Forgive the Boston Marathon Bombing to Journey beyond Disability?

Is this a prescription for injustice? Is this condoning the Boston Marathon bombing? For all those who have truly found a way to forgive a grievance they know it is not. Fred Luskin in his book quote Forgive for Good: a proven Prescription for Health, Happiness, Drive”, defines forgiveness as, “an experience of peace and understanding that can be felt in the present moment. He does not see forgiveness as condoning and act. Neither does it prevent an injured party from participating in the justice process. What forgiveness does is to allow the injured party to move on with their life.
When we see ourselves as the sufferers of injustice we become stuck emotionally and physically in the event. It becomes the central story of our lives. For those who ran the Boston Marathon it replaced the achievement of running a marathon. Which story would you rather live with, one of hard work and dedication, or one of victimization?
When we choose to become a victim, we live the victim’s story. Our bodies recurrently return to the event. When we return to that event we feel the dread and horror that happened. Reliving that event our brains send out stress hormones as they did in that event. Those hormones helped us respond to the event. Now they impede healing. Adrenaline prevents blood flow to injured tissues. Cortisol prevents healing of those tissues. These are no longer helpful hormones. By learning to forgive, the brain can again send out messages to heal the body.
Heroes are clearly what the runners of the Boston Marathon were. They dedicated significant parts of their lives to this achievement. Now they need to dedicate significant parts of their lives to creating a life beyond the injury. Yet, I have seen many people who struggled to forgive.
The people I saw struggling to forgive were always talking about the event. When they came into my medical office that was always in the conversation. If there was a lawsuit involved I heard about how that was progressing. Yet, I could do little to help that. As their physician I was there to help them heal. I could do little with the emotional pain and my efforts at the physical pain were limited by their failure to forgive.
Luskin describes how those who failed to forgive are stuck in a grievance. To hold a grievance they must hold onto the expectation that harm should not come to them. They then made the story of harm their story. To discover if you’re holding onto a grievance ask yourself the following; do I think more about this event then I do the good things in my life.
Luskin describes how his techniques can help a victim choose to become a hero. He has researched and developed these techniques in many people’s lives. Some have suffered the common trauma of divorce and others the uncommon trauma of living through the Northern Ireland Civil War. In all cases the healing started by seeing that they were holding a grievance. When the victim realized they had a choice they began to heal. Luskin’s techniques are well described and too complicated for me to describe here. For most people a support system will be necessary. For a few friends and family will be adequate. Many will need the support and guidance of a counselor coach or formal group.
In my forthcoming book, recipes for lemonade, thriving through disability, Dr. Dave’s personal recipe”,
” I will describe how I was fortunate to journey through this. But without formal and directed support it took me longer than it could have.
As always I would love to hear your responses to these thoughts and ideas.
As All Ways, Seek Joy,
Coach Dr. Dave

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