Having a problem simply means you can’t see the solution. But someone else can often see the solution clearly. Rob McPhillipsYesterday my daughters and I had coffee with a friend who went through Choices a couple of months ago. He's a big, burly guy. Big hearted. Big mind. Big possibilities.
We chatted and laughed and told stories on ourselves and at one point, he asked, "How do I let go of that stuff from when I was a kid? From all those hurts?" He held one of his hands in front of him, giant palm facing up. "I know I dropped lots of it at Choices, but how do I keep dropping it when it keeps popping up in my mind" he asked, shaking his hand like a dog drying itself off.
Liseanne, my youngest daughter, is 21. She's vibrant and caring and very wise. She leaned towards him from where she sat across the table. "Don't think about forgetting the stuff," she said. "Just say, 'I forgive them'. Again and again and again. Whenever you think of something painful, immediately replace the thought with the idea, I forgive them."
T. sat back in his chair and stared at her. "What if I'm not ready to forgive them?" he asked.
"What if you quit thinking about being ready, and think about what you want more of in your life?" I asked.
Alexis, whose heart overflows in a continuous river of love, chimed in from where she sat at the table across from me. "I too have a hard time forgiving. I get a hard shell around my heart sometimes because I want to protect it. So, rather than thinking of forgiveness, I start with thinking about as my mom calls it, 'softening my heart'. Whenever I feel that fissure of anger erupt about someone else, I take a breath and fall into my softening heart."
When we'd first met for coffee, T. was anxious and upset. He lives in an environment that is not very supportive of the changes he's experienced since going through Choices. Due to his current circumstances, however, he needs to remain where he's at for a bit longer. He talked about how angry and anxious he is about being there. "There's no way I can 'fix' the problem of the people around me," he said.
Before we left him at the coffee shop last night, his mood had lifted. "I know what I'll do tonight," he said and listed off three things he could do to keep himself feeling positive and strong. "It's not about them," he said. "It's about me. The choices I make and where I focus my attention."
Stuck in the darkness of the problem, T. couldn't see his way clear to his power. Feeding off the energy of three people who love him, T. turned his focus away from what felt impossible, to the possibilities we could see in falling in love with himself all over again.
It wasn't that we had the answers for him. We simply stood by him as he leaned into our love. In feeling our support, he caught his breath and found the space to refocus his thinking from the darkness to the light. In feeling our love, in breathing deeply into his own power, hope had room to leap in and lend a hand.
Through seeing the 'problem' as not being the other people, but rather where he was placing his attention, T. came up with his own solution to stop giving into what was causing him pain. By sharing his fears, he surrendered and fell in love. With courage in hand, he fell into that mystical place where all things are possible, as long as we don't give up on loving ourselves for all we're worth.
It was a powerful lesson in what happens when we quit getting in our own way and simply let people love us where ever we're at. As they hold a place for us to find ourselves again, we connect with our courage, breathe deeply and move away from fear into the love of being where we want to be.
The question is: Are you closing yourself off from love or leaning into the support of those who love you? Are you shutting yourself off in fearing the problem, or opening yourself up to the help others have to offer in helping you find a solution?