What are you willing to let go of and what are you holding onto? Memories? Past heart aches and failures? Clothes and objects..? Is it better to let things go, or do we benefit from holding on to lessons we learnt in the past? Where is the limit, when is it good to learn from past experiences and when do we hold our selves prisoners to past events? These thoughts were awaken in me this week due to an interesting incident..
Last week I had an Aussie man staying in my house for a couple of nights. He was coming to Ubud for a festival, which I was attending too. I saw a post he wrote where he was asking for suggestion for accommodation. He was here to write a book about yoga and he said he wanted to hang out with creative people, and share his yoga practice and healing skills, ideally in return for accommodation.
I thought of my spare room which was to be filled later that week but was still empty, and I thought of the rather expensive price that I had had to pay for a hotel room in Seyminak when I arrived, so without thinking too much about it, I invited him to come and stay with me in the spare room.
“I don’t know what you are exactly looking for in terms of creative people, I am not the most creative person but I am like you writing on something, I am not a super-yogi, but I practice, so if you wish to stay here in my spare room you are welcome! I will be at the festival too so perhaps see you there!”
I have never done that before, inviting a stranger into my home, especially considering that I have lived in Rio de Janeiro for the last few years when I would not dare to EVER do anything like that! Invite a stranger into your house..? In Rio..? Hmm.. It’s like, how would you feel about driving with your eyes closed towards a cliff where you pass a sign saying “DANGEROUS! Steep cliffs ahead!” .. of course you might be able to stop your vehicle before you get too close to the cliff, and even enjoy the view, but it might also fuck up really badly..! That’s sort of how I would feel about inviting a stranger into my house in Rio.. It might be all fine and even great, but it might also not..
However now, since I am not in Rio but in Hippie-Ubud with supposedly kind-spirit-people, I thought, why not!? Knowing that it might not work out so well, but perhaps it would? It was worth taking that risk to find that out..!
So, this guy stayed with me for a couple of days and it was fine (if he was a serial-killer, at least I was not his type of target..). While I was working during the days we had dinners together and hang out in the evenings. And then it was this bit about sharing.. He was quite keen to share his yoga practice (“20 minutes of this yoga and you will Never need a teacher again!! “Really..?”) and his techniques of trauma release work. (“Trauma release..? What is that..? How do you do that..?” “I better just show you!”). He was not so keen of explaining further about the trauma release work but thought that we could put it into practice if the opportunity came along. OK, fair enough!
By our second dinner we started to talk about crimes that had been committed to us and how we felt about it. He told me how, when ever he was robbed he always felt as though the things stolen probably came to better use by that other person. I feel conflicted about that, since there has been times where I can to a certain degree agree with that, knowing that there are a lot of desperate people out there who might really need that cash they stole from me, but also, there are crimes I can not as easily forgive that has happen to me due to the physiological damage it gave me, and the time that I felt was stolen from me – the time it took to get up on my feet again and also the time to replace my stolen belongings and identity cards etc.
One thing lead to the next and I ended up telling him about the attempt to rape when a taxi-driver physically jumped on me from behind, pulled me backwards, most likely with the attempt to drag me into the back of his car to probably rape me, or rob me..? I was not keen to stay in the situation to find out which one it was.. So I fought back, screamed, and broke myself free.
He must have seen that something sparkled in me by telling that story, the anger still coming out of my eyes by the thought of what that man did and what he attempted to do. More than anything, that still ANGERS me , and brings up the feelings of WHO do you think you are trying to do that to me!?!
He must have noticed the anger and JUMPED on the opportunity;
– Do you want to do some trauma release work around that event?
-Trauma release work?! No! I want to kill the bastard if I ever meet him again! I do not want to release some trauma!
-You realize that many robbers, murderers and rapists have traumas they would need o release, they most likely would not want to release these traumas. Instead, they pass it on to others..
-Do you say I am going to turn into a rapist myself if I don’t release this trauma? NO THANK YOU! I want to keep this anger in me, cause I need to know that I can defend myself if I ever come in a similar situation again!
When I told this to a friend, it made me laugh about my responds, and he asked if the guy laughed too? Knowing this is Ubud, the man was perhaps surprised by my responds and would have expected me to be willing to release those emotions still locked in me..
-Oh no, he was not laughing! He was dead serious and did not find it at all funny that I rejected his proposal!
Thinking about this now, I wonder what is the right thing to do in terms of holding on or letting go..?
Do we keep ourselves prisoners to the past if we are not allowing ourselves to forgive wrong doings which happened to us in the past?
I can agree with that, but everything has a limit right!? ..or has it?
I believe it is important to forgive friends and family if they have hurt us, but a stranger, who intended to physically hurt me?
As a woman, I find it to be a massive difference of being robbed and being raped! I say this as someone who, unfortunately, have been robbed a number of times (and who two times have been running after people who tried to pickpocket me because I got so mad! In both occasions, I got my possessions back by chasing these people through some back alleys. I am not saying I recommend it, I only say that I have done it..! and it was the anger in me which made me do it!). And I am speaking as a woman who managed to fight myself free from a rape attempt, and there is nothing that ANGERS ME MORE than rape!! If I met the people who robbed me, I would give them an angry look, but that is about it. If I met that taxi-driver again? I would most likely wanting to rip his eyes out or something even worse!
Possessions, it is easier to let go off, I can forgive someone who robbed me, cause there is a likelihood that they actually needed the things more than me (or not? who knows!) but rape?! That is a whole other story to me! How one persons physical needs are put above someone else’s, and committing a rape brings in all the issues of vulnerability as a woman which suddenly becomes evident when the physical strength of a man is used against you.
On the other hand, perhaps my guest was right?
Perhaps I would have released my own suffering by letting go of the resentment from this man? Perhaps I would have become a more peaceful, giving, kind and loving person by shaking out some fear and anger? One step closer to a Gandhi??
But I still don’t regret rejecting his offer. As a woman in this world, I rather know that there is a tiger resting inside of me who is willing to ATTACK if need be. Perhaps that makes me less of a Gandhi, but so be it! I am rather happy to know I can hold on to some anger and self defense skills!
What do you think?
Is it important to hold on to some lessons learnt from the past, or are we making ourselves prisoners to the past that way? Am I making a wrong distinction by saying that it is important to be able to letting go, but still which to hold on to the anger this man provoked in me?
Like Elsa, should we let it all go, and open ourselves up for a new beginning..? (but she did come back in the end, did she not..? Not even she let fully go of her past..right?).
I don’t know, I will continue to contemplate these issues, and would love to hear your opinion about this!
Thank you for listening and feel free to share with me your thoughts on the issue!
Let it Go! or should we hold on to lessons learnt..?