A few years ago, I found myself angry at people and unable to let it go. I would think I had worked through the forgiveness process only to find something trigger my anger again and all the painful memories would come flooding back. I did some study on forgiveness and realized that I was being a little unrealistic and too hard on myself about a once and for all kind of forgiveness. Thank you, Rob Bell. Check out his podcast series on forgiveness…..AMAZING!!! I also learned that I am a person who needs some kind ritual to mark a special or meaningful experience. Knowing this about myself, I decided to create a ritual to help me let go of my anger and experience greater forgiveness.
I began to journal. I took out a special notebook and wrote the first person’s name at the top of page one. I wrote until I felt all the emotional energy leave my body and become absorbed into the words on the page. Then, I wrote the next person’s name at the top of the next clean page and emptied my hurts until there was nothing left. I let myself have a month or more to write and sit with each writing. At the end of each writing, I offered forgiveness and love to the person with the full acknowledgement that I did not know how that would translate in person.
Then, I decided that I needed to give my hurts to someone/something so that when my hurts popped into my head, I could say, “No, she is carrying them for me. I don’t need to carry those any longer.” Some people find great relief in burning their hurts but for me, I needed to give them away. I decided that I wanted to give them to the beautiful and powerful ocean. I thought she had the strength to carry them for me while washing them away from me. She had the power to carry and cleanse.
That year in November, our family made a trip to Florida and I made this ritual a part of that trip. My daughter and I were the first to arrive at the beach and I invited her to share in this special moment with me. I did not plan on including her as a witness to my ritual, but what an amazing opportunity to talk about how hard forgiveness is sometimes! I did not share any specific details but just that I realized I was holding on to some unhealthy memories that I needed to let go and that I created this special time so that I could forever remember that the ocean holds my hurts. So, we found a long blade of grass to tie up the papers and slipped a heavy rock inside the package. My daughter and I drove to a pier and walked out to the end of the pier. We prayed together over the package and hurled it out into the sea! As soon as we threw the package into the ocean, we looked at each other and started laughing. Beautiful Release.
Do you find ritual important? Do you have an experience you would like to share?