Releasing Hurts Ignites Brilliance


As Donovan volunteers, we need to get a TB test every year.  I headed to Target for my annual prick last week.  I got some groceries, received my TB test and then self-checked out.  As I later look in my bag, I realize that under my computer, there were three Lindt orange chocolate bars I had completely forgotten about!  Oh, a flurry of emotions surfaced:  “You’re a thief!  How dare you walk away without paying for the chocolate.  And you think you have such high integrity, my tush!!!!!”

Recognizing the gremlin attack, I reenacted the event in my mind, recognized it was an honest mistake, defined a rectification (easy, as two days later I’d be back at Target to get my TB test read) and asked for forgiveness.  The load lightened and then I continued going about my evening.

The next morning, I sat down to work.  As I put fingers to keyboard, I found myself tightening up, feeling stressed, constricted, uncreative.  Wondering what was creating this feeling, I realized I still harbored guilt and shame for the Target episode.

“I must have not released all of it last night.”  So, I stepped away from my computer and reworked through the steps that I know work, closing with asking for forgiveness.  And here, I hear “I’ve already forgiven you.  When are you going to forgive yourself?”

Well… That had not even crossed my mind!  So, I put my hands on my heart and, with as much care I could create in that moment, I said “Mariette, I know this was an honest mistake that you’re going to rectify tomorrow.  You are free to release any guilt and shame you continue to hold against yourself.  I forgive you because I love you.”

With this, I felt the boulders on my shoulders and in my stomach dissolve.  I sat down at my computer again, and I was back in the flow: open, creative, receptive, joyful.  I was in my brilliance!  And produced terrific work over the next couple of hours.

My brilliance had been dimmed, blocked and shackled by the shame and guilt I had been holding onto.  As soon as I released it, I was back in my brilliance.

And I realized, I had applied a lesson continuously learned in prison:  Releasing my hurts ignites my brilliance.  (Some of the countless examples of the residents’ journeys through this lesson another day…)

Jonathan Martin