Week 4: ‘Cleaning’ Your Past

Cleaning is about taking personal responsibility for the issues and difficulties you’ve observed in your own relationships. It means forgiving yourself and others and letting go. You have to release yourself from the emotional shackles of the past before you can have a truly healthy relationship. There are many ways in which you can work on psychological cleaning.

It’s About Forgiveness

Forgiving yourself and others is essential. When you harbor grievances from your past, you run the risk of projecting them onto your current relationship, which causes unnecessary stress.

 

Forgiving yourself and your former partners, siblings, parents and friends is one of the most powerful things you can do to release yourself from the weight of past friction, resistance, grudges, judgments and other issues.

 

Understand that any negative judgment or opinion you hold about yourself or others is a burden that you carry. Your goal is to become as light and free of baggage as you possibly can. As you free yourself more and more from the accumulated weight of these grievances, you’ll be astonished at how much better you feel. You are not going through this process for anyone else but yourself. This is not a moral imperative. It’s not part of some dogma. It’s purely a gift you give yourself to lighten your load and step up to the next level. No one else even needs to know about it.

 

Below are several techniques to help you do some emotional house cleaning. Take some time this week (and beyond), come back to this page and work on these exercises as often as you can.

 

Exercises:

A. First write about the ways in which you’ve been wounded by your past relationships. Are you still carrying around grievances? Are you harboring resentment toward a past love for perceived wrongs? If so, write them down and get in touch with your feelings.

You need to know what those feelings feel like in your body as sensations so you can give them the attention they need to dissolve.

The way you perceive the behavior of others can sometimes actually be the result of your expectations. Your life experience is a filter from which you perceive the actions and words of everybody you relate to. They cause you to interpret what you hear and see in ways that match your expectations or beliefs.

Others might not have meant to hurt you. We attract what we expect. So the stories you tell yourself about intimate partners, for instance, could cause you to attract people who have those characteristics that you’ve experienced before and on some level believe to be true about people.

Now write about the ways in which you’ve consciously or unconsciously wronged others.

Your actions or words might have been (mis)perceived as mean or cruel based on the conditioning of your loved one. Or you may have hurt others because you feared getting close and needed to distance yourself. So you behaved in unconscious ways to accomplish feeling safe.

 

B. Make amends

Asking others for forgiveness: Write a letter to someone you need to forgive or ask for forgiveness from. This can be done either actually or in a letter that you don’t send.

C. The Work (Byron Katie)

  • The Turn Around – If you find yourself feeling really bugged at something, there’s a reason you’re having such a big reaction. You may be reacting to and judging somebody who’s behaving the very same way you do. It’s a lot easier to identify others’ unpleasant behavior than your own. In fact, it’s quite normal to be oblivious to our own style and just presume that it’s perfectly normal and acceptable. We may have been told subtly or even overtly by people in our lives that our behavior is sub-optimal. But, unless we’re open to listening to feedback, we don’t hear it. The truth is, when we register a severe reaction to other people in a particular situation, it most often has to do with the fact that it hits home for us in one of these ways:

  • The situation could be pointing out that we’re angry at ourselves for not establishing authentic boundaries.
  • It could be that we engage in the very same type of behavior ourselves. It’s not uncommon for people in these situations to judge others for what we don’t see or won’t admit in ourselves. It could also be that we would never allow ourselves to behave that way, and if we did, we wouldn’t accept it in ourselves so we withhold acceptance from others. Becoming aware of this helps us learn to accept ourselves and our humanness. Sometimes it’s difficult to admit to ourselves that we too are human and make the same mistakes or oversights. When we can acknowledge that we are works-in-progress, we begin to see more clearly. This helps us evolve the details of our personality and behavior that stand between us and our complete blossoming.

 

D. I Forgive Myself and Others Mantra.

This cleaning technique is a very simple mantra: Repeat silently to yourself: ‘I forgive myself’ again and again. Repeat the mantra to yourself out loud or silently and each time you say “I forgive myself”, visualize yourself releasing tension, stress and any pressure you feel. Allow yourself to become lighter and lighter with each repetition. You are allowing all accumulated baggage to drop away from you. 

You are directing your forgiveness to yourself and others knowing that, at any moment in time, each person is doing the best they can. If they could be more understanding, compassionate, loving, kind or skillful, they certainly would. 

 

D. Ho’oponopono.

This technique emphasizes the importance of getting off the track of repeatedly reiterating what you fear, are dissatisfied with or concerned about. In order to change your vibration, you substitute a positive mantra in the place of these fears.

This powerful clearing technique asserts that when you have judgments, irritation, fear, worry, concern, stress, anxiety – any imaginable unwanted emotion, ‘cleaning’ on it will heal it.

What is cleaning? In this case, Ho ‘oponopono is an ancient Hawaiian technique based in the understanding that the world you experience happens within you. If you see a problem or something you don’t like in the outside world, the place to address the problem is within you.

If you see somebody starving in Africa on the television, clean on it. If you see your least favorite political party win the election, clean on it. If you get fired (or are afraid you might be in the future), clean on it. If your mate is bothering you and you would like them to change, clean on it. If you’re feeling physically ill or worried about your health, clean on it. If you are in the middle of an argument that’s going nowhere yet getting more intense, clean on it. Even if you don’t subscribe to the belief that everything is connected, even if you don’t think you could possibly affect the rest of the world by changing your own thought process and vibration, it will most certainly affect the way you feel and that is, without a doubt, going to make a significant change in your life experience. How? Without getting into a philosophical argument about whether in fact it is possible that your thoughts and intentions can and do have a broader dimension out in the big, wide world, we’ll just focus here on how letting go of resistance affects you.

You can define resistance here as having a problem with what is happening in your life and mind right here and now. When you hold judgements about others and worry about the future, feel guilty about the past, are stressed about how things are going right now — you’re basically carrying a heavy burden. This psychological-emotional burden is added to your psyche like a pellet of lead. Depending on how many things you’re carrying, your load might be quite heavy. this is both literal and metaphorical. Carrying a heavy load by worrying and stressing about potentialities really weighs down your mood. It also stresses you out and that is shown to be one of the most deleterious denigrators of human health. Ho ‘oponopono can clean up your mind and life. Here’s how to do it:

When you feel out of alignment with inner peace in any way, or have a judgment about yourself or others, use this ancient Hawaiian to realign yourself.

First, focus on whatever you’re judging or having a problem with.  Say to yourself: “I’m sorry, forgive me, thank you, I love you.” ‘I’m sorry’ and ‘forgive me’ is asking your Inner Presence to forgive the egoic (separate) self for thinking erroneous thoughts, which have caused your distress.

‘Thank you’ and ‘I love you’ offers love and gratitude to your Inner Presence. This will make you feel better and help you to let go of judgment. It reminds you that you’re responsible for any feelings you have about the particular circumstances. It also allows you to substitute a positive mantra for a negative complaint.

The energy you radiate out into the world is a result of the thoughts you cultivate. Whether you are judging yourself, a friend, or a world situation, your judgmental thoughts create an energetic vibration. Loving thoughts radiate love and are healing. Negative thoughts just aggravate the situation.