Letting Go of Anger/Embracing Light

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(Lose the Net by Rasmus Faber Courtesy of Epidemic Music)

It absolutely amazes me that good questions lead us so naturally to good answers, and that beautiful questions lead to even better answers! When we open ourselves to the things we don’t know, we’ve opened the doors to discovery and wonder and greater understanding.

I’m Scott Lennox and you’re listening to The Beautiful Question, a consideration of things that matter every day.

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I can think of no better way of keeping ourselves trapped than staying angry and refusing to forgive. Day by day, it drains us and keeps us from standing in light.

Join me this week as we consider ways of letting go of anger and watching what comes next. Stay with me.

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Photo: Scott Lennox


Abraham Maslow is often attributed with the expression: “If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.” Whether it was Maslow or someone else who said it, I came to the realization that my two primary tools had been anger and resentment, both of which I felt “righteously justified” in wielding.

But I was wrong. I was completely wrong.

How many times have you told yourself, “No Way! If I forgive the people who hurt me, they win and I lose. I won’t let them win.” I thought exactly that more than I would like to acknowledge. What a trap for staying stuck and getting sick. At the very least, it’s one of the perfect ways of keeping ourselves from being fully alive.

One of the main problems with unforgiveness is the longer we refuse to forgive, the longer we hurt.

A couple of decades ago, I awakened in a recovery room in Dallas to hear the surgeon telling me, “It’s cancer.” I knew that at least part of the reason illness manifested in my neck was years of holding anger and resentment and refusing to forgive anyone, including myself. I’m not saying if you don’t forgive, or if you’re resentful or angry, you’re going to develop a potentially fatal illness. But is it even remotely possible to hold onto such strongly negative emotions and live well?

We both know we can’t! At some level, something in us will fail.

But here’s the great news! The moment we forgive, we open the door to compassion and healing and wholeness. We open the door to being present. We return to living the way we lived when we first came into this world. It’s been written that all healing is release from fear. As it turns out, forgiveness is one of the most powerful ways that “love casts out fear.”

I offer two effective definitions of “forgive” for your consideration.

One is to “thoroughly release” whatever or whoever we’ve been steadfastly holding. The other is to choose to stop all punishment, of others and ourselves, in any form.

In all the years I held onto anger and resentment, most of the people who were the objects of my venom felt none of it. They never knew. On the other hand, I suffered every day and was eventually sickened because of how I used anger and resentment as weapons. I shattered relationships. I walled-out healthy people. I invited failure. I perpetually saw myself as a victim. And I increasingly became physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted.

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As I’ve shared before, after giving me his diagnosis, my surgeon said, “You have two choices—you can have a good attitude or you can be dead.” With tears in my eyes, I knew he was telling me the truth. I also knew that if I didn’t let go of my bitterness there was a strong chance I wouldn’t be able to marshal the inner forces I needed to recover.

It was time to let the light in.

My prayer was a quiet one. “God, I want my life. I want to honor the many gifts You have given me. I am willing to learn how to let go of my anger and resentment. I’m willing to let go of all of it. Please help me do this.”

Help came in a surprising array or ways, including a number of wise and caring people who “just happened” to come into my life at the right time. My part came in the form of intentionally letting go in every way I could imagine until openness and forgiveness became my new way of thinking and behaving.

Naturally, the process was a slow and gradual one. Yet, the shift was immediately noticeable to me and to the people around me. I consciously replaced thoughts of anger with thoughts of release, thoughts of gratitude. I consciously told myself, often aloud, “No! I already let that go. I choose love and compassion and gratitude instead.” As I repeated and repeated it, something in me began to deeply relax. It’s part of the daily practice that makes me much calmer and much more happy today.

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This week’s three Beautiful Questions are offered as a means of helping you get out of your own way and live in more meaningful and expansive ways. I invite you to ponder them deeply and then write and tell me what you discover. I’ll be excited to hear from you.

Question One: What, specifically, do you want more than anything else?

Question Two: What role is un-forgiveness playing that keeps you from having what you want?

Question Three: In what measurable or recognizable ways will you let go of the toxic thoughts and behaviors you’ve been holding onto and practice forgiveness instead?

Only you can answer the first two questions. But I can beautifully answer the third one. You will get your life back. All of it!

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I’m Scott Lennox, and this has been The Beautiful Question.

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I’m happy we can engage this way as we consider things that matter and what to do about them. If nothing else, I hope you feel inspired to look more deeply at ways of caring for yourself.

You can be further inspired by visiting my friends at Kosmos Journal. That’s K O S M O S Journal. Their mission is to inform, inspire, and engage global transformation in harmony with all life. You can easily find them online at Kosmos Journal dot O R G.

And at thebeautifulquestion.com, you can read the illustrated transcript of each podcast as you listen. We’ve also included an archive of all previous podcasts, including guided relaxation audios that can help you practice letting go on a daily basis.

If you find these podcasts useful, I encourage you to share them and tell others about them. That’s a great way of helping me get a voice of calm and collaboration and balance and encouragement out into the world. It’s a great way of spreading peace.

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I’m Scott Lennox, and this has been The Beautiful Question.

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The Beautiful Question is a One Light production, written, produced, and engineered by Scott Lennox at HeartRock Studios in Fort Worth, Texas, as a way of paying forward to life, being fully present, becoming better engaged with things that truly matter in a complex world, and committing to a healthier future for all of us.

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