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You're always happy. How do you do it? Saturday May 24, 2014

I've been struggling recently with 2 different sets of feelings that adversely affect my mood.

1) A sense of injustice and pain over some things that have been said and done to me.
2) Feelings of guilt over things that I have said or done unwisely; choices that I have made and regretted.

Each time I think I've put them to bed they seem to come lurking back.

I've been reading a brilliant book recently "Light between Oceans" by M L Stedman, a story about a young man, Tom, returning home to Western Australia after WW1, burdened with memories of the terrible things he has seen and been forced to do.

In the book one of the characters, Hannah, recalls a conversation with her husband:

Hannah to her husband Frank: "But how? How can you just get over these things darling? You've had so much strife but you're always happy. How do you do it?"

Frank : "Because I choose to. I can leave myself to rot in the past, spend my time hating people for what happened, like my father did, or I can forgive and forget."

Hannah: "But it's not easy."

Frank. "Oh, but my treasure, it is so much less exhausting. You only have to forgive once. To resent, you have to do it all day every day. You have to keep remembering all the bad things. I would have to make a list, a very very long list, and make sure I hated the people on it the right amount. That I did a proper job of hating, too: very Teutonic! No," his voice became sober, "We always have a choice. All of us."

That's it, isn't it? We may not choose the circumstance or how we feel immediately when it happens, but we can choose how we feed our responses. It may not be easy, but it is so much better for us.

As Tom said "I've learned the hard way that to have any kind of a future you've got to give up hope of ever changing your past."

A Moodscope member.

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Anonymous Sat, May 24th 2014 @ 7:21am

'to have any kind of a future you've got to give up hope of ever changing your past." Love this, thank you Fionna! I am in the process of doing this. Some days are hard and others not so. I didn't expect to feel so liberated. Really enjoyed reading your post. Love from the room above the garage.

Anonymous Sat, May 24th 2014 @ 8:23am

Thank you Fionna for a thoughtful and thought producing post. Forgiveness is something we know we should do, but knowing how to do it is the key.

Julia Sat, May 24th 2014 @ 8:41am

Hi Fionna. I like this! I have largely forgotten bad choices I made and the person who damaged me in the past. Or let's say I don't dwell on them any longer. The choices we make are the ones that seem right at the time. Hindsight is a wonderful thing but it's not available when we make these choices.I cant forgive that person but can forget him. I can forgive myself but I don't forget myself during that period, if this makes sense. I remember my actions, feelings and what I was going through vividly but with kindness and understanding and in isolation from the person who took advantage of my weakness then. Thanks Fionna for this. An exceptional blog..

Mary Blackhurst Hill Sat, May 24th 2014 @ 9:27am

Fionna, this is a wonderful and wise blog. Thank you.

Anonymous Sat, May 24th 2014 @ 10:15am

Thanks for a wonderful post Fionna. It's so true, move forward by freeing yourself from mistakes made in the past. I cut and carry on and I feel burdens lifted that I didn't even know I was carrying, they had become so familiar. We can't change the past but we can change our future.

Anonymous Sat, May 24th 2014 @ 10:27am

Thank you for sharing this story i know somedays when my mind wanders down paths that are not used as much these days as i am still learning to forget and forgive so i can find peace for the most part i have it covered but have to keep repeating i am loving and loveable alot throughout the day and other affamations i also have an affamation app on my phone that goes of every hour to remind me to

we can only control our thoughts and the words that we speak and being kind forgiving and gentle to ourselfs is the first step on the road of peace

Cassy xx

Anonymous Sat, May 24th 2014 @ 11:54am

Says it all - just brilliant. The route to Mindfulness. Well expressed Fionna.

vanessa Sat, May 24th 2014 @ 1:56pm

Thank you so much Fionna, thats enormously helpful. I'm going to write out that quote and stick it up somewhere! Vanessa x

Anonymous Sat, May 24th 2014 @ 9:39pm

I'm keeping this one and sharing it with my husband! Excellent passage and I love the quote in your conclusion. Libby :-)

Arjay Sat, May 24th 2014 @ 11:26pm

Brilliant. Wise and insightful. I shall be making a note of the above book and seeking it out. A gem of a tenet, 'to have any hope of a future, you have to give up all hope of ever changing your past' - brilliant. Thank you for sharing.

David Jarvis Sat, May 24th 2014 @ 11:46pm

Great blog, thanks Fionna.
My own feelings are that I'm not sure we do actually have a choice. I think we have the illusion of a choice but the 'choices' we make are the only ones we could have made. There are so many influences behind every perceived 'choice' we make. When looking at the reasons why we made a certain 'choice' we often only look at a shallow level, if we were to map it out the influencing factors would be innumerable and too many to write down. Maybe we were too afraid to do the right thing in a situation, but why were we afraid? where did that fear come from, what influenced it and continues to let it have a hold over us. I think we like to think we make choices because it adds value to our lives. We can say 'I chose to do this good thing, many other people haven't chosen to do what I have done, they didn't make that choice because they are (insert negative connotation), therefore I can feel good about myself'. I think the 'choices' we make are actually the accumulation of random influences and whether we chose to forgive, for instance, depends on whether those influences, combined with our own personalities have put us in a place of real self-awareness. A place where we can fully understand the concept of forgiveness.
How many times have you read or heard something such as the wise quotes from the book above or from many moodscope blogs and thought 'Yeah, I really understand and agree with that' but it's often not until a life circumstance has put us in a position to really live it out that we truly understand and we think in amazement 'Now I really know what that meant'.
I've gone on a bit there and I know this sounds like a deconstructive point to make but I make it because I think it helps when it comes to forgiveness. If we can understand that the 'choices' we make are the only ones we're capable of at the time then we can hopefully see that the same applies to everyone else. There are always multiple reasons behind peoples actions, reasons that even they are not aware of. This view helps us to not take it so personally and recognise that we're all on this journey together and we're all at different points on the line towards self-awareness. I believe that some people are born further along that line than others and this makes it more likely that they will make the kind of 'choices' that benefit themselves and those around them.
Some people are born into bad environments and go on to change their circumstances where as some never escape them. I believe that that is down to a combination of those random circumstances and their individual combination of faculties to understand (for want of a better way of phrasing it).
If we can throw off our pride in the 'choices' we make and only seek to understand the reasons, I think we can be a more tolerant and caring society.
I've mentioned this view point on a couple of blogs before and I'm conscious that I may be labouring the point so sorry if it seems like that to anyone. I just feel like it's a very powerful and healing concept.

Lex McKee Sun, May 25th 2014 @ 8:17am


Anonymous Sun, May 25th 2014 @ 4:35pm

Thank You Fionna and to everyone else for commenting. I love reading everyone's comments and getting perspective.

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