A reader writes:
I wrote a letter of apology to someone against whom I have harbored resentment for many, many years. This person, my father, has been dead since I was a young woman.
At first it was ludicrous — me apologizing to him?!? It should be the other way around! But I did it, I apologized to him for harboring resentment towards him. Jett, it was like magic. It freed me! All this time I’d thought that his evil deeds against me had damaged me and crippled me forever, that I would never get out from under what he did. Working on that letter (and it took several drafts) I realized that while his evil deeds may have damaged me initially, it was my resentment that kept me crippled. Wow, what an insight! My resentment kept me tied to him! What a revelation! I looked at it every which way, and I had to admit it was true. I had crippled myself with my resentment.
Then I had to write a letter of apology to myself! I had to acknowledge that I had kept myself crippled, even as I blamed him. I apologized to myself for crippling myself with resentment. Then I wrote another letter to my father, apologizing for blaming him for something that I had done to myself.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t all of sudden think that my father was a saint. He was an evil man. But I can let that go now. At 55, I can finally let that go and be free. That was then and this is now. And now I am free. I can’t tell you how good it feels!! Magic letters of apology!!! Thank you for this wonderful teaching!
I am in Duluth. Actually, I’m about 10 miles north of Duluth on Hwy. 53. I expect to be here all summer. If you want a reading in person, let me know. I suggest that you schedule your reading sooner rather than later — even though I expect to be here all summer, I’m here because of my spouse’s job, which always means that things can change at a moment’s notice. Call me or email me to schedule your reading.
I am finding many benefits from reviewing the previous days (and decades) as I write my letter of apology in the morning.
Here’s one: As I clean up the past, I become aware in the present. I am aware, in the moment, of interactions that I am about to leave unresolved.
For example, in the midst of a conversation, I become aware that my words and my energy do not match. Perhaps I am speaking gracious words, but feeling judgmental of the person I’m speaking to. My awareness gives me the opportunity to change my energy to match my words.
I was reading a novel, and a sentence caught my attention.
“If one followed the well-ordered life, one would start each day with the writing of one’s letters of apology.”
If there is the need for an apology, it shows that there exists an experience that is unresolved. Any experience of mine that is unresolved holds a bit of my energy. No matter how long ago the experience happened, when a situation is unresolved, some energetic piece of me remains there.
I don’t want pieces of me hanging out elsewhere and elsewhen. I want all of my energy present and available to me now. So it behooves me to resolve those unresolved situations. Starting my day by writing my letters of apology is one way to achieve resolution.
So I’m going to give it a try. I’ll begin each day this week by writing a letter of apology. I’m interested to see where it will take me.
Are you game? Will you join me?
A reader replied to last week’s Notes:
“Years ago, at the depths of winter depression, I knew I had to do something drastic to rescue myself. I took a day off work (something I only do when I’m sick) and dubbed it “New Day.” I made sure that everything I did was a departure from normal. In addition to altering the little rituals you mentioned and wearing clothes from the back of the closet, I took myself out for breakfast, whIch I never do, to a place I’d always wanted to go but never been, using none of my usual routes. I bought a county map, closed my eyes and pointed to an area, then went there. I visited Walbo, Dalbo and Day. Met strangers. Asked questions. Stopped along the road to explore. Lived new life. It was a wonderful antidote, and the lessons stuck with me. I highly recommend it.”
We are en route. Debra’s job wants her in Duluth by the 11th, so that’s what we’re striving for.