19 March 2015
Kick Guilt in the Butt
Today I wanted to talk about guilt. The kind of guilt that you might have when you read of tragedies in the news and wonder how it is that you have a roof over head and a meal to eat. The kind of guilt that depresses you and puts a sick feeling in your gut.
I felt this kind of guilt, big time, after Hurricane Sandy in NYC. I felt guilt that we had the warmth and comfort of our home. Guilt that we had a refrigerator and stove that worked, lights and warm meals, and all chips and salsa and crocks of homemade chili that we wanted. People literally across the street from my living room were displaced from their homes and in a rescue facility sleeping on cots.
But I was smacked in the face by how debilitating that guilt was. At times, it literally paralyzed me motionless on the couch because it was such a depressing feeling.
And so - duh...what did I know I needed to do? I needed to pursue a virtue, instead. And I mean- pursue with all my heart -because there was work to be done and the guilt was getting me exactly no where. I know darn well by now that pursuing a virtue can literally uproot your unfavorable state! It's quite insanely impressive, actually. We're talking one big good-bye to guilt. Pursuing a virtue is hands down the-most-healing-action I know of!
In this case, it was clear to me that the virtue I needed to pursue and embody was Gratitude- gratitude that someone out there with a destroyed home could have me show up to rip out their soaked walls and perhaps relieve just a speck of their hopelessness, gratitude that I had resources and food to offer people, gratitude that I had health and auto-gas and the ability to get out to the hard-hit areas, gratitude that even a warm bowl of chili at home could fuel me to go out and do more. I knew that gratitude needed to dominate my soul. Yep, I needed a complete takeover. You see, gratitude brings positive energy and a positive vibration; it's capable of moving you forward into compassionate action - with your work boots on - instead of being depressed on the couch. Gratitude gives you the positive energy you need to be a good influence. Gratitude fills your heart with love. Guilt, on the other hand? It only makes you a slug...heavy, weighed-down, useless, conflicted and preoccupied in your heart and mind, unable to propel forward or to be of service.
I'd love to hear your thoughts!
P.S. I think transforming guilt to gratitude also works for other kinds of guilt. The kind of guilt related to something crappy that you did. That guilt can ONLY weigh you down. So, focus on gratitude. Gratitude that you can move on. Gratitude that you had a crappy experience that you learned from. Gratitude for this imperfect life and our imperfect actions - because they TEACH US WHAT WE NEED TO LEARN. Gratitude that you can now have compassion for others like you - others who also feel imperfect. It is often our imperfections and pain that unites us together.
(photos by the amazing Melissa Hope, fellow moldy wall ripper outer.)
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