Letting Yourself off the Hook

Have you done something wrong? Maybe someone else thinks that you did, and they’ve placed you on a hook for it.

Perhaps you recognize an error you’ve made and can’t get past it.

What do you do?

Clearly, this may be simple or quite complex and no one answer exists for all situations. You may or may not agree that you belong on the hook. You may not think that the source of controversy is important or any big deal. You may disagree completely and believe you are blameless.

But, even if you are, knowing that others do not share your opinion can create difficulties and challenges for you.

I wonder what inner part of us controls our decisions about accepting and releasing blame. I wonder too when does blame turn into shame?

I know for sure that both blame and shame are extremely heavy loads to carry, especially if you feel you have to carry them for a long period of time. I don’t think any of us are prepared for that.

So, what resources are available to us?

I believe it is true that lots of perceptive, intelligent, and self-aware folks exist in the world. Many have made it a part of their mission to help those facing blame and shame issues. They have wonderful and insightful things to say and provide a host of suggestions about what to do. If you’d like, you can find them through an internet search.

But what if you don’t have access to their work?

Perhaps that’s the time to focus on your inner resources and your divine self, to call upon your immense strength and your accumulated wisdom from your years here on this earth.

I’d like you to consider that there is a sacred part of you that knows all things, but as of yet, has not been called upon for answers.

I confess this approach requires that you acknowledge you are connected to the divine and the source of all wisdom. Just because I believe this to be true isn’t enough. For there to be any divine aid in resolving blame and shame, you would need to make the decision that you are a part of god.

For just a moment, suspend any sense of disbelief and open to the possibility that you have access to greater wisdom. Allow yourself to conceive that you are directly connected to the divine. And that you can ask and receive answers to all of your questions.

Imagine that there is an answer for you, a solution, and a way forward.

Take a moment and sit back, close your eyes, and breathe in and out gently. Ask for help and guidance. Smile to let the love in. Be open to knowing that there is a center line running through you of joy. A joy that accepts you as you are and understands that you say and do things from a place of unknowing. You are present on earth as an unfolding of perfection. Not perfect itself, but an unfolding into perfection. And as you unfold, recognize that blame and shame do not serve you, other than to point the way past themselves so that you may see more clearly. Know that joy is your natural inner path toward all things.

From this relaxed place, release yourself from any hooks you may be encountering and allow your heart to guide you to the answer you seek and to the way forward that lets go of blame and shame and embraces love and joy. Once in the arms of love and joy, life flows easily.

Peace be with you and inside of you.

Four-Year-Old Eyes

For a few moments pretend that you are a four-year-old boy. You’re at the grocery store with your mom and you’re sitting in the shopping cart. Not in the seat where you stick your legs through the slots. That’s for babies. You’re a big kid and you’re sitting where all the groceries go.

You and your mom are done shopping and are now waiting to check out. You’re looking around and spot a really cool looking toy. You don’t know why it’s in the grocery store, but there it is.

So, you ask your mom if she’ll buy it for you. You can tell by the look on her face the answer is probably going to be ‘no’.

She looks at you, but doesn’t say anything right away. You can tell she’s thinking things over, but isn’t sure of her decision. It seems simple to you, it’s either ‘yes’ or ‘no’.

Her answer surprises you.

She says, “No, honey, we can’t buy that today.” You thought so. That part doesn’t surprise you at all.

But, the next part does, because she goes on to say, “It’s almost Christmas, so you can ask Santa for it. Maybe he’ll bring it to you…IF you’re a good boy.” She continues, “You know Santa is always watching, so you’ll have to be good.”

That last part changes everything for you. There’s no way you can be good all the time. Sometimes you’re in a bad mood or are over tired. And sometimes your little sister is so annoying you scream at her. You apologize later, but you’re not sure if that counts.

And then another thought strikes you and it’s kind of scary. What does she mean, Santa’s always watching? How? You want to ask, but you’re not sure you really want to know the answer.

Why did she have to say that, you wonder? Up until then you thought Santa was fat and jolly, wore a red suit and loved to bring toys to kids. You had no idea he was watching you all the time.

And finally, another idea hits you. If I don’t do what other people want, I won’t get what I want. I could see all of this in his eyes.

This event really happened the last time I was at the grocery store. Of course, I’ve supplied what he was thinking. That was very easy for me, because there’s a strong part of me that is still four years old. Don’t believe me, ask any of my grandchildren.

Here’s what troubles me about this story.

Not only does it fill the boy with unnecessary fear, but it also directs all of his efforts into pleasing other people. And, it takes away his power and gives it to others.

I don’t want to place blame on the mom. She’s probably only repeating what she heard as a child. I’ve probably even done or said the same kind of thing, without considering the impact.

So, what could she have done or said?

How about this.

She could have said that it was possible, that together, they could think of ways for him to get the toy he wanted. That he could put it on his Christmas list and wait to see if it arrived on Christmas morning. If it didn’t, perhaps he could do a few extra chores around the house to earn the money to buy it later. She could help him see that HE has power inside of himself and let him know that she will always help him.

I would love to have heard that.

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