Today as I was reading a book by SARK called Make Your Creative Dreams Real that was given to me as a gift by my friend Cynthia Perkel since she knows I’m a creative soul, I turned to a page that had the words Grudge Island splashed on it. Hmmm….I wonder what it would be like to be a castaway swept aside on its shores? Not a particularly welcoming coastline; probably rocky with rip currents that could dash you against them. Likely gale force winds batter it about and scorpions, snakes and carnivorous plants inhabit it. Why the heck would anyone want to go there for a brief visit, let alone take up residence?
Tonight I facilitated my weekly women’s support group at a drug and alcohol outpatient program. Those who attend are in various stages of recovery and have most definitely spent time on Grudge Island. Before the group began, I drew a little island with a palm tree smack dab in the middle and tiny sailboat floating in the water next to it. I then asked them what would be on the island and they called out words like resentments, anger, betrayal, you did this to me, it’s your fault, bitterness, victimhood… I followed up with inquiring about the name that would be painted on the boat that could help them escape should they choose to do so. One woman got up and wrote the words The Good Ship Forgiveness (kind of like The Good Ship Lollipop). All of them chose to leave the island.
Grudges can be overwhelmingly heavy and tempting to carry at the same time. We may think that we will never let go, but what we hold onto holds onto us. Ask yourself what it is that you might want to release, so as to be able to live more freely and fully. I shared about an unresolved issue that I had carried until a few years ago, when I came clean with someone I knew as a teenager, who had made a comment when we were 13 or 14 that I literally felt burdened by it since I had hauled it around for so long.
I know that there are times when I still intentionally swim ashore, self righteously proclaiming that someone else exiled me there. I look around the environs for a brief time and then decided that it would best serve me to set sail out of there, rather than dropping anchor and remaining.