corner and then had the nerve to give you a dirty look. You shoveled your neighbor’s sidewalk and they didn’t bother to say thank you. Someone lied to you.
Really, so what? I don’t mean to belittle the pain we experience when these things take place. It sucks. It hurts. It’s wrong. But it happens. The problem is that we tend to hold on to our anger and hurt for far too long. The emotion starts out rolling at a full boil, but then as time lingers on, it simmers slightly below the surface, long after the often oblivious wrong-doer has moved on. We replay the situation over and over in our heads, causing the emotion to bubble up again and again. We continue to hurt. The fact is, we are just hurting ourselves more by clinging to often cringe-inducing memories. We need to let go.
Part of our experience as human beings is learning to breathe through the feeling of being wronged. It is inevitable that words or actions from others will hurt us, sometimes deeply. Sometimes our own words or actions will trigger a hurtful experience (yes, that means sometimes we are the cause). Other times we are blindsided by an experience, and the sting lingers on for years.
Over eight years ago I parallel parked in Venice Beach and when I got out of my car a woman in a white SUV was screaming at me for taking her spot. I hadn’t seen her waiting, so I apologized profusely and started to get into my car to give her the spot when she started hurling obscenities at me while flipping me the bird as she screeched off. She actually left black skid marks on the road. For years I thought about this stranger and winced, feeling the shock and anger at the memory each time as if it had just happened. I must have spent hours over the years wondering why she was so hostile. But I will never know the cause of her hostility because (a) she’s a stranger; and (b) I have no way of knowing what pain she had in her own life to cause her to lash out at me.
One day I realized it was time to let go. Not only of the screaming SUV woman, but of the pain that I’ve lugged around with me from a lifetime of hurts like a boulder chained to my ankle. There are ways to heal the pain from a falling out with a friend, a backstabbing by a business associate, the betrayal of a lover, or even the harsh words from a stranger.
One of my favorite tools is what I call The Love Blast. It is a way to release the darkness you hold inside in order to open up space for love and light to flow in.
Here is how you do it: Each time you start to feel bitter, angry, or even guilty of your own actions, blast yourself with love. Then blast your family with love. Blast your friends and lovers with love. Then finally, blast all those who have harmed you with love. I’ve found that blasting love out into the world, especially in the darkest of times when it seems you are most unable to do it, is the most powerful self-healing tool out there.
It may help to create and perform a little ritual when you are busy blasting love all over the place. I thought I would share my private love blast ceremony. It works for me, and who knows, it may work for you too!
•Take a bowl of spring water and fill it with leaves, flowers or herbs from your yard and place on a table next to a candle and, if you have one, a crystal.
• Using a water soluble pen, write the name(s) of those who are causing you to feel anger, hurt, shame or fear on a small piece of paper. If they don’t have a name, then write a description (for instance, I wrote “SUV woman” on my paper).
• Place the paper in the water and swish around with your fingertips until the ink begins to blur.
• Say a personal invocation while setting an intention to release all negative emotions and replace them with love and kindness. I use the following:
“With this water I wash away all the pain represented by this paper. I breathe peace, love, forgiveness and understanding into every fiber of my being. I blast myself with full and unconditional love. I blast my family and friends with love. I blast love to each name on this paper. I blast love to all people who have wronged me in the past, and to all people whom I have wronged in the past. I humbly ask that this ritual provide me with the wisdom and the strength of heart to see truth and be love.”
• If you want, leave the bowl of water out for 24 hours in order to let the name(s) completely wash away and to further set your intention each time you see the paper soaking in it.
• Breathe. Smile.
Now move on.