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    JOHNTJ1   72,505
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Sunday Morning Reflections and Revelations

Sunday, February 03, 2013

Long before he became a country music legend, Kenny Rogers played in a rock band called The First Edition. One of their songs, “Tell It All Brother,” has a line within it that’s always haunted me. Simply put it says “And in the dungeons of your mind, who do you have chained to the wall?” We could tour my mind if you’d like but we might be here all day. If you want to learn how to hold grudges, I’m your guy. Hurt me, wound me, or offend me and I have a spot for you on that wall. It doesn’t have to be anything major either. It can be a slight or a mistaken offense and it will be a long time before I forgive you if ever. Thank goodness there aren’t too many people like me out here, huh? So as I’m sitting in church early this morning I had no trouble understanding the message that was written on my heart. “You won’t begin to heal until you learn to forgive.” Again, simply put, when there is so much judgment, animosity, prejudice and grudge holding going on inside of me is there really any room for goodness or healing?

I sat back in the pew and sighed. I’m not really sure where to begin. I get PO’d on a regular basis and it’s become a matter of practice to stay that way. A friend on Facebook posted a long rant yesterday on road rage and how she felt justified in its practice. That’s not what scared me. I found myself nodding right along with the ten people who added comments supporting the practice. We get mad and stay mad and with each successive slight or offense a small part of our hearts are partitioned off and we become more alienated.

Seriously friends, how many of you have tried every diet known in the cosmos, bought enough exercise DVD’s to have a healthy and profitable yard sale, and still never seen the scale move significantly and more importantly stay in a healthy range. With sincere apologies to the experts, carrot sticks, and celery served with Greek yogurts a bit more of a punishment than an opportunity. It’s like trying to cure cancer with ibuprofen. I often see myself standing in front of a door that’s padlocked and I’m holding this massive ring of keys. I keep trying to find the one that fits.

“You won’t begin to heal until you learn to forgive.”

As I tour my mind, looking at all those people I’ve nailed firmly to the wall I turn a corner and I see a large room and on that rooms wall is me, chained and unforgiving of myself. All my accumulated sins, transgressions and faults are there for all to see and I won’t forgive myself. Until I do I won’t ever even approach that elusive thing called health and happiness. Forgiveness creates a space inside of us that allows healing and once we embark on the road to health we can plant healthy behavior.

We have to believe in something. I call that something God and you may call that something other names but I’ll tell you unequivocally that unless that something is there to heal you your efforts are futile. There’s a passage in one of the Gospels where Jesus says he stands outside the door knocking, patiently waiting for us to let in the healing love. My poor eating habits, my reluctance to exercise are only symptoms of my unwillingness to forgive not only those around me, but to forgive myself.

“You won’t begin to heal until you learn to forgive.”

Member Comments About This Blog Post:
TRIANGLE-WOMAN 2/6/2013 1:50PM

    Loved this post. Reminded me of much of what Renee Stephen says in her quest to "eliminate the weight struggle from the planet!" How great is that intention!

You might check out IOWL (Inside Out Weight Loss) by Renee Stephens. There is a team on Spark (disclaimer! I am a team leader :) that has links to all her podcasts.

She speaks of all the the internal issues that keep us from reaching our goals; be they weight loss or anything else. And her method has nothing to do with eating carbs vs. proteins!! I think you would appreciate some of her insights.

She also advocates a sort of "forgiveness" technique called EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique)

There is a Spark Team for that too and some links for it on the IOWL Team.

Good luck John and keep Sparking! You are awesome and I know if we keep at it, we will find the answers that work for us!

4;¨¯`*★¸.• Spread the Spark!!

Comment edited on: 2/6/2013 1:52:11 PM

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CRYSTALJEM 2/4/2013 11:31AM

    I used to hold a lot of grudges, still do from time to time, but over time I came to realize a few things, and sometimes I need a reminder - thanks for providing that today.

I realized that most of the grudges I held only got my blood pressure boiling - the person against whom I held the grudge was either oblivious or unfazed. While my blood boiled, and my attention was focussed, they went on living and enjoying their life. (I used to describe this as equivalent to continually hitting my head against a brick wall and wondering why my head hurt).

I also realized that I screw up a lot - sometimes in my opinion, sometimes in someone else's opinion. Either way, I found I could be the one the grudge was against - and I was pretty good at holding grudges against myself - you know, beating myself up over what I'd done, or not done.

It became clear to me that again, I had a choice - hold it or let it go. In 3 weeks, 6 months, 5 years, would it really matter; or really help? The answer that kept resonating in my brain was a clear and emphatic "No". No justification or explanation, just a resounding "No."

Since then, I've really tried to recognize when I'm holding a grudge, and I work to let it go. That doesn't mean I'm ok with being hurt, or injustices. It means that I will choose consciously how I will respond and I would try my best to choose responses that will help me take the first step up, instead of choices that will only help me stumble or fall.

I take heart in the philosophy "In greater terms positive and negative have little meaning, for the physical experience is meant as a learning one. "

Namaste. CJ
Great blog. Thanks.

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PATTILYNN224 2/4/2013 7:55AM

    Well said.

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NASFKAB 2/4/2013 4:38AM

  cant believe you hold grudges thought it was for people like me thanks for sharing wish I could forgive some more

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REGILIEH 2/3/2013 10:15PM

    John, I am shocked that you hold grudges! Someone with your insight is much smarter than that! Grudges are such a waste of time and energy! Give yourself a break, thankfully GOD does.!

You are terrific, don't forget that! emoticon

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SLIMLEAF 2/3/2013 5:40PM

    John, the more I read your blogs, the more I think you are an amazing person.
How do you find the courage to be so honest? This forgiveness thing is a difficult business but it's true that we can't be really healed until we learn to let go of our bitterness and grudges.
May you be blessed with grace as you go about 'unchaining' all those people on your dungeon wall - including yourself.

And I pray that I will do so too.

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SHERIO5 2/3/2013 5:22PM


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MOBYCARP 2/3/2013 3:47PM

    Almost a decade ago I did some serious work on forgiveness. It was well worth the effort, and it really helped me feel better and appreciate life more. I highly recommend it.

But guess what? Forgiveness is a bit like losing weight. You work at, you succeed, you feel great . . . and you need to keep working on it the rest of your life in maintenance.

Thank you for the blog. While I'm not nearly as bad off in the forgiveness area as I have been in the past, you sparked me to slow down and consider a couple of maintenance areas I need to address.

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ANATASHIKI 2/3/2013 1:32PM

    beautiful said ! I'm oscillating between thinking I'm pretty forgiving and totally not forgiving :D. the truth is somewhere in the middle I think. and if I really am forgiving sometimes it's because grudges and resentfulness make me feel bad. really bad , not bad about myself. maybe all what we need is just learning to love ourselves as He the first person we need to forgive is really us . emoticon

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DEBRITA01 2/3/2013 1:20PM

    God forgives all of us...we are freed when we do the same (although it's often hard). Anger and resentment hold us back and keep us from the peace we long for. Being kind to ourselves and others...forgiving...all takes acceptance. We don't have to like or agree with ____(fill in the blank) but accepting is the first step in change. I often think of the Serenity puts things in perspective for me. emoticon

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ONEKIDSMOM 2/3/2013 1:10PM

    Yeah, wow is the right word. Sometimes you sit there in church and something just puts itself right out there for you. May you let yourself (and the rest) off the dungeon walls.

Because ALL of you (even you, John) are covered by the grace of God. Let the healing begin! emoticon

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KATHRYN1955 2/3/2013 12:50PM

    I too, thought I was getting better at this forgiving others and myself business, but a recent trigger around addictions issues has me realizing that I have a ways to go yet. There are a few people, including myself, who are still chained to that wall in the dungeon. I need to set all us free in order to truly know that I deserve all that comes with healthier behaviour.
Self-sabotage comes in many forms.
Thank-you, once again, John, for being strong enough to share your (perceived) weaknesses.
Take care,
emoticon emoticon emoticon
(healing angels for all of us!!)

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SILLYHP1953 2/3/2013 12:29PM

    Wow...again, Wow. I thought I was getting better at forgiving other people, not myself, but others. Then I started spending many nights at my mother's home after she broke her hip, and realized I have not fully forgiven her for not being there for me growing up. I guess there's a reason I'm the one staying with her cause I'm the one that needs to deal/heal. And I won't even begin to go into my inability to forgive myself, except that I am working on it. Thank you, John, as always, your carpentry skills are right on.

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GRAYCATBIRD 2/3/2013 12:28PM

    This is a beautiful post, one I needed to read today, too. I identified with so much of what you said! I'm trying to let my Higher Power lead me to emotional and physical health, and one of the loudest voices that's not letting me hear my Higher Power's guidance is that of self-condemnation. At a retreat I went to once, a Buddhist teacher said, "Compassion starts at home, and spreads." I asked that same teacher what I could do about my eating problem, and he said, "Self-kindness." He didn't elaborate -- that was it.

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VICKI-BISHOP56 2/3/2013 11:55AM

  Another good blog John, and one I needed today. Thank you. emoticon emoticon emoticon

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HDHAWK 2/3/2013 11:41AM

    Oh boy. How do you always know what I'm thinking?! I have 2 people in my life (other than myself) that I know I should forgive. I don't even know how to start. I think I've tucked the feelings into a corner where I don't deal with them. I know, not a good plan.

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WISLNDR 2/3/2013 11:28AM

    I have a post-it note taped to my desk that says "Forgiveness leads to Healing." I wrote it down a few months ago as I was analyzing the path I am on right now and where I think I'd like to go from here. It's a powerful lesson I need to be reminded of every day; I'm happy to have discovered that you're on the same path!!


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