How to Kick Guilt to the Curb With the “F” Word

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“Never look back unless you are planning to go that way.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

I’m mad at myself and feel like I’ve broken a commitment (to myself).

When I set out to support Greg Williams’ KickStarter project The Anonymous People, I said (to myself) that I would devote two blog posts each week until the August 26 deadline.

Here it is Monday evening (Tuesday morning for some of you) as I write this and the post I intended to write over the weekend wasn’t finished.  Wasn’t even started.

Here’s the excuses:  My dad was in the emergency room 600 miles away with multiple broken bones from a fall, we were house- and dog-sitting and we had a good friend here for a long weekend.  All true.

The bottom line is I am feeling guilt-y.

Here’s the odd thing:  I’ve been having intense dreams for quite some time about the life I left to move to Texas three years ago.  These dreams are often angry and violent and never fail to leave me shaken.

Sometimes, like the one I woke with on Saturday, stayed me with all day.  It involved meanness and power and intentions to inflict both.

Consequently, I felt emotionally vulnerable.  I wanted to stay quiet and process through the muck to try to determine what it might mean.

My friend visiting from California has an incredible wisdom stick and she’s not afraid to use it.

She said, “You probably feel hurt by that dream because you haven’t been forgiven.”

That’s it! I said.  I want the person in my dreams to forgive me.  I’ve made amends.  I’ve tried to right the wrongs as best I can.

But my efforts fall on deaf ears because the person in my dreams wants no contact with me.

I hurt her badly.  But what do I do with all this guilt that I’m just coming to see?  I need closure, damn it!

The dreams we tell ourselves are true and guilt is wrapped in forgiveness

I’ve convinced myself that the person’s behavior in my dream is exactly as it would be in person.  Huh.  Wonder how I know that?

In this particular dream, I’m supposed to be taking a bunch of stuff from  her that is mine.  Take this, this and definitely that.  But don’t touch that, that or this.

I’m so confused.  What am I supposed to leave behind with her?

Could it be the guilt stemming from a lack of forgiveness–self forgiveness?

My sponsor would probably tell me that whether the person in my dreams forgives me is none of my business.  Well crap.  That just leaves one other person to do the forgiving.

My friend from California coincidentally (right!) sent me a link to a Gary Zukav article called “5 Things You Can Learn From Guilt.”  I think she called in the big dogs since she wasn’t getting through to me.

As author and founder of the Seat of the Soul Institute, Gary knows a thing or two about human emotions.  Here is his list of five:

  1. 1. Guilt comes from a frightened part of your personality.
  2. 2. Guilt impairs your ability to learn from your experiences.
  3. 3. Guilt keeps you from being honest with others and yourself.
  4. 4. The relationship between guilt and forgiveness may surprise you.
  5. 5. You cannot give the gifts that your soul wants you to give while you are feeling guilty
Geez, guilt is nothing to mess with.  I have to let it go and my peeps are all correct.  I have to forgive myself.
Here’s my plan for the next two weeks, longer if necessary:  I’m going to pray a specific prayer both for me and for the person in my dreams.  When I finish this post, I’m going to write it off on a clean sheet of paper and place it in my journal which is with me every morning.  I’ll let you know how it goes.
In the meantime, a report on The Anonymous People:  We are closing in on the finish line!  With six days to go, Greg and all his backers (I’m one!) are 88% to the goal.
The links are here in this post and a mini viewer of the film is in the sidebar above.  Please do check it out and consider backing the project.  You’ll be doing it in support of all the voices in addiction recovery.
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2 Comments

  1. Hi Beth,

    Your dream is so interesting. I also have occasional dreams about a past life, a past relationship and it can be very unsettling. Guilt, I’m sure plays a part in it, and the feeling that you can’t really ever leave it behind. It is funny how it shows up now and again and then fades into the background.

    Don’t be too hard on yourself. We all do the best we can at the time.

    That is so awesome about The Anonymous People!! It is a film that is so needed and overdue. Can’t wait to see it.

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