Pete’s Forgiveness Ritual

            For a direct example of using symbols in nature to work with anger and forgiveness, I offer an approach that my friend, Pete, has shared. It started with an idea he had one day years ago and it has turned into a visualization he will often use to assist him in letting go of attachments to negative ruminations about wrongdoings.

            One day many years ago, Pete could not stop ruminating about a man at his work place who had metaphorically stabbed him in the back and who subsequently was given a promotion that Pete had deserved. As he ruminated about this individual and all of his wrongdoings, he started remembering unkind or manipulative things that others had done to him as well. Pretty soon he was filled with anger and it was getting in the way of his functioning.

            Pete grew tired of his own repetitive reactions and the way he felt when consumed by anger and resentment. He lived near the ocean and he decided to “take a walk to the sea and do some thinking.” As he walked, he thought “You know what I should do? Get a whole bunch of rocks, write the person’s name on each rock and visualize the person, what they had said, and then let it drop in the water and go to the bottom, one rock at a time.”

            As he proceeded to do this, to write a person’s name on each rock, visualize the person and what they had said, and to let each rock drop in the water and go to the bottom, he would say to himself “I don’t need that memory anymore. Goodbye!” He would watch the rock float to the bottom and say “No need to try to float that rock again. It already sunk to the bottom. It’s gone! Nothing is going to make that rock float again. I sunk that rock!”

            He has surprised himself by realizing that even now, years later, he will imagine doing that small ritual and that “it has become a guided visualization of healing” for him. In addition, whenever the memory of one of those people resurfaces, he sees that person’s rock sinking to the bottom and says again “It’s gone! Nothing is going to make that rock float again. I sunk that rock!”





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