I once heard someone say, Resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die. Resentment is what seeps through the cracks between the vows taken long ago and the hope we hold out for the future. If we are turned to the past, how can we possibly step forward with confidence and optimism? Resentment is the loyal companion of innocence. It is depressive, ruminating, vengeful, confused, paranoid, narrow, and indiscriminate. Others may suffer at the hands of innocence, but none so much as the innocent him- or herself, drinking the poison and waiting for others to die.
Some tell us that we simply have to “let go” of resentment, but in truth letting go is an unpleasant proposition. The injunction to let go doesn’t acknowledge strongly enough the fact that most of us are divided when it comes to the prospect of change (and the percentage is rarely in change’s favor). Resentment, then, is the rusty gate between one side and the other, between innocence and guilt. Stuck. Swathed in the warm familiarity of innocence, change looks like a distant light, a shiny spot on the horizon. Some mornings, we can imagine reaching the light, imagine that it might be good, might be better; but imagination ultimately fails us before long and the journey just seems too overwhelming. In these moments, we are in good connection with the lethargy of the inner ways we have developed.
Constellation work provides the lens necessary to see into that distance – behind us and in front of us – so that time and distance are collapsed in both directions. One step, one arm’s length, one heartbeat, one utterance of gratitude, one degree of shift between struggle and the wide engagement, and suddenly we stand right in the light, a glimmer at first, but enough to allow us to continue to move forward in a different way. The light can become familiar; folded in, it can become known.
This is how others in our family kept going too, ancestors and those close by. We are the evidence. The best part of them, perhaps the smaller percentage, took the one step, reached out just enough. There they are right behind us, supporting the passage through the gate.
Thus, it is not so much the letting go, but the gathering that is key. Resentment and its friends pool inside of us and fester when we stay innocently tethered to the narrow images, but when we open ourselves to the gathering, to the wideness, they are diminished -- not in attempts at erasure but naturally, gradually, in the crowd of abundance. Problems of the past are reinvigorated every time present choices are made in tune with them. Anger grows, sadness grows, regret grows, and, oh yes, resentment grows every time we choose the momentary satisfaction of staying innocently attached to the narrowest stream over throwing our arms open to welcome an unconditional connection with the wider field.