I blogged yesterday about letting things (stresses) go – not holding on to a grudge, hatred, bitterness or some other type of resentment that was caused by another person or event. I will tell you from a first-hand perspective that it is difficult to do. However, it is possible.
Several years ago I attended a church service and the homily was on forgiveness. The homilist asked the congregation to think about those one or two people in our lives who we harbored an intense hatred or dislike for because they did something to us or another loved one.
That part was easy. A former boss of my wife was first on my mind. Every time I saw her I could feel the bile spurting into my veins. The homilist then asked us to write the name of that person on the palm of our hand. I held my left hand up and used my right index finger and wrote that person’s name. So far, so good.
The next instruction was to throw our hand upward and outward so that that name disappeared into the sky. I did that. The homilist also asked us to visually see that person’s name float away and become smaller and smaller. I did that.
It was a week later that I saw my wife’s former boss and I noticed immediately that I didn’t have the same feeling that I had had in the past. The intensity of my hatred was cut by at least ninety percent. There was still some residual resentment, but the bulk of my stress was gone.
I’ve done that several more times over the years when the situations warranted it. During the Camino, I had a few unhealthy thoughts about situations that I could not control. If you have been following my blogs you are aware that we had backpack transport problems on Day 1. When we decided to utilize the transport service again, I had another delivery problem – two strikes out of three deliveries.
I realized that the transport service was out of my control. I kept telling myself, “Let it go!”. I told myself that at least several dozen times over the course of several days. Sometimes I would add my name, “Let it go, Red!”. Other variations included, “Let it go now!”, “Just let it go!”, etc.
Within a day or two I found myself not fretting or worrying about my backpack being where I wanted it to be. I had no control over the transportation service and I would worry when I arrived and my backpack was not there. It turned out that we never had another problem with transportation. My stress levels for that event disappeared.
There were some stresses that take intense action to completely remove. It’s hard. However, it is possible. Stress is the genesis of nearly 90% of all doctors’ visit. It is unhealthy. Let it go!