“How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours. With everything that has happened to you, you can either feel sorry for yourself or treat what has happened as a gift. Everything is either an opportunity to grow or an obstacle to keep you from growing. You get to choose.
Wayne W. Dyer”
This quote brings to mind the three day seminar I took years ago. It focused on facing old hurts and fears, bringing them out into the light, talking about them and how they made you feel, and, finally, how to purge them forever. I swear I have never had a harder three days in my life.
My usual reaction to hurt and fear is to hole up, keep away from others, suffer in silence and finally, never speak of it again. That works for a while, but sooner or later, those old ghosts come to call.
In the seminar, we were all challenged to expose at least one of our past traumas to the entire group. I remember sitting on a hard chair on a small stage with the whole group watching me. The past hurt I had chosen to expunge from my life was when my first husband cheated on me. I never saw it coming, and because I didn’t, I felt stupid as well as hurt.
The process of getting through and past this trauma was a lot like what I imagine Navy Seal training to be; first, you are broken down to dust. All the things that make you you are laid out for the world to see. It was like being filleted alive with an audience watching.
Once you are broken down, the process of building you up begins. My immediate reaction was not to trust it; why should I after that brutal break-down process? But slowly I realized that you must incise that hard boil of past pain and hurt, and let the poison drain out once and for all.
I can’t say that it was fun, but it did work. Once all that backed-up hurt and anger bled out, I could see the situation clearly for the first time. I realize now that it was my pride that had been hurt, not my heart.
After that, I was able to let go of all my anger, fear, sorrow and hurt, but most of all that feeling that it had somehow been my fault. I can honestly say now, eighteen years later, I feel absolutely nothing about it. It’s just as if it happened to another person. When I think of my first husband, I feel nothing—no emotion at all.
When I first read this quote by Wayne Dyer, “how people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours,” I thought of that seminar. I realize now that my ex-husband (or “wasband”) is the one to carry that memory and perhaps burden of what he did to me; I don’t. I don’t because I was finally able to let it all go, thanks to that seminar.
One of the most important things I learned during those three days was that holding on to the past keeps you from so much. In my case, it kept me from forming any relationship with a man; my trust was gone. It kept me from trying new things; I was afraid to fail. Worst of all, it made me put up walls between me and the people I truly loved.
Putting up walls made me weak; exposing my fears and hurts to the light of day made me strong. The great wall I felt I had built around myself turned out to only be a sprinkle of tiny stones.
And anyone can walk over those.