The phrase “it’s just like riding a bike” refers to kinesthetic memory. This is memory that is literally stored in your muscles and allows you to remember how to balance on a bike even if you haven’t in years.
The pains and stresses that can arise during the holidays are just like riding a bike.
Forgotten and neglected memories “hang out” and are constantly being looked at by your heart. The amygdale (fight, flight, or freeze? Check out the literature behind this research in our Recommended Reading) in your brain is on alert and ready to feel the old feelings. The newest research tells us that your heart is the lead instrument in this subconscious amygdale process. Whether you didn’t get the gift you so patiently waited for and it broke your heart at 9 years old, or if you recently separated from your significant other, it is easy for your head and heart to feel the aches and pains.
This is especially so, during the season of holidays and family, which provides the perfect platform to reminisce the “good ol’ days” that maybe weren’t so good.
For me, it is the memory of being yelled at as a child for not doing the tinsel on the tree the correct way. I was then expected to be happy for everyone else. This small, yet unforgettable memory, has kept tinsel out of our house for 25 years.
My wife (Marla) and I have been talking about how to truly have a joyful holiday season for years. And we don’t just talk about. We deal with forgiving the dark holiday memories every year (sometimes several times a year). Now, bear with me on this forgiveness piece…
Most of us have a misunderstanding about forgiveness. Forgiveness of these old feelings will bring us to a place where we can choose peace, power and joy, even in the holiday season. Forgiveness does not let people or situations out of being accountable for what happened. What it does is let’s your heart and amygdale let go of looking for the past feelings of hurt, anger, sadness, loneliness, and betrayal.
There is a saying “seek and you will find.” We believe it. Ff you are looking for the “Other shoe to drop” it will probably drop for you. So forgiveness is a choice first, then a feeling. Almost no one starts with forgiveness as a feeling, especially if the offender is not apologetic.
Forgiveness is for the forgiver. When I am able to truly choose to forgive, I then can let go. It turns out that I was re-living the misery of tinsel (every year!) without even realizing it. I had forgotten about it till I was using the Passion Provokers process for finding out why I was so unhappy during the holidays.
Of course, there is much more behind it and ultimately I was allowing the anger, that was never even really mine, to color every present, every Christmas song, and every holiday meal. Forgiveness showed me that I was allowing someone else’s pain dictate how I felt about the holidays, thirty years after the incident even happened!
Forgiveness let me out of that trap. Choosing to forgive eventually required that I forgive myself for hanging onto these old feelings for 30+ years. What a relief (and Relief is the number one feeling that every person we have taken through our process reports having)!
So choosing to pay attention to what I am feeling using the “Feeling Wheel APP” gave me a clear picture of what I was feeling and choosing forgiveness allowed me to have new feelings instead of the old re-hashed feelings.
I compare this to upgrading from a regular bike to riding an electric bike like my genius high school friend, Tom. The kind that can go 30 or more mph. Life is lighter and I am free to feel the feelings of the present. It turns out the present is the best holiday gift. There is no other better place it turns out, to enjoy those that are right in front of me. This is the gift we at Passion Provokers would love to give this holiday season, because it is available to anyone willing to try.
It does require that you do the work of forgiveness but it is so worth the ride on this new bike.