#114 Finding Freedom by Learning to Forgive

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When we think about healing from disease, our go-to place is usually diet and exercise. But, healing goes so much deeper than that. There’s an energy that comes with our emotions and that energy has an impact on our physical body as much and sometimes more than a bacteria, a virus, or a disease.

In this episode, we talk about how to free yourself from the attachment to negative emotions around people and circumstances that are keeping you from living your best and happiest life

We’ll look at attachment, commitments, and a different way to think about forgiveness.

You definitely don’t want to miss this.

Resources: 

The Art of Forgiveness 

 

Read Full Transcript Below:

 

Laura Lummer 0:01
This is Laura Lummer, the breast cancer recovery coach. I'm a healthy lifestyle coach, a clinical Ayurveda specialist, a personal trainer, and I'm also a breast cancer survivor. In this podcast, we talk about healthy thinking and mindfulness practices, eating well, moving your body for health and longevity. And we'll also hear from other breast cancer survivors who have reengaged with life and have incredible stories to share. This podcast is your go-to resource for getting back to life after breast cancer.

Hello, and welcome to another episode of the breast cancer recovery coach podcast. I'm your host, Laura Lummer. I'm so happy that you're here with me today. You know, I was thinking about I love doing this podcast. I love doing it because I love sharing my ideas with you. I am hopeful that some of the information that's in these podcasts is support someone says something that someone needs to hear. And as the listenership and the downloads continue to grow, I get more and more. I mean just amazing messages, Facebook messages, emails, from survivors that are out there that find the podcast and share with me their stories and it is remarkable.

It really is remarkable. And there's a particular story. This week, a beautiful woman you know who you are from Nova Scotia, contacted me shared her story with me shared these amazing pictures of Nova Scotia, which is a place on my bucket list to visit. And it just, it makes it doesn't just make my day it makes my day for days when I hear that someone feels more connected and more inspired to do the things they need to do for their healing and to live a fulfilling life after a diagnosis of breast cancer and that the podcast supports them in doing that.

So I just wanted to share that because I just been so moved by so many women lately. And I just appreciate it, I just want you all to know I appreciate you so much. And I love I can never get enough of your stories. And thank you so much for sharing them with me.

So before we jump right into the show, and kind of piggy tailing, piggybacking pig back, I don't even know what I'm saying not piggy, piggybacking on that, whatever backing up on that. If you are a regular listener to the show, and you haven't yet taken the time to leave a review or rating, it helps so much. And it helps so many other survivors get a chance it gets shown to them. And so they can hear it too, and find something in it that might help them and serve them. And so if you can take a moment, wherever you listen to scroll down to where you listen to the podcast and leave a rating a review, it means the world to me and to someone else out there. So thanks for your support.

All right, let me give you a little bit of background on what inspired today's show for me. So when women complete my Revivify coaching program, they have the opportunity to become part of my empower program, and empower we continue to work on personal growth by focusing on a specific area each month.

So this month, we're taking a look at our relationship with the holidays. And that includes our thoughts and our feelings towards the holidays, our expectations of ourselves and others during this time of year. And even this year, in particular how to manage the weirdness of a pandemic holidays. So we're considering all these things and exploring the way we think about them and feel about them, and how we can make them better for ourselves.

So as we go through these weekly lessons and our exercises, I also work on these areas in my own life, of course. So even before this month, an area of my life that I've been digging into is forgiveness. Now, my whole life, forgiveness has been a very difficult thing for me as a teenager, as a young and even not so young adult, I held grudges big time. One slight and that's all you got. You're out.

I.. growing up, I could never wrap my head around people who would break up and get back together. And I think what is happening there, like that person wronged you, boom, done done with them. Why would you give them another chance to do that to you?

Right?

But thankfully, over the years, and especially through my training in yoga and Ayurveda, I started to work on anger, judgment, forgiveness, and it's an ongoing practice. I went through my yoga teacher training in 2006. So this has been a work in progress for a long time.

And in fact, I'll share a story with you Just this morning. My husband came in and he shared something with me about a person who reached out to him to make amends after this person has been awful to him and just awful to him for years. And my first automatic reaction was this little flare of heat in my gut, right? It just like, like, wow, this person wronged you. And I had to notice that I acknowledge that I felt it, you know, it came up, it was an automatic response. And then I had to think through why this was important to him. And what a gift it is, to have the ability to let go of animosity. And to create a constructive relationship, regardless of past circumstances.

That's a very, wow, it's a strong thing to do, it's a difficult thing to do. And it truly is a gift, I think, to be able to do that. It's a skill set you have to work towards.

So now if hearing me say this makes your gut get a little tight, I get it. Because it does me too, or it did for me for a long time. Well, it does do still, I just shared a story with you my instant response to that, right. And it's happened for a long time. And that's why it's important to dig into these things.

If you listen to the show for a while, you know that one of my four pillars of creating a fulfilling life is regroup, you have to dig deep sometimes and look at the things that wrench your gut. So you can work through them and learn how to think differently about them. So while doing the work on holidays and expectations of myself and others, I cannot overlook the fact that part of the stress that can come up around the holiday is having to deal with people that you don't want to deal with.

Now, my own life coach reminds me that I don't feel that way because of the other person's behavior. That I feel that way because I have to work harder to manage my own mind when I'm around these people. I hate that, because it always comes back to me, right? It always comes back on us, and how we choose to think about things.

So I've been giving a lot of thought and doing a lot of work on forgiveness, and how I can get better at it. And so the other day, during my morning self-care of my routine that I have in the morning, something came to me. And you see, one of the biggest problems I have with forgiveness or I have had that I've struggled with is that feeling that forgiving, equals condoning. If I say it's okay, then in my mind, that was equivalent to letting you off the hook. But what I realized and I have to say that it was really one of those moments of clarity, that just really shifted everything for me. What I realized is that I needed to see people that I have bad energy, and there aren't many. But there are a couple that I needed to stop looking for a way to forgive their past behavior. And instead, see them as my teachers.

And here's what I realized. If I hold on to animosity toward that other person, then I'm choosing to stay angry. I'm choosing to judge that person because I'm comparing their own behavior to my behavior, right? If I would never do that, that thing, then I judge them and I sentenced them to be ostracized. That's how it does what I do. But I have to hold on to the anger if I want to continue to feel justified in that judgment, to ostracize them. And in doing that, I give up my own emotional independence. I'm actually choosing to stay attached to that person that I say I'm releasing from my life, because my anger and judgment or even fear or insecurity, whatever comes up, it's like the chain to them. And they're the ball at the end of it.

So I'm reading this book, I think I actually mentioned it in last week's show, and it's called kitchen table wisdom. And one of the stories the author shares is a young man who doesn't want to have a particular surgery because he's going to lose a part of his body. But without that surgery, he's going to die hands down, no questions asked. It's cut off the body part or die. And at the end of the story, the author, talks about how difficult it is sometimes in life to distinguish between attachment and commitment. And she says that one way to distinguish between the two is to notice over time if moving through the relationship brings you closer to bondage, or to freedom.

And that could work with anything, people stuff, ideas, anything at all.

She says attachment and this is a quote, "Attachment is a reflex response, which often may not reflect our deepest good commitment is a conscious choice to align ourselves with our most genuine values and our sense of purpose." (end of quote)

So here's how I interpret that. My reflex response to certain people or experiences is bam, you're out. I'm done here not doing this. But my commitment to myself is to be free to have a light heart and to be the most compassionate, the most evolved version of myself that I can be while maintaining healthy boundaries in my life. And I realized I can't have it both ways. If I'm going to stay committed to evolving into the best version of myself, I had to let go of the attachment to anger.

But how do you do that? Right?

That's the tricky part for me, until the other day when I realized that I didn't have to absolve anyone, or even understand the why behind the things someone else did. Or behind the reason, something happened to me. What I had to do was look at these people in circumstances as my teachers, and ask myself, what did I learn? How did I grow from that? Or did I choose to grow or stay attached to it, to justify my anger?

And when I decided to think differently, I was amazing, like, my heart felt so much lighter. And I realized two really important things.

I don't want anyone or anything to have power over my emotions, right? I want my emotional independence.

And the second thing is that these people if it involved a person, they're just like me, meaning they're a work in progress. They aren't me, their life experiences their soul journey, it isn't mine. And their actions really had nothing to do with me. Their actions and behaviors are the results of their own stories and their own thoughts. I just happen to be in the same space and time as them. And so I felt the results of their actions, and then I blamed them for the pain, rather than looking for the lesson in it.

Because you have to look, you have to be willing to look, I'm not saying everything happens for a reason. And I think I've said this before, you have to look for the reason if you want to make sense of it, right? You can find your reason for it. Now, you might get sick of hearing me quote this book, kitchen table wisdom, but it's really an appropriate title because there's so much wisdom in the book, and I'm gonna put a link to it in the show notes, you can find that at thebreastcancerrecoverycoach.com/114.

And so not only is the title perfect, but it also is just the perfect time for this book to come into my life I feel. And in this book, the author says, human being. This is also a quote, "human being is more a verb than a noun, each of us is unfinished a work in progress, perhaps it would be more appropriate to add the word yet to all of our assessments of ourselves and each other. John has not learned compassion, YET. I have not developed courage, YET. We can't judge something until it's finished. No one has won or lost until the race is over." (end of quote)

So as I'm deep into this work for myself, and I'm focusing on it every day, you know, making sense of it and trying to release and let go. I'm I get on a phone call with a friend of mine. And she's really upset and she shares a story with me, I have a lifelong friend of hers that recently offended her. And she says that what this woman did is unforgivable. She says I can never forgive those words. But because I'm working on what I'm working on, it was so clear to me that the problem wasn't someone else committing an unforgivable act. The problem is, the unwillingness to let go of your own anger.

So now, here's the big leap. This applies to cancer in your life, too. Now, I've shared many times about how angry I was, and how hard I fought against myself because I was pissed at what cancer had done to me and taken from me. And it wasn't until I learned to view cancer as my teacher, to be gentle with myself, to stop fighting it and to start looking for what I could learn from it. And what I could do better in my life as a result of thinking differently about cancer, that I was able to move forward and create the amazing life that I live now.

So if you're one of those women who live in constant fear of recurrence, or you hate your body and you're pissed at cancer, I want to share this with you. You don't have to worry about a recurrence because you already have metastatic disease. You are attached to cancer in your thoughts. You have cancer in your life on a regular basis. And as long as you're angry and afraid of it and you give your emotional power over to it, you are attached to it.

But if you can look at it as your teacher, if you can look at the people and the things in your life that have resulted in you experiencing painful thoughts and feelings as teachers, then you can grow, then you can regroup your thoughts. And you can even get to the point where you might one day say thank you, thank you cancer for what I learned from this experience. And when you can, when you can do that, it's like forgiveness because you just let go, and all the hate and all the anger, and all the fear can go with it.

Now I read this quote, once, and it really stuck with me. I'm not sure who said it, but the quote was, "to forgive yourself is to set a prisoner free, only to discover that the prisoner was you." (end quote) And I like to always leave you with something actionable in these podcasts that you can implement a practice of regrouping into your life.

So I'm going to give you a simple exercise. But remember, like I always say, simply does not mean easy. This stuff is work because we have to be willing to let go of justifying our right to hold on to pain. And that's just not something we're taught to do. And then add to that another bonus, you may have to be willing to forgive yourself.

Mm-hmm.

Anger, judgment, shame that you hold towards yourself.

So here's the exercise, get out of pencil and paper and write down the name of every person and every situation that you are carrying anger, bitterness, resentment towards. Now that in itself might take a little while to get through or to even face especially if your name is on that list. Because sometimes it's hard for us to own it and say, I'm angry, I'm resentful. You know, I'm in pain. And it's not easy to do. And it's certainly not easy to write because then you have to really acknowledge it. But once you get that list, then next to that name, I want you to write, thank you for teaching me, and then you fill in the blank.

So my first marriage was not good. And it ended even worse. So getting to the point where I could write that man's name, and say, thank you for teaching me how strong I really am. How to speak up for me, how to see that keeping the peace is not a constructive way to live my life. Acknowledging the actions he took, taught me these things, was huge, and very difficult to get to.

But trust and trust me if my kids ever hear the show, their minds would be blown that I even said that. But I'm committed to my own evolution. And that is more important to me, than attachment to emotions that keep me stuck in the past, or from having the lightest heart that I can possibly have.

So when I incorporated saying thank you cancer, for teaching me not to wait anymore, not to hold on to things that don't serve me. And not to let a single day go by without finding joy in it.

That was really powerful. It's powerful stuff.

So I offer this to you now. And if you're in lockdown like I am, then you got nothing but time on your hands, girls, so get a pencil and paper and get busy. Well, at least a lot of us have that time, a lot of us have been given this gift of some time to do work on healing if we choose to take advantage of that time now.

So I leave you today with this quote that I love from the art of forgiveness, an article published by Stanford medicine, and it says, "forgiveness is a choice. Forgiveness means that we release our suffering over difficult situations, it does not mean we have to put ourselves back into hurtful situations. Forgiveness means that even though what happened is not okay. You can move on and make peace for yourself."

So let that sit with you. I will put links to these articles and to the book in the show notes for this episode.

And I'll talk to you again next week.

Until then, be good to yourself and expect other people to be good to you as well.

Thanks for listening.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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