What Are You Still Carrying?

This is a repost from a couple of years ago.  It’s something I need to remind myself of regularly, so I thought I’d share it with you again:

Although all we really have is this moment, most of us spend much of our energy and time in the past or in the future.  As humans, I don’t think we can completely get away from that, but we need to remember that the only place we have any power is right now.  Here’s a story that illustrates how many of us carry around events and people that are weighing us down.

The story: Two monks were walking down a road in silence as they came upon a young woman who had been injured. One of the monks picked the woman up and carried her to help. Assured that she was in good hands, they continued their journey in silence. Several miles later, the other monk said, “Why did you pick up that woman? We’re not supposed to touch women.” The first monk simply said, “Are you still carrying her? I put her down miles ago.”

How many times have we carried someone or something from years ago? Our bodies & minds work together. Although the body is intelligent, it doesn’t know the difference between what’s really happening now and a thought. So if our thoughts keep dwelling on negative experiences or resentments towards others who have hurt us, then the body reacts to that as if it’s happening now and continues to feel the pain of the event. If we continually ask “why?” that’s a form of resistance, and the pain will remain. It often even develops into physical or emotional illnesses, or compulsive behaviors whose purpose is to continue to avoid feeling.

However, if we can just accept that this is a painful situation, allow ourselves to feel it and work through it, we will eventually be able to let it go.

Acceptance is the key, as the following excerpt from the Big Book of AA says so beautifully:

Acceptance is the answer to all my problems today.

When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing, or situation — some fact of my life — unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing, or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment.

Nothing, absolutely nothing happens in God’s world by mistake.

Unless I accept life completely on life’s terms, I cannot be happy.

I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world as on what needs to be changed in me and in my attitudes.

-Alcoholics Anonymous