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From stuck to liberated: accepting and letting goooo.

What are you having trouble accepting or letting go of? A fight with a loved one? A person who has treated you badly? A mistake your coworker made?


When you're having trouble accepting or letting go of something, it is often because you're "stuck" in one way of perceiving the situation. It's as if you were going to the theatre and watching the same movie every day, always sitting three inches from the screen. You'd have a pretty limited perception of that movie, wouldn't you? You might judge the movie harshly, based on the few hundred pixels you were pressed up against. What would happen if you sat further back? What if you watched the movie from the projection booth, with all the machines whirring? Seeing it from these different places would broaden your perspective of that particular movie--and would reveal your harsh judgments as misunderstandings. We do this in our minds too--we watch the same "movies" over and over, often stuck as if we were three inches from the screen. We play the movies over and over of the boyfriend dumping us, or the mother not loving us, or the boss not giving us a raise. And we say, "I can't let it go, I can't accept this!" We continue to feel bad--angry, frustrated, hurt--because we are stuck in our limited perspective.


We might even talk about how we should forgive, or we should let go--and yet, we don't. It's not that there is something wrong with us, or that we're incapable of letting go--it's just that we are stuck in a particular way of receiving the information about what happened. We're stuck three inches from the screen, receiving the information that "this is the way it happened; she did it because she's incompetent and because she hates me, and what she did is unforgivable." When we step away from the screen, and watch the movie from further back, or from the projection booth, we might notice different things. "Oh, wait, it didn't happen quite the way I thought; she doesn't hate me, and she's actually very competent in a lot of other areas of her life." This additional information is just that: information that we can notice and digest and incorporate into what we already know. This information isn't meant to force us into letting go or accepting. It's more food for thought. And, ear often does lead, naturally, to a letting go that doesn't require trying.


When you think of any memory, you are remembering that experience from a particular position in your mind. Think of eating dinner last night. In the way that you remember this meal, are you in your body, looking out of your own eyes, as it you're really there eating dinner? If so, you're in "Self Position." Or, are you watching yourself eat, as if you're a fly on the wall? This is what it's like to be in "Observer Position." Or, are you imagining being the person across the table, noticing what the food tasted like for them? That's being in "Other Position." "God/Spirit Position" is rising high above that scene of you eating, and watching it with great wisdom and love. Each of these positions have value, and our lives are richest and happiest when we have the flexibility to move between all four. Problems occur when we are inflexible. Think of what you're having a hard time letting go of. Chances are good that you're stuck; perhaps in Self Position--feeling reactive and intensely emotional--or in Other Position--feeling too much of the other person's emotions. By moving through the four positions in your mind, you will break free of this being stuck.


Try this experience. It will take five minutes and is like traveling around the world, in your mind. You'll travel in the tropics, the arctic, and the desert--and when you return home, you'll have a perspective of the world enriched by all that you have seen and heard and felt. Ideally, have a friend or the person sitting next to you read these steps to you, so that you can close your eyes and fully have the experience. (For your reader: pause after each sentence, to give the experiencer time to do each piece). It's okay if you think to yourself, "I'm not good at visualizing things in my mind". Just do this as if you can visualize. Think of an incident or person you want to forgive or accept or let go of, but up until now have not been able to: a disagreement with your partner, someone being rude to you, an altercation with your child, a frustrating interaction with a coworker. (Think of a mild incident first. Once you get the hang of what this "process" is like, you can choose a juicier or more intense one for your second time through.) Close your eyes and remember the incident, or think of the person involved. Really be in your body, looking out of your own eyes, as if this experience or interaction is happening again right now, all around you. Notice what you're seeing. Notice what you're feeling. Notice what you're hearing.

Now, step out of the experience and become a neutral observer, as if you're a fly on the wall. Watch that you and that other person over there having that experience. Let the scene be ten or twenty feet away from you. Notice what each of their faces look like, what they're wearing. Notice their surroundings. Allow yourself to be equal distance from each of those two people over there. As a neutral observer, what are you noticing? Move even farther away from the scene, and notice if this changes anything for you.

Now, imagine that you are the other person in that experience. Step into their body, as best you can. Imagine looking through their eyes at that you over there. Imagine having their exact collection of life experiences, of joys and fears and disappointments and challenges. As this other person, what are you feeling? What are you seeing? What are you hearing?

Now, step out of the other person and become a detached observer again. Watch those two people over there having that experience. Let that scene move farther away from you; allow each of those two people to be an equal distance away from you. As an observer, notice what it's like to breathe in this place of neutrality. In what ways are you realizing now that those two people were doing the best they could in that situation, given their life experiences and limitations?

Now try the God/Spirit Position. Float above the experience--higher and higher and higher. Imagine watching those two people through the eyes of higher intelligence or God or spirit. Imagine that you now have full access to all of the love and wisdom and truth that is higher intelligence or God or spirit. Notice this love and wisdom and truth in every cell of your body, from your head to your toes. From this perspective, what are you noticing? What are you feeling about the incident? What are you realizing? Now open your eyes. Take a moment to notice how you feel. Think about that incident or person again. In what ways do you feel different?

Now that you've returned home from visiting the tropics, the arctic, and the desert, in what ways is your perspective of "the world"--as it relates to that particular incident or person--more enriched?

Adrian Deal empowers people to dissolve stress, communicate with grace, and embrace more joy in their lives. She is a second-generation trainer and practitioner of Hypnotherapy and Neuro Linguistic Programming, and is available for speaking engagements. She can be reached through of 828-216-9183.

Recommended Reading:

Loving What Is, Byron Katie

Happiness is a Choice, Barry Neil Kaufman

Love is Letting Go of Fear, Gerald G. Jampolsky, MD

You Can Heal Your Life, Louise L. Hay

RELATED ARTICLE: But I don't want to forgive!

Good! That resistance is there to give you good information. Honor it. Let's look at some common objections to forgiving:

"If I forgave this person, they'd think that what they did was okay, and they'd do it again." If you want them to know how terrible it was for you, so that they won't do it again, then communicate this to them. In what ways will already being in a place of forgiveness make this communicating cleaner and easier?

"The other person doesn't deserve forgiveness." Maybe not. But forgiveness is not for them, it is for you, so that you can live in your body with more comfort.

"If I forgave this person, that would mean I'm a wimp." What else could it mean? Can you see that far from being a wimp, your forgiving this person would mean that you have accomplished a change that takes great courage, compassion, and understanding--one that only a few human beings are capable of?

"I refuse to forgive and forget." Good--if you forgot, then you'd be completely vulnerable to a repetition of the harm that was done to you. You want to forgive and remember; to remember in a way that provides you with feelings of strength and choice, instead of being provoked into choice-less anger.

"Anger makes me feel powerful; I don't want to give it up." Yes, there is a certain power in anger, in being courageous and wiling to stand up for yourself. But usually there is also a lack of choice in having to be angry. When someone says, "He made me angry," what they are really saying is, "He can control my feelings; I have no choice but to get angry." In what ways can you develop more choices, so that you are the one in control of your feelings and behaviors, and can stand up for yourself even more powerfully?

"If I forgave this person, something bad would happen (I'd be tempted to reconcile with them, they could hurt me again, etc)." If you forgave this person, in what ways could you still maintain your resolve to stay separate and be protected from future hurt?
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Author:Deal, Adrian
Publication:New Life Journal
Date:Dec 1, 2005
Previous Article:Coming into our own.
Next Article:Truth @ work: finding your way back to maximum aliveness.

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