We were recently burglarized.
I returned home just after nine in the evening and on entering the garage, I noticed the back door and frame had been smashed open. My heart leaped as I immediately realized that burglars had entered our house. When I opened the door, I saw the contents of every drawer in the house strewn over the floors and corridors.
I felt angry and defiled. Painfully, we began the task of calling the police and Insurance Company, cleaning up, replacing the doors, determining what had been stolen and preparing lists. We were comparatively lucky. Easily disposable items such a camera, camcorder and DVD were missing, as well as other things that we are still discovering, and all my wife’s good jewelry had gone–things that had great sentimental as well as monetary value.
The insurance covered the repairs and most of the equipment, but less than 5% of the value of the jewelry. The next evening as we sat finishing the lists for the police and Insurance Company, we decided from that moment on that we would let go of the anger and frustration and any other emotion the burglary had aroused in us. We decided we would not do the rounds of the Pawn Shops, as the police suggested, nor would we seek to replace any of her jewelry. We were just going to let go of the whole incident. We immediately felt so much better, and have remained so since.
It is not easy to let go, just like that. The human mind has a propensity to hang on to the past. It likes to churn over incidents and relive emotions long gone from its daily life. In my practice, I help people release a whole variety of emotions – from events that might appear to be insignificant, to big traumas that have had a huge impact on their lives. A good way of addressing this problem is to remind oneself that ‘Now’ is the only reality. As Eckhart Tolle so compellingly explains in “The Power of Now,” both the past and the future are but shadows and smoke, and the only substance that these thoughts have is what we give them by dwelling on remembered pain. This pain is like a parasite that has a life of its own and feeds on negative thoughts.
Let me give you an example. Recently an attractive client in her early 40s came to me for weight reduction, needing to lose about 50 pounds. When I questioned her unconscious mind in the hypnotic state, she told me about the sexual abuse – both physical and verbal – her former husband gave her over a period of years. She put on weight deliberately so that she appeared unattractive to him, until he finally walked out of the house for good. She was now happily remarried, but still held on to that out-of-date belief system. When she was able to let it go and move on, the pounds fell off. But, she also changed her diet and started exercising every day; those are also essential elements in reducing weight.
Sometimes there is a secondary gain that needs to be identified. For example, if someone is temporarily disabled but enjoys sympathy and financial support, or is worried about losing social security benefits, then their unconscious mind will do all in it’s power to protect them, and they will continue to hang on to that unnecessary piece of the past.
It can nearly always be helpful and beneficial to confront a problem again. You can use rituals to release and resolve things, such as grief. An example is that of a young woman who developed anorexia since the death of her younger brother in a tragic auto accident. The family was quiet about the loss of their son and forbade talk about it for over two years. Eventually the father called a family conference about the son’s clothing that remained in his closet. This brought emotions to a head. They all agreed to bury his clothing in the yard and plant a tree. The anorexic daughter participated in the digging, and soon afterwards began eating again.
Creating a ritual to release grief, the pain of a trauma, or those feeling of resentment from some past insult or injury that has been eating into you, can be so helpful. There are also lots of other ways, especially in a deep hypnotic state, that can allow you to ‘reframe’ those past thoughts or feelings, such as putting them in a new picture frame, and seeing this from a new angle or through a different pair of glasses.
So often, I come across victims of sexual abuse who are aggressively hurting themselves by holding onto the past. Thirty years might have passed, but that incident or the image of that person is being replayed constantly on the movie screen of their minds. Maybe you have something that has been eating at you for years. You will find that letting go and forgiving can dramatically change your life. Maybe now is time to move on, and start living in the ‘Now’.