Remember all those school textbooks you carried with you when you were a kid? They were heavy, they weighed you down, but you couldn’t hope to keep up with the class if you didn’t have them. You needed them and they served you. Regardless of whether you remember the books, the teachers you didn’t like or the kids who picked on you, you learned whatever suited you in school and you discarded the rest, and today you don’t need to carry the books around nor store them because the information they contained is something you have integrated.
Sometimes it’s not quite like that with a memory, a time in our lives, or a traumatic event. We went through an experience, we learned the lesson, but there are things we’re still holding in our mind, our body, or our emotions. And yet there is no need to retain the baggage – the sorrow, the heaviness, the drama, the fear and the pain that may have accompanied the experience. You learned something, and you can let go of those emotions just as you let go of the old textbooks that taught you.
But what to do if those emotions are still there after the lesson? Or what if you’ve worked to release the emotions, and they still persist?
The sorrow, pain or heaviness that might still be there serve a purpose: they are a reminder that the baggage is still with us and it’s an opportunity to acknowledge the wisdom that experience brought. We can treat them not as a chance to get emotionally lost in the drama of long ago but as information to be noticed. Sometimes, those emotions tend to be like onions, and when they surface to be healed it doesn’t mean that we didn’t already address the stuff in the previous layer but rather that we’re working now on something deeper.
Eventually we can replace those emotions with love, joy or compassion. The lessons will remain, but without the textbooks to weigh us down.
Photo credit: anotherkindofdrew