Seventh Annual Address Book Challenge

address book

Every year I challenge myself to make peace with someone.

Take a Look at Your Address Book

In it you will find the names of so many people in your life, as well as people who are no longer in your life. There are names of people that you’d like to spend more time with, and names of those who you’d rather forget.

This exercise is about using your address book to clean up your internal world.

The purpose is not to re-engage in dysfunctional relationships of the past but rather to free yourself of any stickiness left in you from those relationships.

Here’s How to Do It

Open up your address book and scan through the names. Pay close attention to your emotions as you scan. Your emotions are a very sensitive meter for old stickiness.

As you read through different names, you’ll feel that meter bouncing up and down inside of you. Looking at one name, you may feel joy and love, and be flooded with pleasant memories. Looking at another name, you may feel complete neutrality.

Looking at yet another, you may feel a little hint of anxiety, anger, sadness, or disgust as the images of your past interactions with this person show up in your mind.

Here’s the Challenge

When you come across a name in your address book that causes a stressful emotion to show up, slow down and look at the memories associated with that person. Look at the images of past interactions if they arise.

Follow the thread of stressful emotions to a situation where they began—some specific incident with this person. If there are many situations, pick any one that is clearer to you.

This is an opportunity to write a Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet on the person from that old forgotten situation.

Healing is Needed Here

It’s as if you have been slowly bleeding from that wound all this time. It’s hardly noticeable, but this can be where your energy continues to get drained today. Here is a chance to go back and stop the bleeding.

My invitation is to write a Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet on one person from your address book and to take your time to work through it slowly.

I like to write a worksheet one day, and then question one statement per day until I’ve questioned enough statements from my worksheet that I now feel peaceful instead of stressed when I think of this person or the incident.

This Is About Cleaning Up Your Heart

This is not necessarily about making amends, rekindling old friendships, etc., though that can sometimes happen. What it is really about is getting clean inside. It is about forgiveness and letting go and making peace. That’s all.

It’s your heart that you live with every day. Only you can create peace and order there.

If you want to do this exercise in a classroom setting, join us for The Work 101 starting January 13. (By the way, the Canadian dollar is low this week, so take advantage of the favorable exchange rate.)

Have a great week,
Todd

“I encourage you to write about someone whom you haven’t yet totally forgiven, someone you still resent. This is the most powerful place to begin. Even if you’ve forgiven that person 99 percent, you aren’t free until your forgiveness is complete. The 1 percent you haven’t forgiven that person is the very place where you’re stuck in all your other relationships (including your relationship with yourself).” Byron Katie, Loving What Is

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