Today is Old Imbolc, the actual cross quarter day in the Wheel of the Year. Today in honor of Imbolc, I am cleaning house, both inside and out. Today I am mediating and letting go of some old hurts and some disruptive/negative attachments. I am also working on my gratitude list and writing letters to people I cherish (and who cherish me) or catching up with these loved ones by phone.
Today I am thinking and writing and talking to others about what it means to let go of old hurts and to forgive someone as a Pagan. Today, in my rituals, I put some of those hurts on the bonfire or let them flow into ground for earth to break down and renew as only Gaia can. Today I bless and release some pain I've been carrying around for a while because it no longer belongs to me. In fact, it never did.
This brings me back full circle to what I learned when I first entered ACA (Adult Children of Alcoholics) meetings over 25 years ago. It's this: letting go of hurts and forgiving someone who hurt me is not something I do for them. It is something I do for myself. I do it so I can move forward without the burden of pain, resentment and anger that I've been carrying. It is about my freedom, my healing and my survival. For me, it is a critical component in my recovery. Dislodging that harmful, pain-filled energy inside my chest allows light and air into my life and supports my joy, my creativity, and my physical health (for this burden adds to my stress which weakens me, and keeps the weight on, as well). Letting go, as we call, it also enhances my capacity to love and be loved.
I've been doing this work for over 25 years, and it has always been worth the struggle it takes to let go. To quote my old sponsor, a woman who had crawled through the emotional equivalent of ground glass to get to a place of peace and compassion and who, all gods bless her, had a wicked sense of humor, "Why should those $#*@ers get to live rent-free my head?".
Today, I also forgive myself for those times I missed the mark; when I failed myself or my loved ones in word or deed (or simply by not paying enough conscious attention) or when my lack of wise judgment or compassion caused pain. I cannot move forward without this blessing and release. I accept that fact without any need for further shame or guilt, without wallowing in received shame or guilt from any religion, culture or family and without needing anyone, a priest or a god, to do it for me. I am all the priestess I need and my connection to the sacred well is for me to tend, and me alone. I accept that gift and the responsibility that comes with it.
So it is that my Imboc rituals this week are done to restore balance, whether it be balance between me and another person, former me and me today or me and that which is greater than me of which I am a part. In in all these cases, I now know that I can make a mistake without being a mistake, a lesson that took me years to learn, and my rituals are loving and warm hearted as a result. Yes, they can be bittersweet, but their focus makes them more sweet than bitter, and there, right there, we come to the very soul and center of my practice.
Life gives us the test first and the lesson afterwards
I accept the lessons (even when they are brought to me by difficult people, even when I bring them on myself). I accept the understanding each lesson brings because I don't wish to repeat dysfunctional behavior or let others engage in behavior that brings pain to me. That is what it means to me to forgive and let go, to bless and release, as a Pagan. I do not forget, forgetting simply means I haven't learned, but I don't obsess or dwell on it any more, either. I do learn the greater lesson which is how this event fits into my life story, and what tools it brings me that I can use today, and how my understanding can help and support others on the path. In other words, because I am a practicing Pagan, I know how to let go and learn in ways that are useful, creative, healing and full of meaning.
With all that in mind, I would like to share this quote today. Take what you need and leave the rest:
"The purity of the Imbolc symbolism is very much part of the newness of the year. Life is refreshed by cleansing, by letting go. This is a time to release attachment to past pain, to let go of whatever out-dated stories about yourself and your life you are hanging onto, to allow the healing of forgiveness and acceptance to soothe old injuries of heart and soul.
It is an excellent time to review what has and has not already been achieved, and to assess which of your dreams you still want to pursue and which ones you might as well let go of.
It's a potent time to clear away past disappointments, to let go of old ideas about yourself, and step fully into the present. And on the mundane and physical level, it's a great time to clear out and give away all that stuff you no longer need."
- Elsa P
Go well stay well,
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