Maybe I've been watching too much sappy TV (Gilmore Girls, This is Us, etc) and it opened the faucet of emotions. Or maybe I felt unappreciated and for some reason it tipped me right over the edge, no longer able to hold it all inside.
Either way, last night was rough. One of those nights where all the dark thoughts bubble to the surface at once and stage a takeover of your mindset. As I lay in bed, crying, all the worries I'd been holding onto started pouring out. Concerns about my career. Worries about my future. My struggles about my health - how I look, what I weigh and the unending battle of "why do I feel so much pressure to be skinny?". Feelings about what's going on in the world and confusion over my place in it. My sense of feeling totally lost at how to do my part at making it a better place.
It was ugly. But it was also a huge relief. Because when you let it out, you can let it go. When you look what's bothering you right in the face and say "I SEE YOU", it can't lurk in dark corners anymore.
A few years ago a tumble like this would have lasted much longer - and probably would've led me down a long spiral of feeling crappy about myself. Last night, after the storm, when I was feeling calm again, I thought "I have more forgiveness work to do."
Immediately my brain started searching for stories I'm telling myself that are not serving me. Stories that are a) not true b) preventing me from feeling my best and c) holding me back from showing up as my best self. It started searching for events, experiences, circumstances and people (myself included) that I need to forgive.
Some are new stories that I need to clear out before they plant roots ("You're a bad person for gaining weight after your wedding & honeymoon" comes to mind).
Some are old and I thought I got rid of them but they snuck back in when I wasn't looking (That whole "you are not enough" voice is an evil bugger that likes to stick around.)
Forgiveness is like gratitude or self care or exercise - it's a process and a practice - you can't just do it once and be good for life.
One of my mentors, Denise Duffield Thomas says that forgiveness "lets you really experience the abundance and happiness that the Universe wants to give you. Without forgiveness, you're just going to sabotage it. You're not going to believe you're worth it."
Over the years I've developed my own forgiveness practice - a collection of visualizations, affirmations, journaling prompts, and movement exercises that help me let go of what's holding me back and move into a life I love.
The dark side may have staged a temporary takeover, but I'm back to knowing that my contribution to the world involves helping others to live their best lives.
On January 29th, I'm teaching a workshop called Finding Forgiveness, where I'll be sharing my personal forgiveness practice. If you have a big vision about what your dream life looks like, and you feel stuck or like something is holding you back, I hope you'll join me to release your past and embrace your future.
Registration opens on December 15th at 10am.
I'm looking forward to sharing this workshop with you in what will be the first of many workshops where I share what I've learned from decades of picking myself, brushing myself off and starting over again. I hope to see you there.