One of my favorite parables smacked me in the face today!
“A senior monk and a junior monk were traveling together. At one point, they came to a river with a strong current. As the monks were preparing to cross the river, they saw a very young and beautiful woman also attempting to cross. The young woman asked if they could help her cross to the other side.
The two monks glanced at one another because they had taken vows not to touch a woman.
Then, without a word, the older monk picked up the woman, carried her across the river, placed her gently on the other side, and carried on his journey.
The younger monk couldn’t believe what had just happened. After rejoining his companion, he was speechless, and an hour passed without a word between them.
Two more hours passed, then three, finally the younger monk could contain himself any longer, and blurted out “As monks, we are not permitted a woman, how could you then carry that woman on your shoulders?”
The older monk looked at him and replied, “Brother, I set her down on the other side of the river, why are you still carrying her?”
Today, I was reminded of this lesson for myself once again. I have been experiencing pain in my right shoulder that seems to be getting more and more intense, a constant ache, a heaviness, a burden that was starting to demand my attention and take me out of the present moment. This shoulder pain is not something new to me, I have experienced this before, this exact pain but why has it gone? and why has it returned? I had to ask myself these questions, which brought me to another question – who are you carrying around now?
As the continuing saga goes with Dolphin Bay, trying to recoup my losses has been a challenge, to say the least. A first email requesting a refund, no response. A second email requesting a refund, no response. A third and final email requesting a refund with a consequence, suddenly a response. The response was a manipulated delay, a stalling tactic buying himself a little more time; that was a couple of days ago. Emails back and forth, him not knowing how to send an email transfer, sorting out the refund amount, him being a complete jerk – nothing new there. On and on the saga goes.
I realized today that I am still carrying this man and his past behaviours, each time I see his name on an email or a message through Air B and B something happens, the pain intensifies, it gnaws, it radiates. I notice my thoughts throughout the day, he is in them, he is stealing my peace and I am allowing it. I had been carrying around a disappointment, a hurt, a loss of hope, an anger which all turn into resentment, eventually. The only person suffering from carrying around resentment is the carrier, in this case, me.
Suddenly the pain in my should makes perfect sense, I know this feeling, I have had it before, I have worked through it before. I set put other people down, let them go and allowed them to take responsibility for their own lives. I have forgiven. The universe has offered me another opportunity to practice this lesson, to see it, to have awareness of it, to be a witness to it and finally to put it down, let it go.
I always say, once you have awareness you can never go back. You may slip a little, you may find yourself in a similar or even the same situation but you will won’t stay long; awareness allows us the capacity to notice, to witness, to recognize, to do something different.
I opened my toolbox and took out my forgiveness tool reminding myself that without forgiveness I am stuck in the past and with forgiveness I can move on, I can let go. Digging a little deeper, I pull out my visualization tool and create an actual scene in my mind, through meditation, physically taking him off my shoulder, putting him down, wishing him well and walking away.
Already the pain in my shoulder is already letting up.