05/24/2010 01:06 pm ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

Forgiveness: Kick in the Tush Club: How Much Dead Weight Are You Carrying?

Recently, my husband and I visited with my father's brother, Uncle Sy. Uncle Sy is in his late eighties, and he is one very cool cat. He listens to jazz, wears a red pocket square, and he serves a mean Bloody Mary.

Halfway through the 2nd round of said mind-altering heavily vodka'ed beverages, Uncle Sy began to wax poetically about his childhood. He shared one enchanting tale after the next, peppered with family photos and memorabilia. But, as all good things must come to an end, so did the happy feelings induced by these stories.

Uncle Sy's cadence, tone and mood turned ugly. No longer joyful and smiling, anger began to surface.

And then Uncle Sy bitterly told us that when he and my father were boys, ages 11 and 13 respectively, a rather extravagant birthday party had been thrown for my father, but there was no party for poor Uncle Sy. Not then, or ever. No simple party, no extravagant celebration. Nada. Zilch. Zero.

Both my husband and I were taken aback. "But Uncle Sy," I said rather incredulously, "that was close to 75 years ago." He stood his ground; further justifying and reiterating his grievance.

Seeing clearly that there was no talking him out of it, I met him on his turf and sweetly said, "Uncle Sy, you win!"

"Really?" he asked, "I win?"

"Yes, you win. Daddy is dead and you're not. So you win."

Uncle Sy was elated. He'd won!

Dead Weight: Yours, Mine and Ours
Serendipitously, after I'd returned from our visit with Uncle Sy, I read about a teacher who asked her students to bring a clear plastic bag and a sack of potatoes to class. For every person the student refused to forgive, they were told to write the person's name and date of upset on a potato and put it in their plastic bag. Their bag began to fill up quite quickly. The moral of the story was that they were lugging around some pretty hefty amounts of anger that was clogging their spiritual development, big time. I call it dead weight.

Imagine if we did the same? What if we wrote down every upset and anger we experienced and lugged it around with us all day? We would undoubtedly all carry a heavy bag that would weigh us down and rob us of energy, focus and determination.

How much "dead weight" are you carrying around with you? How many years does it take to let go of hurt, frustration and anger? Does someone have to die before we let it go?

Your thoughts, please!!!

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