I was on a coaching call with a client/ friend, and we were discussing how to deal with guilt, if the reason for the guilt is unresolved. For example, what do we do if we cheated on someone in the past, or stole from them, or lied to them.... but the victim never found out?
And now, in our present day reality, our level of consciousness is such that this kind of behaviour is unacceptable. We feel an urge to come clean, to wash our conscience in the rivers of confession, to let the person know how sorry we are and how we have changed.
Do we pick up the phone, dig up the past and confront someone with the truth of a situation that has long passed? Or do we let sleeping dogs lie? What is the least selfish, and most compassionate path to take?
The lingering feeling of guilt doesn't seem to help anyone, so how can we transform guilt into something useful?
I believe the answer lies in taking full responsibility for our past actions, and honouring any pain we caused and experienced. This idea of "honouring" our pain and suffering that we have felt and caused, may feel counter-intuitive, or even perverse. But hear me out.
"Thank You former me, for being an utter twat in the past"
We are who we are today because of all the thoughts, words and actions we had in the past. The good, the bad and the ugly.
Who we evolve into is a result of how we consciously choose to process all experience. And part of life is fcking up, and making mistakes. We all know this, yet we beat ourselves up as though we are the only pain causing creatures on earth.
I feel immensely grateful that in a former life, I was a massive twat at times. Everyone in the universe should be grateful for this, because through experiencing life at that level, I could scar myself and others. And through those scars we could learn, grow, evolve and start operating at a higher level of consciousness.
As I explained this and as my client took it it, I could feel the energy shift in him. All of a sudden, this pain, suffering and guilt was transformed from wasted negative energy, into useful, productive energy.
When I got off the phone, I was really feeling into the pain and suffering that I have caused and felt. The below lines poured out of me:
I honour the pain I have felt,
I honour the suffering I have caused,
I honour the guilt I have experienced,
I honour all my past actions,
For without the pain, suffering and guilt,
I would not be as wise and compassionate as I am today
And this is when the weird stuff happened: Spontaneous tears. I kid you not.
I started crying, but I couldn't help it. I was laughing that I was crying, but I still kept crying, in a laughing kinda way.
This has never happened to me before. Look, I'm a modern man... I'm down with crying, when I stub my toe, or when my Bonsai tree dies. Everytime I watch Top Gun and Goose dies, I'm a mess! Also, I spent most of last weekend in a very cute, flowery dress (at Australia Burning Man), and I loved it (maybe too much). I'm no macho man.
I'm cool with man-tears. Beyond that, I feel tears are an essential part of our emotional processing system.
After a break-up I once spent a solid week in bed, mostly crying those tears of grief where your whole body quivers like you are having a fit.
And from deep within, the bile and pain of the relationship just poured out.. until there were no more tears left.. I know those tears are like the watering of a new plant that grows from the fertile soil of pain.
I am all for crying!
We men, should do a lot more of it! (I just had a hilarious vision of a Modern Man Group-crying retreat. Schindler's List plays on the big screen, while we chop onions and pluck hairs out of our nose... anything to invoke sweet release!).
Crying is normal to me.. but not sat on the couch, on a sunny day, while in a jovial and purposeful mood. That is a first for me.
The power of release
Once I finished my solo session of spontaneous, joyful, sadness, I tried to rationalise what just happened. It was all very obvious.
I had experienced a release from the self-imposed chains of subconscious guilt.
It felt marvellous. I had a surf later that day, and I'd have to say, the solo crying session topped it.
So what does this mean? I am repressed. I bury emotions. I avoid pain. I look the other way. I get on with being busy with life, I achieve, progress and lean so far into the future that I often do not sit still long enough to process the past.
So, I have a new goal. To commit to ending this emotional constipation, and just let it all out. It feels (as my Spanish friend Javier says...) "HAMAZING"!.
How to release?
Just off the top of my head, without any research or deep thoughts:
1. Tell whoever you love, how and why you love them
2. Scream, dance and jiggle (solo or not). I scream underwater, when surfing. Feels awesome and less people think I'm a psycho than if I did this on land
3. Go LOOSE at a festival or party. Let your hair down. Wear a dress.
4. Get your tribal vibe on and dance around a fire or play some bongos
5. Write about how you feel
6. Hang out in nature as much as possible
7. Develop awareness of what you bury deep in there and why
8. Choose to charge your guilt and pain with the loving energy of renewal
9. Accept that the limitations in your life, are a prison of your own making. The key to freedom is authentic, expression
Let me know how you find your release in the comments and keep being awesome.
Adios, Love Jiro