2 weeks from today I’ll be traveling to Sedona, Arizona to join 20 other “strangers” for a 5 Day Writing Retreat. Taken from the website for the program: For most people, “I don’t have time” is the number one reason (read: excuse) for not writing that book they’ve been thinking, talking or dreaming of writing. Fear, the real reason, also comes up. The retreats are designed to overcome both.

In preparation for this process of tackling fear, I’ve been given various Meditation CDs to focus my mind as well as writing assignments aimed to clear a path so that I can connect with my inner truth.  Each assignment is meant to overcome a road block, whether it be to tap into the imagination or draw out pain that is shadowing the source.

Today’s assignments read:

1) Who has wronged you, hurt you? What was it that was done? When did it transpire and how has that adversely affected you, the direction and the quality of your life?

2) Write down the name of the person and next to it write down the words “I forgive you” and what you forgive them for.

It’s interesting for me to notice what comes up with this assignment. It seems the first names to pop into my mind are the guys that have hurt me over the years. It’s a fairly easy task to go back to the age of 16… the first time my heart felt like it was trampled and then fast forward to how that played a role in my future relationships. He promised me I could trust him and then he turned around and vanished. Then the age of 20, when the shift from ‘for now’ to a possible ‘forever’ scared him away, at the exact time in my life I needed him the most. This brings me to 31… learning how to let go of someone whom I loved dearly, but admitting to myself that he had no plans to put me at the top of his pedestal, no matter how hard I tried to change that.

The definition for hurt literally means: to feel pain. That is where this exercise is tricky! While writing about the “hurtful” people, I find myself being “thankful” that they helped me learn some of life’s most valuable lessons. I feel a sense of joy knowing that I grew from these experiences, in a positive way. There is no doubt that learning through relationships can be tough. We might feel a new emotion- one of anger or jealousy.  We could gain a new perspective, being the “other” girl or the “friend”. Perhaps we discover a new boundary within ourselves, a value that can not be compromised. It’s all part of the ebb and flow.  The cause and effect. But, when I stop to think about the people that have brought so much JOY to my life, I know that the awareness of hurt also brought with it the awareness of what it means not to hurt. Though it is easy to blame another and feel pain, it is just as easy to thank another and feel joy.  I believe it takes being hurt by someone to really appreciate and understand the joy that someone else actually brings- in whatever form that we receive it: a new adventure, a new friend, a new found peace.

Does this mean I have already forgiven everyone that has hurt me? I’d like to think so.

When something doesn’t go my way with someone else, though I might not feel it in the moment or the immediate time after, it doesn’t take long for the “silver lining”  to shine through. I’ve learned to recognize the good that comes out of a rather bad situation.  I’m able to see that one break up lead me to London for a semester overseas. One inspired me to fulfill a dream of backpacking Australia. One encouraged me to spend quality time discovering my own passions, more time with myself.  In addition to my heart breaks, I can’t pretend that a few friends have not hurt me along the way.  However, for those break-ups, I am grateful too. The “new” friends that came in as a result of the ones that walked away, are priceless…and meant to be in my life. It’s an example how gain outweighs loss. We all need time to heal from hurt. But in time, I am happy to realize that all my BUMPS are BLESSINGS.  Just as PEOPLE = POSSIBILITIES I find that the HURT = HEALING. One opens the door to another.

I woke up this morning feeling off balance. Like I hit a “bump”. And even today, this bump has been a blessing. Here I am, at the library, Pandora Nature sounds streaming through my headphones, feeling incredibly grounded. Would I have ended up at the library to gain balance if I had not felt the need to quiet my mind from the world today? Probably not. At the same time, would I be the person I am today, where I am today, had the people in my life not “hurt” me along the way? Definitely not.

I felt compelled to share this because I know many of you will connect with this assignment. Most people I am friends with have been hurt over the years, it’s their beautiful baggage that makes them the amazing people they are today 😉

Feel free to do this exercise yourself! Perhaps you need to be reminded who hurt you and who you need to forgive. It’s a wonderful eye opening experience.