Lesson 12: Holding On to the Past


Lesson 12: Holding On to the Past

Oprah believes that a universal issue for so many of us is that we are holding on to the hurt and pain of our past.  In this class, five sisters have been entrenched in a bitter feud for years and find ways to move on.  Getting on with the “now” can only be accomplished by letting go of the past.  Some insight from Oprah’s Lifeclass Lesson 12….
Aired: 10/25/2011
Today’s Question:  What memories of the past still dominate your thinking?  What do you need to let go of?

Oprah’s Lifeclass Notes:  Oprah says, “It’s not just letting go of the past, it’s all bigger than we can ever imagine.”  We all want a  better life.  How do we get there?  

Are we living in what could have, what should have, what we wished could have been?  Living in the past is one of the biggest detriments.

Five sisters’ relationship went from a simple misunderstanding to a full scale war.   The conflict was affecting the sisters emotionally, physically and spiritually.   When we see defensiveness, that person is in pain and needs love and acceptance.  It took a major tragedy – the loss of one sister’s son – to bring them to wake up.    18 years later the sisters reconciled.   Jackie’s oldest son was dying of AIDS and a sister, Vicki took him in.  In order for her to see her son, she had to be in Vicki’s home.   The reconciliation had begun.

When we resort to name-calling, it means that we are out of control and we’re using that to bring more value to ourselves.

The only person we ever have any control over is ourselves.  We have a choice in how we see the situation, or we can remove ourselves from the situation but we  cannot change the other person.

Whatever energy we are carrying from the past, we carry into the future and that energy colors everything we do and experience.  It blocks us from being all that we were meant to be.

Forgiving is necessary to let go of the past.  It doesn’t mean that we say “it’s ok”.  Forgiveness is acceptance, not approval.

All of life is about “waking up”.

When the Oprah Show first started talking about men having affairs, women in the audience were adament that they would never put up with it, they would leave.  That attitude gradually changed over the next few years – in the 90’s.   Oprah says that she has discovered that men don’t cheat because of someone who is more attractive, smarter or…. He cheats because of how another person makes him feel.

In 2008, Psychiatrist Gary Newman, found that men cheat because they feel underappreciated, unimportant, not admired.  Men want to feel valued.

Unless the other man (or woman)  completely understands and expresses remorse for what they have done, it’s very difficult for the betrayed person to get over it.   Both parties need to sit down and talk about it openly.  Give yourself permission to deal with the issue.  It takes time to build trust again.

Not everyone can get over an affair.  You need to decide for yourself  if you can or can’t get over an affair.  If you decide that you can – then really get over it.  Deal with it and let it go.  You have to deal with the past or it will continue to show up in your relationships, your health, in every aspect of your life. If you can’t get over the affair, then move on from the relationship.  Don’t live in between.  There needs to be emotional closure.

On losing a loved one…with Gary Zukav… Oprah says…It’s not just about letting go of the past.  It’s about the ultimate lesson for us as human beings.  I am not my body, I am not my circumstances, I am not what everything looks like.  I really am a higher level of being and consciousness that is a soul.  My personality is not my soul.  My personality is here to serve my soul”.

We, our lives, are bigger than what it looks like.

A couple lost a new preterm baby, a twin.  They were both born perfect but on the third day after their birth, Ryan had a brain bleed.  He could not save the baby.  The parents went into a tailspin, were having a difficult time not letting this tragedy take over in their lives.

Gary Zukav counsels -“Look at Ryan as a soul, like everyone on this earth, that left this earth when it chose, then you will have a different perspective.  You will be able to see the gifts that this soul gave you during it’s short stay on this earth.  You will reach a place in your life where you are grateful that this soul chose to be with you for however short a time.  If you do not, you will live your life feeling that a tragedy has occurred.  Whenever you see your other son growing up, you will say Ryan should be here.  You will be placing a burden on your other son, the twin, because no matter what he does, what he accomplishes, he will be causing Mommy pain.  If you look at Ryan as a great soul who voluntarily entered the earth school and voluntarily left it in, you will begin to fathom and appreciate the interaction that you had with that soul and you will be able to receive the gifts that this soul came to earth to give to you and your family.  And if you do not, then you will continue to be turning away from those gifts.  You will be denying the very wealth of wisdom and compassion that was offered to you by this soul. ”  The soul is a great deal more than just a personality.  Interact soul-to-soul.  Recognize the power of the soul.

Many others were impacted by this story.

Oprah says that this story gives us a glimpse a notion that you are bigger than your body and your personality.   Oprah called this a holy moment in the room that day.   Oprah says it reminds her to stop and and think about her own soul and everyone around her, causes her to just for a moment to disconnect from the egos and personalities around her,  and to recognize that it is all bigger than we can ever imagine.

“You are not your circumstances.  You are a higher level of being and consciousness that is a soul.”  If we think life is only what we can see, then we are missing the whole point.

Oprah encourages us…”When you lose somebody in the physical form, the formless becomes an angel that you know”.

“Life is much bigger than just a body.  When you are grieving over the loss of a loved one…sense the presence of their soul, which is always with you, instead of the personality that is gone.”

Oprah quoting Iyanla Vanzant…”You can accept or reject the way you are treated by other people.  But until you heal the wounds of your past, you will continue to bleed.  You can bandage the bleeding with food, with alcohol, with drugs, with work, with cigarettes, with sex, but eventually, it will all ooze through and stain your life.  You must find the strength to open the wounds, stick you hands inside, pull out the core of the pain that is holding you in your past, the memories, and make peace with them.”

Oprah says…”The sooner we can let go of the past, the sooner we can get on with the “now”, our daily life.  If we don’t let it go, it becomes a wall, a barrier, and it prevents us from the vibrancy, the aliveness, the glory that our life should be. ”

Oprah’s Lifeclass
Oprah’s Lifeclass Lesson 12: Holding on to the past
Oprah’s Webcast Lesson 12: Holding on to the past
Oprah’s Lifeclass Notes
Today’s Lifeclass Question

Letting The Balloons Go!


My husband and I had few surprise moments of unexpected glee, joy, just plain fun.

In September, my son was visiting from Las Vegas – a 50th birthday trip.   We had a wonderful family gathering and dinner in our home – cousins, aunties (one had traveled quite a distance), sisters, brothers, nieces, nephews, sons, grandchildren – you get the picture.

My sisters picked up some helium-filled balloons.   They’ve lived in a corner of our dining room for two months  (the balloons, that is:).  They’ve hung in there, lasted, they’ve rested against the ceiling.  They’ve been a daily reminder of a very special day with some of  our most loved.  Fun, pictures, good food, a lot of “catching up”.

A joyous day celebrating my son, and each other.   Family who are also friends!

Today, my husband said he was ready to put the balloons away.  And so  was I.  On his way to the door, we looked at each other and, at 71 and 75, we felt like little kids again.  We headed to the backyard, made some wishes, filled those balloons with our worries,  and let them  go.  We laughed.  We watched until we could no longer see them.  We marveled at their movement.  We felt some moments of freedom and exhilaration.   We laughed again.   And we still have our memories of that day.

We also decided that we’ll go buy more balloons and do that again some time soon.   Just because….

Oprah’s Lifeclass…What gives me joy?

My Life Class Notes


There are two emotions – Love and Fear
Anger is really a manifestation of fear…
Fear of losing the love of someone – rejection
Fear of being powerless or helpless, hopeless, vulnerable (maintain control) – fear of being unsafe
Fear of losing control – of self, others, how, when and where it will happen
Fear of not being seen as valuable, necessary
Anger – never angry for the reason I think I am.  I’m not born with anger in me.  helpless, hopeless, vulnerable event happened that impressed my soul.  Stirs up anger.  When anger is triggered, the trigger is simply reminding me that there is something down there that I need to deal with.
Anger is the easy way out – when I’m angry I get the control.  Anger is the #1 addiction.  Right below the anger is a world of hurt.  It’s easier to stay in the anger than to go deeper and deal with the hurt.
You can accept or reject the way you’re treated by other people but until you heal the wounds of your past, you will continue to bleed.  You can bandage the bleeding with food, with alcohol, with drugs, with work, with cigarettes, with sex, but eventually, it will all ooze through and stain your life.   You must find the strength to open the wound,  you must stick your  hand inside, pull out the core of the pain, the memory, and make peace with it.
Spirituality – the most real part of me.  My connection to the knowing that no matter what happens, I will be all right.  The knowing that everything that happens in my life is bringing to my purpose, the real me.  Live in openness to what is.  With that openness, a far greater power comes into my life.  Inner stillness – out of this comes aliveness, joy, creativity.  I become rooted in the aliveness and fullness of the present moment.
Spirituality has to be practiced.  We must stop, take a breath, become still inside – the act of meditation and contemplation.  Be in nature, connect with the arts, and connect with ritual.  Moments of serenity, stillness is when we experience something much larger, transcendic than what we are.   Meditate – go into the stillness of my soul.  Breathe.  Look for the message in every problem.  Don’t fight them, ask them – what are you here to teach me?   Share my spiritual path with others.  Find others that are like-minded.  There is nothing out of order with me.  Everything is happening for a reason.  I’m growing closer to spirit.  Pay attention to my life – it’s teaching me.  Listen.  Get clear, still and listen to my soul.   Tap into my best life.  Stillness is my religion.  Stillness is when I can connect.
Meditation – sit and smile.  Smile in my organs, in my arteries and blood vessels.
I understand that everyone I meet is sent to me as a teacher.
I need a shift in the way I look at life – that’s all.  When I discover the world around me, I also discover the world within me.
My inner journey
1.  Ask myself and journal – What do I really, really, really want?  Every day.  The answer will come
2.  Write the happiest moment of the day every night.  Learn it, study it.  Keep it in a happiness journal
3.  Refine my mantra.  Whatever I’m repeating consistently in my mind is my mantra.  If it isn’t working for me – I need to
     choose another mantra.
Entrances are everywhere.  There are accesses to God in all sorts of situations – be alert.  Find a tiny corner of my life for stillness when I can connect and ask questions.
I need to stop wearing my wishbone where my backbone ought to be!
When I experience a truth, I don’t need to experience it again, I know it and I carry it with me.
When we help, we heal.  Find a way to be of service.
Selfishness – beneficial to myself.    Am I being cruel, greedy and hoarding?  If not, do it.
Happiness – the people around me, a state of mind, love, share
What makes me feel good?  Am I missing pleasure?  Am I missing devotion?
I’m the hero of my own life’s journey.  This is my life and I write my own story.  No one else gets to write it – just me.  I get to be who I am.   Does my life look like me?
“I don’t know” is a legitimate answer.  I’m allowed to ask for as much time as I need until I do know.  If they aren’t able to give that time, they’re allowed to leave.
Write to myself as though I were a best friend.  Write out my questions.  Answer myself as a friend.   Listen to it, believe and lean on it.
Newton’s Third Law – For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.  Cause and effect.
The energy of emotions and  thoughts are frequencies of energy that always come back to us.
Every action we take creates a reaction in the world.  The sum of all those reactions is what we call our life.
The energy I generate creates my life.
Intention always determines what the effect will be.
Love changes everything.  It heals.
If I ask for courage, God doesn’t Zap me with courage.  I get the opportunity to be courageous.
Listen to the whisper.  Don’t wait for the brick to fall on our heads.
Whatever I need to be the greatest force for good…. bring it on!   If it’s a lesson I need to learn, I want the lesson.
Separate myself from negative people and negative thoughts.  Period!  I will not allow them in my life.
If this is in the best interests of me and those around me, then please let it happen.
Who do I want to BE in the world?  what kind of person do I want to be remembered as?   I want my love to effect others.
If I can’t do “it” with love, I won’t do it.  I can either decide to do it with love, or I need not do it.  Before I take any action, I need to clarify my intentions and make sure they are good.  Then good will be returned to me.
The people that I have in my life reflect who I am.
What am I doing to create and attract negativity?
Appreciate the ordinary
Acknowledging my mortality motivates me to live my life more fully.  My days are gold and I use them wisely and fully.
Do You hear me?
I see you
Do my eyes light up when I see…..?
God made me and made sure I am enough!
I no longer think that its possible for other people to hurt me. They’re just giving me their observation and I’m giving it meaning so I get to choose what that meaning is.
If I think I need it, that’s ego. I already have everything I need. The way I know I don’t need it is when I don’t get it.

Am I defined about what other people say? Does it determine how I feel?

When I receive criticism, they could be right.

Does I love you equals I’ll trade you?

Is this a business contract or do I really love you?

I’m happier when I love you – whether or not you love me. It matters not – whether or not you paricipate.

Just the fact that I’m here makes me “worthy”.

Fear is always involved in big egos – there lies our deepest fears.

Will I be sorry that I let this opportunity to pass? Even if I don’t succeed, do I want to give it my best and see? Is it the most meaningful, fulfilling direction?

What is the fullest expression of myself as a human being. What am I meant to do here on Planet Earth?

What would I do if I weren’t afraid? What does fear feel like?

As Maya Angelou explains, people know themselves much better than you do. That’s why it’s important to stop expecting them to be something other than who they are.
Feelings buried alive don’t die. They stink and re-emerge
What would I do if I had no fear? Do it anyway. That’s courage. Be it!
What is my life worth?
Is this the fullest of expession of me?
When I hear criticism – they could be right. It’s their view of me.
Give up resistent to life. Go with it.
When I think I need it from “out there” – that’s addiction.The way I know I don’t need it is when I don’t get it.
Ego is anything that I think I need that I don’t have. I already have everything I need.
Oprahs lifeclass Notes
Oprahs class
Oprahs Super Soul Sunday

What Does It Mean, Anyway?


So many Oprah shows featuring forgiveness… so many touching lessons.  I can’t even imagine that people survive some of their circumstances, let alone forgive the perpetrators who have caused them so much pain – the drunk drivers, the molesters, those who did dreadful things to others while using drugs, the murderers….

I’m a PK –  Preacher’s Kid, grew up in a small town in Oregon.  My parents were divorced – a sad, ugly divorce (aren’t they all!), the talk of our small town.  My father married my mother’s best friend following their divorce.  And yes, I have trust issues – another story.  Needless to say, there was a lot of anger, pain and a huge need for forgiveness – over and over again, and for many years.  What did forgiveness mean?  What would I have to give up if I were to forgive.

My first marriage failed – for some very valid reasons.  How could I ever forgive my ex for some of the things he did.  How could I ever forgive myself?    What did forgiveness even mean?  I didn’t know.   I made so many mistakes raising my children.  How could they ever forgive me?  How could I forgive myself when I realized my mistakes.  Painful, very painful.

I’m 71 years old and over the years I’ve needed to forgive and ask for forgiveness, many times.  But what does forgiveness really mean anyway?

Somewhere along the way, I learned that forgiveness does not mean I’m excusing the person or the incident – saying it was OK, it means  letting go, letting God, not holding a grudge, keeping my boundaries but not building up walls.   It means not trying to punish myself or someone else.  Letting go of blame.

I learned from Oprah’s guest that forgiveness is giving up the hope that the past will ever be different – acceptance?  Acknowledging and releasing?   Yes!  To me, part of forgiveness is releasing fear – fear that the same thing will happen again.   I can learn a lesson from the experience and not allow it to happen again.  I know better.

My mantra is “When I know better, I do better”.   Maya Angelou.  I just love her.