A big old boulder of resentment

There’s a part of me that wants to avoid struggle.  That wants things to be easy.  Or that wants a magical flash of instant transformation.

But that’s not how my life has worked.  I suspect that struggle – a tension between who I am and who I want to be – is just what I need.

Resentment has been a struggle of late.  Or not really of late – of a long time . . .  a lifetime.

Mummy in the AM & Bierstadt Hike 014I don’t want to feel resentful.  I don’t want to carry around that big old boulder, but I’ve not found a way to put it down.  I’ve been carrying a boulder of resentment off and on for a long, long time.  I’ll put it down every now and then, but I pick it back up, huffing and puffing, trying to get a good grip, sweating buckets as I struggle to carry it along everywhere I go.

But this past week something shifted.

I put that boulder down.

And this time, this time, I took out a chisel and chipped away some of it.  Actually, a lot of it.

What made me get a chisel and get to chipping was this realization:

Sometimes I have been proud to carry that resentment boulder.  I had become fond of it.  I was like, “Hey, look at me struggling under this big, heavy boulder.  Don’t you feel sorry for me?  People have treated me badly.  Yeah, they gave me this boulder, this big boulder I carry around.  It’s heavy, but it makes me strong – strong enough that maybe people won’t be able to hurt me.”

Crazy, huh?

And all the while I knew that was a lie.  I knew that life would be so much easier, so much lighter, without this big old boulder.  Yeah, people might treat me badly every now and then, but I didn’t have to carry around resentment.  I could let it go.  I could put the boulder down.

Yet even as I knew that, it was as if I couldn’t actually do it.  It was as if I had to struggle with carrying resentment.  The realization that sometimes I actually liked carrying it is what helped me put it down this time – and to get a chisel and start chipping away.

I’ve lived long enough to realize that I will face my weaknesses over and over, so I’m not fooling myself into thinking I’ll never feel resentment again.  But for now, I’ve put it down.  And if (more likely, when) I pick it back up, it will be smaller. Quite a bit smaller.

Yeah, I really do feel a lot better without it.

Without that boulder, I’m so much. . .  well, so much lighter.  And that feels pretty darn good.

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6 thoughts on “A big old boulder of resentment

  1. Welcome with deep love all our resentments, basalt boulders clinging to the cliffs of our shoulders ,heads and hearts, welcome old friends tenderly. Stay if you will, leave if you must.

    But always welcome

  2. I fear that resentment is something our family learned to carry. Part of being the victim of bad circumstances and bad people and not receiving the rewards they felt were deserved. How else did they explain “not having” instead of being joyful for what they did have? I recall Grandmama telling me it started with the War Between the States. Seriously. After the Yankees burned the farm and the family couldn’t find the buried silver – a hundred years of resentment.

    • I guess it’s up to our generation to change the family tradition and to be joyful for what we do have. Mama never told the buried silver story (that I recall). Fascinating. It seems being joyful or being resentful was learned in childhood, eh? And both are ultimately choices once we realize that we don’t HAVE to be resentful. Thank you for pointing out the generational perspective.

  3. Thich Nhat Hahn

    Dear ancestors and spiritual ancestors, I am you with all your strengths and weaknesses. I see you have negative and positive seeds. I understand that you have been lucky and that good seeds like kindness, compassion and fearlessness were watered in you. I also understand that if you were not luckily and negative seeds like fear, greed and jealousy were watered I you, then the positive seeds did not have a chance to grow.
    I accept you as you are in me.

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