Finding Your Pagan Moral Compass: On Letting Go
Article ID: 14674
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 965
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Author: Deborah Castellano
Posted: August 28th. 2011
Times Viewed: 3,324
Now, as we just discussed in my previous article, I don't really ascribe to needing to forgive every person in your life. If that person has crossed a boundary that is unforgivable to you and you no longer wish to have a relationship with that person and strive to have as little contact with that person as possible, congratulations! I will be more than happy to write you a note excusing you from having to forgive that person.
So, we got through the first part where we've made that determination that we no longer wish to have that person in our lives and we don't wish to forgive him or her. But how do you keep yourself from being eaten up inside from all those negative feelings? We let go.
I think people in our culture are very hung up on forgiveness because it can be equated to letting go of all of those negative emotions you have bottled up inside, even Oprah has said something to that effect as a reader kindly pointed out to me. I think if you want to see letting go and forgiveness as the same thing, rock out. You're captain of your own ship, you can do whatever you like! To me they are two different things however.
Letting go is very difficult because it requires a lot of grown up contemplation that many of us are ill equipped to deal with. But I assure you, it can be done! If I've done it, rest assured so can you. But, as someone else once told me, you can't just take a car from park straight into third gear, you need some steps in between. The first step of letting go is purging. You need to be as angry, sad, unhappy, whatever negative emotions are being brought up from terminating this relationship. You need to give yourself permission to feel like crap and phone it in for a while basically.
This means journaling and venting to close friends, crying as much as you need to really make sure you get the poison out. Be as mean as you need to be, cry every night if it helps, do the bare minimum for your life to not fall apart (i.e. pay bills, go to work and do whatever you need to do to not get fired, shower, eat and complete whatever other basic tasks that are part of your life that are vital to your well being like taking medication and taking care of your children, etc) but feel free to punch out on the non essentials. If it feels awesome to lie on the couch in yoga pants and a t-shirt and wolf down a pint of salted caramel gelato while watching a Bridezillas marathon, go with god/dess/es.
But this time period where you get to complain as much as you want and be a zombie is finite, my friends. Too much indulgence in this behavior will make it a habit. Depending on the severity of your situation, six weeks max is really what you get to be as self-involved as you need to be before we move onto hard work. As a Pagan mentor of mine told me when I was going through my divorce, in the Victorian era wives who lost their husbands were expected to mourn them for either the rest of their lives or until they remarried. They had to basically make their lives completely stop, wear mourning clothes and were not allowed to move on which made a widow's life incredibly hard.
In modern culture, many women who go through a divorce wind up doing this to themselves, they build a shrine to their ex-husband in their head and they nurse every hurt that their ex gave to them past and present to the point that all they can still talk about years later is their ex. Don't be like that; don't give him that kind of power. Good advice, no?
Don't get me wrong; you'll relapse now and then. Maybe in your process something gets stirred up and takes you back to the person you're letting go of. Maybe you hear about their good fortune and it makes you want to claw your own eyes out. It's okay, it happens. Give it a day or three to complain and be aggravated or sad but then let go of it again. But don't fall into the trap that's described in the Mean Girls movie: I could hear people getting bored with me. But I couldn't stop. It just kept coming up like word vomit. When it starts to feel like word vomit, you need to stop because it's starting to eat you from the inside out. And you do not want to give that other person that kind of power over you.
Charm to Stop Word Vomit
Put a rubber band on your wrist. When you feel the word vomit threatening to spew, snap it sharply and say this charm:
When I snap this rubber band,
I will not word vomit just as planned.
So this is hard work I keep talking about, right? Take a good, long hard look at what you did to contribute to the disintegration of your relationship with the person you're letting go of. Think about what things you could have done better in that relationship, what you could improve on, what you needed to learn from that relationship and how to be a better person because of it.
I really think giving myself time to get through all of that and take a really honest personal inventory of myself and reflect on how I could improve as a person has made it so that I could let go of the people who had crossed boundaries with me that I couldn't forgive. The problem I often see is that people get to the self-reflection part and then it's just all “OMFG! The other person was so TOXIC! I'm so glad I'm away from that person!”
Think about it this way: you are giving that person far too much control and power. If that person really had that much power that you cut her out of your life and voila! everything's perfect again without you having to do anything but cut that person out... well that person must be a pretty formidable opponent. So formidable that they must be like Godzilla stomping through various innocent bystanders' Tokyo.
Is that really what happened? Really? You had no control, no power, no voice at all in that situation? Or maybe, just maybe, you did some terrible things too. Or at the very least, went along to get along? It's okay to not have done things perfectly. It's okay to have made mistakes. If you can acknowledge that you made mistakes, this gives you more power because you can fix a mistake a lot easier than a random Godzilla lurking about ready to cause problems at your ramen stand at any given moment.
Were you too selfish? Did you sometimes like to wind the person up? Did you yell a lot? Did you rather be right than be happy? Awesome! That's all stuff you can work on.
At the same time, it's totally okay to call the situation toxic! When you say this to yourself or others also add, “and I know I contributed to it too”. Try it; it's liberating! Taking responsibility for your actions is probably the most liberating awesome thing you can do in life because then you own them and they're yours to fix and learn from them.
Taking responsibility for your actions is one of the best things you can do for your moral compass as a Pagan. It really helps you figure out the life you want to lead and helps you figure out what tools you need to lead it.
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Copyright: Copyrighted 2011 by Deborah Castellano
Location: , New Jersey
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Bio: Deborah blogs regularly over at Charmed, I'm Sure: A Finishing School for Dropout Dilettantes Discussing Charms, Hexes, Housewifery, Hearth Witchery and Deportment
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